There is a fine line between diet mentality & gentle nutrition & it was hard to know the difference between being guided by gentle nutrition vs. being controlled by leftover diet mentality. It didn’t help that both can have some similar objectives such as eating more fruits, vegetables, & whole grains but the motivation behind those objectives is different. Gentle nutrition is done with the goal of taking care of my body with nutritious foods but also my soul with choices that leave me both physically & mentally satisfied. Diet mentality is done with a goal of weighing less at any cost.
I’m on vacation with my family which has made me realize how differently eating is for me now. The following meals from vacation all show how different life looks now that my choices are guided by gentle nutrition instead of diet mentality.
- We spent the first 3 nights in New York City & from there got on a cruise to Bermuda. We had plenty of bagels, pizza, & pasta while in NY but no fruits or vegetables at all. Diet mentality would have told me that after all the food in New York that I needed to eat a salad when I got on the ship for lunch. I would have watched my family eating things like pizza, burgers, fries & dessert & felt deprived. With gentle nutrition guiding me I looked at all the food on the buffet knowing I could have anything I wanted & didn’t feel drawn to any of it. Sure it all would have tasted good enough, but I knew I wasn’t craving any of it & that a salad would be a good choice since I hadn’t eaten any fruits or vegetables for a few days. I made a big spinach salad which tasted amazing & had strawberry ice cream for dessert because I knew a salad on its own wouldn’t have any staying power.
- I used to never miss a workout, even on vacation but now I only work out on the days where it fits in. On our first day in Bermuda I slept in & got back too late to go to the gym before dinner. When we got back from the beach I was starving so we headed strait to a late lunch. Diet mentality would have told me I needed to order a salad because I hadn’t worked out that day. With gentle nutrition I knew my body needed more carbs, protein & fat than I would get in a salad & ordered a chicken sandwich with fries instead. The fries tasted amazing & I left lunch completely satisfied instead of feeling deprived.
- The first morning I had a couple of waffles with syrup & whipped cream but when I walked by the waffle station the next day I didn’t feel drawn to them. I loved the waffles the first day & knew they would taste great again but decided instead to choose the oatmeal because I hadn’t eaten many whole grains & I’ve always loved oatmeal. Diet mentality would have told me I had to choose oatmeal every morning because it was a healthier (and lower calorie) option & I would have seen others eating waffles & felt deprived but using gentle nutrition to guide me, I knew that I could have waffles later in the week if I felt like eating them again & that having oatmeal when I wasn’t craving waffles was a good choice.