If we want to solve our problems in nutrition, we need to find better answers to these 2 questions of how to identify what we should eat, and then how to follow through. We need to rethink the answers we currently believe in and correct the misbeliefs we find.
1. What should we eat to meet our personal nutrition needs?
We want to be as healthy as possible, but we’re not always sure what to do. How do we understand our bodies? And how do we know what’s right for us given that everyone’s different?
How do we know what’s healthy when one piece of nutrition advice conflicts with another? How do we know when good-sounding nutrition advice is actually undermining our health and ability to make healthy choices?
2. How do we do what we know is healthy, especially when temptation, fear, strong urges and other pressures compel us to do otherwise?
One side of us tells us to be healthy, but another side tells us to eat the cookies, which is maddening.
We want to resolve this inner battle and quit bad habits for good. We want to be able to handle difficult emotions, such as stress, without feeling the need to numb out with food. But how do we gain control? How do we get rid of overwhelming cravings that knock us off course and make it tough to maintain healthy nutrition?
These questions troubled me for most of my life. And when I became I nutritionist I saw how much they troubled others too. Which is why I spent years investigating nutritional and behavioral science to find answers.
As I investigated better answers, I realized the root problem wasn’t in what we were doing, but in how we were thinking. The problems were due to flawed assumptions about food and nutrition, which kept us from the solutions we needed.
For example, we focus a great deal on gathering more information about nutrition because we believe information will give us the answer. Information is important, but it’s useless if we don’t follow it or if it isn’t accurate. If we don’t have a way to sort through the information, verify it and incorporate it, then all we get is a mess of data and opinions we can’t make sense of. If we believe the answer is in more information, then we’ll likely blind ourselves to most valuable answers, which come from within.
We continue to come up with new medical technologies, drugs and scientific studies without questioning the flawed beliefs and mentalities at the heart of our efforts, which inevitably leads to grave oversights and makes us worse off. For example, many health authorities seek to create a standardized diet for everyone to follow, which keeps scientists from discovering methods to assess individual need and keeps us arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong.
We see this oversight especially in our lack of attention toward prevention. Modern medicine is geared toward treatment, which sets the belief that we should abdicate personal responsibility for our health and carry on with bad habits until we fall apart, at which point a doctor will fix us.
A new diet or advancement in medicine won’t solve our problems. What we is need a dramatic shift in attitude and perspective toward food and health. Let’s now look deeper into the perspectives that contribute the most to our problems.