In a previous article, I gave 4 causes behind the problems in our healthcare system. I also talked about 8 common pitfalls in nutrition. Let’s look at 5 more major flawed beliefs we have. As you read these, think about better mentalities to replace them.
Health is up to the experts.
We’ve been raised to believe that doctors and other health experts make us healthy and instruct us about what to do to be healthy. While doctors are important and helpful, our health is largely in our own hands. It’s up to each of us to learn about our body and how to care for it. We need to give up the belief that experts will always know better than we do. We have more control over—and more responsibility for—our health than we may realize.
Don’t listen to our bodies.
We’re taught that the direction our bodies give us, such as an instinctual hunch or inner calling, should be discredited. We’re taught that our desires, cravings and feelings are mistaken. We’re taught to follow instructions from smarter people who know what’s best for us. To know what to eat, we must follow an external authority figure and ignore our body intelligence. We aren’t taught that our body gives us helpful, reliable guidance that we can trust.
However, the best way to learn how to care for our bodies is by learning how to listen to them. Our bodies give us guidance about how they need to be fed and cared for. But if we invalidate all of our desires and intuitions, we can’t know what our bodies are telling us about our needs.
What’s healthy for one is healthy for all.
Most nutrition theories are based in the assumption that all humans are the same biologically and therefore require the same nutrition. We should follow standardized diets and expect equally successful results. But “healthy” is a relative term. What’s healthy for one isn’t for another. We’re all very different, which adds more reason to develop the ability to listen to ourselves.
Treat the symptoms, not the cause.
Our healthcare system has been built on the strategy of managing symptoms, of alleviating the effects but not the cause. It’s wonderful to have so many effective means of treating symptoms, such as medications and emergency medicine. But our healthcare strategy should be balanced with a mentality of prevention and healing the causing factors. Otherwise, our health problems will only grow.
Change through negativity and force.
We often try to change and motivate ourselves using fear, shame and self-hatred. But healthy eating is an act of self-love and self-nurturance. We may improve our behavior using self-criticism, but only temporarily. Shortly after, we find ourselves eating a bag of chips in a self-loathing binge.
We also try to control ourselves through forceful effort to stop our behavior. But when our willpower and rational mind tire out, or when stress overwhelms us, we’re back to our old ingrained habits. And the problem is never solved. We don’t work to resolve the deeper causes of our behavior, which makes self-control unneeded.
Let’s now start talking about a healthier view toward nutrition.