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What even is a "balanced diet"?

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

People think having a balanced diet is very difficult. They assume it takes a great deal of meal planning and effort. Finding the perfect blend of carbohydrates , protein, fats, and vitamins seems as complicated as composing a symphony. Well, I'm here to tell you that having a balanced diet is not as hard as others would like you to believe.

The fact of the matter is that our bodies are made to function well. Ours is the only culture (until our culture infiltrates others) that puts all this emphasis and confusion into eating a balanced diet. Eating should be as natural as breathing and going to the bathroom. It is just another bodily function, but with a bit more pleasure since some foods are so delicious.

Say goodbye to calorie counting . Just say no to avoiding fats . All that advice you've heard over the years has just complicated and distorted your relationship with food. How could it not? You read different advice on healthy eating habits from one article to the next. What one magazine tells you will surely kill you, then next says it is the best food ever. Enough!

So I am here to point out the obvious: You already know how to eat right . You were born knowing how to eat, but unfortunately, some well-meaning people and their products have completely distorted your relationship with food and your body. And I am here to help you remember what you already know.

There is plenty of evidence showing that adults and children are able to reconnect to their natural cues when shown how. And research shows that when left to their own instincts, children will naturally have a balanced diet over a two week period of time. Relearning to use your hunger and fullness cues can be a major undertaking, though, because you have had years of experience not listening to them.

Most importantly, you must reconnect with your own hunger and fullness cues. If you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, you are well on your way to reconnecting to your natural cues. If you want to eat when you are not hungry…what do you think that means? This is emotional eating (whether there is an emotion felt or not), which can be a fine coping skill, and it can be beneficial to have other forms of coping or processing feelings as well.

Being comfortable with all foods is another important factor. If there are foods that are off-limits to you, you will find yourself craving them more than ever. Or, worse, you will eat more of other foods to try to satisfy your desire for the forbidden food, which will never work. It is this false belief that foods are good or bad that hinders you from having healthy eating habits .

The process of intuitive healthy eating requires a great deal of non-judgment with food. As you can see, this process is very freeing, but requires a great deal of trust in your ability to naturally have a balanced diet--and this may be the hardest part of all.

austin eating disorder nutritionist

At Austin Counseling and Nutrition we can help you find balance in all areas of your life. We can help you regain trust in your body so that eating becomes effortless.

Call or text (512) 655-3878 today to get connected with a dietitian and/or counselor.

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