Monday, January 23, 2012

One Size Does Not Fit All

Many of us like to wear sunglasses. Actually, many of us feel it is actually a need to wear sunglasses, especially if you're out running or cycling for hours or spending a whole day at Disneyland when it's sunny. However, some of us feel comfortable with slightly tinted shades and that's all we need. Some of us like the lenses a little darker. Then there are those of us who need really dark lenses to help us enjoy the outdoors by cutting out a lot of the sun. We have different likes of tinted lenses according to which will decrease the discomfort of the sun down to zero. This allows us to see and enjoy the beauty all around us. There is no one size fits all.

Just like people see life through their own set of lenses, people also see their relationship to food through their own set of lenses. Some people appreciate using the lens of the word "mindful" in order to enjoy their food without repercussions. These particular individuals are conscious of when they eat, where they eat, how much they eat, and how often they eat. This makes them feel comfortable with food and their health. Others appreciate using the lens of the word "intuitive" in order to enjoy their food without repercussions. This lens encourages people to not view eating as a diet, to make peace with food, and to note the fullness signals that their body gives. This is like a wholeness approach. Then some individuals do appreciate using the lens of the word "awareness" in order to enjoy their food without repercussions. Awareness lets them be in the present with their eating experiences at that very moment. This allows individuals to assess how certain foods make them feel. Yet, another group of people like to use the lens of the word "moderation" in order to enjoy their food without repercussions.This allows these individuals to feel there is no food deprivation in their lives whatsoever, so they enjoy food in portions that are reasonable. Last but not least, we have people who like to use the lens of the word "avoid". Some individuals honestly feel that telling them they cannot have this or that works much better for them versus allowing them to have some of this and some of that. In helping people eat right for better health, there is no one size fits all.

God made us with different personalities and different make-ups. One way of viewing food may work for a certain individual, while that same way may not work for a neighbor next door. If a person is forced to view life and food through a lens that is not compatible to how he or she is made, failure will take place in his or her life. 

I personally like to take a combination approach of mindful, intuitive, awareness, and moderation when I counsel people. I don't ever like to use the word never or avoid. Food should be viewed positively, especially because food does contribute to the enjoyment of life. However, in my practice of eighteen years, I have learned that I can't force my philosophy on people. If they see eye to eye with me and like my approach and they feel it will work for them, then we will continue in that path. On the other hand, I have had individuals tell me that approach doesn't work for them. They have said they will be more compliant by telling them you shouldn't have this or you shouldn't have that. As a counselor on healthy living, I have to respect that. If that is what will work best for them, then that is the direction that should be taken. I have to support my clients with "the lens" which will help them see clearly in order to live comfortably and in a healthy manner. All philosophies of eating right has its place. No one size fits all. An individual will be more successful in achieving his goals for health when he has been guided to look through the most appropriate lens for him.


Which lens to do you like to look through?

1 comment:

Terri said...

Just found this blog. I would like to say I am an "avoider". Rationale: I have been addicted to foods from a young age much like an alcoholic is. I find it much EASIER to avoid trigger foods just as an alcoholic would avoid alcohol. By avoiding certain foods, namely sugar (& processed foods), my taste buds have been allowed to be satisfied with God's" sweets"-- beautiful berries, or a slice of a crisp pear. I have lost 200 lbs & this has worked for me in caring for Gods temple. It is a journey! Blessings to you!--- Terri