Often when I have conversations with someone they ask me, “What kind of diet do I follow?” As if I am supposed to label the kind of nutrition I consume. Well my friends I have something important to tell you. Save your breath if we haven’t had the ‘nutrition talk’ yet. I do not belong to any type of pigeonhole.
I respect many different nutritional frameworks because I feel that many of them have much to offer. There is always something to learn from the different perspectives. But labeling myself as one or the other implies that I’m restricted to something.
I see this type of branding when people ‘feel’ they have plateaued or stalled progress. I’m often told, “I’m going gluten free because I haven’t lost any weight in a month.” “I read that eating too much protein is bad so I’m going vegan to help me lose weight.” “I’m allergic to processed food so I’m going paleo.”
Why do we do this?
I don’t think we understand that placing ourselves in a nutritional niche is powerful. They may make us feel like we fit in, and that feeling helps us commit, which is good... at first. But these labels can also make us barricade ourselves from different ideas and possibilities, which is bad.
Attaching to a label takes out your ability to practice critical thinking.
So, if you say "I'm paleo" or if your bio contains the acronym of your special diet, then what you're really saying is, "I define myself by what goes in my mouth, and I prefer to connect with people who eat how I eat." Again, it's all about fitting in and feeling like part of a club.
But why not be a person who's smart enough to try different things and assess the results? You don't need a label to do that. Be open to the possibility that more than one dietary strategy will work. And your commitment to it doesn't have to become your identity.
Examine different nutritional constructs. Even the ones you're skeptical about. Test them with honest intentions. Make room in your nutritional toolbox so that you can pull from it for the rest of your life. Be about the results, not the labels.