The Real Amy,
I stopped following health blogs and podcasts for a while, so please forgive my delayed response. I do appreciate and value your responses.
For now, I’m working on “tuning-in” to the signals from my body. This is taking a considerable effort on my part, due to decades of mindless eating, paired with all the alarmism in Paleo/Low Carb.
Here is a response I recently submitted to a blog post on another site:
“I share your feelings about knowing whom/what to believe. There are populations that have thrived on a variety of diets, so I believe the key is customizing a diet to the individual.
After a few years of trying different dietary and exercise approaches, I cannot deny the importance of how I feel and what my body seems to be telling me.
As an example, I do not feel well eating large meals or large portions of meat. I tend to do better eating ‘lighter’ foods with meat being a condiment, if at all. Again, this is my experience and is completely anecdotal.
For me, I’ve found more value in what foods I AVOID, versus what foods to include. If the ‘food’ has a ingredient list or nutrition label, it’s probably not really food. If it can be found in nature, then I feel there’s a good argument for it being food. (Assuming it’s not poisonous, of course.)
Again, this is non-scientific and is where I ended-up, due to the analysis paralysis of trying to eat ‘perfect.’ I started to avoid more and more food and became obsessive about finding ‘THE’ diet.
But, as I alluded already, I don’t personally feel there’s only one diet. How could that be the case, with so many different people living in varied climates?
Could those in a desert environment be fruitarians? Could those in arctic climates be vegetarians? Maybe they could, but it doesn’t seem like a possibility, given my limited knowledge.
I once read something that really made me laugh. In effect, the person wrote that humans are the only species that can’t seem to figure-out what to eat. Generally speaking, that seems true, especially here in the U.S.”
Along those lines, eating lots of potato chips, pizza, ice cream, cereal, etc. just doesn’t feel right for me — mentally or physically. I thought it would be fun, but it wasn’t. It made me feel terrible AND apparently made my pants shrink.
Now, I do enjoy a small amount of ice cream from time-to-time, but I also find satisfaction in blueberries and strawberries. So, I don’t see the value in (re)habituating myself to junk food.
For me, I feel that I need to focus on food quality first. I’m less concerned (now, finally) about macronutrient ratios and tend to think that calories will more-or-less be regulated appropriately, if I eat quality, nutrient-dense food, listen to my body’s signals, and take care of the other big items like sleep, stress management, relaxation, and moderate exercise, like most every other site parrots.
Wow, that’s a serious run-on sentence.
Finally, given any discordance between lab values and how I feel, it now seems clear that how I feel is much more important to me. My suspicion is that, if I’m feeling better, sleeping better, and my pants are fitting better, it’s likely my lab values will also be better.
I have more faith in my body as a whole than I have in science looking at its parts in isolation.
My best wishes to everyone in their journey.