On a daily basis as a society we label people. We label ourselves. Whether it’s subconsciously or consciously we all do it. I don’t like labels and I try very hard to not label myself. I have severe scoliosis, but I do not label myself by my disability. I do not define myself by my anxiety, depression, eating disorder, etc… I try to accept myself how I am, even if sometimes that’s hard. Although we’d like things to fit into nice little boxes, I think labeling yourself or others only holds us back. I think it’s so important to just be you. No labels.
But, labeling goes so much further than just labeling ourselves or others. Society labels those who follow certain lifestyles such as if they follow Paleo, or are Gluten-Free, or Vegetarian, or Vegan, etc… These are all lifestyle choices (I hate the word diet). But, even though I follow Paleo and am Gluten-Free due to medical reasons, I don’t label myself as such.
Yes, my husband and I follow the Paleo lifestyle to a point. And yes, I will, while talking to someone, say I’m Paleo. I also write about Paleo living here on this blog. But, it goes no further than that. I don’t internalize it. It is not who I am. It is only a part of my lifestyle and I think that’s a very important difference. I refuse to define myself and I think if you have a history of an eating disorder, it’s extremely important to not define yourself because you can easily find yourself falling down the rabbit hole.
It’s so easy, when you look at the Paleo “diet” or any other “diet” for that matter to see how you can quickly and easily pigeon-hole yourself into one way of thinking. You can easily find yourself restricting because you are taking on that label internally. Paleo says you can’t eat processed foods. So you strictly make sure to not eat processed foods. Paleo says to not drink milk, so you strictly follow that. You find yourself following all the little rules and idiosyncrasies that the Paleo “diet” advocates. And, in a way this leads to restricting and a poor relationship with food. I’m not saying this happens to everyone, but if you have a history of an eating disorder, and already have a disordered relationship with food, it’s very easy to fall into that way of thinking.
When I started working with my health coach, the way she approached Paleo with me was to not think of it as a “diet”, but to think of it as a lifestyle change and think of it as guidelines. These guidelines are not etched in stone. Everything is movable. You take what works for you, and leave what doesn’t. I think being exposed to Paleo in this manner really helped me because I could have so easily gotten stuck and kept to my disordered eating patterns if I wasn’t told to look at it as just guidelines. My health coach took a lot of time to make me understand the importance of food and the importance of eating clean. She took a lot of time explaining different dietary schools of thought and explained to me the importance of taking a bit from each. In a way, having a diversified lifestyle.
Paleo is mainly how I eat. I believe in eating real, whole foods. I believe that our Western Diet is only doing us as a society more harm than good. I think it’s important to strip back the layers and go back generations and start living and getting back to the land. I think it’s important to know where your food comes from. But, that’s not to say that I won’t eat processed foods at times. I’m not talking TV Dinners or anything like that. But, you will catch me eating potato chips. You will catch me eating a chocolate bar. Once a month my husband and I might buy gluten-free pasta and make a pasta dish. Hey, we’re not perfect and life is meant to be enjoyed. I refuse to restrict myself because some arbitrary set of rules say I shouldn’t eat this or that.
Another thing that Paleo advocates is not drinking milk, but for my husband and I, through all the research we have done, we decided that for our lifestyle raw grass-fed milk is acceptable. Yogurt is acceptable. These are both nutrient dense foods that come from mother nature. It’s not processed, but it’s not an accepted part of Paleo because our cavemen ancestors did not drink milk.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to eat like a caveman. If you follow Paleo or any other “diet”, that’s awesome, but find what works for you. Don’t be defined by the rigid set of rules. Make your own definitions of what your lifestyle will be. Don’t think of it as a “diet”. Don’t label yourself. Make Mindful Unique Decisions everyday that work for you. And that is how you truly find balance.
This is my own personal review and I have not received any compensation for it. Follow us on Instagram to see how we live our M.U.D. Life everyday!
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