There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to diet.
I am in the middle of training to be a Certified Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and one of the key concepts is something called Bio Individuality. This is the idea that every person is unique and has highly individualized nutritional requirements.
Depending on our age, genetics, beliefs and tastes, we get to decide what works for us. You probably know some people who are allergic to shellfish, some who can't be near a peanut and some who won't discuss eating anything that resembles an animal. And then there are the folks who are gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, Paleo or just can't tolerate onions.
There can be shifts throughout our lives as well. How many of you are wondering why you have acquired an extra 5-10 pounds when you've been eating the same way for the last decade? Things change. The older we get the more difficult it can be to lose weight and so we can choose to adapt accordingly.
The point is, no single way of eating works for everyone all the time.
There is no "right" way.
And for the most part we have accepted this concept.
But what about applying that concept to some of the social ideology we encounter every day? As a Life Coach (and a human on planet earth) I bump into "shoulds" all day long.
"My baby should be sleeping in his crib but he sleeps better when we are all in bed together."
"I loved my job but I should really stay at home with my kids."
"Maybe I don't want to have kids - is that wrong?"
"I am 50 years old - I should know what I want to be when I grow up!"
What if we really believed that the "right" way of doing things was different for everyone?
What if we did not carry around a bazillion stories about how mothers were supposed to be? Or about what marriage ought to look like? What if we just trusted ourselves and did what worked for us and for our families? Can you say "freedom"?
I'm talking about how we get all judgy- on our own selves - and I know because I'm as guilty as the next person!
Sometimes I decide how something "should" be - and then the Universe humbles me….
Here are some examples:
- I decided my son was never going to use a pacifier because babies shouldn't have rubber nipples in their mouths all the time… HAH! Took me 5 months of misery before I realized that did not have to be right. I wish I could show you a picture of Jake when he was little with his four (4) favorite "binkys" that saved my fucking ASS. No binkys = no sleep. For anyone.
- I was certain that in order to be successful, functional people in the world, my kids had to love reading as much as I did. I would be failing as a parent if they didn't always have their noses in a book. Well, one kid is dyslexic and the other one has ADHD. They like reading but it is not the most important thing in the world to them. And y'know what? They are awesome.
Who makes the "rules"?
I'm not talking about life and death matters. I'm talking about shaming ourselves and others in situations where there is no "one size fits all".
If you find yourself feeling anxious or upset or angry about something because it "should" be different, ask yourself the best Life Coach-y question ever invented: "Why?" Follow that up with as many "whys" as you need until you feel ready for the next question: "Says who?"
That's right. Just because your mom or your old math teacher said you that you would never be a success if you didn't do things a certain way does not mean it's true!
Just like our diets, our behaviors and our decisions can be what works best for us.
You are the expert on you.
Start noticing where you are giving yourself a hard time and then ask "why?"
Rinse. Repeat. As many times as necessary.
*the right thing = what's right for YOU!