What we eat should be an intuitive choice and I think especially from 40 onwards some women who have followed certain diets may notice that they are no longer serving them so well and that sticking by a rigid set of rules no longer feels right. The important thing at this time in our lives, more than ever is to listen to our inner voice and remember that you don’t have to justify your way of eating to anyone.
This whole idea of being ‘on’ some diet does become a strange concept, being on something also suggests that at some point we will be off it again. So forget about the word diet and work out how to nourish yourself as a mid-life woman.
All those different things you have tried and may have worked at some point need not be forgotten forever. Take away what worked for you and keep it as part of your routine. For example if you have tried to follow a raw food diet but have been finding it unsustainable, don’t abandon it altogether, just keep the bits you like you like for now (it might be just one thing like having a green smoothie for breakfast).
The truth is no one diet will work for everyone 100% of the time and people who suggest this are ignoring the fact that we are all biochemically unique and may have different nutrient requirements, lifestyles and environments.
I used to feel a bit like a dietary Jekyll and Hyde which bothered me for a while, but now I’ve learned to embrace this and incorporate some pic’n’mix into my life and kitchen. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to be a curator and work out what bits will suit my tastes and circumstances. Recently I’ve been very interested in the Paleo approach to eating, but as a vegetarian on the face of it, it seems tricky. That doesn’t mean I can’t try out some of the principles, for example experimenting with some grain-free days and seeing how that works for me.
The crucial thing to remember here is that life is for living and sticking to a perfect way of eating can create a limiting experience for us, which then leads to feeling deprived which is not something we want to feel.
People love a label and to a certain extent there is a big draw to joining a diet tribe; I’ve seen this first hand having studied many different dietary theories during my training as a nutritional therapist and chef. It’s great having people to talk to who know where you’re coming from but at some point if you are no longer identifying or agreeing 100% with everything in the ‘rules’ of that lifestyle then it can start to be a cause of anxiety. These days, I prefer to say that I follow The Me Diet, my own way of eating which is intuitive and changeable and which most importantly is flexible when required. Mac-raw-vedic-aleo anyone?!