As of late, I feel I have been talking to more and more people about nutrition. Be it passing interactions with parents at my son’s pre-school, conversations with our great clients at MSP Fitness, or even a good chat I had with my aunt who was in town last week; lately, food has been on my tongue (see what I did there?).
There is really no point in informing you of my recent food conversations if I don’t set out to showcase for you what differentiates a nutrition chat with someone of my disposition vs the common tune of the day. You see, I’m a principles guy through and through. When communicating in person, or via email and social media for that matter, I am much more comfortable flying at 30,000ft over and above handing out specific diet tactics to a broad population who might have varying goals. I’ll further spell it out this way: I am waaaaay more confident explaining to you the merits of getting in a protein laden breakfast versus spoon-feeding you a smoothie recipe. This is not to say smoothies are a poor choice, nor is it suggesting that offering people recipes is compatible with moral peril. I’m simply showcasing that when drilling down specific and hyper-individualized details with a large audience, the person charged with communicating the take-home points risks leaving many folks ostracized – or just plain lost.
All that said, my birds-eye, principles-based method of communicating isn’t ‘en vogue’ these days. Most nutritional information is passed to the populace through soundbites, sponsored social posts, and shitty blogs like “9 ways to cook meat that will make him love you”. In lieu of giving people an actual chance to customize broader principles for their own environment, we “professionals” (scare quotes because that term ought to be used loosely) thrust our bias and our marketing funnel on good people like yourselves who are just looking for some understanding.
I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. So… what can we do? I’ve got a few suggestions, but in my unwavering fashion, you’re going to have to plug them into your own reality and determine the best course of action for yourself. Here they are:
- Increase your skeptic filter. This doesn’t mean unfollowing or ignoring the gotcha clicking, recipe giving, smoothie blending “model” you follow on Instagram. No, I simply suggest that you be more critical and discerning, connecting the dots between the message they project and the profit they collect (Gosh I’m good at rhyming).
- Bridge the gap yourself. As a professional in the health and wellness space I see myself as someone who is responsible for closing the divide between information and understanding, the chasm between a google search result and a habitual lifestyle change. That said, I don’t hold all the keys. Go play a little self scientist Dr. Y-O-U. Instead of aimlessly claiming you’re going to “eat healthier”, change a singular piece of your nutritional game (note the emphasis on singular) and measure the outcomes for a few weeks. This is empowering because it puts YOU in the driver’s seat, increasing your autonomy and your future successes at individualizing any broad principles that come your way.
- Try out life as a principles man or woman yourself. If you are seemingly paralyzed by details, sometimes failing to see the forest through the trees, then might I recommend going big picture for a bit. Health is multi, multi-faceted and no Whole30, no one-off booty-building workout, and no seven day cleanse is going to equate to lasting success. When the only strategy you have for improving your health is to sprinkle some random tidbits onto the tapestry of your life, you miss out on opportunities to correct your course and actually change. Fly high enough to see the target, take aim, and then fire.