Over the years of working with both mental health and nutrition, labelling has often raised its ugly head. In mental health a diagnosis can be a helpful thing that provides comfort and a method of treatment. In other circumstances labelling can be self-limiting, discriminating and oppressive.
After studying nutrition and life coaching, the detrimental effects of labelling has become more apparent.
When training for the London marathon I chose to use it as a chance to raise money and awareness for the World Wildlife Fund, a charity that works hard to preserve and protect the environment, something I am very passionate about. In doing so, I spent a month living a completely vegan lifestyle. Due to the demand of mass farming I rarely eat meat or dairy due to the consequential welfare of the animals and nutritional quality. I thought being vegan wouldn’t be much harder.
However, my job involves a lot of travel to different events and festivals. One weekend I survived entirely on humus and dairy free mash potato. It was not a good weekend. Another I lived off bread, fruit and humous. When I had the time and opportunity vegan food was very fulfilling and nutritious. But choosing heavily processed products over organic, free range meat, eggs fish and dairy went against my nutrition brain in situations where I lacked control. Sure I could have been more prepared but the truth is, when my boyfriend shoots a wild rabbit or pheasant I don’t feel there is anything wrong with it and my body certainly appreciates it.
For so long I was trying to find the right label to nutritionaly represent how I felt about food and what mattered to me. But this is un necerssary and can only cause negative feedback loops of guilt, failure, anxiety and deprivation.
When I could not eat vegan I felt guilty. Sometimes when I ate the only vegan option I felt unhealthy. It was at the end of that summer I realised my new belief system was limiting and causing slight anxiety. Feelings of anxiety, more than often, are a sign of uncertainty. Eating fresh, organic whole foods, mostly plant-based, choosing quality, sustainability and keeping it local was ultimately what mattered to my core; whether its veggies, fruit, meat, eggs or fish
When coaching, the first and simplest thing I ask people who feel stuck in their lives is ‘What are your core beliefs and principals?’ They have had them and lived by them for so long they never took the opportunity to revise whether they still served them anymore, unaware of the limitating power they had over their lives.
Always review what really matters to YOU. Not what used to matter, not what you think should matter, but what matters to you NOW. You might find suddenly doors open that only you had locked shut.