First of all.. let me just start by saying I LOVE INSTAGRAM.
I love getting to know people through instagram and that I’ve literally met my best friends because of it. I love seeing helpful tips that people give and getting creative new ideas from their posts.
There’s a lot of things that I love about Instagram,
But there’s also some things that I don’t love about it. The main one being what I call – The Instagram Trap. The trap that I, and so many others, get sucked into without even realizing it.
So what exactly is the Instagram trap? Let’s talk about it..
When I first started my Instagram account I was still pretty new to healthy eating. I was finally learning how to read ingredient labels and figuring out what REAL FOOD meant. I learned that I could still have all of the things that I loved – whether that be cookies or pasta – there was a way to make it with wholesome ingredients so that it would nourish my soul and my body!
And with this discovery of what real food was, came the discovery that I could eat as much of it as I wanted. Which obviously goes for anything – but this is what got me out of my habits of restriction. I began to fear food less and less, because I knew that everything that I was eating was actual food and not processed.. which meant it was good for me.
I learned how to properly fuel my body and I began to eat more. And I wasn’t afraid to do so because I stopped focusing on calories and started focusing on ingredients. Because of that, I felt good about what I was putting in my body.
If I wanted 3 servings of fruit a day, I’d do it. Needed a snack in between my meals? No big deal. If I wanted grains, who cares?! My only concern was REAL. FOOD. REAL INGREDIENTS. If it was a real, whole food – go for it girlfran. If not, I should probably stay away, because I knew it wouldn’t make me feel too great. I was eating healthy in the simplest way I knew how.
And thennnn – over time – eating healthy became more and more complicated. It was no longer as simple as “eating real food”. I started seeing others on Instagram eat in a certain way, or share their tips on how to eat and how they felt best.
I saw people saying that grain free was better, limit fruit because of the sugar content, eat low carb, go keto, try intermittent fasting, snacking is bad for your gut, leave 5 hours in between meals… ETC ETC ETC.
*Holy shiz. Information OVERLOAD.*
All of these little pieces of information snuck into my head and became engraved. And instead of just focusing on eating real food, I started applying all of these “guidelines” to my life.
I started worrying about “too many carbs” “too much fruit” “should I try keto?” “should I stop snacking in-between meals?” “maybe I should give intermittent fasting a try” “has it been at least 5 hours since my last meal?” “how will this impact my blood sugar?”
Needless to say, it made healthy eating A LOT more complicated than it should be.
Instead of just quickly throwing together lunch, I started thinking about the carb content of it. Instead of having a snack when I was hungry between meals, I started to make myself just wait until the next meal – telling myself my gut needed a break from digesting. When I wanted fruit, I asked myself “how much fruit have I already had today?” and questioned if I had already eaten too much sugar. I started seeing people cut certain foods out of their diet and thought that I should do the same in order to feel my best. And it wasn’t a disordered way – it was innocent. and it was me truly trying to feel my best!
But.. it felt like every time I went to eat, a little voice popped into my head and made me question myself and what I was eating. I started to overthink food again – way.too.much. It really made me out of tune with myself and my body. I didn’t know what I truly wanted to eat because instead, I listened to the way that I thought I should be eating.
Honestly, when we have so many tips about food thrown our way on the ‘gram, how are we supposed to really be in tune with ourselves and our own needs? It seems almost impossible. I truly just wanted to feel my best – and since others were sharing their tips on what worked for them, I figured it might work for me too!
But really.. if I didn’t have my Instagram I wouldn’t know about ANY of these eating trends/tips. I wouldn’t be aware of keto. I would have no clue that intermittent fasting was a thing. I would have never even thought twice about the sugar that’s in fruit.
I’d just be eating healthy in the simplest way possible – REAL FOOD. Without all of these “guidelines” or tips thrown in my head. I’d be eating in a way that truly made me feel best and no one else’s diet would play a part in determining that.
I’m not saying that the advice you hear on Instagram is bad (I mean yea, sometimes it is).. I’m just saying to take it with a grain of salt. People share what works for THEM, which is great. BUT, what works for someone else might not work for you. Just because Jenny cut out dairy and her bloat is gone doesn’t mean that your bloat will disappear if you cut out dairy too. Just because Sally practices intermittent fasting and feels amazing – doesn’t mean you’ll feel amazing if you try it too.
Health is SO SO individualized, that what works for your favorite Instagrammer isn’t always likely to work for YOU!
I got sucked into the “trap” for a few months – in the most innocent way. I was in the trap of thinking that health advice on Instagram would help me feel my best, or help me to become my “healthiest” self. I didn’t even realize that I had started putting other peoples health tips above cues from my own body!
Now? I am SO in tune with myself and my body. I’ve really been able to tune everyones “tips” out and just focus on how I feel best. I don’t question myself when I go to eat. I don’t try and mimic the way anyone else eats. I just do my own damn thing.
Because of this, I feel SO. FREE. when it comes to food. I’ve realized so many things about myself and how my body works best. Like…..
- Intermittent fasting will never work for me. I get dizzy and lightheaded and feel off for the whole entire day. I need 3 solid meals a day. No question.
- It’s okay to have a snack in between meals!!! It WON’T destroy my gut! Typically I don’t need a snack. But I don’t need to be strict about not having one – my digestion does just fine if I snack between meals.
- Fruit works for my body!!! WOW! I don’t need to be so strict with the amount of fruit that I eat. I don’t need to be so obsessed with having as little as possible. I LOVE FRUIT. So I eat as much of it as I want!
- I don’t need to eat low carb just because everyone says it makes them feel best. I feel good incorporating some more carbs into my life!! More energy!! Who woulda thought?!
- I DON’T NEED A LABEL!! No one needs a label. I eat mostly paleo, but I’ll never label myself because there’s plenty of times where I eat something that doesn’t fall inside of that category. Brown rice cakes are a daily thannng over here baby!
I have really learned to just tune in to myself and my needs. I’ve learned to listen to MY BODY– not some person on Instagram who doesn’t even know me!!
Of course, there are some things that I avoid eating – but it’s because I know that these things really don’t make me feel too great. I know that there are certain foods that just don’t work for my body (helllooo digestive issues!)
Since I’ve stopped adhering to these guidelines, and have just been focusing on ME – I feel so much better than before. I feel more energized. More free. More ALIVE!!
So let me leave you with this..
Stop eating in a way that you think you “should” and START eating in a way that makes you feel best.
Who cares if Alice practices intermittent fasting every day
Who cares if Paul cut out dairy
Alice cut out coffee because it’s “unhealthy”? mmmK. I’ll be over here sipping on some with my pinky UP.
Kate limits herself to one piece of fruit a day? damn. sux for her!
Melissa might feel best being paleo but that doesn’t mean you gotta be paleo too.
Jessica is on a “carb free” diet? LOL. Frick u Jessica.
WHO CARES! Really. WHO TF CARES how everyone else is eating. They are not you. They do not know you. Nor do they know your body. Tune it all out sistah – there’s more to life than worrying about how other people are eatin’.
It’s crazy because SO many of us fall into this trap without even realizing it. I know I sure as hell didn’t realize. We truly think we are doing what’s best and healthiest for our bodies!!
Just remember that NOBODY knows your body better than you. Nobody else knows what makes you feel good. So when you see someone raving about the benefits of keto – remember that everyones bodies and needs are so different.
Seriously – I encourage you to break these “guidelines”. Eat alll fruit. Eat the pizza made with wholesome ingredients. Incorporate more carbs into your diet if they make you feel good. STOP practicing intermittent fasting if it makes you feel like shiz.
What makes YOU feel best? How does your body thrive? It might take some time to figure out, but once you do – DAMN. IT FEELS GOOD!!
I’m so over health being COMPLICATED. My motto? Eat real food. Eat what makes ME feel good. Simple as that.
Health is a very individualized thing my friends. Tune in to YOU.
If you are struggling with food or feeling like you’ve fallen into the “Instagram trap”, PLEASE REACH OUT! I’ve been there before, and I’ve pulled myself out of it. I’m happy help you do the same!