Why has eating become so complicated?

The world of health and wellness is overrun by confusing and often conflicting do’s and don’ts, eat this and don’t eat that lists; it feels impossible to weed through the noise and find what works for us, and we’ve lost the joy in eating and nourishing our bodies.⁠

What was once simple: eat for fuel, eat for nourishment and eat for pleasure, has become WAY too complicated.⁠

We strive for balance and end up at extremes- creating an unhealthy relationship with food, that on-again, off-again cycle of being good or being bad. ⁠

Friend, it DOESN'T have to be that way.

Eating wasn't ever supposed to be this complicated. ⁠

But why DOES it feel so complicated? And is it even possible to have an uncomplicated relationship with food?

I didn't used to think so- but once I started getting to the root of it all, WHY eating has become so complicated- I was able to weed through the noise, and find my beautiful balance, beyond extremes- and this is exactly what I teach my clients to do, in their own lives.

So let's chat three reasons eating has become so complicated, and how we can begin to uncomplicate eating and stress less about food- so we can enjoy life more.

1. Outer expectations.

I'm talking society’s expectations, not just of what we 'should' eat, but how we should look- which we often think is solely related to what we eat (but we know this only one small piece of the puzzle). This includes social media, influencers, experts and our expectations through those mediums- If she's doing it, so should I- without considering our own unique bodies. We begin to feel guilty for not subscribing to every new recommendation. Or worse- we do, and we're out a hunk of change and feeling no more healthy (or empowered) for it.

This also includes cultural norms. What are the latest trends? If it feels like EVERYONE is doing keto, intermittent fasting, going plant-based or paleo, we can feel a lot of pressure to ‘fit in’. It almost feels isolating to NOT join in on the trends, even if they don't fit our own needs or values.

We can't forget family + friends. What are THEY doing and what expectations do they have for you and your body? If you've had parents or grandparents who have always expressed a desire- for themselves or for you- to fit into society's expectations or the cultural norm, it can be even more difficult to go counter-cultural and listen to your own body, instead of simply going along with what everyone else is doing. We don't want to disappoint them- but we'll quickly trade in our own needs and disappointing our own bodies to live up to others' expectations. It can also be difficult if we've had 'dieting buddies' and we've awoken to the fact that dieting doesn't work long term, but they haven't, and they're pressuring us to join in on the latest trend- even if we are feeling a nudging otherwise. Or maybe, we KNOW better- but we still feel the desire to go for it (TOTALLY normal, by the way). The reminder here, is that WE are the best experts of our own bodies, and we are ALLOWED to making empowered decisions for our body, no matter what anyone else is doing (as hard as it may be).

WE are the best experts of our own bodies, and we are ALLOWED to making empowered decisions for our body, no matter what anyone else is doing (as hard as it may be).

2. Inner expectations.

Arguably more difficult than outside expectations are the ones we put on ourselves. When we are unhappy with ourselves, the way we feel inside or out, we often turn to food as a source of control or comfort.

If we want to change ourselves and our lives, often we turn first towards changing our body, thinking that’s the best way to change our lives, when the truth is- changing our body only does one thing: changes our body. There are some cases in which our bodies changing means a better quality of life- I am not downplaying this in the least bit. However, the means in which we get there- through self care over self control, matters. THIS is the difference between changes that last, and changes that disappear as quickly as our last scoop of meal replacement shake goes into our smoothie.

We need to stop buying into the notion that changing our bodies means changing our lives. Changing our MINDSET is often the most powerful catalyst for both- choosing to live a life of value, a life of joy and intention-- and the same with food- can create waves in our lives. But we need to release the inner expectations that looking or living a certain way is the only way to health and happiness.

We need to release the inner expectations that looking or living a certain way is the only way to health and happiness.

3. Conflicting information.

Conflicting information often creates the most confusion, especially when we're ready to let go of the external and internal noise and find what feels good for us-- where do we start?! There is nothing wrong with taking in information. The science of nutrition is ever growing and changing, and we can learn and grow and change along with it- but the biggest challenge is how do we take in that information and determine what feels good to us?

This comes down to tuning in to OUR unique bodies. My body is so incredibly different than yours, just like no two people have the same fingerprints, no two people have the same needs. Down to our DNA, our lifestyles, our preferences- our needs are vastly different. Which we can choose to see as an exciting exploration, or a deadening weight.

When we look at the information and ask honestly: where is this coming from? Is this a source I trust? And decide to take it in, we then can move through the filter of-- "does this feel good, and does this fit into my life?" Healthy living should be a PART of your life, not the other way around.

Healthy living should be a PART of your life, not the other way around.

Two tips to begin to UNcomplicate eating:

1. Start questioning where you’re getting your information. Ask yourself: is this true for me? Does this fit what I know about my body, and my values? Is this something I feel like I SHOULD do- and if so, does it actually fit or feel constraining? Is this something I want to try, or something I feel like I SHOULD try? Releasing the SHOULDS and replacing them with COULDS empowers you to make the best decision for you, and your body. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Check in with your values and what you actually want out of life. Ask: Does this practice fit in with what I want out of life? Does it make me feel stressed- and will feeling stressed about food help you get there?

Because here's what I want you to be encouraged by: eating CAN be joy-filled, nourishing and stress-free, but first- we need to turn down the noise in the nutrition world, weed through the trends and eliminate the rules so we can find what feels good, embrace our individuality and bring joy back into the eating process to un-complicate eating once and for all.⁠

So how do we make that happen? My course, Uncomplicated Eating, will give you the tools to take the stress OUT of eating, and find the freedom you deserve around food and enjoy eating for nourishment, fuel AND joy. Learn more here!

Kristin Dovbniak


I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.


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© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Balanced Mama