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Beyond Macros: The Cultural, Emotional & Social Aspects of Food

Food is often reduced to a set of macros, the basic building blocks of macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates. While tracking macros can be a useful tool for weight management and athletic performance, this approach fails to capture the complexity and nuance of the food we eat.

Food is more than just a collection of nutrients. It's an expression of culture, a source of pleasure and comfort, and a way to connect with others.

In this article, we'll explore why food isn't just macros and why it's essential to consider the broader context of food when making choices about what we eat.

About Dieting

The dieting culture has become increasingly popular among individuals who desire to lose weight. With the rise of social media and the wellness industry, there has been a proliferation of diets and weight loss programs that promise quick and easy results.

Many people believe that the key to achieving their ideal body is by restricting their food intake or following a specific diet plan. However, this culture often perpetuates a narrow and unrealistic standard of beauty and eating, which can negatively impact individuals' mental and physical health.

Despite this, the desire to lose weight remains a strong motivator for many people, leading them to engage in dieting behaviours despite potential risks.

More often than not, these ‘diets’ tend to include periods of severe restriction, usually with a start and an end date of the ‘diet.’

This is done in order to improve body composition and health.

However, most individuals who go on a diet forget one very important aspect of health and nutrition…

Health Is A Relationship

Health is not simply a matter of following a particular diet or achieving a certain body weight.

Rather, it's about cultivating a positive and nourishing relationship with both our bodies and the food we eat. Health is a holistic concept that encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being.

This means that it's essential to focus on more than just the number on the scale or the types of food we consume. Building a healthy relationship with our bodies involves listening to our internal cues of hunger and fullness and practicing self-care and compassion.

Similarly, having a healthy relationship with food involves enjoying various foods in moderation, without guilt or shame, and mostly focusing on nourishing whole-food sources.

By viewing health as a relationship rather than a set of rules or restrictions, we can create a sustainable and fulfilling approach to self-care.

Food Is Art And Enjoyment

Last but not least, it is important to remember that food is not only a source of energy and nutrients but also a form of art and enjoyment. Eating should be a pleasurable experience, not a chore.

While tracking macros and eating plain, boring meals may seem like the only way to achieve health goals, it's important to remember that healthy eating can be delicious and exciting.

Cooking and preparing food can be a creative outlet, allowing us to experiment with different flavors, textures, and ingredients. By incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins, we can create beautiful, satisfying meals that nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds.

Rather than focusing solely on the nutritional content of our food, we can approach eating as an opportunity to connect with our senses and enjoy the pleasures of life.

Don’t let it be just a bunch of protein, fats, and carbs!

Final Thoughts

To summarise, whether you are trying to lose or gain weight or simply create better eating habits, there are considerations far more important than the plain nutritional value of foods.

Most of all, food should be viewed as something we have a special relationship with. Food is energy, but it is also something to enjoy and experiment with. Take this into consideration the next time you’re going on a ‘diet’ or trying the next best fad nutrition plan!

What’s your relationship with food and how do you view it? Comment below!

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