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  • mariasylvesterterr

is reading a nutrition facts label a diet behavior?

It might feel like one if you associate nutrition information with your restrictive diet days [or have friends/family who fixate on the nutrition facts]. Something I teach my group coaching clients is the idea of neutral data. 

Nutrition facts are information -- not good or bad, just neutral. However, it can take a while to feel neutral about those numbers.

I have a handful of straightforward reminders for you when it comes to nutrition facts labels and how to utilize them for your sturdy gal/pal lifestyle:

1. Nutrition facts labels provide information, not evaluations.

Too often, we see the nutrition facts as a food's "report card." Yes, we love a well-rounded, nutritionally dense snack. And also, a cracker without fiber can easily be paired with another high fiber food. No need to find the nutritionally perfect cracker.

2. Serving sizes are not portion suggestions; they exist to help us compare similar foods. We choose portions based on our needs, appetites, and circumstances.

3. Choosing a food based on nutrition isn't diet culture. Anti-diet doesn't equal unhealthy foods 24/7, and nutrition awareness doesn't equal obsession. You can find a balance of choosing a food that supports health conditions, like high cholesterol, hypertension, IBS, or insulin resistance, without being restrictive. Ask yourself, "what will best serve me today?" instead of "is this the right one?" and you'll find that reframe softens your focus. 

4. Know your needs first. Before turning a box around to review the nutrition information, know your needs. We can be easily derailed by nutrition facts. For example, if you're looking for a tasty comfort food, do you need to consult the nutrition facts? Will that help you make a decision or make it complicated?

Knowing your needs helps you prioritize. If you're looking for a snack that's going to give you quick energy, prioritize the carb value. Looking for a frozen dinner that keeps you full? Prioritize the fat, fiber, and protein values and know that the sodium may be a little higher for this option. 

5. Remember your needs change daily! Yes, I know the nutrition facts label is based on a 2,000-calorie diet. And also, you are not a robot with the same exact energy needs every day. The clock doesn't reset your metabolism at midnight.

Allow your preferences and individual needs drive your decision-making about food, not just the nutrition facts. 

P.S. It is quite possible you need more than 2,000 calories/day for you to support your energy needs and gain strength.

Which of those five tips did you need to see today?

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