Let's be honest, the online health space is overwhelming & stressful! We are being bombarded with health advice from everyone and everywhere, such as our family, friends, medical doctors, functional doctors, influencers, supplement companies, brands, and so much more.
There are people saying you will never be healthy if you don't consume "xyz" and you can't have a good night's sleep or feel your best without taking ten supplements. The overstimulation of the online space is making people more ill than ever before. This only leads to more stress, less sleep, and a less healthy lifestyle.
Let's look at some of the diets that are being promoted in the online space
The list goes on and on...
What gets me frustrated with all of this information, is that it doesn't focus on the biggest missing piece - YOU! We are all bio-individuals and how we digest foods and what we need are going to be totally different from one another. Your family's genes, DNA, health history, exercise, lifestyle, trauma, stress, and life experiences all play a part in your healing journey.
I want you to feel empowered to make your own decisions in your own body. I teach my clients and group members the tools necessary to figure out what works for THEM. What works for me is going to be completely different than what works for you. I also need a different amount of food and macronutrients than you do. Stop comparing what you are eating to some random influencer on the internet.
Here are some signs that you are doing well on your health journey:
Having an appetite in the morning
Warm body temperature
Warm hands or feet
Having energy throughout the day
Feeling rested in the morning
Sleeping through the night
Not having acid reflux, bloating, or gas after every meal
1-3 normal bowel movements daily
Regular cycles (for women)
Maintaining a healthy weight
If that sounds like you, then please don't make any drastic changes to your lifestyle or follow any crazy influencer trends online. Chances are you will make things worse. It makes me extremely upset when I see influencers with amazing bodies promoting their full days of eating or poor supplements to their followers. I want you to know that most influencers out there are lying about what supplements they take, what they eat, and even their workout routine. Most influencers only share what they want you to see, so please do not compare your life to theirs. You do NOT know what health issues they may have going on. Take it from someone who has multiple influencers as their clients struggling with gut and hormone issues...
When it comes to our healing journeys, we are all different. If someone has SIBO, Candida, H. Pylori, or an autoimmune disease, then certain types of foods may need to be restricted fully or for a certain amount of time. After a certain period of time, one can re-introduce certain foods. This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle to improve their long-term health. I help guide my clients into these elimination and re-introduction phases on their journey!
We do also have to understand that our food today does not contain the same nutrients it used to, especially in the US. This means we have to make conscious choices about food quality and doing the best we can in where you source your food from.
People always ask me what diet I follow, and there is no specific "diet." I honestly just eat the way my parents did growing up in the Middle East. I eat local fruits, veggies, good-quality meat, fish, and dairy. I don't label my nutrition and the way I eat as any specific "diet." I focus on real whole foods and limit the number of processed foods I consume. I am not perfect, but I do the best that I can daily. Don't stress over something you cannot control, because THAT will make your health worse.
Let's talk about a few examples. of diets that have caused my clients more harm.
Something I see commonly in the online health space is a diet called pro-metabolic, which focuses a lot on a higher intake of carbs along with an intake of other whole foods. It's not the worst way to eat, but, everyone has a different tolerance for carbs and sugar. If someone is suffering from SIBO, Candida, gut dysbiosis, and even diabetes, this higher carb intake may make symptoms worse. I recently saw people blaming all of the 'pro-metabolic' influencers for their weight gain and some even saying they are now pre-diabetic because they started to consume hundreds of grams of carbohydrates a day.
What we have to realize is that if we make such a drastic increase in carbohydrates, something else in our lifestyle would need to change to manage the blood sugar increase and overall calorie intake (also remember that 300g of carbs is roughly 1,200 calories). I'm a huge fan of carbs, and eat them in the form of whole foods such as root veggies and fruit. However, we can't increase our intake that much and not expect any weight gain or imbalanced blood sugar issues. Carbohydrate intake also depends on activity levels. If someone's lifestyle is sedentary or they don't have as much muscle mass, their bodies may not be able to tolerate a high intake of carbohydrates.
Another recent post/TikTok that went viral shared Gwyneth Paltrow and her full day of eating. She stated that has coffee to break her fast so that she doesn't raise her blood sugar, then follows this with bone broth for lunch. The online world went crazy discussing how this is a pattern of disordered eating. Remember that most of these celebrities and influencers are probably not eating enough. You do NOT know what health issues they are struggling with, so let's not compare what they might be eating daily. We should be able to know and trust our bodies that when we see crazy posts like this so that we don't let it consume our thoughts or energy. Move on, eat well & love your life - this is what I try to teach all of my 1:1 clients and group coaching members.
Let's also talk about another crazy diet trend I see on social media. Many women tell me that they're intermittent fasting, yet they're still having digestive and hormonal issues. I never recommend intermittent fasting for women, especially those with hormone issues, due to the damage this can do to our bodies. Women, please eat breakfast and make sure that you are waking up hungry every morning. Not eating right away in the morning can actually cause even more stress on our bodies and increase cortisol, especially when you are already in a stressed out state.
When it comes to balancing hormones, we MUST balance out blood sugar levels. If your body is under chronic stress, it's going to produce more and more insulin. Eventually your cells are going to stop responding and become resistant to insulin overtime. Too much sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used by our cells. Not only can fasting be stressful on our bodies, but also things like not eating enough, over-exercising, not sleeping enough, eating too much, and not eating balanced meals.
I know intermittent fasting has become a weight loss trend, but it's mostly because it puts people in a caloric deficit. Long term, this is going to cause more hormone and gut issues and is not sustainable. Please note: If IF works for you, that is great! However, after working with hundreds of women dealing with hormone and gut issues, eating breakfast has been a huge game changer for their health.
Women: we are much different than men. Our hormones are different and most men can handle more stress than we can. I think it’s important to not solely take advice from men when it comes to healing our hormones.
A reminder that I am not perfect. I enjoy my life and don't stress about every single thing, especially when eating out. I try to do the best that I can every single day. Yes, we have to be more cautious about where our food is coming from, but stressing about every little thing is not going to make you feel any better ❤️
If you need help figuring out what works for YOU, then fill out my contact form here to work with me 1:1.
Written by Dr. Kristina Telhami and Amanda Hann Wellness