I have a Near Year's challenge for you:
Call your parents, and ask them what they and your grandparents ate when growing up.
You'll be fascinated by what you hear.
When I was home for Christmas, I was with my mom eating rau muong, an Asian vegetable that's really similar to spinach. Rau muong has always been my favorite vegetable on the planet. I can never get enough of it.
As I was eating rau muong, my mom casually mentioned that in the part of Vietnam where her family is from, rau muong grew "like weeds," and since everyone was so poor, they ate A LOT of rau muong. So much so that people in Vietnam even nicknamed people from this region "rau muong."
It's crazy to think that for hundreds of years my ancestors ate a diet heavy in rau muong, and here I am today in 2015 in San Francisco, loving it as though my body can't get enough of it.
This is no coincidence.
Our health and weight are largely determined by our genes, our gut health, and our food.
Because my family has been eating tons of rau muong for generations, my genes have evolved to respond to rau muong. This is why my body wants it so badly even today, even though most Vietnamese people would describe this vegetable as nothing special.
We should all strive to learn about the stories behind food. Food is so much more than calories, vitamins, and minerals. It's your culture, your history.
And your body has inherited wisdom from your ancestors and communicates with you every day about what it needs.
The question is: are you listening?
In 2016, my hope for the #methodfam is that each of you will prioritize self-love.
What does self-love mean as it relates to food?
1 - Self-love is defining your own optimal wellness
I say "your own" because you should define what optimal wellness is for you personally. We don't all need to look like fitness models. We need find the level of wellness that feels right for us given what our priorities and constraints are.
2 - Self-love is avoiding any form of cookie cutter dieting
If you've gained weight over the holidays, just go back to your old routine and your body will bounce back. Don't do anything extreme this January by restricting your calories. Only adopt changes to your diet that you can see yourself not only doing for years but LOVING to do for years. This is what it means to make a lifestyle change from a place of self-love and self-care and avoiding feelings of deprivation and stress.
3 - Self-love is learning about how different foods make you feel and eating with intention
Before you eat something, take a moment to think about what you're doing. How will I feel if I eat this? How do I deserve to feel? How do I want to feel?
4 - Self-love is avoiding extremes
All or nothing dieting is one of the main reasons why so many people struggle with their weight and wellness. Avoid extremes that make you feel stressed. Avoid telling yourself you absolutely can't have a specific food ever, which only makes you even more obsessed with that food. Instead, live with an awareness that you can have what you want in moderation but that you choose to nourish your body with the right foods most of the time.
5 - Self-love is loving yourself as you are
There's a weight that your body wants to be (known as your "set point"), and when you learn how to give your body what it wants, you'll achieve that weight. This weight may or may not match like the idealized bodies you see in the media, but it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with that weight. You're already whole, complete, and beautiful, regardless of what you weigh.
Now FaceTime your folks and talk to them about what your family has eaten growing up!
Wishing you a vibrant, loving 2016!