Rudderless

HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY IN A WORLD WITH WAY TOO DANG MUCH INFORMATION

I have been concerned with my weight and general physical condition a few times over my 55 years. Probably not the first two or three years – I thought I looked great in a diaper! But there’s been too many times I’ve felt much angst when I look in the mirror and see a big round belly poking out. It’s not like I am devastated by it. Then I would do something about it. It’s just an ongoing, low-level annoyance.

When it starts bugging me too much, I turn my attention out into the world to find what the experts propose as a solution, as if there is a single real answer and if only I could just find that answer, then all would be well. That’s magical thinking. There isn’t a single solution. There’s a bazillion solutions, many of them contradictory, each with their own very official and trustworthy sounding scientific evidence to back them up. How is a girl to find her way?

One eating plan says to most definitely go vegetarian, and lists rather horrendous effects of eating meat. Makes sense. Then there’s the ancestral diet. Eat meat. You need your protein. Vegetables are good too. Then there is the low-carb camp. Whatever you do, do not eat carbohydrates of any kind. Bad. Evil. If you read enough of the prevailing literature, you will soon have the realization that you cannot eat anything. Don’t even drink the water. No matter what type of food, there is a highly-respected, double-blind, sound, scientific study that proves it is poison.

My exhaustive search led me to conclude that there are really only two choices: eat evil food or starve to death. It seems there is no way to win. I read so much expert advice that I literally couldn’t eat anything without fretting that I was eating something damaging. I didn’t know which way to turn. I was without direction and feeling rudderless.

Then one day, I realized I was just hungry and, quite frankly, fed up with worrying about getting it right. I just wanted to eat because I was hungry. I decided the diet that I needed to go on was an information diet.

I have landed on the conclusion that it does not pay to run around in circles, listening to this expert and that, because it does nothing more than create massive confusion in my head. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it is bad to learn from experts. Heck, no.

What I am saying is that without your own internal guidance as the grounding element, it is impossible to effectively (and sanely) navigate the world of endless information in which we live. You have to be able to sense from within what path is right for you, and then trust and relax into that path. It is great to learn from the abundance of resources in the world – just don’t disregard your own wisdom in the process.

I realize that what is true for me is that worrying that the particular food I am eating is bad for me is what is bad for me, not necessarily the food itself.

It’s sort of paradoxical that the very reason that I went out into the world searching for information is because I felt unsure of what eating plan to adopt. But the more I went “out there” searching for guidance, the more confused I got. But when I go “in here”, searching inside myself to find my way, and then, if inspired to, I might read some information or research to help flesh out the details.

Flesh out, now that was an interesting phrase to use right then, huh?

Furthermore, the same is true whether you’re navigating nutrition and fitness, relationships, career, or any other area of life. The greatest and most valuable research you can do is to learn how to sense within yourself what is right for you.

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