Whether you’re trying to change your diet to be healthier, to lose or gain weight, or for some other personal reason, sticking to these new habits may be more difficult than you realized, especially if you’ve been on a complicated family-building journey for some time. We want you to hear loud and clear that you’re doing nothing wrong if you’re having a hard time sticking to an eating routine that you know would be good for you.
It’s not about the food or trying harder
When you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant, are recovering from a loss, or are trying to be healthier after birth trauma, you’re inundated with advice on what to eat and what to avoid. You might even be overwhelmed trying to get it just right and beating yourself up for when you slip up. First of all, there is no perfect dietary habit that will cure the health conditions you’re trying to manage through food. Diet and nutrition is part of a layered approach to health, meaning there is plenty of buffer for imperfection.
Additionally, in your efforts to focus on sticking to the right foods at the right time, reading ingredients, and counting macros, there’s an element of diet and nutrition that is affecting your ability to stick to a diet. It’s an element that has nothing to do with food. That element is chronic or traumatic stress and the changes it has caused in your body.
We’re not talking about your emotions or your thoughts; we’re talking about the physiological changes that happen when your body is operating in a threat response. If you are experiencing fertility trauma, if your pregnancy is feeling triggering, if you experienced birth trauma, and you have not yet completed those threat cycles, you’re living in an active threat state, a state from which sticking to dietary changes is almost impossible.
Food and the Threat Response
When we are in an active threat response, our body is not looking for optimal nutrition in the whole-foods, clean-eating kind of way. Our body is only looking for fuel that will sustain the specific threat state that we’re in. This is why you crave carbs and salty and sweet foods. They are not evil foods or things you must shun. They have a purpose for the threat state you’re in.
The Trauma-Informed Way to Eat Healthy
Rarely do we need more information on how to eat healthy. Most of us generally know how to eat healthy, and if we’re unfamiliar with the specific types of food that would benefit us, that information is easy to find.
We want to remind you again, that the challenges of sticking with a healthy diet plan are not your fault. Your body is not able to keep up with the changes you’re trying to make. Move out of the threat state, first. When you can support neuro-endo-immune health, your body will be ready for the new dietary habits you’re trying to instill.
The fastest way to move out of a threat state is to know exactly which threat state you’ve been living in and understand what it means for your whole health. Only then can you make truly informed decisions on how to best support your body to achieve the health you’re striving for.