checklist
openclipart by sheikh_tuhin

I admit. I like order. When I get out of bed, I fold my blanket and don’t leave it messy. I keep my clothes in the closet, not tossed around the house. When I brush my teeth, I squeeze the toothpaste tube systematically from the bottom up towards the nozzle. And the books in my library are organized alphabetically. Yes, yes, my motto is: “order in the eyes makes order in the mind”, because I believe external clutter is an obstacle to clear and organized thinking, and thereby to choosing and accomplishing our goals. For this reason, and to give you a glimpse into some of our future topics, I’ve compiled a few lists detailing the reasons and outcomes of choosing a specific nutritional system.[1] Because, here too, some order won’t hurt anyone 🙂

Do you have more points? Add them in the comments.

 

Factors affecting our nutritional choices

  1. Aesthetic goals: gain or diminish muscle mass and fat tissue.
  2. Fitness goals: improve/support athletic abilities.
  3. Physiological eating disorders: allergies, hormonal changes, physiological illnesses.
  4. Psychological eating disorders: distorted self-perception, mental illnesses.
  5. Physiological goals: curing a disease.
  6. Psychological goals: improving one’s self-esteem and self-acceptance.
  7. Ethical and religious principles.
  8. Guilt.
  9. Habits.
  10. Cultural norms.
  11. Professional recommendations.
  12. Socio-economic status.
  13. Food availability.
  14. Level of autonomy.
  15. Conformity: because people around us do it.
  16. The longing for other people to judge and value us in certain ways.
  17. The desire to be socially accepted. We want other people to find us attractive and treat us seriously. We want to be loved.
  18. Third party interests: manufacturers, distributors, service providers (doctors, nutritionists, caregivers, personal trainers…) and governments.

 

Next, we list the effects that a compatible and incompatible nutritional system may have on our physical and mental health. A good nutritional system will avoid, as much as possible, the bad consequences listed on the second list, while achieving the greatest number of consequences listed in the third list.

 

Consequences associated with incompatible nutritional systems

  1. Extreme weight gain or loss.
  2. Difficulty in concentration.
  3. Physical problems: weakness, nausea, allergic reactions, hormonal changes.
  4. Physical Illnesses: diabetes, inflammations, liver and kidney failures, heart conditions, studies say even cancer.
  5. Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia etc.
  6. Psychological problems: cognitive weakness, depression (due to a feeling of inaptitude: “the food controls me”).
  7. Low self-esteem and a feeling of helplessness due to an inability to achieve our goals.
  8. Difficulty interacting in social situations (due to low self-esteem and the fact that society frowns on people with extreme weight (high or low)).
  9. Sense of guilt and remorse.
  10. Extreme changes in the body’s energy balance.[2]
  11. A dull/diminished sense of taste and smell.
  12. Oral problems: tooth decay and staining, bad breath.
  13. Skin problems: pimples, extreme dryness, extreme oiliness, saggy skin.
  14. Bloating, feelings of heaviness, sleep disorders, snoring, irregular bowel movement, constipation, diarrhea.
  15. Changes in body temperature: feeling extreme heat from over-eating; cold from nutritional deficiencies.
  16. Eating high calorie foods can cause a compulsion to exercise. Exercising out of guilt or compulsion is less enjoyable, and can be dangerous.
  17. Inadequate nutrition can lead to degradation of bodily functions: amenorrhea, muscle mass decline, osteoporosis, tooth loss, etc.

 

Consequences associated with compatible nutritional systems

  1. Proper weight.
  2. Extended ability to concentrate.
  3. General feeling of well-being
  4. Less frequent illnesses.
  5. A sense of control (“I control the food”).
  6. High self-esteem: psychological and aesthetic.
  7. Improved social communication.
  8. A sense of moral aptitude.
  9. Balanced energy levels.
  10. Sharpened sense of taste and smell.
  11. Improved oral hygiene: strong, clean, sparkly teeth. Less bad breath.
  12. Clear and tight facial skin.
  13. Feeling of lightness: sleeping well, orderly bowel movement.
  14. Balanced body temperature.
  15. More free time (due to a lower need to compensate excess eating with exercise).
  16. Proper metabolic functioning: good operation of essential bodily systems, proper tissue building (muscle, bone…).
 
Notes:
[1] I use the term “nutritional system” to refer to the general philosophy that informs one’s diet. A diet can be based on ideas in genetics and health, but also morality, politics, economics, religion and aesthetics, that influence other parts of our lives as well. Hence, nutrition is not merely part of a diet, but of an entire system of thought.
[2] I will explain energy balance in depth in a future post. For now, we can think of it as the consumption of the appropriate amount of calories to support one’s daily activities. Energy imbalance can lead to changes in metabolism and/or hyperactivity, stress, and fatigue.

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