I’ve got some bad news.
When it comes to the question, “what is the best diet?” the answer is….there isn’t one.
Low fat, high fat, low carb, keto, paleo, Atkins, plant-based, vegan, whole30, fasting…..I could go on. While I am not disputing that some people get incredible results from their choice of protocol, what works for some can mean disaster for another.
Our bodies are mysterious and fascinating, and each of us responds slightly differently to what and how we eat. This could be due to a number of factors, such as genetics, gender, hormone imbalances, chronic illness and even the quality of food and cooking practices we have available. Even our individual goals, culture, ideologies and lifestyles impact the way we react to food, so trying to fit into one pre-planned method is doomed to fail for many.
Unfortunately, much of the nutrition information we are exposed to nowadays also comes from businesses spruiking a product of some kind, or research funded by a food or beverage company in an attempt to create some positive publicity. Yes, this goes for those popular Netflix docs too. Sad, but true. Therefore, we need to take every piece of well-meaning ‘advice’ with a healthy dose of Himalayan sea salt, and pick and choose elements that work for us.
So, what are we supposed to do?
The answer is (relatively) simple. Eat a variety of quality foods, listen to your body and let go of preconceived ideas on what is ‘right and wrong’. Getting too hung up on macro split and calories may achieve results, but at what cost? Eating well does not have to mean going without that cake or spending hours in the kitchen preparing your kale salads, but consistently choosing foods that nourish your body with what it needs to feel good and function well.
What each of the fad diet protocols has at the core is the preference for fresh, whole foods. In a nutshell, by filling your plate with fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats, you can’t go wrong. Your body will receive the nutrients you need to thrive, and your energy levels will stay consistent. Your thinking will be clearer, excess weight will fall away and your body will be stronger. Plus, when you are faced with that cake, you are in a better position to make the choice whether to eat it (for the record…go for it!).
Don’t be afraid to experiment, to stop and think about the food and drink you consume and what makes your body feel good. You may have enjoyed that big bowl of cheesy pasta, but how did it make you feel? Forget the guilt and shame – I am talking about how your body feels. If you end up bloated and lacking energy later, perhaps rethink your serving size or opt for an alternative that you know your body loves as much as your tastebuds. Could you adjust the recipe to bring it more in line with what your body needs, such as trying a different type of pasta? Or what if you served a smaller portion with a side salad? Did you eat too much because you were really hungry or ate too fast?
Tuning in to your body’s cues is a bit of an art form, but not impossible to learn. Start with one meal at a time and SLOW DOWN. Think about not only what goes on your plate, but what goes in your mouth. Food is to be enjoyed, not to be treated as a means to an end (ie keeping you alive). Overthinking the latest trends, rather than considering what is going on for you, is stressful, unhelpful and counterproductive to you reaching your goals.
So, forget the labels and learn to eat your own way. THAT is the best diet.
Nutrition coaching can help you here. Tailored programs, 1:1 support and ongoing collaboration to cut through the overwhelm and get back to what YOUR BODY needs. Contact me via message or email firstname.lastname@example.org