The Best Diet for You!
I bet you read that title and thought, great, the perfect diet, just in time for my summer cut!
Friends, this is a different type of article.
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock all winter, I am sure you have heard the new answer to life is Keto. Or perhaps it’s fasting. Clean eating? Could it be IIFYM?
What we are going to do here is go through the most common diets and fads with a brief explanation of what they are, how they work and who they would be good for. From that point on, you’re the adult, you decide whether you eat bacon or bread for breakfast.
Let’s begin with KETO because it seems to be ALL THE HYPE right now. Listen, if you are good to cut carbs, say goodbye to your favourite pasta and no-no to bread, then go for it. The thing is, I never trusted a “diet” I couldn’t follow for life. Sure, maybe you can cut carbs for a few weeks, maybe even months, but for life? YIKES!
Now, I bet Sally at your office told you that eating fat burns fat and that’s why keto works and that’s why she’s lost all that weight.
This is where I would need that face palm emoji…
Sally is losing weight because Sally was eating donuts, and bread and anything carby in excess so once she cut those out, she cut those excess calories out, hence the weight loss!
Basic weight loss is being in a caloric deficit.
Keto is not magic.
The other thing about keto is that it has shown to decrease performance in the gym. It really depends on your sport here, but, high fat is not essential for performance.
Most people also “do keto” wrong. It is actually a significantly low amount of carbs, sometimes about 40-50g A DAY, low to moderate protein and high fat. All still within a specific caloric deficit. You can’t just eat bacon and cheese and expect weight loss. Again, unless you are in a caloric deficit.
And the elephant in the room that most tend to avoid because they know they won’t follow the diet long enough for it to make a difference… heart health?
How good of an idea is it to get the majority of your daily calories from fat.. long term… for your poor heart… oh and what about that brain and those hormones… I betcha they could use some carbs too…
Now, if you LIKE this diet. It WORKS for you. You can MAINTAIN it long term.
Then do it.
INTERMITTENT FASTING is another hot topic these days. And although I don’t have too much issue with this one, the same principles apply. CALORIC DEFICIT.
There is some research that shows hormonal and digestive benefits to fasting so if this fits into your lifestyle, then do you boo. The idea is that you fast for a given period of time and then consume all of your calories in a specific window. Now, this window does range in time. This can work well for those who have busy schedules with little time to eat, don’t feel hungry most or the day or prefer to get their calories in through one or two bigger meals than a few small.
This is not the best idea if you have diabetes or any type of blood sugar or blood pressure issues, if you have to eat a very high protein (can be hard to consume in a small time-frame), if you have a history of binge eating and if you use it as an excuse to eat high calorie low nutrient dense meals.
CLEAN EATING. The first book I ever bought when I was embarking on my own weight loss journey. Great principles and intention, focuses on proper nutrition BUT any restriction taken too far ends up in over consumption.
The idea is great, you eat only whole real food, however, just eating well doesn’t mean you will reach your weight loss goals and fitness goals. Will you be healthier? Probably! Especially if you ate a ton of processed food before, but again, you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Can you gain weight eating an excess of chicken, rice and broccoli? You bet your cute booty you can!
IIFYM , aka, if it fits your macros, is the enemy of clean eating, at least in the fitness world. Clean eaters are too restrictive so let’s oppose that and eat cake for breakfast and fit cookies into our every meal.
When done right, IIFYM can be fantastic. You have a well-rounded diet of real food, macros and calories that will add up to help you reach your fitness goals and you are still able to fit in your favorite foods as you wish to eat them.
But of course, we take everything too far.
Eating pure processed food, no nutritional mindfulness, advertising abs on Instagram and saying how they look like that eating nothing but empty calories.
I like to use the term flexible dieting to describe the “right” way of doing IIFYM. You track what you eat, you’re mindful of nutrition, you want a cookie and you eat it, but you eat your daily veggies too. This is a diet great for those who want to take initiative, learn about their food, maybe eat out a lot or travel for work and are comfortable tracking everything.
The final thing we are going to dissect is INTUITIVE EATING.
The holy grail.
The anti-diet, diet.
If it was possible, I would have every single client intuitively eat.
So why don’t we all eat this way?
Can you lose weight intuitively eating? Yes!
Can you reach fitness goals intuitively eating? Yes!
Will the average person do so? Unlikely!
The problem is that years and years of dieting, restricting and overeating have royally fu*ked us and our intuition. We can’t trust our natural hunger signals because we can no longer feel them. We don’t know when to stop eating because we are so accustomed to overeating. We don’t know what our bodies “need” because we spent years focusing on what we “shouldn’t have” and then “pigging out” on everything that was previously restricted.
What a brutal cycle.
We focused years and years on food and scale and weight loss and diets that we forgot one thing…
Food is healing.
It is meant to nourish and heal the body.
It is meant to make us feel good.
To run faster.
To work better and to live longer.
The other day, I watched a “top” fitness model dip cheese into a bowl of oil and proceed to eat it, stating that “it fits into her keto diet”
I mean, why not just eat a piece of pizza and enjoy your damn life.
We are abusive of our nutrition.
Abusive of our bodies.
Abusive of food.
So, now what?
Do we spend the rest of our lives on the hamster wheel?
I like the meal plan -> macros -> intuitive method. (I made this up, don’t google it :P)
Begin by having a professional (or doing it yourself) making you a meal plan that will allow you to reach your goals, provide flexibility, nourish your body and teach you proper portion control again.
Once you have mastered that…
Start tracking on your own. Learn more about the food you eat, find your staples, eat your faves too, just be moderate and mindful. Think about how you feel when you eat specific foods, what being satiated feels like and learn to know when you’ve had enough and when you need more.
Once you have mastered that…
Move on to mindful eating. Now that your body is used to NORMAL portions, a variety of foods and knows how you should feel when your body is at top notch, you, a grown ass human, and can now choose your food based on what your body needs and wants.
Long process, I know.
But, it took us YEARS to get into this mess, it will take a hot minute to get out of it!
The “diet” you can follow for life and the one that doesn’t feel like a diet is the right one for you.
Once healed, no app, book or program can tell you what’s best for you, better than, your very own body!
Thanks for reading!
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