Most of us have been on a diet at some time in our lives. The dieting usually beings in our teens and it seems to go on forever. On, and the kinds of diets! There are way too many out there. Did you know there are over 100 different diets? Some seem to work for one type of person and others, well not that much. And no diet guarantees that the weight loss will be permanent. So, why are they still so popular? And why is that not one diet fits all?
Let’s start with the word, DIET. Did you notice the word die in there? Honestly, the word diet has a bad ring to it. Just by saying “Oh I’m doing this diet”, we immediately imagine that the person doing that diet is suffering. The suffering part of the diet is way too hard! It’s the restriction part that gets us. Why is that we can’t have the food we love to eat?
To get to the bottom of this diet revolution, let’s do a little food history. When the industrial revolution began and more women started working, the food industry expanded. Food factories imitated their industrial cousins as a way of producing food. Yes, we started getting our food from factories. Isn’t that insane? Well, they did promise to have food ready on long shelves and in pretty packages. And unfortunately, that’s all they did. Heck, I don’t know if I can call what’s inside these packaged foods. It is actually a cocktail of preservatives, artificial color dyes, artificial flavors, taste enhancers, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, artificial sugars, nitrates, MG, trans-fats, pesticides, and man-made chemicals.
Why did these large companies want to do out of their way to include this in their food-like products? Their number one reason is profit. Sorry to give you this information in such a direct manner, but it is the truth. They have got shareholders and stock, so people’s health is not their main concern. What they are aiming for is that their products last a long time on the shelf, the flavor is enhanced and addictive so we come back for more, and they are cheap.
Unfortunately, our bodies don’t recognize such cheap “natural” products like high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (aka trans fat). So, what do these chemicals do to our bodies? They lead to all kinds of diseases. And later have to go on a “food” detox so we can get rid of all the chemicals. But what this has to do with diets?
There does seem to be a secret to all diets. Almost every diet out there makes you go back to actual cooking and most diet books include recipes.
What does that mean? It means it is taking us back to basics. Back to cooking real food with real ingredients. That’s why you start to feel better; you are passing up the junk and processed food for real food. Your body is getting nutrients it needs. Finally, it can do what it is supposed to do, to work at its highest potential. There are no more nutrients lacking. And we know this, the processed food lacks nutrients. That’s why our bodies are hungry almost all of the time.
They are craving the minerals, the antioxidants, and the good sources of proteins, the vitamins, and good quality carbohydrates and fats. But instead, they are receiving empty calories with no sources of nutrients from packaged and processed foods. So that’s basically what a diet does, it takes you out of this processed, junk food cycle and gets you back on track to real mother nature food. So it doesn’t matter if its paleo, south beach, vegan, Mediterranean, peanut butter, Atkins or so on, they all get us back to cooking and gets us eating more natural foods.
Another secret of the diet world is that book publishers are interested in selling more books. One way to do that? Is by having a new (and “this one will work for you”) diet. Yes, they get doctors, coaches, dieticians, and anyone that has a new idea for a diet to write a book about it. It seems like diet books never stop, there is a new one out almost every month. So before choosing a “new and improved” diet, ask yourself, Will I be able to eat and maintain this kind of lifestyle the rest of my life?
So, what kind of diet is the best one for your lifestyle? The answer is, it all depends. After figuring out that there isn’t universal, one size fits all diet, there are situations to consider when choosing a more personal diet.
Listen to your body
Listen to your body. Just like there is no universal diet, there isn’t universal body. You are the best representative of your body and you are the one who understands it best. You know exactly when to stop eating and what foods make you feel good and bad. Ever since I can remember, I have had a hard time digesting red meat. So knowing this, I just eat meat every 10 to 15 days. That works better for me. I listen to my body. Is there a food or food group that makes you feel sick or tired?
Are you an Early riser or a night owl?
The number one thing your body has to do anything else is to digest your food. So if you go to bed between 9 and 10 pm and you had your last meal just an hour ago, your body hasn’t finished digesting it. You won’t get a good night sleep until your body has done its work. So if your bedtime is usually around 10 pm then have your last bite by 7 pm and let your body finish digesting your last meal. If you prefer to go to sleep earlier, then have dinner at 5 or 6 pm. You will notice the amount of energy you will have in the morning just by letting your body finish digesting before bed.
Examine Your Exercise Regimen
Do you exercise regularly? This is another key element in deciding which foods you should have and how much. An athlete is going to have a different menu than a person sitting all day at a desk. For example, if you have a desk job, your protein intake isn’t going to be the same as a person who works out heavily. Your better option will be to choose a small amount of food more often throughout the day.
Reclaim your Power
It may be difficult at first cooking all your meals at home, so instead start with small goals so it won’t be too overwhelming. For breakfast get up 15 minutes earlier and have the tie to prepare yourself some eggs or oatmeal instead of getting a donut and coffee at the corner shop. The next step may be to cook batches of food for the week and freeze some for later. Start taking your lunch to work. Remember, your home-cooked meals will always be better than take-out.