Diet is defined as the sum of food and drink that an individual habitually consumes. DietING, however, is the practice of attempting to achieve or maintain a certain weight THROUGH diet. When we’ve finally gotten real with the person in the mirror and set our goals, we generally tend to start with diet. Maybe join a gym, or maybe just try some exercise videos at home. But the one thing we don’t technically need to “make time” for, is just dieting. Fad diets have become ingrained in our culture now, and most every major chain has a special section of their menus dedicated to such. There’s a diet for every walk of life, from vegetarian diets to weight control, belief/religion based ones, and low or high-volume protein, fat, carb, calorie, etc., iterations. So how do you choose? What’s the right one?
Well, there really isn’t one.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a RIGHT diet vs. a WRONG diet. It simply speaks to the many, many different types of people that live on this planet. To write up some plan and insist it would work for every one of us is ridiculous, because our bodies don’t all process, synthesize, and metabolize nutrition the same way. Some of us have metabolisms that work nonstop, and some of us (like yours truly) have metabolisms that apparently stopped working long ago, probably sometime shortly after birth I think.
I experimented with several different fad diets myself; Adkins, South Beach, Paleo, etc., trying to find whatever the recipe was that worked for me. Earlier this year I committed to an intermittent Ketogenic-based diet that, although quite difficult to commit to, has worked fantastically. (Check back in next week as I dive deeper into the specifics of a Ketogenic-based plan – how it works, and why it works!)
At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to convenience vs. commitment vs. preference. What are you willing to commit to? Can you turn down Taco Tuesday if it means sticking to a low-carb diet? Can you shop for a weeks’ worth of groceries on Sunday and spend the afternoon preparing all of your meals for the week? Or do you have the wherewithal just simply to make healthy choices?
In my opinion, the 5 to 10lbs I think 90% of us say we’d like to lose can be done as easily as choosing a side salad instead of fries, or a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a double-cheeseburger. The word “diet” suggests something that will start, then stop, doesn’t it? You diet to hit a goal, but then what? Back to business as usual and back to the weight as usual? This is the Diet vs. Habits paradox. At some point, the diet needs to get adopted and become the habit. Albeit, likely modified to maintain weight and not lose anymore, but if old habits are what made us unhealthy, what makes you think going back to those will yield different results later?
So, why don’t you just start with simply making healthy choices? Try water instead of soda. Fruit and veggies instead of fries and mac n’ cheese. Grilled chicken or fish instead of fried food or burgers. It’s these simple choices that can jumpstart a whole lifestyle of change. Give it a week, and let your diet of healthy choices become your new healthy habits.
Over the years my opinion as to how much proper nutrition plays a role living in a lean healthy body has changed. I used to tell people that “eating clean” was 70% of the equation, then later it rose to 80% and now that I have a better understanding of the importance of proper nutrition I’m saying it’s 100%.
I think most people don’t dig deep enough into the true healing power of food, and I think this is a direct result of looking at nutrition simply as a means to an end to “getting ripped” and not how eating clean, fresh, “whole foods” can actually heal your body from maladies that are too often self induced by doing the opposite…eating bad, sugary, processed, packaged junk.
Truth be told, there are countless people living in skilled nursing facilities for illness like diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and more and not all of them need to be there, they are there because of bad choices. It’s sad but true!
I’ve seen many people, who have been diagnosed with illnesses like adult onset diabetes, because of how they ate, heal themselves by simply following sound advice and simply changing what they ate. Food is a powerful drug that can be used to hurt or heal.
We need to get away from the focus aesthetics in regards to what we eat and get more interested in the cellular response of the food we consume. If you take this approach and think to yourself, “what is happening internally when I eat this?” “How will this affect my health if I eat that?”
Here’s the sad truth however…We live in a day and age where it’s so convenient to eat bad food because there are large, well financed corporations that make sure of that. Call it a conspiracy theory if you want, but slick advertising, nutritionally void “value meals” and the like are making our country unhealthy at a very fast pace and the evidence is all around us.
Just look at people when you are out in public. Be observant of what they are consuming, how they look and notice the energy levels and attitudes. I personally think you can fix a bad attitude with proper nutrition. I really do. I personally believe you can heal many illnesses with whole natural food. I honestly feel you can change, not just your body, but your entire life if you choose to think about what you are putting in your body and understand that nutrition can truly be the key to you living in your healthiest body.
I’ve traveled the globe speaking to people about health and fitness and living in their healthiest bodies and no matter where I am I see one common thread….most people, unfortunately, do not take care of themselves! It’s a fact… especially here in the US where we have EVERYTHING available to us, both good and bad.
I always ask people to raise their hands by saying, “who here feel that they are living in their healthiest body?” If I have a room of 50… MAYBE 2 will raise their hands…and truth be told I’m not always raising mine!
I too have times in my life where I am not being a good steward of my most precious gift, my health. Like an alcoholic we need to first be honest with ourselves when we think about that question.
Let me ask you right now… Are you living in YOUR healthiest body RIGHT NOW? If you said “no” then I say “why”?
It’s important that we understand that we only have one body and that when we fill it with bad food, sugary drinks, drugs and alcohol, negative thoughts and empty calories we are only demanding that it gets worse. The body will only respond to what it’s being fed, and how it’s being treated, that’s it. It may take longer for more genetically gifted people to get fat and unhealthy, but eventually, overtime, even the skinniest person with the fastest metabolism will break havoc on their metabolic system if they treat their body with disrespect. It’s simply a matter of time.
That being said, the opposite is true as well and that is the good news. When you treat your body with respect and feed it and treat it properly…even the least genetically gifted person will begin to see results over time…some longer than others.
It’s pretty simple to figure out but it all starts with a desire to live in a healthier body with the main goal being more efficient as we age. It’s not about looking perfect or being some fitness model, that may be a great ancillary benefit that happens as a result, but it’s more about understanding that if you treat your body with respect and are a good steward over that gift, your body will give you it’s best in return by giving you a longer, healthier and more enjoyable existence.