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.