Hi all, I hope you are well and have enjoyed your Tuesday thus far. I’m currently sat reading over this draft of my latest blog post ‘What is the best diet to follow?’ in a delightful little café in St Margarets called Zoran’s – if you’re ever in the area, I’d fully endorse you coming to check out their coffee and cake, as ironic as that seems given the title of this blog post!
So the wait is finally over; I am this week, going to delve in to the wonderful world of dieting! What’s it all about? What diets are out there? How do you diet efficiently? What’s the best diet to be on? Okay, so I’m already being slightly jovial in mentioning these questions, and probably won’t be going in to a great level of detail on some of these points, as I’d imagine that if you do not already know me and my belief system around true health, fitness and wellbeing, you may get a very quick sense of my views on this term and the huge issues frequently attached to the topic.
Firstly, let’s discuss the word diet and what it actually means. The word diet is defined in the dictionary in two ways and they are as follows:
1. The kind of foods that a person, animal or community habitually eats.
2. A special course of food to which a person RESTRICTS himself or herself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
Now before we go any further, just briefly ask yourself which definition you currently use when utilising this word? I’m guessing the latter definition resonates on a greater level with most? That’s because throughout recent times, the context of this word has changed greatly, and quite frankly it is not for the better!
The first definition is first on the list for a reason – this is and should always be the true definition of the word ‘diet’! Notice how I have also highlighted in capitals the word RESTRICTIVE on the second definition. That’s because the second definition perfectly sums up how we view the word ‘diet’ nowadays, as a restrictive way of eating (or not eating for that matter!)
Going back through history, the word diet was used to describe a collective of food & drink options, with the only real area of importance in any ‘diet’ being that it helped contribute towards one major role, keeping us alive.
As stated in definition #2 though, we are now far more accustomed to thinking of the term ‘diet’ as something that is restrictive in nature, helping us to achieve an aesthetic goal in favour of viewing the overall holistic notion of health & wellbeing – this is where our mistakes begin.
CURRENT ‘TRENDY’ DIETS FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION
It is frankly quite staggering when you look at the volume of ‘trendy’ diets that are available to the general population in 2016, so I will list only a few below and you can see how many you recognise – I bet nearly everyone has either heard of, or actually experienced the majority:
• Atkins Diet
• Mediterranean Diet
• Raw Food Diet
• The Zone Diet• 5:2 Diet
• The Vegetarian Diet
• The Vegan Diet
• The South Beach Diet
• Dukan Diet
I am not even going to discuss the variables between the above list of diets, as that couldn’t be further from the purpose of this article. The whole premise of my blog today is to highlight the following key points, and provide you with some simple ways to maximise your nutritional health:
1. DIETS DO NOT WORK (Thought I’d get that one out the way early!)
2. There are NO specific diets – they are all generic and everybody will react differently to a given diet.
3. They are unsustainable.
4. They are demotivating.
5. You know your body better than anyone else!
I’m glad that we’ve got those points out of the way, as I can now hopefully move on to providing some real life, usable information relating to how you can make the most of your nutrition (notice I didn’t use the word diet!)
Just before we do move on, if you needed convincing any further that ‘diets’ do not work, check out the below links that I found on page 1 of Google, and Daily Mail online (over 5 million readers per day) this morning. Now whilst I do not subscribe to the fact that whatever it is put on these media forums must be gospel, the ease at which you can find negative articles about dieting surely has something to do with the fact that very few people are ever successful whilst ‘dieting.’
Now that we’ve left behind the negative impact the word ‘diet’ can have on all of us, I want to actually provide some insight in to how you can turn the stress and worry of healthy eating in to a simple and consistent process that helps to improve your lifestyle, rather than hinder it.
My top tips for a healthy outlook on nutrition (STOP. START. CONTINUE RULE)
• STOP the processed food – The one thing that is common knowledge when it comes to nutrition is that processed food is never going to be of any nutritional benefit to you. Ready meals, fast food and overly artificial foods should be kept to an absolute minimum.
• STOP making excuses – I hear too many people tell me that they don’t have the time or the resources to eat healthily, and I simply cannot accept this. You get one body to live in for your whole life, so why on earth would you actively abuse it. A healthy body will always equal a healthy mind, and to me there is nothing more important in life.
• START reading – take time to really read and understand foods that have a positive and nourishing impact on the body, as opposed to the foods that we may think are ‘healthy’ but in fact have zero nutritional content.
• START prioritising meal prep – this is another area that when people try to make excuses, I have very little sympathy. Yes cooking takes time, but so does becoming unhealthy. Either way the time will undoubtedly pass, so you may as well maximise it by prioritising the health of your body.
• START cooking – I am by no means a Michelin Star chef, but I realised that if I wanted to truly understand what I was putting in my body then I needed to start learning how to build some of my own dishes – cooking is actually quite therapeutic too!
• CONTINUE to enjoy yourself – stressing and worrying about what you should and shouldn’t consume is the most counter-productive practice I see amongst my clients who are actually trying to get healthy. Most of us have an idea about where to start, so just do your research, listen to your body and be consistent. Being healthy is about making the right choices that will nourish your body, then doing them daily.
• CONTINUE rewarding yourself – Life is too short to pass up an opportunity for a little ‘naughty’ snack every now and again, especially if you are busting your butt in the gym on a daily basis! A little of what you enjoy in the short term will mean that you do not crave in the long term.
I hope this blog has been helpful and you now are fully equipped to go and really take charge of your own health & nutrition, as well as supporting the ones closest to you in their quests. If you did like the blog, please feel free to drop me a like at the bottom of the page.
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See you next week!