The real reason some diets work & others don't
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
-Aldous Huxley, writer & philosopher
Ever notice that the whole world isn’t on a single diet? Pretty cool right, acknowledging our differences whether it’s in preference, cultural, belief system, social reasons, emotional - seriously.. food is a basic need that can bring up a lot of us (i.e. smells, overall memories, tastes, experiences, etc.). And while we know how different we are, for some reason the ‘diet of the day’ is supposed to work for us- and chances are we’ve tried them. One at a time, multiple ones all at once - anyone else done the counting calories + holding a south beach bar + staying the heck away from carbs + searching for that piece of dark chocolate because it’s ok to indulge? … just me?
Anywho, we’re super complex incredible beings where chances are our lives are regularly in flux, so with that happening, kinda makes sense a single diet (which usually comes with a certain lifestyle) is not always going to suit us the best we like. Even if you have results, somehow staying in 24/7 or sacrificing some of your social life (or hobby, travel, etc.) doesn’t always seem worth it. So what is the perfect diet? You know it. No seriously, you do. It’s the one that fits with your lifestyle, where you get the results you want like feeling fantastic enough to do all the things you want to do and more, and ultimately where you can truly live your life.
Therefore it’s NOT about WHAT diet do I try or will work, or WHAT do you think of ______ (fill in the blank) diet? Consider asking WHY- why did one diet work for you and why others didn’t. Such as one of the reason weight watchers worked was because they offer a community and accountability online & offline. Other diets that minimized various food groups like carbohydrates & grains like Paleo, Keto (instead high fat), and Atkins (instead high protein) work because people were not only reporting weight loss, but higher energy, better sleep, and no 3pm crash. Just like diets are not a one size fits all, we know deep down we’re not either. It can bring up stuff to embrace our complexity, yet if we shift this perception to getting curious, our body will more than oblige in letting us know exactly what we need.
Here’s how you can begin finding that perfect diet at any time, and even when you hit a plateau:
What diet & lifestyle help you feel like you’re ‘in the zone’?- Where you’re feeling fantastic- lighter, more energetic, clear-headed, good sleep, it’s ok to have a blip or two of a day where you’re just ‘not yourself’ (you can totally get curious about that too if you like), and what were you up to the past few days. Unsure? Write it down. Beyond what you ate, jot down any exercise, people you spoke to, what you did that day, etc. Diet in Greek is ‘diata’, meaning ‘way of life.’ That’s going to be your perfect diet.
Do you trust yourself?- When you’ve tried the different diets, or unsure where to start, or feeling so overwhelmed, or read that the moment you eat this, drink that, all the weight or any other symptom you’ve been warding off will come right back. Or maybe it will come back in a few days- or maybe not even at all, but next time. Definitely the next time.. right? Right (maybe). This is part of the human experience where we know we can always do better, and sometimes easier than others to get out of our own way. For this, one step at a time. Where have you trusted yourself in the past that it’s worked? And where hasn’t it? Either way, you’re still here & reading this now, so with whatever step you choose towards health (i.e. drinking more water, eating a vegetable)- you got this.
What does food/drink/lifestyle mean to you?- Is it to reach a certain athletic goal? Are there outstanding concerns, or a family or past history that you’d like specific tailored advice? Maybe (feeling like you’re) eating 10 cups of blueberries a day (little over exaggeration) to help reduce cravings is not realistic and you want to know other strategies where you can still live a healthful lifestyle within your goals, travel, social events, etc. It’s that deeper meaning that leads to consistency which will lead to results.
Just as it’s important to pay attention what we’re feeling, it’s also important to imagine ourselves looking down at ourselves to objectively observe if this is really working. And it’s totally ok if it’s not! Change is part of the human experience, yet change and doing our own thing can be scary because we are literally changing how our brain is firing (which it does not like), and that we risk unwanted input by others (not the most comfortable feeling either), respectively. On the other hand, in leading by example we may also attract others to do the same, and form a new tribe who do have similar interests, food choices, and lifestyle, where soon you realize that your perfect diet & lifestyle was some sort of combination from much of what you’ve read/tried. And this time you’re getting results! Feeling fantastic, losing weight, keeping it off, knowing that even if a few pounds creep on after vacation they’ll fall right off once you ‘get back to your regular life’, and all in the meantime you know your own tells & signals. Many diets do work, and there’s also many aspects of diets that work- it’s the journey in finding your own combination that is so rewarding. And if you’d like some extra guidance, let’s find some time to chat!