Watch the news or check your favorite social media platform and you’ll see many claims on what the best diet is. Suggestions range from the Mediterranean diet to Paleo, low fat, low carb, Keto, and so on. On top of that there are suggestions not only on what to eat, but how to eat it, such as 3 meals a day, a meal every 2 hours, Intermittent Fasting, etc. Before I go on any further, I’d like you to take a moment to think about what you consider to be the best diet. Why do you think it’s the best? What were the criteria you used to come to that determination?
Note that in this article, the term diet refers to what and how you eat. It does not imply a restriction for the sole purpose of losing weight. Taking in to account many different factors, there is no best diet. These factors include your current health, your goals, your medical history, your culture, and so on. What works best for one person may not be ideal for someone else. With hat said, I’ll outline some criteria you can use to help identify the best diet for you.
The best diet for you should:
- Be satisfying, and make you feel happy.
- Not cause inflammation, bloating, etc. If you eat something and you don’t feel good afterwards, don’t eat it! Listen to your body. In many cases healthy foods can cause inflammation. It’s sometimes necessary to run some blood work to find out which foods you need to avoid.
- Provide you with sufficient nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and fat. Adequate amounts of each are essential for feeling, looking, and performing well. You need to provide your body with the raw materials needed to repair and grow, and to fend off illness.
- Provide you with the right balance of energy to support your daily activities, both exercise and non-exercise activities.
Support your health and body composition goals.
- Be sustainable. It’s something you can do for a long time. It shouldn’t be difficult (i.e. hard to find foods, hard to stomach foods, too much weighing, too restrictive, etc.)
- Support your moral and ethical values (veganism etc.).
- Support your religion.
- Take your culture in to consideration. This one is often overlooked. But the moment you put someone on a ‘diet’ that doesn’t take in to account their culture, is the moment you set yourself and your client up for failure.
- Take into account HABITS. A good diet isn’t just about the food, it’s about the relationship we have with food, and it’s about our eating habits. For example, eating slowly, and to 80% full can help many people looking to lean up reach their goals. Neither of those habits require any special skills, tools, or ingredients. They can be done at home, on a business trip, on vacation, or on an airplane.
The fact is, some cultures have adapted to diets that others just couldn’t sustain. Eskimos eat a very high fat diet, and they are pretty darn healthy. Other cultures eat high protein, or high carb, etc. The Mediterranean diet would work well for many people, but not others. What works best for one person may not be the best option for another. In addition, what worked well for you in the past, may not be the best option for you now. Over time your health, or goals may change, and consequently your diet may also need to change. There are many examples of this including a change in illness, or perhaps you’ve reached your desired body composition and want to move into a phase of maintenance, or perhaps you’re now supporting a pregnancy.
Don’t let anyone trick you in to thinking there is a single best diet. Instead, using the criteria above, build one for yourself.
We have experience working with clients with many different goals. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or improve the quality of your food choices and reduce food related inflammation, we got you. Together we will design the best diet for you and will help you implement the habits necessary to sustain it long term.
And using some pretty sophisticated testing, we can help you to identify nutrient deficiencies, and foods that are causing inflammation to take the guess work out of supplementation and removing foods from your diet that are not working well for you. We’ve helped many clients lose weight and feel great. Contact us (or call 781-749-5432) for more information or to schedule an appointment with a health coach.