Low carb, high carb, ketogenic, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo…. the list could seriously just keep going! There are so many different diets out there with a strong following and research based evidence to back them up, so I can understand why you might feel confused on which one to follow!
But let's take it back a second and reflect on when you last tried a diet. I am sure you have tried one, if not more of the above (I know I have). And if you have, then you have probably experienced failing at it as well (myself included). Then we blame ourselves when we can’t stick to it or if we don’t see results.
Because it’s not the diet who failed you, it’s you who failed the diet. Right?
I heard a great quote the other day that hasn’t left my brain since, so I thought I would share it with you.
“There are as many right diets as there are people on the planet.”
For those of you who are expressing a puzzled look over this quote, I promise it will make much more sense at the end of this blog post! In this post I explain what diets are and why there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to nourishing your body! So buckle up and get ready for information overload guys!
What is a diet?
To begin, I thought it would be a great start to break down what a DIET actually is. Although there are more diets out there than I can count on my fingers and toes (like... a lot more), I thought I would give you a run down on what I believe to be the 5 most popular diets out there at the moment.
Paleo: Best known for resembling the human “hunter-gatherer” diet. Follows a “whole-foods” approach.
Mediterranean: Best known for eating a primarily plant-based food diet and limiting red meat consumption to no more than a few times a month.
Atkins: Best known as the “low-carb, high-protein” diet approach.
Keto: Best known for the “low-carb, high-fat” approach.
Intermittent Fasting: Best known for various diets that cycle between a fasting period and non-fasting period during a certain window.
In a nutshell, all dietary theories revolve around the basis that they either shift the balance, source or timing of the three main macronutrients that our bodies need. For example, the Atkin diet changes the balance between carbohydrate and protein consumption, meanwhile intermittent fasting shifts the timing in which you consume your macronutrients. Are you still with me? I hope so! If you haven’t heard the term macronutrient before then please let me explain!
3 Main Macronutrients
Healthy Fats: Fat is crucial for our survival! It maintains and protects our hormones, brain and body.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are significant as they provide us with energy. Energy from carbs are easy for your body to break down!
Protein: Protein is important. It is required for structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
They are all important and our bodies need all three macronutrients to function at its best.
Diets are masters in food manipulation, and it isn’t useful to think of diets as your resounding principles when it comes to health. You will find along your health journey that what is right for one person, may not be right for you! For example I have found that my body thrives off higher fat whereas one of my bestfriends thrives off higher carbs, because her body does not process fats well.
So what’s the answer?
Use “diets” as experiments on your body, not as dogma. As I said before, my body thrives off higher fat but I didn’t know that until I experimented with it! So instead of strictly following a diet, I recommend using your intuition and listen to your body’s feedback.
Before you eat, ask yourself what your body wants and needs to nourish itself? What would satisfy you?
Try this. After you eat, ask yourself how you feel. Are you tired? Energised? Sick? Then adjust your food choices accordingly.
This will work instead of dieting because it will be sustainable. If you like the food you eat and you feel good, you will be able to keep eating that way FOREVER.
More importantly, your dietary requirements will change as YOU change, so what works for you now may not work for you in the future! I encourage all of you to listen to your body, ask yourself what it needs and act accordingly for the rest of your life! No one knows your body better than you do - you need to trust it!
If you struggle to eat intuitively, maybe I can help! I have a secret project coming soon which might be exactly what you need..... sign up to my newsletter to keep updated!