If you’ve got a long history of dieting. You’ve probably tried them all. In the 80s, when I started, it was all about Weight Watchers, Richard Simmons and Jenny Craig. Atkins came later then Mediterranean, Slim Fast, Slimming world, Paleo, detox plans and now Keto is the current craze. We’ve been told to go low fat, to go low sugar. We’ve praised the holiness of coconut oil then put in the realm of the darkest of poisons.
So, what the hell do we eat?
What diet is the best?
Which one really works?
What’s the research say?
If it’s weight loss you’re after, well, they can all help you achieve that short term. Any calorie-restricted program will. But, is it still considered effective if it only works for 6 months? A year? Five years? At what point do we say the diet 'worked'?
Often when we inevitably quit the diet. We’re taught to blame ourselves, our lack of willpower or self-control. But, if a diet works… shouldn’t you be able to stick to it for life? Wouldn’t it actually be the diet’s fault if it causes you to ‘break’? To say ‘I just want some freaking carbs?
So. IS there a diet that works for good? Sure is. I’m currently on it.
What’s the magic formula? In my experience it has to tick the following boxes:
It’s accessible giving your current budget, family’s needs, time restraints and lifestyle in general.
It makes you feel good!
It’s both physically and mentally sustainable.
1. It’s accessible:
Everyone’s lives are different. Some have families of 5, some are single. Some of us have a 250.00 budget for groceries each week, some have $25. Some of us travel often some work from home. Any way of eating that you take on, has to fit within your current situation. If your diet is causing you financial stress then it’s not sustainable. If it’s too hard to find ‘said’ foods on the raod and your job requires you to travel, it’s not sustainable. If you are exhausted following a busy day at work and have to spend an extra 45 minutes each night making something that you can fit into your plan while your family sticks to the usual. That may not be sustainable either.
A way of eating that lasts, has to be flexible or else, you guessed it – it won’t last or won’t even be doable to begin with.
2. It makes you feel good. Physically AND mentally.
Most diets, when we start them, do in fact make us feel great. If they don’t, as I have said before, they are not sustainable. But we have to remember that health is more than how our body feels. Health is also about how we feel mentally and emotionally. If your diet causes you to feel left out, craving your favourite foods, or any kind of stress at all when it comes to eating out or visiting friends and family then it’s not as healthy as we’d like to think and eventually, the cravings become too much and the cycle of ‘on again off again’ continues.
3. It's sustainable.
I know, I keep hammering the ‘s’ word but seriously – for any diet to work it simply has to be adherable.
The way of eating that you choose has to allow for enjoyment. If you feel deprived in any way, or miss your favourite foods or think “I wish I could eat that”. Then eventually we will crave and cave. It happens almost every single time.
You may think you’re not deprived. Those coconut flour buns might hold you over for now but if you genuinely love a good quality baked bread and have put it in the ‘naughty’ list, eventually you’re going to have some and the feelings that follow that will decide the outcome to follow.
Not only that, but any diet you choose should not only be sustainable mentally but be physically sustainable as well. We can go for quite a long time on a nutrient deficient diet in some cases but ultimately, eventually, it will catch up with us. Our body needs proteins, healthy fats, fibre, and all those delicious little micronutrients. Eventually, a lack in these vital elements that make us healthy, is going to turn that “I feel great” feeling into the opposite at some point. We’re humans and there are certain things a human being needs to function optimally.
So what’s the best diet on the planet? The one that is accessible, enjoyable and sustainable and provides a variety of nutrients considering your current budget/lifestyle.
One that enables you to have a piece of cake or freshly baked bread (or whatever else you love to eat) and move on.
One that understands that health is a feeling, not a look.
Healthy eating has to be flexible, enjoyable, compassionate, sustainable, simple and delicious. If it leaves you feeling deprived, even if it’s 6 months down the road, then we’re simply not going to be able to adhere to it and that’s no weakness to you.
This is why I'm so passionate about my Empowered Eating Course. By the end of it, you'll be able to eat well, feel great and make peace with food so you never have to go on another diet again.