The Perfect Diet
Spoiler alert, there isn't one. What? Really? Don't be silly, you knew that was the first line I was going to write.
I get asked far too many questions about fad diets, what foods speed up fat loss and what the "perfect diet" is. Can you hear me rolling my eyes? Good. Because you better believe that I am. Maybe it's because I hate the word diet - drop the t and you basically feel like you're dying when you take chocolate, cake, cookies and ice cream off the table. Sorry to be blunt and trigger a few cravings for sweets, but I have to be up front - there is no such thing as a perfect diet. There is a perfectly balanced diet, but I can't tell you what food is going to make you thrive until you experiment for yourself.
Think back to when you were a kid and your parents told you-you had to clean your room. Did you want to? No. Did you clean it up eventually? Yes, partially because you would be forced to and the other part of you still wanted to eat your dessert that night. It's the same scenario when it comes to making changes to your diet. I can tell you to eat boatloads of kale because it's rich in vitamin C and packs a potent dose of fiber, will you eat it if you don't like it? Of course not. We're stubborn and we don't like to eat the foods we hate, clean the messes that we "didn't make" or do hard things. We are programmed to take the easy way out and stay in our comfort zone. New things, kale included is scary! It makes us put our guards up and get defensive.
It's the same approach when it comes to dieting, if you feel like you are being forced to eat from a specific food group or to subscribe to a specific diet, you are destined to be miserable!
DIETING = RESTRICTION -> DEPRIVATION -> BINGE EATING
See the cycle? We go in these groundhog day worthy loops that bring us right back to where we began, but this time 5 pounds heavier. Please listen to me when I say this - another diet isn't going to solve your weight loss problem. Another pill isn't going to make your love handles any smaller. That extra hour on the treadmill that you spend every second hating is worse for your health than not exercising at all. We have the choice to eat healthily, move our bodies in ways that make us feel good and reduce our stress levels at the same time so we can live a healthier lifestyle. Eating is not about restricting nor is moving about punishing ourselves for the extra slice of cake we ate.
You will always be your own best nutritionist. Why? Because you know what foods make you thrive, what foods bloat you and which foods you react to. I can make recommendations and suggestions for alternatives, but ultimately you have to decide what foods will comprise your diet based on how they make you feel.
In the end, we should all be eating similar diets composed primarily of plants with clean sources of animal-based proteins and healthy fats. The only difference between them will be the quantities in which we get from each macronutrient. Some people do better on a higher carb, lower fat diet, while others thrive on a ketogenic diet. What works for one, certainly doesn't work for everyone - but that's for you to figure out.
So before you go lecturing your aunt Barb about the benefits of chia seeds and force her to drink a green smoothie, know that not everyone is going to like the same foods you do. Not everyone is going to be interested in what you have to share. Stop looking around at how much or how little everyone around you is eating and tune into how you're feeling for once. Check in with yourself and evaluate your own diet based on how you are sleeping, how you're performing in the gym, your mood, focus, energy levels and overall zest for life.
There is no such thing as a perfect diet, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself to eat "perfectly", when such a thing ceases to exist.