When people come to me as a Health Coach, they often ask what DIET plan I give. And they commonly request an urgent meal plan to make them lose weight ASAP (ex. before an event).
In response, I explain to them that while yes I can help them lose weight, it’s really not about dieting.
I actually prefer to avoid the word DIET (*I use it only in its literal form, to describe the foods we eat, but without a restrictive connotation), and instead, suggest focusing on creating a longer-term healthy way of eating and overall lifestyle that will help you reach your health goals and ideal weight.
And it’s key to make it BALANCED. Unless you have a serious health condition in which you need to eat a very specific restrictive way, I believe that it’s best to not live your life trying to follow a diet that goes by a name and comes with strict rules. Especially if it involves calorie counting!
I’ll use myself as an example. For me, limiting dairy and gluten, while eating TONS of veggies (especially with yummy creative vegan dishes), plenty of healthy fats (love my avocado and coconut), some fish, seafood and red meat, a bit of grains/legumes, and focusing on easier-to-combine meals, is what supports my digestion and makes me feel best. Then I add in plenty dark chocolate and the occasional red wine which just makes me happy!
I eat A LOT, enjoy it, and never count calories. And if, on occasion, I want that fresh bread with olive oil (with gluten) or ice cream (with dairy and sugar!), I’ll have it as a treat (but I keep it minimal because I know it doesn’t support my gut).
After a history in my 20’s of going from fad diet to fad diet, I finally stopped and listened to my body. Now I eat a daily, healthy and balanced diet with the occasional pleasures – and it works great. On top of that, at least once a year I do a food-based detox for overall health benefits (not to lose weight).
Now as a Health Coach, I consistently see people that feel they need to follow a strict diet for a period of time, every year, and it never works. They often lose a few pounds short-term, but when they get off the diet, the weight returns. It leads to yo-yo dieting, a feeling of never being happy with themselves, and diet obsession.
So instead, try tuning in to YOUR BODY. Try applying some PRINCIPLES of some of those healthy diets that work for you (I’m personally a fan of the Mediterranean diet principles, and most gut-focused diets like Ayurveda and Body Ecology, for example), but then, leave some room for flexibility.
Avoid labeling foods as bad/prohibited to not feel deprived. (Just avoid them if you have a allergy/sensitivity to them, of course!). And instead, focus on those foods that you want to eat MORE of (that you know are healthy), and limit those that you know make you bloated/gassy/give you a headache!
Take the time to find a way of eating that you enjoy, that keeps you within that range of your ideal weight and feeling good, and that is sustainable as a longer-term lifestyle. And always be open to making small adjustments as your age/hormones/body change.
If you need help on finding that way of eating that will keep you at your happy weight and free you from a lifetime of dieting, REACH OUT. It’s what I do!
P.S. Stay tuned for Upcoming Blogs for some deeper digging into some of those diets that I believe have great principles that help us stay healthy. Remember, while I don’t believe in abiding by one specific diet 100% (because again, most popular diets place too many labels and are not personalized, so will hardly ever meet your specific needs 100%), there are many diets that I believe have good principles that you can apply, to the extent needed, in order to find what works for your daily lifestyle. These include: Mediterranean, Paleo, Keto (and those similar ones, like Whole30), Vegan, Ayurveda and all gut-focused diets such as Body Ecology. What percentage of each to apply for your ideal diet/lifestyle will obviously vary depending on your needs. Some people need to be a bit more “vegan” while others need to be more “keto” so it always boils down to finding what works for you. STAY TUNED to learn more!