In a world of paleo, keto, low-carb, high fat, low-fat, fat-free, low calorie, macro-counting, vegan, gluten-free, BeachBody/Shakeology, Weight Watchers, Yoli, Advocare, juice cleansing, intermittent fasting, carb cycling and more… how can you be sure you’re choosing the best diet plan for YOU?
Making the decision that it’s time for some healthy changes isn’t easy. Add in a different opinion or different option for every day of the year and what is easy is seeing how people can too overwhelmed with information overload to actually commit to any plan.
When you become invested in living a healthy lifestyle – whether it’s to lose weight, or eat healthier, or be more active, or a combination of all of the above, one of the most influential things you can do to achieve success is to stay committed to the process. No matter WHICH method you may choose.
While I have my own opinions of nutrition and exercise and how the process works (it’s pretty simple – consume a diet rich in whole foods, full of balance, and add in a fair amount of exercise), the most important thing you can do is find something that works for you, doesn’t make you feel like you’re depriving yourself of joy, and STICK WITH IT.
All too often, people jump on the fad train and end up doing more harm than good. They hear about their friend’s cousin’s sister’s mom who started eliminating all orange food from her diet and lost 60 pounds, so they immediately think they should do the same. So, they start one method, don’t see the immediate results promised to them from what they’ve been told on TV or by the people selling them products, and get frustrated. So what do they do? They give up on their current program, start the next fad, and the whole process begins all over again.
But what happens is people don’t give their bodies enough time to adjust. They don’t give their metabolism enough time to make a change. They constantly keep their bodies in a state of shock due to deprivation, which can actually lead to weight GAIN, instead of any desired weight loss results. And what happens when we feel we can’t have something? We end up wanting it more. Which leads to nighttime binges, where you can actually end up consuming MORE calories than you typically would even if you weren’t following a “diet” plan.
I’ll be very honest: I’m not the world’s biggest fan of weight loss products. I’ve done my fair share over the years to know that nothing works better than good old fashioned diet (healthy foods and a balance of calories in vs. calories out) and exercise. And I can’t stand the fads. BUT. What I’m about to tell you may blow your mind:
it doesn’t matter which method you choose.
You read that right. Whichever method you choose honestly doesn’t matter a great big deal.
**Okay but it really does. You’re never going to hear me say that fad diets are the way to go. Absolutely NOTHING beats eating healthy and exercising – I cannot emphasize that enough. That will always be the best way to do it and I can’t deny it. But, it doesn’t matter if you decide to go vegan, or buy into a fitness MLM company, or opt for paleo. If your mind is set on wanting to try those things, then the answer is simple: just pick one, and stick with it.**
When you jump from diet trend to diet trend, not only are you confusing your body, and most likely putting it into a state of deprivation, but you’re teaching yourself some really bad and unhealthy habits. Most likely, you’ll end up dehydrated, hungry, tired, and your metabolism will be all out of whack.
It takes our bodies time to adjust to something new. Some research even indicates that it can take our bodies up to 6-8 weeks to fully adapt to a new eating plan. Which means when you expect to see results after the first couple days and give up when they don’t show up – you’re not giving yourself enough time to fully adjust. You’re confusing your body.
It’s important to note, though – that if your plan includes excluding a group of foods, you’re probably going to run into difficulties. It’s time for a harsh truth, again. When you exclude a certain food group from your diet for any reason other than a legitimate illness or health issue, your body is going to crave it more. It’s going to feel deprived, and chances are high that eventually you will end up eating it again. Only instead of eating that food in a normal quantity, you’re probably going to binge. And then you’ll binge again. And then what will happen is you will end up gaining some of the weight back that you previously lost. I know it sounds mean but it’s the truth. And as long as you realize that it could happen – then it’s up to you sis to decide if that’s what you want to do.
“But don’t you exclude gluten and dairy from your diet?“
Yep, sure do. But not because I want to, or because I think doing so will help me lose weight. I don’t eat dairy or gluten 95% of the time because I have something called Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and dairy + gluten are two of my biggest triggers. I tell all my clients when they ask me that if they can tolerate gluten and dairy, to eat them! There’s no reason not to. If I could eat them without feeling sick, I would – because I love cake pops, as demonstrated in the featured photo at the top of the page.
“So what should I do, then?“
Listen to your body. No one can tell you what is right for you other than yourself. And then stop overcomplicating everything. Eat well, lift heavy. That’s what I always tell Chad. If you’re not into lifting, then just move more. Eat well, move more. Find a balance. Stick to a plan, and don’t buy into any quick fixes. If you really want to make the biggest, most life-altering changes, then do it seriously. Make small steps every single day to living a better life, and you will find exactly what you’re searching for.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.