What's the Best Diet?

I’m sure if you’re anything like me, which you probably are at least a little bit if you’re reading this..  you have always wondered what the best diet is that will accomplish all of your goals (i.e. lose weight, get tone, eat whatever your want, never be hungry, etc..).
I wish I could tell you that I have found one. Well, I kind of did….Over the past 6-8 years that I have been going ham on fitness and nutrition topics I have found some similarities between all of the diets that I see.

They all create a calorie deficit.

Whether it is paleo, keto, non-keto low carb, high carb, vegan, vegetarian, high protein.. you get the point. They all create some sort of calorie deficit whether it is by cutting out food groups (like those nasty, nasty carb things J) or by increasing the level of satiety, calories are reduced. Also, whole foods are harder to digest than processed foods, which means your body spends more energy digesting them.

They bring your attention to the food you are eating.

When you start a new diet, you look into all the foods that you can eat and all the foods that you can’t eat. You may clean out your pantry and your fridge, or just stuff it away for later. When you go grocery shopping, you are looking for the foods in the recipes that you have found that align with the diet principals that you are following. YOUR PAYING ATTENTION and not mindlessly stuffing your face with who knows what from the vending machine when the mid afternoon slump hits.

They focus primarily on whole, minimally processed foods.

While your looking at recipes and at the grocery store, do you notice a change in the types of food in your pantry/cart? Notice less packaged foods, fewer high sugar, high carb foods? This is because most diets focus on whole foods because they’re intrinsically lower in calories than the processed counter parts. Whole foods have more vitamins and minerals, which your body may be desperately crying out for if you are eating a lot of processed foods. When your body needs vitamins and minerals to continue functioning, it increases your hunger so you eat more to attain more of the vitamins and minerals.

Focusing on your food also makes you focus on your physical activity levels.

When you start paying attention to your food and making better choices, most people end up paying more attention to their movement habits as well. Maybe you start going for a short walk during lunch when it’s nice out, or you stand up from your desk a few extra times a day. A lot of the time, when people begin to focus on their nutrition, they begin a fitness program as well. One creates motivation for the other.

Creates Healthy Habits.

When you begin to look at the food you’re eating and becoming more active, you are creating habits that may last longer than the diet. Let’s say you decide to try paleo, or keto and you are very strict about what you are eating for about 2 months. After that, you seem to slide back to added more carbs, or maybe a processed meal here or there. You have created the habits of eating more whole foods and choosing LESS processed foods. You are creating your own sustainable diet, that is custom for you.
When you are thinking about what diet is best for you, you need to take into account the following to ensure that your ‘diet’ becomes a lifestyle and not a crash and burn diet.
  • family
  • life demands
  • stress level
  • work situation
  • income level
  • climate
  • environmental pollutants
  • food availability
  • cooking experience and knowledge
  • time availability for fitness
  • physical activity
Once you have an idea about the above, you can then think about what you like to eat. You don’t want to eat foods that you hate because, well, you won’t eat them.

The best diet is one that you can stick to for the rest of your life.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for calories to be lower or higher than your normal everyday needs, but those periods should be short (no longer than 12 weeks). Choose a way of eating that you can stick to for the rest of your life, not something that it restrictive and unsustainable for you.

The Diet