Today I was asked by a vegetarian client, who was struggling with weight loss, if she should just bite the bullet and eat meat.
Whilst I’m personally inclined to throw a steak on the grill at breakfast time, as a nutrition coach I prefer to be agnostic about my approach to weight loss and health. The truth is the human body is highly adaptable to a range of nutritional scenarios. It’s entirely possible to be healthy and fit whether you eat mostly meat or mostly veggies, mostly fat or mostly carbs.
Now, some in the Paleo camp might trumpet that this client needs proteins and fats. After all, eating meat is how our ancestors did it, so she should just suck it up and slaughter a buffalo. However, if we look at and learn from traditional eaters we can see that they have done very well under diverse conditions. African Masai thrive with diets very high in fat and animal products with very few vegetables. Conversely, Kitavans of the South Pacific thrive on diets low in fat but very high in vegetables and starchy carbs; serving to discredit the claims made for low-carb diets.
Confused as to whether I’m advocating Vegetarian, Paleo, High Fat, Low Carb? With the plethora of diets being touted daily on the internet, it can become incredibly dizzying and even disabling. In fact I created Optimal U Mindset Workshops to get people off the diet merry-go-round and back in the driver’s seat. So here is the big reveal….once and for all…..the BEST DIET EVER…….Ready for it?
THERE IS NO “BEST DIET EVER” for every person.
We are all unique in our genetic make up and our lifestyles. We each have different body types, dietary preferences, tolerances and exclusions, budgets, nutrition knowledge and time available for hunting, gathering and preparing our food. There is even variation within each individual. What worked for us at one point in our life may not work for us at a different age or in a different context.
WHAT DIETS HAVE IN COMMON…
Now, I could easily turn criticising each fad diet into a sport. In fact, picking apart the differences and pointing out the faults could be fun but it’s far more useful instead to consider what they all accomplish that is positive and in common.
- They raise nutritional awareness and attention – and simply paying attention and caring about what we eat is a key factor in weight loss.
- They focus on food quality – most nutrition camps – paleo, vegan, low carb, etc. – focus on eating whole, minimally processed, nutrient rich foods which is a perfect strategy for weight loss and health.
- They help eliminate nutrient deficiencies such as water, some vitamins and minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids. When you start eating minimally processed and nutrient dense foods, you can say goodbye to feeling terrible and expect to feel and look transformed and rejuvenated.
- They help control appetite and food intake – by eating mindfully and consuming nutritionally dense food, we tend to self-regulate our appetite and stave off cravings without any need for calorie counting. We give our body what it needs to build muscle, let go of fat and perform better.
- Just add regular exercise – most nutrition camps advocate regular exercise alongside healthy eating. When we start to eat better, we tend to want to move more and better too. It’s the perfect combination for transforming your health and for simply re-engaging in life with your optimal body and health. A mix of high, moderate and low intensity activity combined with simply goofing off will improve your ability to turn the food you eat – be it buffalo or beans – into functioning tissue.
So it’s interesting that although different diets may look oppositional, they all promote good health, body composition, and longevity.
CREATING A NEW MINDSET AND NEW HABITS FOR WEIGHT LOSS…
Did you know that the word diet comes from the Greek word “diatica” which means “Way of Life”. Instead of getting Optimal U clients to fit the latest diet or nutrition fad, I prefer to work with them, truly listen to them, to find an approach to eating that works for them and their health goals and that can be incorporated into their way of life.
In addition to answering questions like these, Optimal U Mindset Workshops set out to explore emotional reasons for eating, overcome limiting beliefs, give practical strategies to deal with cravings and urges and how to eat in a way that balances our hormones resulting in greater energy, clarity and vitality and accelerated fat loss. These workshops will completely transform your relationships with food, exercise and most critically….your relationship with yourself.
If you want to know more, check out the upcoming workshops. If you prefer to work one on one, get in contact to discuss the 12 month Habit Based Mindset and Nutrition Coaching Program.