This morning, a post I made to Instagram got me thinking on today’s blog article. This one, to be exact…
Go ahead, read it.
I want to go into more detail about this because it’s something that I think throws a lot of people off. We scroll through social media and are bombarded with a multitude of diets, cleanses and meal plans. It can become overwhelming to try and decide which works best. So most people simply choose the fastest, cheapest, easiest [insert adjective of choice here] in an effort to lose weight or “tone”.
At the end of the day though, without knowing your activity level, medical history, goals, contraindications or injuries, metabolic profiles, medical issues and so on, they are not qualified to specifically guide you nutritionally. That includes me. There are so many varied options out there that one would be hard pressed to determine exactly which method is best for you anyway.
A good example is the comparison of flexible dieting vs clean eating. The two are very similar in that they both tend to focus on macronutrient intake. However flexible dieting, also known as “if it fits your macros” doesn’t always take the quality of food into consideration (Notice I said that it doesn’t always, there are many methods to this type of eating as well). With IIFYM dieting, as long as you reach your daily requirements for fats, carbs and proteins, the food you consume to reach those target macros is irrelevant. However with clean eating the focus is more on the quality of your food and minimizing or eliminating the intake of processed foods. The theory here is that by improving the quality of food, quantity becomes less important.
Now, if I were to present those two methods to someone, there are numerous factors that would come into play before deciding which guideline, if any, they should follow. When you see a 3 day diet, a detox challenge, or anything else that seems too good to be true, be leery. It probably is. At the same time, just because paleo, atkins, dukan or weight watchers worked for someone on instagram, that doesn’t mean that you should try it too.
So where do you start when you’re ready to make a change? Here are some simple rules that won’t necessarily box you into any “diet” but will help you maintain a higher level of health.
Avoid white sugar and flours
Avoid sodas and candy
Avoid cake, cookies, etc.
Aim for your recommended intake of protein, carbs and fats (check choosemyplate.gov for your personalized recommendations)
More veggies and fruits
Eat to perform, food is fuel and the higher the quality, the more efficiently you’ll function
Drink plenty of water
Try less processed foods, they tend to be more nutrient dense
Keep a food journal so that you can see what worked and what didn’t.
Remember, this is about finding what works for you. If you find you need more help, contact a trainer or dietitian so you can discuss the full spectrum of your health needs to get the best recommendations. There are different levels of assistance that are available to you through the health continuum so seeing where you stand is the first step. As always, contact me if you have any questions!