All of them backed by oodles of research and testimonials and promises of rainbows and unicorns.
And some of them deliver!**
The problem is...it's confusing. One day we're told to eat whole grains...the next day, grains are the devil. Same goes for meat and caffeine and fruit and...KALE?! Who has a problem with kale???? Somebody does.
I get it. I've been part of the conversation for a long time. I've used these food plans therapeutically (with great results) and I don't doubt that there are people all over who are REALLY changing their lives by changing their diet.....BUT.
How can you figure out the most optimal diet, designed specifically for your body and lifestyle, that you can STICK TO?
1. Listen to the INTERNAL messages: listen to what your body is asking for, sit down, and eat it. See how you feel. If you've been restricting you might find you want a lot of "forbidden" foods at first (hello mac and cheese and chocolate pudding!)...GO FOR IT! Forget shoulds and weight and health***...just for a moment...and follow your body. SCARY!!!! But there is only one way to figure out what your body really wants and it involves TRUST and EXPERIMENTATION.
2. BE FLEXIBLE: your nutritional needs will change with the time of year, stress levels, exercise, age, etc. Allow for the fact that you may not want to eat meat or dairy for awhile but then you might crave it. You may only want a smoothie for breakfast in the summer but in the winter you'll need a bowl of porridge. If you're dealing with a stressful situation you might occasionally find comfort in an extra cup of coffee or a cookie. Whatever. It's normal.
trying to pre-plan all of your food for days/weeks/months
trying to control your hunger
ignoring your body's cues for nutrients and calories
using up all of your brain space for carb/fat/point counting
thinking you can't have a bullet proof coffee and a piece of toast because of some rules made up by some person who doesn't know you or your body or what you need****
Coming up next......what about health?? How to eat what you want AND be healthy!!!
*very rough estimate
**not on the unicorns and rainbows....but you might feel better
***I can hear you screaming at the screen from here....BUT WHAT ABOUT HEALTH??? I'll talk about that in my next post, pour yourself and drink and relax already:)
****can be applied to any food rules....like no carbs and protein together, only fruit in the am, sugar + anything will kill you, etc.