Every year you hear of a new diet that is “backed by science” like Adkins, Paleo, Blood Type, and the “master cleanse.” It’s only a matter of time before you hear of the cheese curd off the wall diet backed by science because you burn calories by moving to catch the curd in your mouth! Though I joke, there are some diets that have been made for reasons other than fat loss that have been changed for the purpose of losing weight.
For example, the Ketosis diet is supported by science to be very specific for a certain population. You are supposed to have very little carbs per day (approx. 5-10% if total daily calories), while the fat percentage is very high (approx. 65-70%) and protein makes up the rest at around 20-30%. The idea is that if your body does not have the carbohydrates to fuel you, then the energy has to come from somewhere else! This is where ketones come into play to produce energy and allow your brain to still function without sugars readily available in the body. The Ketosis diet was developed in the 1920’s to help control childhood epilepsy because of how the ketones interact in the brain in replacement of sugar (Hartman, 2007). *I am not saying to start a ketosis diet if you have epilepsy, please consult a physician and Registered Dietitian. * Yet people are using this diet as a means to lose weight.
So now, when we think about diets, it’s very easy to get caught up in the hype because it is all over the place! It’s in magazines, billboards, ads on your computer, and everyone knows at least one person trying to lose weight. With all this nutrition and diet information in our faces, what are we supposed to trust? The good news is, there are some general guidelines to follow to start thinking about your eating as changing a habit rather than going on a diet!
Three Simple Rules:
1st – If it says diet, don’t trust it.
Think about how words were created… every word has a root, prefix, suffix, translation, and many other factors. Now take the word DIET, get rid of the T, and what do you have? DIE. It is literally a means to an end.
There are two meanings to diet; one is “the kind of foods a human or creature habitually eats” and the other is “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.” Even though there are two definitions to the term, generally, the mind likes to stick to a more negative connotation. So, if you restrict yourself, starve yourself, then you are sending your body into the mentality of dying so it is trying to preserve itself the best it can. Therefore, the term is not my favorite to use.
Instead of saying that you are going on a diet, try transforming your lifestyle. This way your brain has a positive connotation to changing what you eat. On top of that, transforming your lifestyle brings about a dramatic change in your behavior around eating that creates and cements new habits.
2nd – Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Queen, Dinner like a Pauper, and Snacks like a Bird in between.
Just like the first rule, lets break down breakfast to show how important it is… Breakfast… Break the Fast. It is your first meal of the day after waking up. Whether you wake up at a normal time or if you work nights and sleep during the day, your first meal is to break the fast and get nutrients into your body. What we want to accomplish with this is to shift our body from a Catabolic state (state where you are breaking down molecules in the body to make nutrients, think shrink) to an Anabolic one (state where molecules are being put together in the body, think growth.)
Once we have our first meal, we want to maintain a steady flow through the day by eating every 2-4 hours depending on how you feel. This includes snacks, lunch, and dinner. The food we eat provides us the energy to run. Like a car, if you run out of gas then you’re going to be stranded on the side of the road; fatigued, losing focus, and looking for the closest thing, and fastest, that can be put into your mouth which sometimes isn’t the best meal.
Start your day with a good meal and eat every 2-4 hours to sustain your energy. You will be able to maintain your focus and be able to stick to your lifestyle change much easier!
3rd – Think before, during, and after you eat.
In the nutrition field, there is a concept called mindful eating where you make sure you are present when you eat. That means no answering emails over lunch or being distracted by the TV during dinner! Personally, it means to listen to your body when you eat instead of focusing on something else. I went a long time thinking that when I get bloated, it was normal. The more I sat to realize what I was eating and how fast, it made me think that bloating is not normal and that there were other foods I should try to see if I saw the same effect.
Think Before: What am I going to eat so you can properly plan for it? There’s an awesome concept called meal prepping! Cook all your food for 3-5 days at one time so you know what you are eating.
Think During: How does my mouth, throat, and stomach feel when eating this. Does your mouth or tongue tingle, does your throat feel scratchy, do you feel like your stomach is churning or that you feel bloated?
Think After: What could I have eaten yesterday that is making me feel this way? Does your skin feel itchy, do your joints ache more than normal when you wake up, do you feel sluggish when you try and get out of bed?
If what you are eating makes you feel bad, it is probably a good idea to eliminate it. Toss it, leave it, and never go back to retrieve it!
Take the three rules I laid out above as a guideline to be conscious of when you go about your day. What do you see around you regarding fad diets and crazy ways to lose or gain weight? What does your normal eating schedule look like and do you still have energy by the end of the day? And, how do you feel before, during, and after you eat?
Then I’m going to say something crazy that you may have NEVER heard in your life… JOURNAL IT. Write down what you ate and how you feel after and when you normally eat. You will never think about it until you see it with your own two eyes. Then take what you feel and change your lifestyle instead of following a diet for 30 to 90 days and reverting to what you were doing before.
To find out more about how to change your mindset behind dieting schedule a free consultation with one of our fitness professionals.