THE BEST DIET OF ALL TIME

What’s the best diet?

As a fitness professional, one question I hear all the time is, “which diet or nutrition plan do you recommend for best results?”

“Is it Paleo? Vegan? Intermittent fasting? Should I detox first?” etc etc etc

Everyone wants to know the “secret diet” for best results.

Let me share the secret: there is NO secret or ‘best’ diet. I know that may sound upsetting and maybe you don’t quite believe me when you read this but let me explain why.

Everyone of us is so different. You and I have many differences, as do you and everyone else in this world. Just to prove this is true, here are just a few differences many of us have:

• Body type: Some are tall and thin; others short and stocky. Or everything in between.

• Fitness level and body composition: Some are active, strong, lean, and dense. Some have been sedentary for the last 50 years and may be frail, without a lot of muscle.

• Dietary preferences and exclusions: Whether kosher or halal; plant-based or carnivore; scavenger or “picky eater”; iron stomach or “allergic to everything”, we all have a vast range of food preferences and many reasons for them.

• Budget: Some of us might be struggling students, some are middle-class families trying to make ends meet, or highly paid executives — maybe even a pro athlete.

• Organic / conventional: Some of us live on boxed and packaged foods. Some try to read labels, sometimes. Some of us may choose only kale that has been lovingly grown by a sect of Californian monks who hand-pluck the bugs off.

• Nutrition knowledge and diet history: Some of us will be faithful followers of a certain dietary practice, or a history of trying different diets. Others have very little nutrition knowledge at all.

• Time: Some of us have an open schedule, ready for any kind of health and fitness project. Others have a crowded daily schedule and countless conflicting priorities.

• Ethnic background and heritage: I work with clients all over the world. A meal or cuisine that suits your lifestyle may not suit someone who lives in another country or distant state, city or town.

• Age: As we age, our metabolisms change, our food tolerances and appetites change, and our digestive abilities change. You get the picture.

So when someone asks me what the ‘best’ diet is out there…it depends on each and every one of us and the differences we have.

You can be healthy and fit whether you eat mostly meat or mostly veggies, mostly fat or mostly carbohydrates, many times a day or just a few times, and so on. When working with a client, I ask them to track their foods for a few days and then we review the foods they enjoy most and how to make their meals work for them in reaching their goals; while not making them feel deprived of what they enjoy about their favorite foods.

What do they need to be their best?

GOOD NUTRITION IS MORE SIMILAR THAN DIFFERENT.

You might be wondering:

How can such varied diets all keep people fit and healthy? Well, despite their differences, most effective nutrition programs are more alike than different. Here’s how:

1. Good nutrition asks people to care about their food and eating.
Research shows that your actual choices are probably less important than simply paying better attention to what you eat. When you really care about what you eat, and make mindful, deliberate choices, you almost inevitably eat better.

2. Good nutrition focuses on food quality.
Almost no decent diet plan asks you to eat more processed, nutrient-depleted pseudo-food. Instead, pretty much every plan recommends eating whole, minimally processed, nutrient rich foods — foods that our body has a longstanding relationship with.
Regardless of the macronutrient breakdowns or specific choices, just eating better quality food will improve most of our health significantly.

3. Good nutrition helps eliminate nutrient deficiencies.
When we care about what we eat, choose foods mindfully, and try to get the best-quality foods we can afford, we usually get lots of valuable nutrients as a bonus. Many times, when people start a certain diet program, they just start eating better overall. They get more nutrients.
They may get more variety.
Or fresher foods.
Or less-processed foods.
Or foods they chose mindfully. Because of these factors, they feel better. And that’s one reason they start making wild claims about the rejuvenating power of their new diet. They didn’t do anything special, really. They often just started getting what their bodies needed.

4. Good nutrition helps control appetite and food intake. For most people, “it’s hard to eat just one” of the hyper-addictive deliciousness of processed foods. We often keep eating and eating them, but never feel satisfied.

We may also eat them on the go, when we’re rushed and busy.

So not only are we eating foods that encourage us to eat more of them, we’re not even really paying attention to the experience at all.

On the other hand, when we’re more aware of what we’re eating; choose a variety of more satisfying, higher-quality foods; and eliminate nutrient deficiencies, we almost always end up eating less food overall.

We feel more satisfied — both physiologically and psychologically.

We lose fat, gain muscle, and perform better. Notice that you don’t need calorie counting here.

Focusing on food awareness and food quality is usually enough for people to tune into their own hunger and appetite. That means calorie control without the annoying calorie math. (cuz I don’t love math) 🙂

5. Good nutrition promotes regular exercise.
When you start paying attention to what you are eating, you usually start thinking about physical activity too.
Or vice versa: If you take up an activity you love, eventually you start wondering if your nutrition could help you do that activity better.

Good nutrition fits with regular activity like a key into a lock. And most nutrition programs suggest that people exercise along with eating well.

Hopefully this information helped you understand the basis of a good meal plan and that most of them are more similar than we think.

If you need help with your meal planning, shoot me an email today: kathyprofitness@gmail.com

NO Sugar Challenge; end of week 1

I get it that the NO SUGAR challenge sounds super scary, right? I felt the same way when I took this on a year and a half ago, for the very first time. I figured it would be difficult but I had no idea my body would react the way that it did. I was feeling like a drug addict who needed the next “fix”! 🙂  All joking aside, sugar is no joke. We are bombarded with more and more sugar added to almost every food item these days and we don’t even realize what this is doing to our bodies over time.

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I thought, ‘what’s a little extra sugar every day or so’, but added up over every week, month and year…it’s scary how much extra fat that is storing up in our bodies. Think about it, we only use up a certain amount of calories and nutrients (dense or not) at a time..the rest is stored and “stored” means “FAT”. Sugar is no different. I dare you to go open your refrigerator and read some of the labels on your favorite items. I bet you that almost 80% of them contain “sugar”. Ketchup? Yep. Sauces? Yep. Everything in a box or container? Pretty much.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, I know that most people are not willing to do this challenge. It’s uncomfortable and slightly scary but if you get to the point that you know it’s becoming a problem, then you will only be helping the quality of your future health. How about the extra weight around your tummy? Have you noticed this is almost impossible to lose? I can almost bet that the biggest culprit to this issue is sugar. Not the fat in your foods…but the sugars that are stored as fat in your body. Of course, that double double with a side of animal fries and milkshake would account for it too…

Anything that is excessive is fat. Except for veggies, I cannot fault a veggie for being a problem in our diets. But who ever had a kale and spinach obsession? 🙂

Now I promised that I’d share my foods this past week but it became a bit monotonous as I’m a creature of habit. I find that I do best when I eat similar foods throughout my week. If I have to come up with new and glamorous ideas every day, then I’d never be able to stay on track. Simplicity is what helps me most so this is what I share with you. In case you like lots of fun food ideas mixed into your week, you might want to visit some other healthy blogs or websites to get those ideas. I’ll share mine anyway if you’re interested:

Breakfast: Every day this week, I had one of two choices; first was my oats cooked in water with 1 red container Greek yogurt mixed in and 1 Tbsp all-natural peanut butter. I also had coffee with 1 Tbls half and half. No sugar added to anything and that includes stevia and xylitol this challenge. My second choice for breakfast was 1/2 cup oats blended in my VitaMix with 2 whole eggs and cooked up as a pancake. I would then top it with 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt and either some peanut butter or cut-up strawberries (although I have been saving my limited fruits for after lunch or dinner snacks).

Mid-morning snack: This stayed the same as it’s immediately following my workout. I have my Shakeology and blended it in my VitaMix blender with 1 cup water and 1 cup ice. I’m kind of obsessed with our new Cafe Latte flavor so this has been my daily flavor of choice. Before this challenge, I would always add one fruit selection to the shake but I’ll get back to that after this is complete.

Lunch: My lunches vary depending on what dinner was the previous evening. It’s either a salad topped with ground turkey, chicken or salmon OR sauteed veggies scrambled with 2 eggs and half of a blue container of shredded natural cheese. This is the time I’ll have my sliced up apple, topped with peanut butter and drink my tea with no sugar or stevia added.

Afternoon snack: My favorite snack at this time is usually my oats soaked for about 15-20 minutes in sugar free natural almond milk and mixed with greek yogurt and maybe a teaspoon of peanut butter. (I know, as I wrote my foods down, I realize I may have to do a NO PEANUT BUTTER challenge next…but why bother bringing me to my knees for no real reason?)

Dinner: Varies every day but our common choices (family favorites) are; tacos (to which I make a taco salad with no tortillas), grilled chicken anything, salmon, turkey meatballs – to name a few. I also got a bit creative this week and made a quinoa salad and enjoyed that atop a bed of greens and some olive oil. It actually is kind of fun searching out new and healthy ideas as I get stuck in my sameness for a long time…until I get so sick of something that I cannot eat it for months.

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Pretty sane, right? I thought so 😉

So in wrapping up my week 1 of the challenge so far (just 1 week to go), I’ve realized that even though I struggled with cravings and mood swings the first time I did this (a year ago), I must have not gone back to as much sweetness and fruits as I thought I did because this week was cake (wait, did I say “CAKE”? I meant it was EASY!) I seriously had ZERO cravings or mood swings this past week and the only struggle I dealt with was the weekend habits of treating myself to a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”…right? Now that I’m observing and holding myself accountable to this challenge, I’m left with the feeling of “when did I create this weekend habit?” which is something we should all be more aware of throughout our health and fitness journeys. If we never assess what’s happening in the stretches of time that connect our results, we never actually realize what it is that is sabotaging our efforts along the journey.

Bottom line, start reading your own ingredient lists and start to buy only products that contain zero added sugar. No need to go crazy and dump everything in your home but being aware and creating a new “normal” will only add to better results as you continue to move forward.

What will happen in week #2?