Do what works for YOU!
If you want to begin a diet/lifestyle change these days, there is SO much information about SO many different types of approaches, it is enough to make your head spin. We have Paleo, Keto, Vegans, Low Carb, Low Fat, South Beach, IIFYM, Intermittent Fasting, 6 Small Meals/Day….the list goes on and on.
Given so many options, a lot of people are steadfast in their commitment to “one approach”, and become so ingrained in that dietary culture that they become zealots for their approach.
When it comes to improving health markers, building muscle, burning fat, you can find a research study out there that supports YOUR preferred dietary approach, and while that is great, it doesn’t mean that you need to convince others to do this, or scoff at them that they are “wrong” if they don’t enjoy the lifestyle that that approach provides.
Most people out there want to get leaner, build muscle, feel more energy, and lead a more enriched, fulfilled life; the dietary approach you choose, and the consequential lifestyle you lead HAS to align with choices that you can sustain for life, if this is truly to become a lifestyle change. Here are some guidelines to help you find the approach that works best for you:
1. Meal Frequency:
Do you have low blood sugar, or do you feel awful if you go more than 3 hours without eating? Do you feel terrible after a large meal? Then Intermittent Fasting is probably NOT for you. Conversely, if you struggle with hunger throughout the day, enjoy eating large meals, or tend to obsess over when your next meal is coming, then an approach that has you eating 1-3 meals in a condensed eating window, like IF, sounds like a logical choice.
2. Macro Composition:
If you absolutely LOVE protein and oatmeal, then the Ketogenic Diet is probably not going to work for you. Your success in making a lifestyle change will be dictated by your adherence, and if you are constantly suppressing the urge to indulge in foods you enjoy, then it is only a matter of time before you give in and quit altogether. Do you enjoy fats, and don’t mind skimping on protein, with trace amounts of carbs? Keto is calling your name. Do you enjoy the flexibility of fitting in a Fun Size candy bar after dinner? IIFYM is for you. Select an approach that you genuinely enjoy, and adherence WILL follow!
If you are constantly stressing over what your next meal will consist of, and having to exert a lot of will power over every single choice you make, then you are destined to fail. Does pre planning your day in advance, and following strict macro guidelines cause you stress? Don’t do it! Maybe a “rules” based approach like a “Low Carb” diet is best. Do you find yourself getting stressed over NOT being able to include certain things in your diet? Find the approach that best allows you the opportunity to do so.
Managing hunger is, in my opinion, the most critical element in dietary adherence. Some people feel quite hungry unless they include a complex carb source with each meal. Others may feel HUNGRIER if they ingest carbs, or want more and more.
Every single one of us has a different, unique physiology, and discovering what allows you to go about your day with your mind OFF of food, and ONTO leading a quality life, is what matters most. At the end of the day, if you are happy with your approach, and able to sustain it FOR LIFE, then you have discovered the Holy Grail of dieting!
However, this does not mean the OTHER approaches do not work for other people, and I think if all of us kept an open mind, and expressed happiness that others have found in their preferred approach, there would be much less dietary dogma/confusion, and a lot more “options” for people to select from.
At the end of the day, if you are happy with your approach, and able to sustain it FOR LIFE, then you have discovered the Holy Grail of dieting! However, this does not mean the OTHER approaches do not work for other people, and I think if all of us kept an open mind, and expressed happiness that others have found in their preferred approach, there would be much less dietary dogma/confusion, and a lot more “options” for people to select from.
Comment below: What parts of your diet do you struggle with? I would love to help!