Dieting Introduction

So… what is Good Nutrition and what is ‘Dieting’

Before I begin I want to clarify what I mean by the word ‘diet’.

To me a ‘diet’ in not a ‘restriction of foods and calories to lose weight’. So this is the first thing I want to clarify to someone when reading what is to follow. I simply use the term in reference to a ‘nutritional intake’. Basically: ‘Diet’ is NOT a dirty word…!!!

I also want to clarify the difference between eating for ‘weight loss’ and eating for ‘optimal health’ – because the two do not necessarily correlate! There is a lot of conflicting information with regards to the ‘best approach’ to both these things. For example, most ‘weight loss diets’ promise that their diet ‘is best’ and you’ll get ‘rapid results with little effort’. Whether it be ‘low fat’, ‘low carb’, ‘low GI’, ‘no carbs at night’, ‘add ‘this’ to your diet and you’ll lose weight’, ‘cut out ‘that’ from your diet and you’ll lose weight’ or any of the other ‘miracle cures’ out!. Most ‘health’ diets (eg: marcobiotic, lemon detoxify, grapefruit, raw etc) are similar in their promises – suggesting they will ‘cure cancer’, ‘detoxify the body’ or ‘optimise health’ by simply eliminating a food group or adding in a ‘special’ ingredient.

Sure, they may work but…. The reality is that they are often just simply variations of a general theme:

  1. Eat less calories than you need
  2. Burn more calories than you eat

These are the key principles to ANY program and if the above two things ultimately eventuate, then you CAN and WILL see results…

BUT this is where I stand on my milk carton. Why? Because eventually these mass marketed ‘one size fits all’ approaches commonly FAIL! Even worse, they can cause long term ill health or negative psychological consequences. Why?

Because they usually fail to address underlying physical and psychological problems or concerns of an individual that have lead to the issue in the first place. Additionally, they often impose unrealistic (at least in the long term) rules and ‘regulations’ on a person. And as a consequence, they can end up creating guilt and unhealthy relationships with food – ending up being disastrous for your wallet, your mental attitude toward yourself and your ‘diet and exercise approach’ and many even cause a spiral into a yo-yo diet cycle.

What I suggest?

Approach any diet with your ‘ears pricked’. If it doesn’t make sense, if it looks ‘too good to be true’ or if it suggests wacky or complex ‘science’ behind why it works it probably a load of bollox.

Some thoughts to help keep you SANE:

  • When ‘dieting’ (for ‘health’ or ‘weight goals’) it is NEVER a good idea to drop entire food groups, or to ‘give up’ all your favourite foods. Follow the basic principles as you can incorporate most foods in sensible amounts.
  • Leading on from this – There is no such thing as ‘weight loss food’, or a ‘bad food’. Attaching these emotions or emotive words to what you eat is never helpful. Do NOT start to feel ‘guilty’ when eating ‘treats’ or ‘yummies’. If you want something – eat it, but know it needs to be ‘portioned’ appropriately.
  • Be PATIENT and REALISTIC with yourself – just as you didn’t become ‘unhealthy, unfit, and overweight’ in a day, it is going to take ‘time’ and work to reverse the damage!
  • A HEALTHY DIET it about choosing nutrient dense foods (such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and other ‘more natural foods’)
  • WEIGHT LOSS is mostly a matter of portions and ENERGY INTAKE. A person can have a ‘diet’ of biscuits, ice-cream and still ‘lose weight’ if they do enough activity to cover the calories they eat (or they eat too little energy to meet their energy needs)! Similarly, someone could eat a diet of ‘organic, whole grain and wholesome products’ and if they ate too much – they would still gain weight.

Basically – At the end of the day, regardless of your goals, be sure to educate yourself on what is a ‘healthy and realistic way of eating’ such that you can make an informed choice about what you want so you can enjoy life, while you reach your goals too.