Food is confusing
It shouldn’t be, but it is. Eating a healthy diet sounds incredibly simple, but there’s so much information (and misinformation) out there that making the right health decisions regarding the food you eat can seem impossible. Take, for example, the paleo diet. Some people claim that the paleo diet changed their life and they’ve never felt happier. Others claim the paleo diet is intrinsically unhealthy and bad for you. Who’s right? Both? Neither? Is it possible to even know the answer to that question without formally qualifying as a dietician?
The truth is, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight is tougher now than at any point in human history. There’s just so much choice in terms of the foods you can eat, so many different ideas about what constitutes “healthy”, and our lives are busier than they have ever been. As a result of these three factors, it’s incredibly easy to become confused to a point you give up and just continue eating as you always have.
So, we’re not going to recommend a particular way of eating to you; nor are we going to demonise popular diets. There’s enough of that already involved in this debate. Instead, we’re going to put together a list of essentials that will always be applicable, and can help you make the best decisions about the food you choose to it. Whether your goal is weight loss, health, or just wanting to ensure you’re making the most of the food you eat, remembering these key factors will always keep you on track…
What works for me is what matters
Given that every form of eating is, in various corners of the internet, trumpeted as both the perfect solution and a disaster waiting to happen, what you have to focus on is what works for you personally. Human beings are complex organisms, and what works for someone else might not work for you; just like what works for you might not work for them.
Ultimately, your own body and how you feel is the deciding factor in whether or not a way of eating is beneficial for you. This is empirical evidence that you can amass for yourself, far from the influence of debate, and judged on its own merits pertaining to you and your lifestyle.
Follow the science
Admittedly, this one can be tough to do, as there are so many scientific studies that produce results that argue completely different points.
However, there’s no doubt that following the science is the best way to find an eating plan that can be potentially beneficial. Whether it’s a complete change to your dietary habits, a nutritional cleanse you’re undertaking for weight loss, or eating to help eliminate a health condition, taking the time to read the studies behind the claims is always going to stand you in good stead.
No flexibility is failure
Let’s say that you decide to give a new diet a go, and that diet requires you to eat nothing but cucumber every day for a month. Obviously, we’re exaggerating to make the point here, but all eating regimes have some kind of “rules” that have to be followed. So you’re on your cucumber diet, and it’s working well, and then you’re invited to a gourmet meal with a group of friends.
The cucumber diet will tell you that you shouldn’t go or, if you do, you’re going to just have to eat cucumber for the duration of your visit. It’s at this point that many people fail with any eating plan— special, one-off events lose their appeal because they are so restrictive.
Rather than denying yourself and potentially spoiling a really great experience, you’d be best to be flexible in this situation, and take a day off from the cucumber diet. One day isn’t going to ruin your weight loss or health improvement goals, and you’ll get the benefit of feeling like you’ve been able to indulge for a special occasion. Flexibility is key for all eating plans, so never feel that you have to force yourself to 100% adherence all the time. A controlled break at a designated point is far better for you — and far more sustainable — than an uncontrolled break that you indulge in purely because you’re tired of feeling denied.
Given the plethora of information available about healthy eating, it can feel like making the right choice for you is impossible. However, if you keep the factors above in mind, you should be able to make your own way and find a solution that genuinely works for you.
** Note: This is a collaborative post, image and text has been provided to us for a small fee.