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Diets and the New Year!

This is a wonderful time of year for so many reasons, but the one thing people dread after January 1st, is the weight that might be gained during all the wonderful foods of the Holiday Season. So, what does one do to get back on track? What diet is the best, and what does the term diet mean these days anyway?

Let’s start with the common definition of a diet, and the challenge that we place on ourselves with this traditional definition. First, when we speak about a diet, or going on a diet, we are referring to a change in our eating habits, and perhaps fitness habits to help lose weight we have gained over some period of time. That time frame could be a few months, or a few years or more, but the main point is that we are making a temporary change to lose excess weight we have gained. Let that sink in for minute. In most cases, we are making a temporary change in our eating habits, to correct issues with our weight from our normal day to day eating habits. If that is the case, we will find ourselves having to go on and off diets all our lives. Not only is that mentally and emotionally exhausting, but it is hard on your body too.

So, let’s look at a different mindset when it comes to eating and dieting. If our current eating habits are increasing our weight, and perhaps making us ill, then it might be time to make a permanent change to how we eat each day, solving this problem once and for all. Is knowing what we should eat really the challenge here? I doubt it, since most of us if asked, will give the correct answer. Eat more fruits and veggies, drink more water, and reduce processed foods and sugars. See, you already know this. J Of course, if it were that easy we would not have an obesity epidemic in this country that we have. Unfortunately, that is the topic of another discussion altogether, and will be the subject of my public workshop in January. Check it out here if you are interested and look under the Classes tab!

I know that many of us struggle with how to best make these changes in their life. We all look for existing dietary models to follow that we feel will work best for us, and help us achieve our goals. Many of us just reduce calories, and exercise more in the hopes of losing that extra weight. Some will go on a low carb diet, high protein diet, etc etc. Do you ever wonder why there are so many popular diets out there? How can it be that one person will go low carb, while another might go high carb and still both get good results? Do all diets work? Are they all just hype, and calories are king? The answer, as flippant as it might sound, is that it depends.

I know you are all probably face palming right about now, but hear me out. Big diets are popular, they sell many books, seminars, food labels, etc. Think about it. Would a diet that did not work at all ever get and stay that popular? If no one was ever successful with the Paleo diet, do you think people would waste time and money on it? Of course not! However, there are many success stories with Paleo followers, just as there are with Vegan followers.

So how is it possible that two diametrically opposed dietary philosophies both work? The answer is a simple one, bio-individuality. Bio-individuality simply means that we are all unique, and what works for one, may or may not work for another. It means that while there are basic rules for a healthy diet, the details can and will likely be different from one person to another. We are all individual biological beings, and as such there are and will be many diets that will help many people. Please don’t forget, that any dietary improvement over the standard American diet will produce good results, at least initially. But your body will be your best gauge to help you find the optimal diet for you. Like I said before, every dietary model agrees on a few concepts. Eat more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, less sugar, and more whole foods when possible. Outside of these guidelines, your body will tell you whether diary, animal products, grains, etc are ok. One of the roles of a Health Coach is to help you figure out what foods your body will thrive on, and help you move towards a day to day diet that matches that. Diet is the wrong word here, lifestyle is a better one since what you now eat is not a temporary change, but a permanent one. This lifestyle change coupled with learning how to listen to your body will help you eat healthy every day, for the rest of your life.

So how do you get started in making some changes towards that healthy lifestyle? There are some very basic changes we can all make, and frankly should make to help improve our lives. Making any one of these will make a profound impact to your day to day life, while making them all will transform you. The New Year is here. What are you waiting for? You want some ideas for New Year’s resolutions, pick one of more of these, and see what happens. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Possible Resolutions

  • Drink more water each day (64 oz)

  • Eat 2-3 additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day

  • Eliminate all soft drinks (diet or otherwise)

  • Cut processed foods in half

  • Cook 2 more additional meals at home each week using fresh ingredients

  • Cut processed sugar intake by half of your current daily average

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