The Best Diet Is A Myth. What You Need To Know To Find Your Best Diet
Aug 06, 2022
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There is a pretty constant stream of research about different diets and nutrition. Low-fat vs. low-carb, which is best? The effects of a ketogenic diet. Intermittent fasting or time restricted eating, pros and cons.  And, of course, the commonly accepted "facts" we all know about nutrition.
If you look long enough you will probably end up confused. Or you may be tempted to cherry pick the research to conform to what you want to be true. So how do you find the truth?
Look at the research
Not all studies are created equal. When looking at research, it's important to understand how they came to the conclusion. How many people participated and for how long? What exactly were they testing?
Let's say some researchers are looking at meat eaters versus vegetarians to gauge their overall health. Would they be taking exercise into account? Would they track any other foods like fast food or sodas? Were both groups restricted to the same amount of calories? Never trust a headline that easily explains an entire study, there is usually more to the story.
It's unlikely that there will be definitive evidence of a diet that fits everyone's needs. A healthy lifestyle and nutrition plan will need to be tailored to you. You can do this through trial and error, or with the help of a doctor and/or nutritionist.
So the question is: what is the best diet for YOU?
The answer is: the type of diet may not matter, as long as you can get results and enjoy your life. Though, you should have at least a basic understanding of its techniques and how they work for you.
You don't have to completely cut out foods that you like. Even if they might be less healthy, most everything is fine in moderation. And who knows, maybe after a few months of healthier choices, the unhealthy choices will look less appealing. Prioritize your health, but don't torture yourself. As Mary Berry says, "Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a small slice."
Making healthy eating easy
So how can you work good eating habits into your busy life? A reasonable goal might be to try and eat at least one healthy meal per day. Here are some ways to make that possible on a tight schedule:
We all have so many commitments these days. Between work, school, family, friends, and more, we don't really have much free time anymore. But even if most of the things on your schedule were put there by someone else, it's still your schedule.
Planning what to eat ahead of time can help you fit healthy meals into your life. Try to get yourself in the position of planning at least one day in advance what you are going to eat.
Make it quick
There are so many healthy foods that are easy to grab for a quick snack. Prepare snacks that are easy to grab and take with you. Decide what meal during the day you have the most control over and commit to eating healthy for that meal. It may be easier to take a salad to work in the morning than to eat healthy on the go at night.
Try snacking on things like vegetables, hummus, deli meats, boiled eggs, nuts or peanuts. They transport pretty easily and can help you meet your nutrition plan requirements. Also things you can make ahead like overnight oats and homemade snack assortments.
Hone your chef skills
Cooking at home has been shown to be the most healthy way to eat. People who cook at home tend to eat fewer calories, fats, salt and sugars than people who do not. If time is at a premium, planning ahead can be your ticket to a healthy meal.
Meal prep can be helpful if you don't have the free time to make food every day. Choose a day, or a few days a week, that you have some free time. Then you prep, cook, and store any meals you want until the next time you have scheduled yourself to cook. If you like variety, freeze a few different meals and rotate them.
Slow cooker or single pot meals can be lower effort and quick to serve. Make things that you know will make leftovers, so you have something easy the next day. For more information, go to r/MealPrepSunday on reddit.
Eating for cheap in a healthy way
Eating healthy has a negative stigma of being a more expensive way of eating, and it can be. But by learning how to prepare a variety of foods, and comparison shopping ingredients, you can keep it cost effective. Market prices fluctuate based on availability, seasonality, and many other factors. Beef prices may be at a premium when chicken is rather affordable. Buying fruits and vegetables out of season may be more expensive and/or less flavorful.
Also the more work that's done to a product before you buy it, the more it costs. Learning to break down larger pieces into smaller ones yourself can save you money. Lots of things are cheaper if you buy the whole thing and cut it at home. Like whole chickens, tenderloins, whole watermelons, and pineapples, to name a few.
Anything that you can do to be involved with the preparation and selection of your diet will be time well spent.
Use your support system
Family and friends can be very helpful as you start to make lifestyle changes. Accountability partners and support groups are also possibilities to look into. An accountability partner is just that, a partner that helps you keep yourself accountable. This should be someone who you have trust and respect flowing both ways. Someone who will support you and challenge you, but won't push you too hard or let you be hard on yourself.
Find some ways for you to measure your progress towards your goal. Be that how you're feeling mentally, physically, emotionally, or anything. A doctor can help you track improved bio-markers like lipids, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Write these things down so that you can look at them when you are feeling like you want to give up. Count every step forward as a small win. You can show them to your support system and then you can celebrate together.
Find our free Accountability printable here.
If you find that you tend to eat unhealthy snacks in your idle time, try using a hobby to fill that time. Paint, draw, play an instrument, practice cooking healthy meals, or get involved in an exercise routine.
Exercising at home is great, but some find it hard to hold themselves accountable. If that's the case, getting out of the house and doing something like going to a gym may make it more of a commitment for you. Some find gyms intimidating, everyone is there to get and stay healthy. They understand how valuable health is and there's no judgment.
Tying it all together
Changing your diet is hard. It will take a lot of work and practice. You may have setbacks and feel like your effort is not paying off. It is likely that there will be a trial and error period before you find out what gets you the results that you want. You can do it though. Persistence pays off. When you make your health and your diet an important part of how you live your life, you will never want to go back.
Love to learn about food?
The foods that we eat have such an enormous effect on our performance and how we feel everyday. If you want to get super deep into the science of nutrition, check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick's podcast, FoundMyFitness. Dr. Patrick is probably one of the most informed people on the planet when it comes to our biological health. If your body can come in contact with something, she can tell you what we know about it.