One of the most frequently asked questions to a coach, nutritionist or a veteran lifter is, “What is the best diet to follow?”
Different experts offer different solutions. Consequently, a great assortment of diets is on display. High Carb, Low Carb, High Fat, Low Fat, Paleo, Zone, Mediterranean, Gluten Free, IIFYM, Weight Watchers, and so on. The fitness enthusiasts have explored gazillions of diets to find the right answer. The maddening variety leads to uttermost chaos for an already mixed-up individual and soon he gets stuck in a morass of muddled rationales.
A Diet Is Not Your Solution
” I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
When you just embark upon your fitness odyssey, you should not get stuck into a particular methodology whether dietary or training. Don’t try to run before you learn how to walk or better yet crawl. You need to set a solid foundation of good habits and practices before jumping into any strict programming. Lack of proper foundation is the number one cause of failure in newbies.
When you try to specialize too soon, the consistency and compliance demands of a rigid program become too much for you as a beginner. After a while when initial motivation begins to fade, you tend to give up with the slightest bump on the track. You feel lost and clueless. Then you again find a new diet and start afresh. This is a vicious cycle.
The Simple Solution
” When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
Start with the most basic and fundamental eating habits. First of all, choose only highest quality foods from natural sources for all of your meals. The high-quality foods are nutrient dense and provide your body with ample nutrition. They are more filling too. For example, focus on veggies and fruits instead of snacking on the carb and sugar laden snacks.
Second, be selective in choosing your starches. Choose starchy foods which contain a good amount of fiber – particularly soluble fiber. The fiber content of food slows down the absorption of sugars while improving blood sugar levels. It is also particularly crucial in reducing the risk of developing type II diabetes which is so rampant these days (Riccardi G. et al). So always give preference to starches like oatmeal, whole grain flours over white bread, white flour type stuff.
Third, don’t skimp over your protein and healthy fat needs. There’s a reason that there are essential amino acids (EAA’s) and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) but NOT essential carbohydrates or sugars. Proteins and fats are very important for your cell structure, enzymes, metabolism and even mental health (Alan. C. Logan). You can choose foods like salmon which provide you both, or you can choose sources like eggs, meats or dairy for complete protein, and fish oil caps, walnuts, flax seed oil, olive oil etc. for good fats.
Keep it simple and sensible, don’t over eat or under eat.
Get conscious of your portion sizes.
Beware of caloric dense and nutritionally void foods. Use common sense when putting anything in your mouth and you’ll be practicing sound nutrition in no time.
Remember that the individualized approach is the best approach because your body is a dynamic machine which keeps changing continuously, so keep tinkering with a thing here and there to perfect your approach.
- Alan C Logan. Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional, Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3: 25. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-3-25
- Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991 Dec;14(12):1115-25.