I’m going to share something with you that will change your dieting habits forever. It’s something that most people who profit from the dieting industry won’t tell you and it is something that may change your eating habits for the better. But first I want to explain why I’m sharing this.
Nowadays, there are more types of diets than you probably ever have time to try. There are more diet and weight loss related products than you could probably ever afford. And the thing is, they don’t work for everyone. Some of them don’t even work at all. You could combine every weight loss supplement in every supplement shop and still not get the results you’re after.
Everywhere you look – on the internet and in reality – people are trying to sell you something. It might be a product or it might be something as simple as an idea. When it concerns dieting and nutrition, it can be both. When it comes to dieting, it’s easy to feel so overwhelmed by all the information thrown at you from a million different sources. And what makes it even more confusing is the fact that hardly any of the information you are given correlates with information you might get from somewhere else. It’s so easy to become unsure, confused and frustrated with diet-related information.
Just this week the internet almost blew up when it was reported that processed meats including bacon and sausages cause cancer. So while you’re digesting this new information, Pete Evans is spreading the paleo-diet message and arguing the fact that he will still be eating meat despite any claims by the World Health Organisation. In fact, his response to the meat-cancer-scare: “Your biggest detractors will be getting a kick out of this and no doubt trying to sabotage your efforts with this media story”. Meanwhile, you’ve got vegans promoting the benefits of eating plant-based, for both weight loss and health reasons. Freelee the Banana Girl promotes eating up to 51 bananas a day on a high carb, raw vegan diet. But before you try that, health experts have claimed that this type of diet will leave you deficient in certain nutrients. And let’s not forget the juice diets, the detox diets, the high protein diets, the low carb diets, the high carb diets, the low fat diets, the high fat diets, the IIFYM diets, the plant based diets, the Mediterranean diets, the vegetarian diets, the fasting diets, the Pescetarian diets, the Atkins diet, the starch-solution diets, the gluten free diets, the low sodium diet, the organic food diet – this list could literally go on for ever. And almost none of these diets promote the same ideologies. It’s not like you can combine the diets to come up with the “best ever diet” – no, each promotes a different message and has a different set of guidelines. And it’s no wonder that people are probably more confused than ever before when it comes to diet and nutrition. You can’t synthesise all the information out there and it’s difficult to know which diet you should follow to get your desired results. You can be trialling one diet but then be told it doesn’t work by a ‘health expert’ who will recommend that you follow his/her diet, until you meet another ‘health expert’ and the cycle continues.
So now comes my big diet secret reveal.
Are you ready?
Listen to your body.
It seems so simple but in reality it is probably the most under-utilised ‘diet’ out there.
To listen to your body means to be in touch with your dietary requirements. To educate yourself on nutrition and to know the effects that macro/micro nutrients have on your body. To learn what you should eat and in what quantities to ensure optimal health. To realise what your body is asking for when you begin to crave something. To be able to distinguish between a ‘true craving’ and a hunger pang/sugar craving/quick fix craving. Sure, it may take some time to figure everything out but once you reach the stage where you can read your body’s signs and truly listen to your body, it will be worth all the time it took you to reach that point.
When I say ‘listen to your body’, I mean listen to it within reason. There is a difference between craving something because your body requires the nutrients or benefit of the food or beverage (e.g. you feel thirsty when your body craves water and then you know you need to drink something) and craving something because you think it would be delicious in the moment (e.g. when you “crave” a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies, your body doesn’t require them to function healthily – your mind (and stomach) just want them).
Learn about food and the body. There are hundreds of documentaries you can watch and papers you can read – and many of them can be found on the internet free of charge. Understand the importance of good nutrition and the benefits that a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and a healthy balance of macronutrients can bring. Don’t simply rely on something that someone tells you – figure out if that method/idea/recommendation works for you. If it does – great! You can adopt it into your diet. If it doesn’t – stop! Too often people try to stick to a diet because of the promised health benefits even though they feel sick, tired, unhappy, hungry, bloated or something similar. They don’t listen to their bodies and choose instead to listen to a ‘health expert’ who doesn’t know their body, composition, lifestyle and health as well as they do.
Learning to listen to your body is a process but it is one that will lead to a balanced, healthy, and optimal form of eating for your body. It’s not a quick fix or a crash diet – I would hardly call it a ‘diet’ at all! If it is done correctly and with healthy intentions, it is a way of eating that can sustain you and your well-being for the rest of your life.