The secret is…MODERATION!
With all the fad diets and misinformation that we are bombarded with it comes as little surprise that most of us do not know where to start with our quest for better health and weight loss.
Whenever I turn on the TV or read an article on health I am constantly reading about some new amazing diet that will transform my body and make me feel great etc. Unfortunately most of these diets are extremely difficult to stick to and in the long term can be bad for you.
Some diets claim you should eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, some claim you should become vegetarian, all of them seem to advocate some sort of extreme where you must eliminate a particular type of food or nutrient. Here is the reality; firstly it is extremely difficult if not impossible to completely eliminate a particular food or nutrient from your diet. Secondly, it is bad for you!
You SHOULD NOT remove any one food group or nutrient from your diet completely. Every food source is good for you in moderation and you need to eat a varied diet to remain healthy. Not all carbohydrates are bad for you, for example I eat whole wheat bread almost everyday and I look and feel great. But I eat it in moderation. Meat is not bad for you and therefore a diet that claims anything but that is fooling you. You should eat meat; for example, chicken, turkey and beef are great sources of protein. But once again you should not eat excessive amounts of meat.
I will not write in detail about vitamin and nutrient supplements as that would take up an entire article itself. However I will tell you that supplementing is not a long-term solution and therefore you should make the necessary changes to ensure that you receive your nutrition from real food. Supplementing with artificial, man made vitamins and nutrients will not make you healthy. Your body does not want or need artificial supplements. Your body needs food so stop depriving it.
Your food consumption should be like any other area of your life, balanced. If you work too much and you don’t get enough rest you will get stressed, you will not work to your best ability and your mental health will eventually suffer. If you exercise excessively and your body does not get enough rest to recover then you will break your body down and you will not meet your fitness goals. In the same way your diet needs to be balanced.
Do not buy into false diets or systems that claim they have a quick fix for weight loss and health. There is no quick fix! You need to ensure your entire lifestyle is one that is conducive to your health. One part of your lifestyle is your diet and you should eat anything you want to eat, in moderation. As long as you are not eating excessively you will not become fat and unhealthy. For example, having a donut once a week is perfectly fine, having donuts three times a day is not.
A moderate and varied diet will help you feel healthier, will help you lose weight and will stop you becoming deficient in any particular nutrient. Most diseases such as cancer and heart disease can be prevented (to an extent), controlled, or sometimes even reversed by diet and nutrition. The only way to ensure your diet is nutritionally rich is by ensuring no particular food group is missing. So, if you are currently avoiding carbohydrates because ‘your diet’ tells you to then start having some carbohydrates! If you have been told to stop eating meat, start eating some meat! Whatever it is that you decided to stop eating completely, reintroduce it into your daily diet in moderation.
If you insist on being extreme like most diets advocate then you will eventually give in to what ever it is you have given up, you will waste the progress you have made and it will be to the detriment of your long-term health.
As humans we are always tempted, be it by food or anything else. We are most tempted by that which we cannot have. Stop restricting yourself and you will have more control over yourself.