I get sucked into this trap a lot. Define the "best" way of eating? What diet or food group is the most or least damaging?? Which approach gives lasting results, and what is just the newest fad???
I tried to find the answer guys, I really did.
I've heard lectures by some of the best minds in health and nutrition. I've read countless books, hundreds of online articles, clinical studies & message boards, and I've listened to hours and hours of podcasts and in depth news reports.
The answer I came up with is this: The diet plan that works best is...
Whatever makes you FEEL your best.
Yep, that's it. It's that simple. Our bodies have this remarkable way of reinforcing the habits that make it function better, and discouraging the habits that make its job harder. The KEY to this whole thing is listening to your body and paying attention to its signals. There is no doctor or nutritionist that can tell YOU what will work for YOUR body. There is no study or research group that can predict how you will react to a pill, powder, or superfood. (And while we are on that topic, isn't most food super? That's like plucking one instrument from the orchestra and calling it SUPER... but it's the way they all work together that gives the best sound.. Anyway, I digress.)
The problem for most of us, or at least most of the people I talk to, is that we are so used to feeling a certain way:
TIRED, moody, bloated, lethargic, HUNGRY...
Or having these 'common' symptoms:
headaches, neck/backaches, joint pain, sleep troubles, eczema/acne, sinus trouble, anxiety, depression, IBS, and of course fatigue...
That it all starts to seem oddly normal. It has to get really bad to get our attention.
This is when most people reach out for help. When it has gotten really bad. They get a diagnosis from a doctor. OR finally have enough of their insomnia or chronic fatigue. OR they have become aware of their unhealthy love affair with coffee, sugar, or alcohol.
But the answer will come back the same whether you have hit 'rock bottom' or not.. turn inward and reconnect to your body.
What does it want? What does it need? What makes it feel good?
Understanding food cravings is beyond interesting. Cravings are our bodies way of getting what it wants. Sugary foods usually mean quick energy (this includes coffee, obviously). Salty foods may indicated dehydration. Hankering for a burger or BBQ? Check your iron level. And finally chocolate.. it can either be a cry for a quick emotional boost, or lack of magnesium (the king of all minerals).
Learning to trust ourselves around food can be daunting, especially if we have a long history of yo-yo dieting or restricting for either weight or health reasons. It seems silly we would be fearful of "being able to eat whatever you want" but I think it's actually a very valid fear.
We all know intuitively what to eat, every animal does: A variety of veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean meats or other protein sources, and healthy fats and oils... yada yada yada... but that is NOT what we usually see all around us. Giving in to our cravings typically leaves us eating donuts in our car or an empty bag of potato chips on our lap.
How can this be what I am promoting??! It's not.
(tell me about it!)
There is a real problem out there regarding the processed well advertised junk that sometimes gets labeled "food". Add to that the pressure of trying to count calories, points, or carbs while listening to your body and its signals can seem overwhelming. Working with a health coach can be the missing link while trying to navigate this very bumpy health and wellness road.
Ultimately the choice of what, when, and how to eat will be up to you. I will simply be there to educate, inspire, and support.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more, find me on Facbeook: Linda Tucker Health Coaching