Many of the most common questions we relate to nutrition. Sometimes they are questions relating to what protein options are best, what you should eat for breakfast, or whether or not you can have alcohol and still lose weight. Really, all of these questions are asking the same thing – what is the best diet for me?
In this post, we’ll cover the important things to consider when choosing a diet, and how to implement those changes in your own daily nutrition.
Three ways to choose the best diet
There are three things you need to consider when you’re choosing the best diet for you:
- Your personal goals and lifestyle
- The food quality in the diet
- Your ability to consistently follow the diet
Let’s break it down.
Your Personal Goals and Lifestyle:
There are so many different diets – but not all of them support the same goals. For example, the ketogenic diet (or Keto) is a much better diet for weight loss than it is for athletic performance. Here are three different diets and what they are best suited to accomplish:
- Macros – under the Macros diet, you will be weighing and measuring your food to eat a specified number of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Best for: athletic performance goals. If you’re focused on performing your best in the gym, macros are the way to go. They will help you lose body fat, build muscle, or increase strength quicker than any other diet.
- Paleo Diet – the Paleo Diet is focused on the food that our ancestors ate. It cuts out all the processed food from your diet, and prioritizes meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruit over anything else. On the Paleo Diet you cannot eat any dairy, gluten (wheat products like bread), all grains (rice, oats, etc) or any legumes (this includes green beans and peanuts). Best for: identifying food sensitivities and removing junk from your diet. If you notice you are often uncomfortable after you eat, the Paleo Diet may be the right diet for you. By removing dairy, gluten, and beans you pull out many of the most reactive foods in your diet.
- Intermittent Fasting – with the Intermittent Fasting diet you are restricting your food intake to a specific number of hours. For example, you skip breakfast, have your first meal at 12:00pm for lunch, and stop eating after you finish dinner around 8:00pm. On this plan you eat for eight hours and fast for 16 hours. Best for: weight loss and inflammation. Intermittent Fasting has been strongly linked with lower inflammation and weight loss. The simple fact is you eat less food when you only have eight hours to eat it. When you eat less, you lose weight.
You lose or gain weight based on how MUCH food you eat. Technically, even if you ate cookies, pizza, and fries all day, if you managed to stay under the amount of calories you burned throughout the day, you would still lose weight.
However, there is more to your health than simply your weight loss. The quality of your food will impact your energy levels, visceral fat level, and will keep you free from disease. Therefore, you need to consider what quality of food is encouraged on each diet.
Your diet should be promoting whole food sources – not filling your day with a bunch of supplements and frozen meals from their brand. Keep this line in mind when you consider what to eat on a daily basis:
Eat real food – meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruit, and limit the amount of added sugar in your diet. Focus on consuming plenty of plants and protein.
If you can keep that the focus, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Can you consistently follow this diet?
Working Against Gravity, one of the most successful macro coaching companies around, commonly says the best diet is the one you can consistently follow. Consistency is the most important variable of your diet. If you cannot be consistent on a diet, it will never work.
Maybe you’re great at following macros for three days out of the week…then Thursday happy hour happens and you’re done for the rest of the week. Guess what? You need to either commit to counting, or find a more sustainable diet plan for yourself.
You’ll never know if a diet works for you if your mindset is half in, half out. Actually try your best to follow the diet, and let your coach support you along the way. You’ll be shocked by the results a little commitment and consistency brings.