The other day I was browsing through the diet section of my local bookstore.
To my surprise, this experience left me feeling overwhelmed and stressed...to say the least.
The number of conflicting diet books on the market are able to leave anyone feeling confused! As someone with a degree in Nutrition, this was quite an eye opening experience, and got me thinking about how people wanting to know more about weight loss or how to improve their health may be quite confused!
Diet books claiming to give people their dream bodies leave the average consumer puzzled as to which one they should purchase - conflicting titles such as; 'I Quit Sugar', with the book 'Don’t Quit Sugar' on the shelf next to it.
Other titles included the ‘Ice diet, 5:2 diet, dukan diet, paleo diet, alkaline diet, fast diet, ‘Eat right for your type’ and even a chocolate diet (and it wasn't the ‘healthy’ kind) and that’s just to name a few! I do not intend to criticize any of these titles by any means. I am sure they all have their pros and cons; but for your average health hungry reader it can be more than overwhelming deciding which weight-loss diet to subscribe to.
This used to be me, always looking for the latest diet trend or latest celebrity-endorsed fad diet to try. While completing my studies I came to realise that my previous views about nutrition were all wrong.
I soon discovered that you don't have to be on a strict diet to be healthy or to maintain a healthy weight. The answer to being healthy and losing weight isn't in a pretty bold title on the front cover of a magazine, it's the boring old answer you've heard your grandmother tell you ….. Eat a balanced diet, or as my grandma told me “Eat a little bit of everything” .... and she couldn't have been more correct.
Back in grandma’s day, everything was bought in bulk (grains etc) and you would buy fresh produce and meat from your local farmer. There were very few sugary treats – most treats were fresh fruit. When any cakes or biscuits were eaten, they had been made at home from scratch – no processed anything!
There was no obesity epidemic, in fact my grandma said that she didn't know anyone who was considered obese. This led me to have a big realisation of how much our food has changed in such a short amount of time, and how Diabetes and diseases that can be prevented by lifestyle choices (that were almost unheard of back in her day) are now some of the main illnesses in our society today.
I think we need to go back to basics, forget about all the flashy media- glorified diets. A detox here and there can be a good thing, and yes, some diets can be fun, but in the long term I believe we need to focus on the quality of our food and ask ourselves, “Is this going to make me feel good, fill my body with nutrients and make me feel awesome?” Or, "Is this going to give me a short burst of energy, and a good few seconds while I’m chewing it, then make me feel like crap for the rest of the day?”.
It's sad that some of us have lost our true connection to the food we eat and where it comes from.
The answer is simple:
1. Rather than viewing foods as 'good' or 'bad' focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants
2. Eat real wholefoods
3. Listen to your body
4. Stop eating when you feel full
5. Avoid processed/refined foods
6. Eat a little bit of everything
7. Go back to basics and incorporate more home-cooked, nutritious foods
8. Treat yourself every once in a while (opt for quality organic chocolate or a homemade treat, made with love!)
Let's focus on being healthy and the best versions of ourselves we can be, rather than on weight loss and basing our self-worth on the fluctuating number on the scales.