Everybody is on “diet” on and off nowadays. We have a lot going on in our lives and truth to be told, we are easily manipulated in general. All them skinny social media models on Instagram, but then you receive an unmissable coupon offer from your favorite fast food chain, no wonder that the majority of people has disordered body image or bad relationship with food.
“But hey, they said it on TV, if I drink the weight loss shake every morning it’s gonna be okay..”.
The influence we are under is extreme nowadays. Some tell you this, some tell you that. And what do we do? Trying to fit in. Trying to do what everybody else does at the moment, changing our mindset every day, or even more times within a single day. In reality, there is no “diet hack” or a one size fits all diet plan that works for everyone. All of us is unique. We have to learn of our body, we have to know what is good for us, and be consistent with it.
Let’s have a look at a very common diet cycle:
But this isn’t called diet. This is rather an exhausting obsession over what you’re eating, based on what you think is good for your body or will make you lose that extra 10 pounds. Don’t think that you are alone though, this cycle is very common.
In the world of nutrition, diet means the sum of food consumed by a person. It can also imply the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons or both.
- every food and drink regularly consumed
- the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person for a special reason
- a regimen of eating and drinking frugally in order to reduce body weight
Diet is everything a person consumes. The pizza, the french fries, the vegan sausage, the protein shakes, the porridge in the morning, the 3x coffees a day, it all builds up a person’s diet. If you are having a pastry for breakfast, then call for a take away hamburger menu with a large bottle of coke, and eat a batch of ice cream at night, then that is your diet.
The real question is: are you on the right diet? You are here, and reading this, so I am assuming you have doubts about the answer.
A healthy and balanced diet should provide your body all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Choosing the right ingredients is very important. Incorporating fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains and choosing whole foods over excessively processed foods in your everyday diet is a good starting point, but since everybody has their individual nutritional needs, sometimes it will not be enough.
How do you know if something is wrong with your diet:
- Unexplained weight loss / weight management problems
- Constantly thinking about food and eating
- Emotionally unbalanced, mood swings
- Irregular sleep, insomnia
- Don’t have enough energy, often feeling tired
- Dry hair, weak nails, skin problems, dental issues
- Digestive problems such as frequent bloating
- Irregular / abnormal bowel movements
- Slow immune response / slow recovering
- Impaired cognitive performance, forgetfulness
- Allergic reaction and/or intolerance symptoms
If you experience any of these (or more) symptoms, you should definitely look at your nutritional habits:
- Blood and allergy test. A quick and sure way to see if you have any allergies, intolerances or deficiency. It is important to know what our bodies want or don’t want. Sometimes a thyroid problem can cause you not being able to lose weight. Or the lack of magnesium can cause your cravings for chocolate every night. There is a lot of nutritional knowledge in blood test results, so if you can, you should definitely go and get one done.
- Keep track of your nutritional intake. Writing a journal of what and when you eat is a fool-proof way to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients and recognize the root of the issue. Alongside of many reasons, this can be over-or under consumption of calories, or lacking a certain micronutrient. Record the number of calories and also the type and amount of nutrients every day, and be honest with yourself- it won’t work otherwise.
- Elimination diet. If you suffer from maldigestion, the first thing you always want to look at is what you eat. Do your research in terms of macronutrients, ingredients, maybe allergies or intolerances, and step by step make little changes. (Getting a blood test done will make your job easier.) For example- you noticed that after that morning white coffee you often get bloated. You can question the coffee or the milk that goes into that coffee, but the type of sugar/sweetener could be the problem too -if you recently introduced a new food source into your diet, it is a good strategy to start with those-. Make one step at the time. Take away the milk, and have it black or substitute milk with a plant based option, and continue for at least two weeks. If you still experience the same problem, you then should take away another ingredient, for instance the source of sugar/sweetener you are using and swap it with a different source. It takes time, so if you choose this way, you have to be patient with yourself.
- Work with a coach. A professional won’t just tell you what to do. You will receive support from someone, who understands fully what you are going through if you are struggling to lose weight, if you don’t know what to eat with your recently discovered food intolerance, if you want to do something for you and your family’s well being, etc.. And while being held accountable may sound scary, sometimes that is the push we need to achieve our goals. It can be a long term relationship with your nutritionist, or maybe you only need little changes in your diet and lifestyle, depending on your goals.
Of course, following a balanced diet combined with regular exercises can help you get fit and maintain a good looking physique, but the benefits of proper nutrition go well beyond weight. Good nutrition reduces the risk of many serious diseases, makes your immune system stronger, boost your energy level, improve your overall well-being, etc… Nutrition is everything; it’s not only about satisfying your taste buds and cravings. It’s about your health. It’s about your beauty. It’s about your wellbeing. It’s about your future. -Lita