Does any of this sound familiar?
Don't eat fat. You probably shouldn't eat dairy. Did you know that sugar is what ACTUALLY makes you fat? You should stay away from grains. Eating vegan is the ONLY way you'll live longer and avoid cancer. The Paleo diet changed my life!..................
There are SO MANY diets out there, there are SO MANY different ways you could eat, and each way includes at least one food that the other ways tell you to avoid at all costs.
We've hit this point, where if you're not following some official eating style or another people think you don't care about your health. That you couldn't possibly lose weight, and that you're probably really unhealthy.
With all due respect: that is complete and utter Bullsh*t!
Yup-I really just said that. You're probably thinking: 'wait-isn't it her JOB to tell people what they should eat? Doesn't she already KNOW the secret?" You know something-I DO know the secret. I'll tell it to you. Ready?
There is no secret.
There is no magic way to eat that will make you lose 10 lbs, wake up at 4am ready to take on the day and protect yourself from every disease imaginable until you die happily in your sleep at 102.
There are ways of eating that work best for some and ways that work best for others. There are also things that should apply to everyone and things that shouldn't. Here are the top 3 things that everyone should do, and the top 3 that NOT everyone should do. Ready?
TOP 3 FOODS TO AVOID IN ANY DIET
Processed foods. This is the biggest culprit of most weight gain, lack of energy and diet sabotage. Processed foods are usually really high glycemic (meaning they spike your blood sugar which causes fat storage and then cravings for more processed foods). They are also usually devoid of any real nutrition. This means that your body doesn't get what it needs so it craves more food to actually give it the vitamins and minerals it's looking for. If you keep tossing these processed foods at it, you never really feel satisfied and you over eat. Big time. Processed foods don't work in ANY diet and these should be the first to go. What are processed foods? Pretty much anything that comes in a box, anything that has an unlimited shelf life, chips, crackers, macaroni & cheese, cookies, etc etc.
Added sugar & artificial sweetener. Naturally occurring sugars in things like fruits are fine. The average person doesn't need to give these things another thought. What's not fine? Adding EXTRA sugar into the foods we eat. When we do this we cause blood sugar spikes (these result in fat storage) and we crave more and more added sugar. Added sugar is LITERALLY making us fat every single day. No matter what 'diet' you're following learn to read labels. How many grams of sugar is in it? Is it balanced by fiber? Are there added sugars in the ingredient list (if you're eating whole foods, there is no ingredient list in which case you're A-0k)? And those 'diet' versions? Not a very good idea either. Not only are they pretty nasty chemicals, but new research shows that they spike your blood sugar even MORE than sugar, leading to obesity. The only exceptions so far? Sugar alcohols like Xylitol or Stevia.
Gluten. Yup-even if you're not Celiac. Gluten is found in wheat. It has been shown to damage the inside of our small intestine in the long run, even in people who aren't officially Gluten intolerant. If you can avoid, or even limit it you are setting yourself up for a healthier system over time. But a word of warning: don't fall for 'gluten free' crap. It's usually processed, full of added sugars and fake healthy.
TOP 3 FOODS TO QUESTION
Dairy. Dairy is controversial to say the least, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't have it. There are about 25% of us that tolerate dairy well. These people have the enzymes to digest it, and so it doesn't cause them trouble. In this case eating good quality dairy (organic is a good start because you'll avoid the antibiotics found in conventional dairy) can be a really healthy and nutritious food! To find out if you're sensitive to dairy you can try cutting it out for a while (maybe 2 weeks or so) and then reintroduce it. See how you feel. If you feel great, keep eating it. If you don't (and anything from headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin problems etc can be considered a reaction to food so pay attention) stop.
Meat. What a controversial subject! I have no problem with meat for almost everyone (from a purely health perspective) as long as it's the right kind of meat. Meat from healthy, pasture raised animals like chickens, pigs, lambs, cows, etc is normally really well tolerated. In fact, for many nutrients meat is an ideal source. Vitamin B12 is almost exclusively in meat and we NEED this to survive. Meat is also chock full of protein (in the most useable form for your body). The problem with dietary meat (from a health perspective) is when it comes in the form of processed, smoked, or factory farmed animals. Processing meat involves the use of nitrates (natural or synthetic) and nitrates/nitrites are converted to nasty chemicals in your body that are very carcinogenic (sorry bacon). These are not healthy for anyone, so avoid these on the regular please. Factory farmed meat is usually raised on antibiotics to keep the animals healthy in pretty deplorable conditions AND to fatten them up. The problem? These antibiotics could travel down the food chain, leading to superbugs, antibiotic resistance and even weight gain. Stay far far away. Choosing meat form local farmers and meat certified organic is most likely perfectly fine to include in your diet (and probably healthier than avoiding it for many people). Again, listen to your body.
Grains. Okay-this is a tough one. A whole heck of a lot of us (myself included) are what I like to call carb sensitive (read about that here). If you are, including grains in your diet on the regular can be a disaster for weight gain, inflammation and overall health. Others burn through grains just fine. The best thing I can tell you about grains is to look for the signs. Do you have belly fat that is really hard to get rid of? Do you crave foods like cupcakes, chocolate, wine, beer, chips, etc. Is your energy level down? Do you have frequent mood swings or NEED to eat at certain points in the day. If yes to some of these questions, it points to carb sensitivity and you should avoid grains on the regular. If these don't apply to you, don't worry about it. You're one of the lucky ones!
I hope this post didn't confuse you, or make you question the way you eat (unless you eat a lot of processed meat and sugar-in that case please question it). What I wanted to do was show you that there isn't a 'perfect' way of eating. Don't listen to your friend who lost 40lbs on the _____ diet if you KNOW those foods don't work for you. Eat real food. Cut out the crap. If you need help from there either start Googling or call someone like me.
Do what feels good (and by that I mean what gives you energy and makes you feel happy all day). Sound good? Amazing!