By JD Griffin
Have you ever thought about what is implied when someone says, “I’m on a diet” or you say, “I’m going on a diet”? These commonly used phrases as well as the term diet itself implies something temporary and out of the ordinary. Diet implies a short-term deviation in “normal” behavior, something you’ll do for some fixed amount of time and then return to your normal behavior.
This flawed logic is in part why most “diets” are doomed to failure. We’ve all seen or heard of if not experience ourselves of going on the latest fad diet, lose some weight and then regain it all soon after ending the diet. There are of course other factors that lead to failure, notably impractical and unsustainable plans. Some “diets” are based on such extreme food sources they are not practical or they are just simply not a healthy way to live. The Atkins’s Diet is a great example of this. It emphasizes too much animal fat and not enough vitamins and minerals. Followers are able to shed significant weight but soon realize it’s not a healthy way to live.
Let’s adopt a different mindset and drop the word diet from our vocabulary all together. Instead we’ll start using the terms nutrition plan, eating plan or simply fuel. Our nutrition plan is not a temporary deviation from our normal eating behavior but instead is a lifestyle choice. If you choose a health and fitness lifestyle then it only follows that you also choose a healthy nutrition plan. Our plan is sustainable, practical and healthy. A good nutrition plan is something you adopt, make your own and stick with for life. It shouldn’t be complicated either; the simpler it is the easier it is to follow.
Any good nutrition plan should be based on some very basic underlying principals. First, eat whole foods. Your fuel should predominately consist of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. Best to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, most items in the interior come in a box or a can. The cold sections where the fresh produce, meats, fish etc. are displayed tend to be on the perimeter.
Second, do not eat processed carbohydrates and manufactured fats, period. In fact, eat nothing processed; if you don’t recognize an ingredient on the label then you shouldn’t be eating it. If your goal is weight loss then cutting out all processed foods is 80% of the battle. White sugar and white flour are the biggest culprits; you have to give them up completely.
Last is portion control, if you’re trying to lose weight then you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. Calorie counting sounds like an arduous task, pain in the butt, and it used to be. But with free websites and smart phone aps it’s gotten really easy. My favorite and an easy to use online calorie counter is myfitnesspal.com
In short, you no longer “do diets”, instead you live a certain lifestyle. The next time someone sees you eating a grilled chicken breast with a salad or you order the baked salmon with asparagus and you’re asked; “are you on a diet?” Your answer should be; no, I’m not on a diet, this is how I choose to live.