Julia MacPhee C.H.N.C., Pn1, Certified Nutritional Consultant and Nutritional Coach, www.FitNutrition.ca,IG @FitNutritionCa, FB @FitNutrition

To diet or not to diet- that’s the question.

Looking back, researchers say that Keto diet was the trendiest diet in 2020.

And the new emerging trend in 2021, to no surprise, is the Immune System Support diet.

So which diet is the best, you may wonder?

There are many diet trends out there these days: Keto, Keto light, Paleo, intermittent fasting, DASH diet, MIND diet, intuitive eating, Mediterranean diet – to name a few. Not to mention the claims such as: “Eating fats will make you fat” or “Eat lots of good fats to lose weight”; “Avoid carbs”, or “Make sure you get enough carbs in your diet”, not to mention carb cycling… Are you confused and overwhelmed? Is your head spinning yet? Yes, so is mine.

It can be very overwhelming to chose the “best” diet. So where do we start?

People ask me which “nutrition camp” I fall into. Is it paleo? Low carb? Intermittent fasting? In essence, they’re asking: “What’s the best diet?”

#1 What if I told you that there is no such thing as “best diet”?

As a coach, I don’t actually have one single diet philosophy. I don’t believe there’s a single best diet for every person to follow, always, and forever.

Food shouldn’t be something you think about all the time. You should not let food control you and how you feel. Avoiding foods, counting calories, eating by the clock, not eating before 11 am, “never eating this”, always ”eating that”. It is overwhelming. It takes the pleasure out of food, potentially leading to the wrong eating behaviours and possibly even disordered eating.

#2 Moreover, what if I told you that “diets” are not sustainable.

Diets are restrictive. As humans, we do not respond well to scarcity. The mentality that you must limit your intake of certain foods, or that it’s your only chance to eat something, provokes a sense of deprivation. It can leave you feeling dissatisfied-like when you are eating carrots all day while thinking of sinking your teeth into that chocolate doughnut. Or it can do the opposite of what we want it to do-it can provoke binge eating.

Of course, keeping in mind that certain dietary restrictions are medically necessary for many individuals, for example in case of a celiac disease, or certain food allergies. We absolutely need to respect that in order to keep our bodies functioning well.

#3 What if I told you that the “best diet” will be very different for each individual.

We are all biologically unique and one diet does not fit all. What worked for your friend who lost a lot of weight on the popular diet may not necessarily be the right approach for you-because you are built very differently.

There are so many things to consider, such as: body type, dietary preferences and exclusions, time, nutritional knowledge, budget and so on.

Solution:

Practice flexibility.

  • Let’s replace the word “best diet” with “best diet for me”.
  • Let’s replace the word “Diet” with “Lifestyle”.
  • Let’s change the diet culture from “all or nothing” to 80/20% rule.

This is the rule I apply when working with clients. The 80/20 rule allows you to achieve balance, nourish your body with high quality foods, natural, wholesome foods and still enjoy the treats. When you eat well 80% of the time and treat yourself the other 20%- a beautiful balance emerges.

So in 2021 let’s focus on the 80%, rather than the guilt-loaded 20%. Let’s celebrate the 80% wins and allow yourself to enjoy and savor the other 20%.

  • Let’s learn to be flexible, let’s learn to love and respect our body for all the wonderful things it does for us every day, every movement and every breath.
  • And let’s remember that the best diet is no diet at all.

The bottom line:

There are many diet trends out there these days. They’re not as different as you might think. Most popular diets actually have a lot in common.

Most popular diets — when done with care, attention, and a little coaching — help control appetite, improve food quality, promote exercise, and raise nutritional awareness.

Best diet comes down to consuming natural, the most wholesome, fresh and chemical free foods. Choosing minimally processed foods, foods that are as close to their original form as possible. Minimizing processed and packaged foods where possible. Keeping meals simple in number of ingredients, and matching the amount of food to the activity level.

And most importantly- the best “diet” comes down to self care, loving and respecting your body. Because when you love your body, you are going to treat it well.

Consider working with a qualified nutritional coach to figure out the balance, develop new habits and explore foods and lifestyle that best support your unique body, health conditions, and your goals. You owe it to yourself in 2021.

Have a Happy and Healthy 2021 friends.

With love and gratitude

Julia.

References:

E.M. Haas, MD, B. Levin, PhD, RD. Staying Healthy with Nutrition 21-st Century Edition

Scott-Dixon, PhD; J. Berardi, PhD; B. St.Pierre, MS, RD; H. Kollias, PhD; C. DePutter. Precision Nutrition, Level 1. The essentials of Nutrition and Coaching