First off I hate how the word diet is used in modern terms. Diet is defined as “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. We have a human diet and this can vary from region to region and culture to culture. Animals, when in the wild, have their diet determined by time of year, location and other environmental factors. Diet shouldn’t be used as a verb thou. You shouldn’t be “doing this diet” or “on this diet”. When used in this manner it implies some short term restrictive plan that you begrudgingly follow for a set period of time. It’s this continuous pressure and restrictive nature of “diets” that causes people to feel like they fail and that it is themselves to blame for not being able to stick to yet another “diet”. This pressure seems to be amplified for women who are constantly bombarded in magazines of this diet and that one, which celeb is on what diet, and which star is so amazing for losing x amount of pounds with this latest diet craze. This often leads to many women having experienced yo-yo dieting in trying to keep up to date with the latest and craziest trend being pushed in marketing. When you then “break” and can’t stick to this diet you are left feeling disappointed in yourself and left feeling like a failure for not being able to sustain it.
With more and more diets being pushed a simple look at the bookshelves in any bookstore will show you how wide of a choice there is. From IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) to the Paleo diet, Low fat or high fat, Atkins or Intermittent Fasting, you really aren’t stuck for a choice. Not that these are rubbish theories, in fact they can all have their place in certain situations and depending on your goal. But the majority of us will be alot better of sticking to the basics of whole natural foods, plenty of veg, some fruit, natural fats, good servings of protein and plenty of water. This is why I tend to veer toward the Paleo Lifestyle and not just a strict hardcore Paleo diet. I think sticking to nutrition in the way we evolved by focusing on whole natural foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts, berries, vegetables and fruit the majority of the time will get the majority of people to where they want to be health wise and body composition wise. Eating like this 90% of the time and giving yourself a little leeway to eat other “less than optimal” foods on occasion, takes the restrictive nature out of it and doesn’t leave you feeling like a bad person for eating something “bad”. Enjoy this 10% and do it guilt free. Free yourself of the burden of trying to be perfect. Drop this all or nothing approach and when you have that slice of birthday cake or that bit of dessert with the family just enjoy it, your “diet” isn’t broken, it’s just part of your diet. This mentality and mindset towards food makes this a sustainable and enjoyable way of eating. Perhaps if you have performance goals or special dietary concerns different approaches or protocols may need to be used but following a good natural food diet the majority of the time with a little guilt free pleasure will be more than enough for the majority of us. The 90-10 approach long term will give much better results than 100% for 6 weeks and then 50-50 for the other 48 weeks of the year. Ease that mental anguish and get off your “diet”.