The first man who stole my heart was Tommy, the Green Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. Before I owned a Tiger Beat Magazine to drool over JTT or Leo Decaprio, my 7-year-old self would wake up for the 7:30am airing of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
I wanted to be the pink power ranger with all my being, because it meant being Tommy’s girl.
So what does that have to do with “The Best Diet?”
My unrequited love would remain this way because Tommy didn’t exist. The Power Rangers didn’t exist.
What else doesn’t exist? The idea of a specific diet that is the “one true way”.
And that kinda stinks. Like, how much easier would that be? For there to just be one way. One thing or strategy I could tell you to get the specific results you want. It would make my job WAY easier, that’s for sure.
While there are some general best practices, different people seem to do better or worse with different dietary approaches.
Even when we are looking for a specific result (like weight loss), studies suggest they all work pretty similarly when there is long term adherence. Even if we could determine a “best diet” there would be a host of other factors to consider on each individual basis: ethics, politics, sustainability, and culture to name a few.
What’s more confusing: all the books and resources out there claiming to be “the way”. They even come with their own documentary and army of advocates to back it.
With all that said, I also have learned through years of experience, practice, application and looking at science, that there are some good guidelines that will hopefully help serve you in whatever your “dieting” needs entail.
These general habits I’ve found tend to be a commonality in long term health and weight management. They can also set up success for long term adherence and the ability to take things to a stricter approach if goals require that.
- Prioritize Fruits and Veggies (aka eat them often)
- Get a variety of foods in your diet
- Eat a Serving of Protein-rich food source with each meal
- Cook most meals at home if possible
- If this isn’t possible, become practiced at asking for modifications at restaurants to meet your needs. They often cook with higher amounts of butter, oils, dressings etc
- Develop a repertoire of meals you can prepare at home that you genuinely love to eat and fit your goals
- Go as organic as you can afford, particularly with commonly consumed foods like meats, dairy and thin skinned fruits and veggies.
- Prioritize locally sourced foods
- Limit drinks that serve to only add empty calories to your day. Even fruit juice. AKA prioritize water. Limit sugary drinks, alcohol etc
- EAT SLOWLY and mindfully. Your body need to recognize it is being fed. Especially if you struggle with portions or overeating.
- If you want to gain muscle or burn fat, you have to adjust and monitor portion sizes.
- Be intentional with indulgences so you can enjoy them when they present themselves guilt free, because your other meals you are nourishing your body with healthy foods.
- If you have to grab food on the go often, or order out, have a few “go to” options that fit your fitness goals
I know what you are thinking: this all seems so general. And it is. But how many of the above things can we check off the list on a daily/weekly basis?
We search for a VERY SPECIFIC protocol and perfect diet, before we hit the general habits mentioned above. It is time to move forward from the idea of landing the Green Power Ranger and settle for the guy next door.
Much like motherhood has taught us, there is no generally perfect plan, scenario or protocol to fit everyone. Just practices that we know are overall a good idea but we have to make them fit our individual needs, situations and personalities.
Which of the above general practices have you found to be easiest to focus on? What may be the toughest? Just like in parenthood, it helps to relate to one another and share success, struggle and tips.