The number one question I get asked as a fitness nutritionist is, “What is the best diet?”
And my answer is always the same: “It depends.”
‘New’ and “revolutionary’ diets are popping up each week it seems. People adopt paleo, keto, Mediterranean, high carb, low carb, and literally hundreds of other diets with the hopes of shedding weight quickly and easily.
So, what is the best diet to follow? Well the truth is, there isn’t one. The truth is – (drumroll) – they all work. I can already see your face. But it’s true. All. Diets. Work. They work because when you’re on a diet:
- You’re mindful of your eating habits.
- You’re in a calorific deficit.
For example, let’s say Susan decides to cut out sugar and go low carb. She loses 15 lbs in two months. Her diet worked! But, she now believes that sugar is evil and carbs make people fat. But is that really true? Or did she lose the weight because her choice to remove sugar and carbs from her diet meant that she stopped snacking on lunchroom cookies at 3pm, having wine with dinner, and sneaking to the freezer before bed for a few mouthfuls of Ben and Jerry’s.
Was it eliminating the carbs and sugar, or the fact that you just cut out 500+ calories from your daily diet, Susan? #lessssbehonest. Now cutting out carbs and sugar is a great way to lose weight – but is Susan going to maintain this weight loss? Can she commit to a Ben and Jerry-free life? Not likely. So as a diet this may work, but as a lifestyle – not so much.
So how DO you find the right diet for YOU?
The truth of the matter is: the best diet is one you can stick with. Plain and simple. If you look at the Paleo lifestyle and think, “I can maintain that for long-term,” then do it! If you hate eating breakfast and don’t feel hungry until lunch, intermittent fasting might be right for you!
The most successful diet is the one that you can maintain for the rest of your life. This could mean a lifetime of saying no to the pasta, skipping that latte and muffin at your breakfast meeting, or passing on your nightly date with Ben and Jerry. Which means it has to REALLY work for you.
So here are a few things to consider when selecting the right diet for you:
- What are some things that you love to eat? Can you give them up long-term or find healthier modifications to support your weight loss goals?
- Do you eat out a lot? Will your current diet support your eating out lifestyle?
- Can you dedicate time to cook and meal prep consistently?
- Do you eat with a partner/roommate/family? Can this diet be integrated with their eating style so that you’re not making multiple meals? Can they live with this diet?
- Do you have food sensitivities/digestive issues? What typically triggers them? Have you been tested to find out what they are?
- Do you have thyroid or hormonal issues that may be preventing you from losing weight?
Ask yourself: is this a diet I can stick to? Before you jump into the latest fad, be mindful of your needs, your lifestyle, and what changes you can live with – and maybe even love – for the rest of your life. If you need some help figuring it out, book a session and we can review all your options.
With love and nut butter,
A certified fitness nutritionist (ISSA) with a black belt in dieting, wellness and balance, Lindsey’s mission is to help women improve their relationship with food, while achieving and maintaining their health and wellness goals. Her mantra is, “Never start a diet that you can’t maintain for the rest of your life.’ Applying her own experience of disordered eating and her extensive nutrition coaching, Lindsey helps women rediscover their love of food through loving themselves. Follow @lindseykee for more!