The Only Two Diet "Rules" You Should Ever Follow
There are so many diet and fitness plans out there; it’s almost as if diet has become the new religion. High carb? Low carb? Raw? Fruitarian? We seek out people who eat in similar ways. We create online communities and meetup. We form groups of people who believe humans were “made” to eat a certain way and that everyone on the planet should follow that same diet.
The thing is, what works for one person is not going to work for everyone! Have you ever tried a “fad diet” that did NOT work for you at all? One that left you wondering why it works so well for others? And left you thinking there must be something wrong with you or that you weren’t strict enough with the diet's rules?
From years of trial and error and nutrition studies, I’ve come across so many conflicting “diet rules”: don’t eat fat, don’t eat carbs, don’t use any supplements, food combine for optimal digestion, eat fruit in the morning, don't eat fruit at all, don’t eat past 7:00pm, eat every three hours, don’t have snacks, fast daily, eat only low glycemic foods, don’t eat grains, don’t eat nightshade vegetables… and this list goes on! It all ends up being stressful and boring! And stress and boredom is not good for your health!
But who invented these rules anyway?! They were just people! People who found something that worked and thought if it worked for them then it must work for everyone. But depending on factors such as our age, gender, lifestyle, and geographic location, we all have different diet and lifestyle needs.
The only two “rules” that you should ever follow are:
1. Eat actual food:
Of course we should all eat real food. This is common sense. No shit your body isn’t going to work optimally if you eat a bunch of chemicals and processed foods that have almost no nutrients. When deciding what to eat, go for food that you could find in nature and not those food-like substances that can only be made in a lab.
2. Listen to your body:
When you start eating actual food (see rule #1), you can really start listening to your body. If you’re eating processed foods, it may be difficult to listen to your body because the artificial flavours, processed sugar, and excessive amounts of salt are all unnatural and extremely addictive. If you're eating actual food, you can then experiment and find your ideal way of eating.
But I know what you might be thinking: “listen to my body”… what the f* does that even mean? And how do I do it? It can feel difficult… especially when there are so many conflicting dietary theories out there. How do you even know that you’re actually listening to your body and not just recalling the rules of some fad diet you read about online the other day?
One of my favourite "listen to your body" exercises is in the Integrative Nutrition Book. It gets you to create your own "fad diet". You select a few fad diets you’ve tried in the past, write down the "rules" resonated with you from each, and put all of those "rules" together to create a new “fad diet”. You then name it and imagine how you would market it. It's funny because it makes you realize that, just like the inventors of these fad diets, you can invent diet rules too! You can make your own rules that work for you! The book is filled with more exercises and inspiring info that can help you live a truly holistic life. It’s a book that I recommend every superhero reads!
"Listening to your body" is something that the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I enrolled in my Health Coach Certification Program, teaches about. They call it bionidividuality, which means that everyone has unique diet and lifestyle needs, and that one person’s fuel is another person’s poison. It’s very empowering to listen to your own body and do what’s right for you. If you listen to your body, you'll intuitively know exactly how to take care of yourself! Trust yourself. You are the guru. You know which foods are your superpower fuel and which ones seem to drain your energy. Your body is so smart. If you give it a chance and truly listen to it, you will be amazed at how great you'll feel. You will be amazed at the Superhero you truly are! And as always, I'm here to be your sidekick. You have the superpowers, but I'm here to support you!
Lots of love,