You know what doesn’t exist?
The best diet that represents the One True Way. I know, sorry to burst your bubble…
This is a tough pill to swallow because wouldn’t it be a lot easier if someone could just tell you exactly what to eat.
But unfortunately humans are complicated. While there are some generally accepted best practices, different people seem to do better or worse with different dietary approaches.
Even when we’re looking for a specific result (like weight loss), most meta-studies suggest they all work pretty similarly over time when controlled for adherence.
We have to presume there’s some genetic variance to how well we each tolerate certain food items. While elimination diets can be useful, we can’t determine exactly how to eat for your individual best health probabilities (even as much as people want you to think!).
So it can really get complicated. And to make things more confusing, virtually every approach you can think of has a small army of advocates, books, Netflix documentaries, and (usually cherry-picked) studies to prove that a given approach is the One True Way.
Paleo, Vegan, Zone, Atkins, Ornish, Keto, Mediterranean, If It Fits Your Macros, Raw Foods, Intermittent Fasting…the list goes on and on! In fact, we’ve finally filled in all the squares on the “Literally Every Diet Imaginable” Bingo card; we now have the meat-only Carnivore Diet. Hooray!
So what’s the best diet?
Or to put a finer point on what’s being asked with this question…
What and how should I strive to eat? The reason I like this question is because at Epic Fitness, we don’t even use the “D” word – we actually hate it. You know why? Because all diets have the same thing in common. They all have a start and an end date, they all are unsustainable, and they all are binary in nature – meaning you can only eat this, and not THAT.
So let’s go back to what and how you should strive to eat. While I’ve already acknowledged that there are lots of different factors to consider, allow me to offer some (admittedly broad) guidance that will hopefully serve you more often than not:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Prioritize a protein-rich food source with each meal.
- Create your meals and snacks mostly out of foods with only one ingredient; mostly foods on the perimeter of the grocery store and/or ones that can go bad.
- Cook most of your meals at home if possible.
- If this ISN’T possible, become practiced at asking for modifications when you eat out to avoid massive amounts of butter, oil, dressings, etc.
- Develop a repertoire of meals you can prepare at home that you genuinely love to eat. This one of the best investments of time and energy you’ll ever make.
- Go as organic as you can afford, particularly when consuming thin-skinned fruits & vegetables, dairy, fish, and meats.
- Prioritize locally sourced foods.
- If you order in a lot, identify your “go to” menu of delivery meals that serve your fitness goals.
- Eat slowly. Your body needs time to recognize it’s been fed, so this is particularly helpful if you’re prone to overeating.
- Adjust your portion sizes up if you want to gain muscle and down if you’re looking to burn fat.
- Be intentional about planning indulgences so you can enjoy them guilt free while still nourishing your body with healthy foods most of the time.
I concede this is a pretty general list. But I promise if you follow the above principles you’ll see good results!
We may well in the future see breakthroughs in our lifetime that will tell us exactly what’s best to eat for our individual bodies. And that would be amazing. But, for now we will work on the basics – because over a long enough time horizon, the basics tend to work brilliantly well – if you are patient enough for the results to set in.
I bet you are reading this because you are considering making a change in your life. Why not make it easy and let us guide you through the next 2 weeks and let us give you the kickstart you deserve. Invest in yourself, it will be the best investment you ever make – Check out more information HERE!