Maybe it’s because we are just out of the Christmas-New Year holiday season where we potentially indulge a little more than usual, but the sheer number of conversations that have come up in the past few days about ‘diet’ fascinates me.
I have highly intelligent friends talking about all sorts of diets from paleo, low-carb and low-GI (glycemic index) to protein only and meal replacements that supposedly will magically remove extra kilos and transform them into some amazing new version of themselves.
I say this with utter amazement in my voice because surely said friends are aware that 95% of all diets fail? And what is even more truly amazing that these same said friends don’t actually eat real food. They consume ‘food product.’ That is, food that is highly processed, contains way too much sugar, salt and other numbers that unless you are diligent, most times you probably don’t even realise you are consuming.
You never hear people that understand and eat real food say they are going on a diet!
Just the other day one friend was banging on about embarking on a low GI diet explaining how the GI index is a way of ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar levels and ensuring the foods don’t cause blood sugars to rise because the sugars then have to be stored, which of course becomes fat. He was very articulate in his explanation, which to me was really quite confusing as there had to be time durations between certain types of food to avoid the blood sugars from becoming too high. I can’t imagine for a moment going through my day thinking now that I have eaten food A I must wait exactly 5 hours before I can eat food B? See, anything that seems too hard, usually is and therefore never sustainable.
Don’t get me wrong. If you are carrying some extra kilos, I’m all for you removing them but do it in a way that is sustainable and doesn’t involve weighing, counting or substituting something for something else!
I do know the CSIRO is a great fan of a low GI diet as is evident by their Total Wellbeing Diet, so I’m not knocking the idea just how some folk go about attempting to lose weight through the notion of having to diet.
My argument is … whatever happened to simply understanding food and food groups? That is, having fresh food on hand and cooking or creating spectacular dishes that are nutritious and calorie contained.
Remember the food pyramid?
The thing about food, is we need to create consciousness around what we actually eat? Often, what we actually eat is very different to what we think we eat?
I can’t tell you the number of conversations I have had that go along the lines of …
‘I don’t eat much’ as a polony or some other processed meat in white bread with cheese and tomato sauce is being consumed.
‘I cooked up some really good food on the weekend’ and proceeds to share what jars, packets and combinations of jars and packets were used.
‘I’m vegetarian’ as a packet of 2-minute noodles is whacked in the micro-wave.
These scenarios are more common than I’m sure you care to believe!
Weight control is a very simple formula; food in versus energy expended, but it is also about the types of food you choose to put in. Diet, pre-packaged food is not good. It may be convenient, but it is not good.
Learning about nutrition and committing to a healthy lifestyle is a choice. Once committed however, there will be certain foods that you just won’t dream of putting in your mouth.
One item you do need to put in your mouth regularly is water. I’m sure you’ve heard the dictum of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day? Whilst it’s actually not scientifically proven we do need to keep our bodies hydrated.
Often our bodies confuse hunger with thirst. Ensuring we are well hydrated helps sort out the confusion of whether to eat or simply drink more.
So … diet? To diet (verb) should not be a thing. To constantly look at, analyse and enhance your diet (noun) is a sensible approach to your physical and general well-being. There is a lot of literature on healthy diets that you can google, so I’m not going to reinvent that wheel.
However, in terms of your wellness I definitely suggest you research and learn and absolutely be the best version of you that is possible.
Here are some links to get you going: