Ask my wife…actually, ask anyone who has met me for more than five minutes, and you will hear about how I like to live “inside the box.” I don’t like straying outside of my comfort zone (I have gotten better, but that is not really saying much). Life is just more comfortable inside my box, unless you are talking about my eating habits. In that case, I prefer life outside the diet box. Those boxes have names like Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and any other type of “diet” you can think of. I take my diet cues from the book Food Rules and my wife’s review of it: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
I am not saying that “diets” are bad; they’re not. But they are too restrictive, which often means poor results in the long run. Plus, I do not want to be stuck eating one way because that is what a book says I should do. Trust me, I can put blinders on and plow through with the best of them in most situations. But not when it comes to food, because that is not what food is about. Food should be fun. Food should be tasty. Food should be enjoyed! What you eat should also help your body, not inflict harm. And so often our “dieting” results in harm – both physical and mental. Plus, eating strictly what a “diet” says seems boring to me. What if I don’t feel like eating what it says? Or, gasp, what if I feel like a big juicy hamburger on a regular bun?
The Paleo Diet, allows things like fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, but no potatoes or peanuts. Not for me – I gotta have my french fries and peanut butter (not together)! In the Vegan diet, allows wonderful vegetables, nuts, fruits, and legumes, but not eggs (or other animal products). Bummer – I do love a good scramble! (eating Vegan out of moral obligation is a different situation, of course). The Keto Diet has you eating more protein and fats, but less carbs. Not going to take away my bread! (If we had to label our way of eating, the Mediterranean Diet happens to be one closest. You get lots of plant-based foods and meats in moderation. There are still some things, like a good dessert, that are frowned upon.)
All these diets claim to do wonders for your health. The common bottom line for them all is to stay away from the processed foods. If the ingredients did not come from nature, and you can’t pronounce them, then don’t consume them. But items that won’t spoil? Then let them stay on the shelves.
Diet roller coasters happen because people are so stuck on one certain idea, then slip and come crashing off. When people do not have a life outside the diet box they suffer for it. What they are eating is not natural for their bodies to function properly. But a way of eating is not one-sized-fits-all. Find something that works for you. Do your research and take good habits from all areas. Eat what makes sense, find what helps you feel healthy. If you find what works for you, you will be more likely to stick with it. When in doubt follow the Food Rules mantra: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Stay away from the box – speaking from experience.