What’s the right diet for you?

Diets, diets, diets. There are so many out there – atkins, paleo, vegan, keto, microbiotic, gluten-free, dairy-free, flexitarian, pescatarian, raw food… the list goes on and on. As well as all the different diets, there’s also a heap of people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be eating. With all the information and different opinions out there no wonder people get confused when it comes to food.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of diets, in both senses of the word. I don’t like the idea of people going on diets (e.g. to lose weight), nor associating themselves with a diet (e.g. vegan) for health reasons. Just because something is vegan does not mean it’s healthy! If you’re following a diet for environmental reasons, then cool, I’m totally onboard with that, but for health reasons, not so much. I realise from a health coach this may sound weird but bear with me…

emma carr health coaching eating soup

Firstly, diets are quick fixes.

No one ever goes on a diet and is still on that diet 6-12 months later. It’s a very short-term, and often ineffective, solution to a problem. What’s more, when people have a ‘blip’, maybe 2-3 weeks in, then think they’ve failed and give up completely. Rather than going on a diet I would encourage you to make healthy swaps and build-in wholesome habits to make long-term, sustainable change.

Diets don’t address the root cause.

Diets are like prescribing a pill for a symptom. They don’t look at the root cause of the problem, they just try and fix the immediate. For example, if you can’t stop binging, or eating when you’re stressed, there’s probably a lot more to your eating habits than will power alone. Exploring emotional links with food can help get to the root cause of your nutrition decisions and again, help that with that all important long-term, sustainable change.

Diets are restrictive.

Often when people are on a diet they think ‘I can’t eat that’. Let me tell you a little secret, the subconscious mind doesn’t recognise negatives. If you keep telling yourself you ‘can’t eat it’, likely hood is, you will. Instead of looking at what foods you can’t eat, I’d encourage you to focus on the foods you can and should eat. For example, focusing on filling your plate with whole, nutritious foods. Add in the goodness rather than eliminate the bad. Thinking about the food from a nourishing perspective completely changed my relationship with food. (find out more about My Health Journey here).

What works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for you.

The thing is, we’re all different (it’s in our DNA), and what works for one person might not work for another. Yes, you can do all of the research and find out all the information, be told what you should and shouldn’t eat, but at the end of the day, it’s only you who knows how you feel when you eat a certain way. Take peanuts for an example – one person’s snack is another person’s poison. You have to ‘listen to your body’ (sorry it’s a cliché but it’s true) and understand what works for you.

Here are some basic principles you can follow.

I realise this is quite rich after I’ve just slated diets, but there are some basic principles you can follow when it comes to nutrition. Think of them as a framework rather than rules.

  • Eat as much whole foods as you can. This helps ‘crowd out the crap’. By eating more nourishing, whole foods you’ll naturally eat less of the unhealthy, processed foods.
  • Eat a range of plant-based foods. These include: fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. black beans, chickpeas), nuts, and seeds. Aim for a rainbow a day or 30 different plant-based foods a week.
  • Healthy protein sources. This helps with satiety and recovery from exercise. These can be plant-based foods such as quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, or organic meat and dairy products such as chicken, feta cheese, and greek yoghurt. When buying meat and dairy it’s good to go organic as non-organic food can have a load of chemicals and hormones in them.
  • Get your fats right. This deserves a blog in itself (I’ll do one soon) but don’t be scared of fat -it won’t make you fat! The key is to get your fat from healthy plant sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and so on (more on that here).
  • Don’t worry if it’s not always ‘healthy’. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat something ‘unhealthy’ or ‘naughty’. We all do it. No one is perfect and if you’re striving for perfection you’ll feel rubbish when you don’t achieve it. It can also lead to binging. Just accept that you’re eating something ‘naughty’ and enjoy it, it’s good for the soul!

If you are interested in exploring the right food and diet for you but feel unsure about how to do it, you can book a free 50 minute consultation with me to discuss your health and nutrition needs.

What are your thoughts around eating healthy and diets? Let me know by popping them in the comments section below.

Love Emma x

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