Ok, so where do we begin?
I’ve dabbled in various workouts over the past 15 years – gym, yoga, krav maga, kickboxing. I’ve also tried out various diets. No, I’m not talking about the trendy ones like keto/paleo/intermittent fasting. But it has been some variation of a vegetarian diet (eggs, dairy ok) and a varying ratio of macros, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes not.
I’m not a nutritionist/dietician or a personal trainer. But here’s what I learned –
- A drastic diet is not sustainable and only leaves you craving for food. I know we live in an age of instant gratification, and this extends to our body image.
- Make slow but good lifestyle adjustments as these will stick (cutting back on sugar in coffee or skipping altogether for example). I tried just egg whites for a while to lose fat. Yes, it worked well, but it was awful. I wanted to throw up at the very thought of eggs and needed a break from them.
- It’s great to keep yourself informed about diets out there, and perhaps even try. But in the long run, I’d rather stick with the basics of nutrition than try a fad diet that may be proven to have adverse health effects once it has been studied.
My principles for diet and food health starting this year:
- Slow is good! Take your time to establish good habits, and it will reward you. I cut out sugar from coffee last year due to gentle encouragement from my personal trainer. It worked well for several months. This year, I decided to cut cream from coffee completely. It’s an interesting change, and medium roast coffee tastes quite nice without sugar or cream. It’s not even as bitter as wine. This might actually work out well.
- Ensure variety in a diet. I love food! I love various cuisines, flavors, methods of cooking. I think its criminal to cut out entire food groups for a diet. You live only once, and I don’t want to deprive myself of good things in the world. I’d love to eat meat, but having been raised a vegetarian, it feels very uncomfortable to even consider meat in my mouth. But other than that, I want to experience everything out there. I even know what I want to eat before I die!
- Have several easy to make meal recipes on hand. When you are short on time, you tend to slip. It’s nice to have options on any given day. You can always make fancy, elaborate meals when you have the time. This is especially helpful if you have a toddler like I do.
- Slip up every now and then. It won’t kill you, and it won’t kill your progress. You’ll bounce back with a vengeance. And with some confidence that you can make it work.
- Try to consume more whole grains, but processed foods are fine too. Don’t try to get on some drastic whole foods only diet as it will be taxing, and perhaps unsustainable.
- Whatever you do, don’t skip vegetables and fruits. It’s not just about a good diet. One of the first things that struck me is the volume of good vegetables and fruits available and how affordable they are. They are so pretty, fresh and tasty. No darn dressing or dip necessary.