A great deal is made between various scientists, health professionals, journalists, and even the general public about what diet is THE diet for weight loss and body optimization. In fact, the health and wellness field is full of people trying to sell you on various diets, strategies, etc. with the promise of losing those excess pounds. With all this conflicting information out there coming from all directions, I am not surprised when I hear from many people that they really do not know what to believe out there when it comes to food.
It really is a jungle out there.
In a world where we’re seeing the first beginning glimpses of personalized medicine – i.e. medical treatment geared to a person’s specific body and genetic makeup rather than generic treatments – I am a little surprised that we rarely ever hear about personalized diets and lifestyle plans. If anything, the vast variability of diet science out there should point to the fact that there is no one master diet. It is about finding the diet, and the lifestyle, that works for each individual person.
This is not an easy task, especially in a world where around every corner you turn there’s some health expert or company claiming to have the cure-all weight loss solution. Even I have had difficulties figuring out what works for me, and I’ve been at this for years. And I’m a physician. And a bit of a food/performance nerd.
So where am I going with this? What is a person to do who doesn’t have the time to review all the different research and data out there?
Listen to your body and learn from it!
Your body wants to be healthy. It wants to work efficiently, and it wants to feel good. There are signs your body will give you that, if you tune into them, can give you great information about what it needs to work well. And while there are some foods that can hijack this system (i.e. sugar is addicting), for the most part you can tell a great deal about what your body needs and wants just from listening to it.
Take myself for example. For years I kept eating the same breakfast (cereal) and lunch (Pb&J) every day while ignoring the enormous bouts of fatigue that would follow. Only after finally listening to my body and experimenting with different foods did I come to realize what foods I should be eating. Now I have found my ideal diet (in my case, its high fat/lower carb). My energy is stable and I feel good all day. If only I had listened to my body earlier, I would have figured this out years ago.
I’m only asking that you be aware of what you eat, and realize that you have a choice here. Each day you make a decision on what to eat, you have a chance to learn more about your body. Did you feel great after breakfast? Did you feel exhausted after lunch? Did you have disaster pants after dinner? I’m only asking that you pay attention. Your body is telling you what it wants and needs.
If you do this, not only are you going to learn about your body, you are going to create your personal diet philosophy. Rather than listening to someone else tell you what to eat and what not to eat, you can make that decision yourself based on what you know of your body. This is going to be far easier to continue doing over the course of your life than listening to diet gurus.
Sarah wrote previously about the use of journaling for keeping track of health. This is an awesome way of learning your body, especially in relation to food and diet. Write down what you eat and how you feel afterwards. After a few weeks you’ll have a wealth of information you can use to start self-experimenting.
You can learn what foods to avoid and what foods help you feel the best. Listen to your body, and you can learn to control your body to the point that you can feel great everyday. You have that power.
Your body wants to be healthy. Let it!