Diets have been a “thing” for decades now. Over the years they have changed and sometimes even mutated into very strange and restrictive eating patterns. The main mistake everyone makes is to think that following a diet is only about losing weight. In some instances weight loss is a perk, but there’s a lot more to dieting than just weight loss.
What actually is a diet?
According to the Oxford Dictionary the word diet has 2 meanings; 1. “kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. eg. a vegetarian diet” 2. “a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. eg. “I’m going on a diet”. Both are correct, but when you look at the origin of the word there is a third, more important definition. The word diet comes from the Greek word “diaita,” which means “way of life.”
By looking at dieting as a “way of life” rather than some absurd restrictive trend to follow, you will drastically change your health, weight and overall wellbeing. Ok, so there will be a few of you who’ll say “well, daily ice cream is my way of life”. And to that I would say “I totally agree!”. Just kidding, well, kind of.
Each and every one of the almost 8 billion people on this earth, looks different, lives different and should eat different. We all have foods that work for us and others that don’t. If I take my own family as an example, my Dad eats super boring food. His idea of seasoning is salt and that’s about it. My Mom and siblings are more adventurous when it comes to trying foods from different cultures, levels of spiciness, indulgence and basically whatever is placed in front of us.
But each person’s body craves something else. I am more of a sweet tooth, my Mom is more on the salty side, my Dad has to eat meat at least once a day and my siblings prefer raw foods like fruit & veg. I believe that your cravings is your body’s way of telling you what it needs. That doesn’t mean that I have to eat sweets every day to satisfy my sweet tooth, although that would have been great.
Craving sugar comes down to your body telling you that you’re not eating a balanced diet. By only cutting bad carbs and refined sugars, as most mainstream “diets” suggest, will make your cravings a lot worse, or you’ll be able to do it for a while, after which you’ll definitely relapse. Whatever you remove from your diet, you’ll need to replace with a healthier alternative. Alternatives include slow releasing carbs which include; fresh fruit, nuts, legumes, quinoa, dairy and other Low GI products.
But as I mentioned before, we are all different and what works for me might not be what works for you. That’s why, I believe it’s important to try out different diets, until you find one that works for you. If you take away the pressure of weight-loss you can truly focus on how a diet makes you feel. You’ll know a diet is working when you start to feel more energised and alive.
Where do I start?
The first step is to list your health problems. If you don’t have any, perhaps look at diseases your parents or grandparents may have. Studies have shown that the majority of health issues are genetic.
The second step is to identify the types of diets that correlates with your health issues. For example, if you have high cholesterol, you’ll have to follow a low carb, low saturated fat diet.
What are all these diets?
Yes, there is an almost endless amount of diets to follow and sometimes it feels like new diets are invented on the daily. But, like I mentioned before, if you take away the pressure of weight-loss you get to make dieting more fun and almost exciting. Below is a list of the most popular diets currently out there.
- Veganism is more a philosophy than a diet. They do not eat any animal products. (Example: meat, eggs, milk, cheese, honey, etc)
- Ketogenic / Keto diet focuses mainly on restricting carbohydrates which promotes weight-loss. It’s also known to manage medical conditions like epilepsy. (Foods to eat include: healthy fats like avocado, coconut, oily fish, Brazil nuts, etc).
- Mediterranean diet focuses on traditional foods eaten by folks living in Spain, Italy, France and Greece. These foods promote weight-loss. (Foods to eat include; small amounts of red meat, moderate amounts of fish & poultry, dairy products, whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit etc).
- Intermittent fasting focuses on exactly what the name suggests fasting. Persons struggling with sugar regulation or other health problems should first consult with their Doctor before trying out this diet.
- Vegetarian diet focuses mainly on eating fruits and vegetables, but there alternatives where small amounts of animal products may be consumed.
- Palaeolithic / Paleo diet is also know as the ‘caveman diet’ where focus is placed on your blood type. Studies have show that your blood type can indicate if you’re a hunter (eating lots of meat) or a gatherer (eating fruits or vegetables) and also if you should be eating refined grains or not.
Feel free to research more diets if you don’t find one that works for you.
I know which diet to follow, now what?
From here, it only gets easier. With the internet being the amazing space that it is, you can Google millions of recipes for each and every diet, even the weird ones. My advice to most people when starting a new diet is to get between 7 and 15 new recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With these recipes you’ll be able to prepare food for at least 14 days, after which you can evaluate how you’re feeling and if you actually enjoy eating the food. That is super important, if you hate the diet, chances are you’re not going to follow it.
What if my medical issues prevent me from eating the food I like?
This is a total bummer. I can attest to that. Choosing a diet will be a bit more difficult, but definitely not impossible. What I did is, I kept trying new recipes until I found one that worked and that I truly enjoyed eating. It’ll take some time, but you’ll get there in the end. Like I mentioned before, the internet is full of amazing recipes, its impossible not to find a bunch that you like.
So when do we get to the weight-loss part?
It’s true, a good balanced diet will help you lose weight, but it’ll take time. The only way to shed off pounds quickly is to follow a dietician’s custom diet plan together with intensive workouts and personal training. Even though long term diets take time, chances are you’re going to stick with it in the long run. How many of the ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants lost all the weight super quick only to gain it back and even worse than before? Slow and steady wins the race. A diet shouldn’t be just a tedious diet, it should become your way of life.
I love my diet, how can I promote weight-loss?
The biggest mistake people make is not necessarily eating the wrong food, it rather comes down to portion size and when they eat. Below is a guideline to what your portion sizes should be. Also cutting back on branded condiments can drastically cut your sugar and carb intake. Rather make your own sauces, that way you know exactly what goes in to them. Eating at the same times every day is very important. Also, not eating after 7 o’clock at night will make a huge difference.
Image by: VeryWell
Should I workout?
YES! We unfortunately live in a world where our day-to-day lives no longer require mobility & strength. That’s why we have to make time in our day for physical activities. That doesn’t mean you have to run a 20k every weekend, if you want to, then great! But if you’re not super into exercising then there are loads of alternative, less intense exercise routines to follow. The most important thing is to join a group or gym. This will help motivate you and keep you accountable, especially if you have a trainer breathing down your neck.
Most gyms nowadays have workout classes to suite all body types and personalities. If you’re more laid back, try yoga, pilates, Thai-chi, swimming or even solo horse riding. If you want to get your heart going, spinning class, HIT training or Zumba might be for you. If you have no idea what any of these are, don’t worry. As with the recipes, try each one out until you find the ones that you enjoy. Getting you heart rate going is very important, so make sure to join at least one heart pumping class a week.
Can Ozone Therapy help with weigh-loss?
YES! Ozone therapy has over 100 health benefits and weight-loss is one of them. Each ozone therapy session takes about 30 minutes and you can burn up to 500 calories per session. Ozone increases the oxygen in your blood, which helps your body and organs function better. It can also improve your body’s vitamin and mineral absorption, which is great when you’re following a well balanced diet.
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Following the right diet, will truly change your life forever. Remember, it’s about a “way of life” not only weight-loss and also remember to have fun. New food and combinations can be super exciting.