Wellness diets aren't effective. Try this instead.
When a person consults with me to make a wellness-related behavior change, in most cases, they also present several, self-made solutions:
- Evidence of why previous diets don't work
- Evidence of why the new diet they found will work
- All the reasons as to why they haven't been successful.
- The uniqueness of their body, in general.
- In some cases, a plan to get it done, this time around.
I applaud people for continually trying and trying to get themselves in better physical, mental, and spiritual condition. But what I do not applaud is Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, expecting the same results.
If we are to discuss dieting, we first need to define a wellness diet. A wellness diet is a diet that is formulated and followed in order that the individual may overcome a barrier to health. This could be (and in most cases, it is) related to weight loss, physiological imbalances, mental conditions such as depression, and the like. There's nothing wrong with wellness diets. In fact I'm a fan of the mederterranian diet. For those of you not familiar with this diet,
Typically, the Mediterranean Diet enriches your bodily concentration of good fats (high density lipoprotein, aka, HDL), critical proteins known as amino acids (i.e. compounds important for genetic health), and many micronutrients (vitamins minerals). That being said, the Mediterranean Diet is a great diet, and many diets similar in nature can be enriching to human health.
Herein lies the issue:
We, as scientists, and as a soceity, have failed miserably at helping people becomes healthier. We have made a mess of what's 'good' what's 'bad', and what's 'in-between'. So much so that people who really need the information are forced to listen to what's popular and what looks good, instead of using 'principles' to achieve their dietary wellness goals. As such, little girls follow women who advertise special diets and makeup that simply masks many underlying issues which can generally be fixed with something as natural as coconut oil. Little boys think that supplements and steroids are a must for elite performance, when proper discipline in activity, diet, and mentality can do the trick. And lastly, those who are overweight or obese think that there's a pill, app, device, or special diet that can help them overcome their toughtest barriers to wellness and peace. Not true.
If you are going to follow any of thes diets, please do your homework on naturally good foods for you, and what isn't 'naturally' good for you. Am I saying you need to completely paleotize your diet and eat caveman food 24/7? No. I'm simply saying that you should take the time, readthe ingredient label (and take it with a grain of salt), and see what you're actually consuming.
But, if you are going to diet, please keep the following in mind.
1. It's temporary.
The one thing I hate about most advertised diets is that they are temporary, for most people that follow them. Generally speaking, an individuals follows a diet, accomplishes 75% of their dietary goal, then fall back into their old dietary patterns. Why? Because the mindset was wrong at inception. Instead of the goal being simply to live a more full, wholesome, and healthier life (and therefore lifestlye change), it's aesthetic in nature. This is the main reason that individuals who actually do lose weight gain most of it back within a year. The take-home message is this: don't make dietary behavior change temporary.
2. Just because everyone's talking about it doesn't make it the best.
Commercials, infomercials, talk shows, etc. all sound good, especially when someone's talking about the miracle that the vibration trainer did for them, or how prepackaged food meals from an elite company worked wonders for them. But don't fall for the bannana in the tailpipe! Take a second to think about what their saying. For example, it's considered somewhat harmful to loose more than 3 pounds per week. So, when you hear of some dieting commercial, and someone claimes to loose 60 pounds in one month, in most cases, don't believe it (this may be potentially true in extreme weight cases, but for the general person, no).
3. This is about living a better life, not living a better 'next 2 months'.
I think the one major thing missing from our converesation on diet exercise and spirituality, is the impact of our actions on others. We do these things, because others rely on us. Our children rely on us. The woman at work or the man at work watches your actions, even if you are unaware. You're his example. The neighborhood kids have no example of true, diligent, disciplined wellness until they come to the Yand see how you act, ,and what you eat and drink. We're so selfish in our actions and are so driven by self-preservation, that we forget what all of this is about. If you don't believe me, ask most people why they do some the things they do? It's usuall because they've seen someone else do it. Isn't that how babies learn many innate behaviors? So simple a concept this is, but so tough for most to follow.
I was a victim of this when I was younger. I mean, How many of us see these actors, the professional athletes, and others on TV, and play the wishing game with fitness and body type? Don't fall into that trap. You never know what a lot of those people had to do before they got to their positions.
If I had to sum it all up, I'd say this: wellness dieting sounds complicated at times. And actually, deiting and exercising are the easiest things, and should be, because we're designed to move, and designed to burn efficient fuel for energy. Social media leads most of us to believe there's always something better, and there's always another expedient way to optimal wellness. That's simply not true. Dieting and exercise are the easy things. The tough thing is getting your mind to see the bigger picture.
Wellness isn't about you. It's about those around you. It's about service.
If you change your diet, make it a lifestlye change.
Do it for those who are looking to you as a model. And if you're not a model, become one. For yourself, and for others.