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Whom Do I Believe?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

"There is so much conflicting information out there on what diet is best. Whom do I believe?"

"Is my diet really the best for me?"

"I think I am making an informed decision, but how do I know?"

I once believed that the low-fat diet was the tried and true healthy diet. It was scientifically sound (supposedly). However, on closer inspection, a few key principles fell apart. The United States has become fatter and unhealthier since the government began pushing it. Scientists began blaming compliance. "Obviously people aren't following our guidelines, so it's their fault, not ours."

The low-carb people say it's not the fat, but high sugar that is fueling obesity. The standard American diet is a high grain diet, and grain is broken down into sugar. This is the side that I currently lean.

However, I do not think it is necessarily the best diet for everyone.

I think a high-carb diet is more suitable for high performance athletes. If you're burning 5,000 calories per week, then you should be eating more carbs AND calories overall. The problem is most people combine high performance cardio with a low calorie diet thinking they will lose more weight.

Calorie in versus calorie out. Problem solved.

Well, wait a minute. Government stats show that more Americans ARE trying to get more exercise, but we have made zero progress on reversing the obesity crisis overall. A non scientific observation of Spark dieters shows people ARE exercising and reducing calories.

And yet, here we are. There shouldn't be a SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or Nutrasystem. They should have been written out of existence a decade ago because we were supposed to all be successful.

Here's what happens on a high cardio/low cal diet. Your metabolism drops and you stop losing weight. Then you cut back more calories. The same thing happens. You start eating more calories, and you start gaining weight. In a panic, you start cutting calories again. Deathly afraid of gaining weight, you desperately cling to the low end of your calorie range.

Sound familiar? Yeah, I did that too.

I am not a high performance athlete, nor do I intend to be. I get a moderate amount of recreational exercise per week.

With each new study that comes out that proves this or proves that, whom do I believe?

I ask myself a simple question: "Is what I'm doing right now working for me and my goals?"

If Yes: Keep doing it.

If No: Do something else.

The tried and true thing I know is banging my head on brick walls only ever leads to a headache.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BILL60
    It's much simpler than some would have you believe.
    1839 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    I think that it is complicated and as you have learned, you have to find your way to the top of that mountain, even if there are 100 paths up it!
    1840 days ago
    Could not agree more. I was one who over exercised (became a dark addiction) and under ate (a great eating disorder) for years and am now trying to correct the damage that I did both physically and mentally and that was with eating clean and healthy foods. So for me, calories in versus calories out did NOT hold true. Everybody is different so no one plan will work for everyone.

    I think that the biggest thing that people need to learn is to trust their body and feed it good food when it is hungry and stop when they are satisfied (which I know that’s you are doing). I have been working on this too. If I am only hungry 2X a day, that’s ok. Another day I could be truly hungry 4X. Truly listen to your body and trust it. I have a classmate that started listening to her body’s needs has gone vegan and she is feeling great on it. Me, no way could I do that. My body is telling me it wants meat. I do have meals where all I want is veggies and I listen.

    Genetics does play some part in it as in it may determine what body shape you may be able to achieve (I am going to blog about this). I will NEVER be a size 6 so that will never ever be my goal. It would just be so unrealistic and set me up for utter failure and misery. I think too many women are trying to reach that “ideal” goal that society has set and not really trying to be the best that THEIR body can be.

    1840 days ago
    In my case, I don't think it was genetic variation as much as I caused damage to my insulin sensitivity by overloading on Big Gulps and sugary margaritas. All of our insulin receptors will eventually slow down and die out, but sadly, I accelerated it with my poor choices.
    1841 days ago
    I have come to believe that there is, indeed, one "template" that will work for virtually all people. That template would have to allow us to eat like healthy animals - eating "to hunger and satisfaction". It would need to be our natural diet, that nourishes us, gives us energy, satisfies hunger and keeps us at optimal weight without artificial constraints.

    The real confusion is simply that due to genetic variation, some people can thrive on foods that are outside the template, while others cannot deviate by even an iota.

    ALL people can eat like healthy animals inside the template.
    SOME people can eat like healthy animals outside the template
    MOST people will experience cravings and excessive hunger, weight gain, energy spikes and crashes, and less than optimal health and wellness if they eat outside the template.
    1841 days ago
    As they say, one size does not fit all. And that is very true when it coming to losing weight. Everyone is looking for the ONE diet that will help everyone lose weight. The problem ? It doesn't exist. What works for one person isn't going to work for someone else.

    There was a time when fat was the boogie man when it came to weight gain. Then it was refined sugar. Now, it's gluten. If a person is diabetic or has a gluten intolerance, then yes, those people do have to watch how many grains they eat. But that doesn't mean everyone should stop eating grains.

    It really is confusing. In my own case, I knew I ate too much of everything. I also knew I wasn't eating enough healthy foods. I've been tweaking my nutrition for years and it's still evolving.

    I will say what made a big difference for me was portion control. I really had no idea how much food I was eating. Who knew that a four piece chicken dinner was supposed to feed two people, not one. LOL !!

    The point ? A person might have to experiment with their nutrition to find what works best for their body.

    I agree, keep doing what works for you.

    1841 days ago
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