After years of experimenting with various diets, tweaking things here and there, trying different regimens, and spending too many good hour of my life chasing the ideal diet, I finally asked myself
“how do I know my diet is actually working for me?”
What we do know is that standard American diet of cheap carbs, fast food, eating out, fried foods, and just excess in general, is that it leads to a lot of long-term complications: obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, etc.
That’s the best way to know that that kind of diet probably is not ideal. So we can rule that out.
But what about you individually?
I’ve come up with a few signs that a diet is working:
1) it’s easy to repeat and stick to.
2) it’s relatively inexpensive. I remember advocates of one diet guru saying that they spent $200 a week on food. That is expensive, folks, and that’s a sign it doesn’t work well.
3) it gives you the energy you need to get through the day. A huge drawback to the Atkins and low-carb diets is that they lack immediate energy. What’s the point of eating anyway, at the most fundamental level? To have energy!
4) it doesn’t require a trip to specialty grocery stores. If you can’t find it at Kroger or Save Mart, it’s probably not ideal.
5) if your grandma hasn’t heard of the stuff you’re eating, it’s probably too fancy, too expensive, or it’s a fad.
6) you should be able to eat at any restaurant and still meet your macros. I remember at one point all I could order at restaurants was a large platter of vegetables.
7) it doesn’t cause long-term disease. Obviously, that’s hard to determine today because it takes years to develop them, but if you don’t eat in excess and you pay attention to appetite, and you move your body 30-60 minutes a day, you can avoid most chronic diseases (I’ll talk about keeping your finger on the pulse in another e-mail).
8) you should have alternatives available if your best option isn’t available. If your favorite meat is white chicken, then you should be flexible enough to eat dark chicken. If quinoa is your favorite grain (it’s not a grain but let’s keep it simple), you should be able to eat rice or pasta.
9) it includes something from every food group- nuts, dairy, vegetables, meat, fruit, etc. Eliminating entire food groups is generally a bad idea.
10) it doesn’t make you worry that much. You should be flexible enough that small deviations from your diet don’t make worry you.
That’s a good start for now. Most diets fail at least one of these criteria. They’re too regimented, too expensive, too specific, and too hard to adhere to. This is one more reason I’m not a huge fan of specific diets. Too regimented without any proof of efficacy.
If your diet fails to meet these criteria, it’s probably not a good idea, and you should experiment with something else.
You can do that here: https://bit.ly/2UQcLBW