Searching for the elusive “best diet” for fat loss is like hunting for magical unicorns, because it doesn’t exist. If you doubt me, just think about all of the conflicting advice you’ve heard about healthy eating. First, fat was the devil; then healthy fat was okay (trans fat not so much), but watch out for those carbs; and can someone please tell me if eggs are healthy or not – final answer – anybody?
Funny thing, though: what constitutes the “best diet” for fat loss is more hotly debated than ever before.
In one corner, we have followers of the paleo diet, who won’t eat anything if it isn’t all natural. In the other, we have vegetarians who don’t eat meat; vegans who extend that ban to all animal-based products; and pescetarians, who are almost vegetarians but not quite because eating fish is okay in their book. And then there’s folks with a disposition for counting: the calorie-counters, IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), point systems like Weight Watchers—you get the idea. With so much noise and so little clarity, it’s no surprise you feel overwhelmed by it all.
What can you do? Tune out the noise and do what’s right for you.
What you eat should be determined by your needs—not somebody else’s opinion. I can’t identify the absolute best foods for you because I don’t know you. I can’t give you a “best diet” for fat loss because there’s not one. But I can help you become a mindful eater who is more aware of food’s influence on your body, mood, and feelings.
Will you try something for me? It’ll be super productive (and fun!). Start a food diary starting today (or tomorrow if you happen to be burning the midnight oil while you read this). Write down every meal, snack, and beverage you consume for the next month. Include any relevant details like:
- Your surroundings (are you eating in a restaurant or at home?)
- How you felt after eating (did your meal make you feel fulfilled and energetic or lethargic and sluggish?)
- A rating from 1-10 describing how much you enjoyed your meal
I would be willing to wager you’ll discover that natural, healthy foods like fruits and veggies make you feel a whole lot better than processed stuff. This should come as no surprise, but keeping a diary detailing your relationship with food will make it more difficult to dodge this reality.
For those of you thinking, “I just want you to tell me what to do!”
I wish I could tell you exactly what to do, but it’s quite impossible. Could I offer more precise detail if we sat down over coffee to chat about your needs, goals, lifestyle, potential food allergies, and personal preferences? Certainly. But we don’t have that luxury; we’re telepathically communicating VIA this article (which I’m so happy you’re reading, thank you for being here).
The Point: Anyone who claims their diet is THE best diet for fat loss is full of crap. There are too many variables at play for me or anybody else to claim we have it all figured out.
Access the wisdom of your Inner Nutritionist.
Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and author of “the Slow Down Diet” often refers to the inner nutritionist, which is a helpful guide available to every last one of us. Your inner nutritionist tells you all kinds of things: when you’re hungry, when you’re full, how different foods impact your mood, energy, and body in a variety of ways.
You might be thinking, “That sounds way too easy, it can’t be that simple.” Valid response, but riddle me this—are you in full control of your eating decisions or do external cues influence what you eat? By “external cues,” I mean things like:
- How stressful your day was
- Who you’re eating out with
- The amount of food available
Your inner nutritionist doesn’t care about any of that stuff. She just wants you to nourish your body with the foods that make you feel energetic, fulfilled, and happy. Begin your food diary today. Writing about your relationship with food will help you get in touch with your inner nutritionist, who will lead you to success if you let her.
There is no “best diet” that every single person should follow. Eat according to your needs (not somebody else’s opinion). Start your food diary today. After every meal, ask yourself: “Am I nourishing my body or am I depriving it?” Answer honestly and adjust as necessary.