Considering what diet to follow might leave you with more questions than answers!
Clean eating, IIFYM, flexible dieting, intuitive eating, meal plans and more! Does the weight loss industry confuse you? There are so many options and theories to follow that it becomes almost impossible to decide. What is the best diet that is going to work for you? Not only that, but sometimes you start something and then realizing that it’s just not going to work for your lifestyle. If you cannot stick to the diet, then it isn’t going to work.
Not all dieting methods are created equally.
It is rather one dimensional to talk of dieting without talking into account the fact that they are all quite different. There are many “shades of grey” if I can put it like that. And personally, I believe you should follow what best suits your lifestyle as it stands right now. I want to touch a little bit on each so you can understand how they work and figure out which one sounds most like what you do. We never have to give a name to our diet style, but it sure does help in making moves towards progress and reaching certain goals.
First off, clean eating is a rather black and white mindset. There is a lot of restraint with foods either being good or bad. There is no grey area here, you will be told exactly what you can and can’t eat. Usually the same meals over and over again or very bland (read boring) foods. This involves an all or nothing mindset and can be damaging for those who are triggered by restriction. For others who seek an uncompromising structure, you will thrive. Just remember that clean eating often leads restriction and binge cycles. This caan lead to a less healthy weight, unhealthy BMI and mostly a worse off relationship with food. There can be quite some anxiety with this form of dieting.
Otherwise know as ‘if it fits your macros’ is a form of calorie and macro tracking that is far more flexible. You can just about eat what you want if it fits your calorie, protein, carb and fat structure/ targets for the day. This is a much more moderate form of dieting. However it does take a lot of focus and planning to make sure you don’t over consume/ under consume. It can become obsessive in nature and would be great to follow for periods of focused dieting – not forever. Flexible dieting is pretty much as the above. It is all about portion sizes and is certainly great for long term success! A little bit of everything is great for your mindset, especially if you love to live in moderation!
Regardless if you have a coach or found it on the internet, meal plans take many forms. But it’s definitely up there on the “hard to follow” diets. It could be low card, keto, paleo, low fat etc but will include a set menu for you to follow. Any deviations/off plan meals could leave you stressed out especially if you’re checking in with a coach. Some people do like to be told exactly what to eat and how to prepare their food. So if that sounds like you then great, however watch out if you have any tendency to feel restricted. This can possibly lead to negative feelings towards foods and possible binges.
The wild card
Last but not least – I know there are more options, but this is taking the fitness world by storm at the moment. And that is intuitive eating. If you have ever heard of this style of dieting, then you know that it is indeed still a form of diet. If it has rules it is a diet right?
It follows a more natural way of eating. You decide when you are hungry and need a meal and when you are not or need to stop eating. It is somewhat anti diet if I can say that and doesn’t guarantee that you end your day in a calorie deficit/surplus as you may need to be. This may seem a little stressful to those needing more structure and control, yet it may also provide relief to those who have had a bad relationship with food. Ideally you may go from IIFYM to intuitive eating. Because after IIFYM you are more aware of what the kinds of foods helped you manage your weight loss efforts.
At the end of the day just keep in mind that restriction leads to a rebound. Don’t let your lifestyle backfire so listen to where you are now and what you and your mindset can manage. Moderate your calorie intake in a way that is realistic for you to find what is the best diet for YOU! And most importantly, keep healthy!
Interested in how to track progress, check our previous blog post on how to track progress