“Diet” or “dieting”… When I hear those words, or think them, my immediate response is, “Yuck!” Of course, I’m referring to the weight-loss diet, the annual one with the empty promise, “I’m going to lose (fill in the goal) this year.” I can’t seem to achieve the annual “diet”… admittedly I’m not a very self-disciplined person. That’s part of the problem, but even deeper than that is the work. You know, changing EVERYTHING that you eat. Nothing “fun” or “yummy” anymore. And eating at a restaurant is often a chore instead of convenient! Like I said, work.
But that’s in the past for me now. My wife and I have been “playing” with our diet on and off since we were married eight years ago. Between our food choices changing, Nutrition Response Testing, and purchasing the basics to do CrossFit at home, we are in a good physical place. Our diet has shaken down into something fairly consistent, and often boring, but I don’t have to think too hard about my lifestyle diet anymore. It kind of runs itself. It provides what I need. It also provides most of what I want. And the best part? I feel good.
But there was work involved, and still is. It’s just a slower process than switching everything up immediately. Before you read on, there may be a shortcut to better health: find a holistic doctor or nutritionist who will work with you to develop a personal health and fitness plan. For everyone else who can’t afford the money or just wants to do it themselves, here are the major steps that I think people go through, or that I work through when I find new info or need to change something:
- Self -Introspection – Are you willing to take responsibility for your health? It’s not your doctor’s job or you’d be eating what he/she told you to, not what you want. Right? Then, what has worked for you? What hasn’t? That’s a great starting point. Experience is a great teacher. *** As an aside, I’M NOT A DOCTOR, SO AS YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF, DON’T TAKE MY WORD (written or spoken) AS TRUTH EITHER!!! Ok, warning and disclaimer over. ***
- Investigation – is what you believe to be true, actually true? Body chemistry is a wonky thing, yours is unique to you, mine to me. However, there is a lot of GREAT information out there, both clinical and anecdotal. Read both. Sometimes the authorities around you are simply wrong. I’m amazed at the number of people who have “cured” themselves, or their loved ones, through tenaciously learning about how the body works or trying something “new”. This seems especially true from a nutrition/holistic or “systems” perspective. Doctors have many patients, so they are generalists, albeit very well trained. You have one patient – you. Act accordingly.
- Hypothesize – as you learn, compare what you are doing now and what a difference a change might have. What might happen to your body if you cut out one soda a day? Or what might happen if you begin your day with fatty foods – avocado and eggs instead of cereal? What does bulletproof coffee do for a lot of people and how should it work for you? And why might changing when you ate something make a difference to your entire day?
- Experiment – Change one thing at a time. Does the change help or hinder? Some things that work great just aren’t palatable – bulletproof coffee with coconut oil is very unappealing to me, even though it works. I’m using MCT oil powder instead and it is GREAT! Also, if you don’t see/feel a difference then make sure that the item isn’t time sensitive – I mean that often it takes 30 days or more for some items to
- Repeat step 4 until you find your “sweet spot”, where you feel healthy consistently.
Yep, there’s a lot of work to be done here. But how do you define quality of life? If a fit body for you or a loved one is part of your definition then these steps may be for you. Yes, there are many challenges to my lifestyle diet, but it is working for me. Did I get there in one go? Not at all! We’ve been making iterative changes for the last eight years and only recently discovered the ketogenic diet, which moved fats to the beginning of our day. For years we’ve been kind-of using the process above to get where we are today. And as I think about it, I know I wouldn’t have done this without my wife. She’s the real health nut, I’m just working with her, and documenting our current situation. But I’m enjoying the benefits of looking good, feeling good, and being capable of chasing lots of kids who have ENTIRELY too much energy, and that is a big part of my quality of life!