How to Personalize Your Nutrition and Create "The [Insert Your Name Here] Diet"
Let's play a game.
How many "diets" have you tried? How many "diet books have you read?"
- Atkins? Check.
- Vegetarian? Check.
- South Beach Diet? Check. For 10 years.
- Low-Carb? Check.
- Low-Calorie? Check. I was a girl in college, so of course, yes.
- Weight-watchers? Not quite, but I know there are millions of you.
- Paleo? Check.
- 3-Day Juice Cleanse? Several times.
- Vegan? Check. One year!
- Plant-based Paleo. Yup.
- Plant-Powered? Yes.
- Whole30? Yes, this January, in fact.
Now let me take a guess -- based off my extensive personal experience and my work with my clients -- that these "diets" didn't 100% work for you.
Am I right? Yeah, I thought so.
That's why you kept bopping around year-over-year and tried new approaches, right?
You lost some weight, then you veered off track "from the plan," got upset with yourself, kicked yourself that you didn't have enough will-power to stay away from the bread basket and then gained all the weight back.
Next year, new diet, new approach.
It's frustrating. Yes.
But it's also REALLY empowering.
Empowering you say? That I lost weight, then gained it, then yo-yo-ed all over the place?
Stick with me here.
If your past nutritional plans were listed on your resume, you'd have a ton and that's the EXPERIENCE we're going to draw upon today.
Think back over the past 10, 15, 20, 30 years of your life. What would your Nutritional Resume list? Write out your own timeline in your head or jot it on a piece of paper. It brings your past to life!
Don't kick yourself. You did nothing wrong. Nothing!
See, the thing is, that no nutrition plan works for everyone. There is no "perfect diet."
Let's see what the scientists say about that.
The New York Times published a great piece on "the new field of personalized nutrition" in November, called "Could Your Healthy Diet Make Me Fat?" They reviewed an Israeli study that proves that "healthy food" for one person, doesn't mean it's "healthy" for everyone, and in fact, could make YOU fat.
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel built their study around monitoring the blood sugar of 800 participants before and after food consumption. What they found, was blood sugar spikes varied amongst the population, in reaction to eating the same quality and quantity of food.
In other words, each individual metabolized their food differently. Even taking in to account weight, height, age, and gut bacteria, each participant had a unique glycemic response to diet types, i.e. low-carb, higher-carb etc.
For example, one participant eats a piece of pizza and his blood sugar goes through the roof -- leading to fat storage -- and another person eats the same slice and she only experiences a slight uptake in insulin-response. The latter participant, therefore, would be less likely to gain weight by eating pizza. The same goes for "healthy foods" like tomatoes!
In fact, the study "raised the possibility that an individualized approach to nutrition could eventually supplant national guidelines meant for the entire public" (Source: NYTimes) and concluded that "healthy foods" differ by individual.
The study's findings on "personalized nutrition" highlights my core nutrition philosophy and parallels the concept of "bio-individuality" that the nutrition school I attended, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, has been teaching for almost 25 years.
OK, So that's the Science. Now Back to you.
When you read a diet book, you can typically stay on track for two or three weeks. Then you eat the cake, or the chocolate, or god forbid, some whole-grains on the Paleo diet, and you've failed.
I'm a huge dork and was a total nerd in school and I still hate the thought failure! We all do!
So how can you set yourself up for nutrition success? A "plan" where you never technically "fail" and instead, live in a positive mindset, enjoy the meals you crave, experiment with your own body daily and celebrate your victories?
Welcome to "The [Insert Your Name Here] Diet"
Many of my clients come to me during their initial consultations and want quick fixes. It makes sense. We live in the land of Google and easy answers.
Is greek yogurt good for me? Can I eat red meat? Should I eat after 9pm if I'm hungry? How can I get my protein? Do I have to totally give up pasta and wine?
My answer is usually, "it depends."
YOU are your own experiment. YOU are your own nutrition plan.
I don't believe in sticking strictly to labels like "Paleo," "Vegan" or "Low-Carb." Use your name instead and make it your own.
Let me tell you some stories.
Julia is Italian, grew up on her mom's amazing pasta, exercises a ton during the week, has 2% Greek Yogurt and berries for breakfast, lean meats, salads, a mini-serving of pasta or bread each night and drinks wine only on Fridays and Saturdays. That totally works for her. That's "The Julia Diet."
Melissa is a lifetime Vegetarian. Refuses to touch meat, eats lots of spinach, bananas, eggs, hummus and veggie pizza. She rarely overeats and maintains a six-pack. She doesn't drink much, but will occasionally have a fun cocktail. This is "The Melissa Diet."
John is a Cross-Fit and Paleo devotee. He has eggs, sweet potatoes and bullet-proof coffee for breakfast, a lean meat and veggie for lunch, and red meat and veggies for dinner. He loves protein, lifts a ton and breaks "the rules" to have beer on the weekend with his buddies. This is "The John Diet."
Catch my drift?
When you have your OWN diet, you can't mess up.
It's PART of the plan.
You did nothing wrong and you're holding yourself up to your own standards that work for you.
It also means you can't negatively compare yourself to others. You have your own ethnic background, your own history with food, your own cravings, your own workout plan, career plan and lifestyle.
No two people are the same. Ever.
I'll give you a sneak peak at "The Michelle Diet" (that's me) and then lead you to create your own.
Michelle is a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Running Instructor. She's on her feet a lot and tends to eat five or six small meals a day. She typically starts her day with a green protein smoothie bowl, has almond butter and GF-bread for a snack, chomps down on a massive salad with hormone-free chicken for lunch, makes another veggie or fruit smoothie before evening clients, and finishes the day with roasted veggies, some meat and a light carb. She has chips and guacamole once a week, avoids gluten and dairy, loves monthly frozen yogurt free-for-alls and has wine and lots of dark chocolate on the weekends. She eats a spoonful of almond butter rather than go to bed hungry.
Does this appeal to you? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.
I certainly wouldn't want "The Melissa Diet" or "The Julia Diet" or the "John Diet," much like you wouldn't want parts of "The Michelle Diet."
Now, take a moment. Walk me through "The [Insert Your Name Here] Diet."
Now, I'm not saying that you don't need to make a ton of tweaks to health-ify your current eating plans. You probably do.
But I encourage you to use your past EXPERIMENTS trying all the different diet books out there, and pick and chose parts that work best for you.
Remember those science experiments we had to do in the 7th grade?
Treat your body like the test subject.
Take those past diets you listed on your Nutrition Resume and build out your own nutrition plan.
You're constantly evolving and constantly learning in this information age. I want you to do the best you can today. Tomorrow you will know more, and your diet with evolve.
You'll look back a few years from now and notice how far you've come.
Still unsure? Enlist the help of an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. We're trained to work with our clients to personalize their nutrition to THEM and their needs. And to make it fun, happy, enjoyable and inspired along the way.
It's your life. I's your story. So let's make it about success and not failure, shall we?
PS: Schedule your complimentary session with me here. We'll get to the root of your personal nutrition story and start working on a plan for YOU.