How many diets have you tried? I'll wait while you count...
I can recall about TWELVE diet guidelines that I've tried in the past (I'm sure there are more but that's all I can remember at the moment). While I know diet culture is a mind f*&% and frustrating, there was some GOOD (or a teachable moment) that I learned from each of the diets that I experimented with.
Here's my lesson and takeaways from a few:
Special K Diet: this was the first thing I tried in college. It was impossible to feel full or nourished with only some cereal, bars, and a shake. I learned that you get what you pay for. Cheap and shitty food makes you feel cheap and shitty as a person.
Carb Cycling: when I first began Beachbody, and before they came out with a meal plan system of their own, my coach had written up a plan for me that was close to those that do fitness competitions. A lot of shakes, chicken, broccoli- and barely any carbs. This diet made me aware of how my body responded to more protein and veggies (which was a good thing!), but also what hunger cues looked like (because my body was calling for some carbs!).
Paleo: coming off low carbs kind of goes hand in hand with Paleo. I was obsessed with the Paleo recipes out there and made some delicious meals.I learned how to make parsnip fries and it was life changing. But again, I found it hard to keep up with little to no carbs!
Wheat Free: I read the book Wheat Belly and became obsessed with eliminating wheat from my diet. While long term I could see this being unreasonable, I do think it's beneficial for everyone to go through a period eliminating certain foods known to cause inflammation to see how their body reacts. My body responded really well and I learned a lot of fun wheat free recipes that I still use today.
Gluten Free: I think by this point we've all tried gluten free for one reason or another. What I learned from it is that just because it has the GF label on the box, does NOT mean it is healthy. Many times GF foods are replaced with flours that mimic the same bodily issues gluten can give us.
Pescatarian: my step dad owns a seafood company, so not eating seafood is nearly impossible LOL! I still do not eat much animal meat, so seafood is a huge source of protein. Although there are farming issues with seafood that I try to be conscious about, I've learned that sometimes, crab cakes and lobster rolls are worth it.
Vegan: when I had issues regarding the tick borne illness I was diagnosed with, I did a 3 week program called The Ultimate Reset, which led me to cutting out all meat and dairy from my diet. I went months eating only plants, chugging water, cutting out booze, and living a super life! I learned what it felt like to consume a huge variety of veggies and fruits.I also found that just because it's vegan on a label, does not make it healthy. There's such a thing as eating too much junk vegan foods (ez: Oreo's are vegan). I realized that I felt a bit sad and restricted at times, maybe because of where I was in my life at that moment. It was tough to eat out at the time, but now that's changed! I currently use a lot of the recipes and meat replacements made with beans, lentils, and other plant based proteins.
Medical Medium: following his protocol was the hardest and one I had the least success with. I was downright miserable LOL. I find this to be the least sustainable for me, but again, I know that every 'protocol' has it's time and place in someone's life! I learned some delicious smoothie recipes that included fruits and plants that I wasn't used to eating, but now love (like wild blueberries with cilantro!).
Candida: this involved removing starchy, heavy carbs or fruits. Even though they are healthy, if you have candida (which is an overgrowth of yeast in the gut and if you've ever taken antibiotics, you most likely have it!) your body needs to eliminate them for a while. I learned the importance of gut health, letting your gut heal, NOT to take antibiotics unless it's an emergency and that my body missed carbs per usual! I still throw in some of the recipes I learned from this protocol over the years.
Intermittent Fasting: this style of eating involves fasting for at least 12 hours (often IF is more) in between your dinner and breakfast. I would go until 11AM before I had my Shakeology. I definitely felt GOOD and physically looked fit when I did this method. However, I was running off of caffeine and burning cortisol in the AM which stressed my body out, and I could feel weak in my workouts because I had no food in me. Today, I still try to eat dinner with a lighter meal at an earlier hour, and use sleep as my fasting time.
Ultimate Portion Fix: this is the container system created by Beachbody/Autumn Calabrese. I followed this method the most over the past 8 years and I still think it has some great components to it. I learned that I was not eating enough and what it looked like to eat 2000 calories a day and what decent portions of foods should look like. I also learned to get a variety of foods into my every day diet (especially protein and plants). However, the 1 tsp of Peanut butter or 1/4 of avocado as healthy fats is insulting LOL.
Whew! A lot of life lessons. Did you experience any of these?
I do not regret ONE of these diets, because it got me to where I am today (okay maybe I regret spending any of my $ on those damn Special K bars). Most of the food trends I tried were for medical reasons and to alleviate some type of inflammation I was dealing with. While they are not sustainable long term, I love taking what I've known from each diet and incorporating into what I eat today. I have some celery juice in the AM on an empty stomach if I need it, I know when to cut out the wheat and gluten if my belly has been too bloated, I whip up my favorite vegan meal when I need an extra dose of veggies. I feel more well rounded because of what I went through!
The search for the perfect diet ended once I learned that people who menstruate need specific foods during the four different phases of their monthly cycle. I gained knowledge about how we require more calories right before our period, can lead a more plant based raw diet when we ovulate, and can channel our inner Paleo when we have our period. Feeding my phases is the ONLY thing I've stuck to long term (1.5 years now!) that left me full of variety, flexibility and the most intuitive I've felt. And thats because this way of eating was MADE for me (and any other woman out there!).
Do you struggle with only feeling like you achieve your goals if you're following a diet or a workout program? I want to teach you how to break the cycle with my masterclass happening March 7th, Break Up the Program Masterclass! This one-day masterclass will breakdown all you need to know to achieve your goals without the anxiety of following 'rules'. Click here for more information!