Not sure which diet to follow? Here is how to choose the perfect one

Not sure which diet to follow? Here is how to choose the perfect one

If there is a single area of life with the most confusing and contradictory information, it’s dieting without a doubt. There are hundreds of different diets out there, most of them claiming to offer you a miraculous solution for high levels of energy, a fit body and absence of any illness.

After reading a few dieting books or articles, you have no idea who to believe and what really works and what doesn’t. For almost every type of food in existence, you can find several “scientific” studies that are for and against eating that specific food.

And for almost every type of diet, there are gurus explaining their stories of how they easily acquired a six-pack, got cured of cancer and now they need only 2 hours of sleep. All you have to do is to click the buy button.

And you know what. They are all wrong. Because I’m the one who found the perfect diet for you … I’m the one who knows the secret to the spring of eternal youth, building muscles while eating French fries, and a secret supplement that makes you super strong.

I’m just kidding … But let me share with you my experience with different diets and what I learned about healthy eating up until now. It might help you solve some confusion and give you directions for what really works and what doesn’t.

I read my first few dieting books before I was even 18 years old. All the contradictory information got me super confused, as it happens to everyone. In all the confusion, I decided to experiment with different diets on my own skin and see what works and what doesn’t.

In the past 15 years, I followed many different diets and eating patterns. Here are only a few of the major diet types that I did:

  • Standard (American) diet: Sometime up to my 18th birthday
  • Vegetarian diet (standard, lacto, ovo, alkaline): 4 years
  • Vegan diet: 2 years
  • Fruitarian diet: 1 year
  • Raw – plant/fat-based diet: 0. 5 years
  • Macrobiotic diet: 0.5 years (yin/yang principle – whole grain based)
  • Atkins diet: 0.5 years (high protein, low carb, low fat)
  • Ketogenic diet: 0.5 years (mid protein, low carb, high fat)
  • The Zone Diet: 0.5 years (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat)
  • Paleo diet: 1 year
  • The diet I currently follow is a combination of the past few diets and it fits me perfectly. I cycle complex carbs, on non-carb days I eat lots of healthy fats, and my diet is mainly based on meat, fish, eggs, dairy, veggies, nuts, seeds, fruits, ancient wheat sorts and beans.

Much like I experimented with different diets, I also experimented with different eating patterns – skipping breakfast or dinner, intermittent fasting, carb-cycling, different number of meals during the day, juice fasting, gluten-free diet, not eating sweets at all for several years, eating only low GI foods, and many other eating patterns and diets.

Before we start, I want to be very clear – I’m not promoting any specific diet and I definitely didn’t invent yet another miraculous solution that will make you super fit overnight. What I’ve learned is that you must experiment a little bit to find the diet that works best for you as an individual.

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But you must be very careful not to go into extremes and, in the end, do more damage to your health than good. Eating disorders and dieting extremes are often a sign of emotional suffering.

If you find yourself getting obsessed with a certain type of diet and beating yourself up when you don’t follow it 100%, there’s a high probability you’re trying to compensate for emotional suffering by punishing your body.

Extreme diets, not supervised by a specialist, are most often only a version of self-punishment.

There are three major goals of this article:

  1. I want to help you solve the confusion of which is the best diet out there. There is no such thing as the perfect diet. By experimenting you must find the one that works best for you (and this article will teach you how).
  2. Even though many diets claim completely different things, there are some general health recommendations that most diets agree with. We will look at these recommendations, because they are absolutely worth following. What to definitely eat and what definitely not to eat.
  3. I want to share with you how to safely experiment to find the diet that will perfectly fit you as an individual.

To put everything together, we will look at several things:

  • The foundations of a healthy lifestyle
  • The foods you should definitely eat
  • The foods you should definitely not eat
  • The foods to experiment with and figure out if they work for you
  • Perfecting your diet with little tricks

Healthy living foundations

The foundations of healthy living – diet, exercise and lifestyle

You can eat the healthiest diet in the world, but eating habits are only one part of a healthy lifestyle.

The other two foundations of health and fitness are exercise and a moderate style of living. Much like you can do damage to your health with a bad diet, so you can do it with a lavish lifestyle and physical laziness.

Don’t expect to solve all of your health problems or to be fit only by following a miraculous diet. Diet is absolutely important, and you can greatly influence your health, fitness and energy levels with proper dieting, but don’t forget about the other two foundations – exercise and lifestyle.

Diet, exercise and lifestyle all greatly influence your health and fitness levels.

When it comes to exercising, here are some general recommendations:

  • Find the exercise you dislike the least and move at least three times per week
  • Systematically work on your endurance, strength, flexibility/mobility/stability
  • Learn to breathe properly through your nose, inhaling in the belly
  • Spend enough time in nature, in the sun, playing and enjoying life
  • Make sure your posture is good

And when it comes to your style of living, here are the rules to follow:

With regular exercise, you speed up your metabolism, preserve or gain muscles, improve your overall state of health, burn additional calories and brighten your mood. Never forget that you’re always only one workout away from a good mood.

When I went on a very calorie-restrictive diet without exercising, I did lose weight, but my posture got really bad, my muscles went away, and I certainly didn’t look healthy. A healthy diet with regular exercise works best.

On the other hand, a moderate lifestyle makes it much easier to follow your diet and exercising goals. If you make sure you’re well rested, in good company with a positive outlook on life, there won’t be any emotional eating, you will have an easier job focusing on your dieting goals, your hormones will be balanced, and your overall happiness will improve.

So please keep all three health foundations in mind – diet, exercise, and general lifestyle.

The quest for perfect diet – First narrow down the choices and the confusion will immediately decrease

The best thing that helped me reduce the confusion around dieting and which foods to eat, was narrowing down my choices. The fewer choices you have, the less confused you can be.

I simply went through the most popular types of diets and categorized foods into three types:

  1. The foods most diets DO recommend eating
  2. The foods most diets agree are NOT healthy at all
  3. The foods where opinions differ (it means you must figure it out by yourself)

Now let’s look at these three categories.

Healthy foods

1. The foods you should DEFINITELY EAT on a daily basis

In all the confusion, there are luckily a few types of foods that most diets recommend. These are the foods you should absolutely eat on a daily basis – if possible with every meal, no matter which diet you follow.

As you probably figured out, green veggies are on the list.

A word of caution. Eating only the foods on the “safe list” is absolutely not enough for getting all the macro- and micro-nutrients that your body needs. But these are definitely the foods that should be on your plate regularly and will help preserve your fitness and health.

There are three types of foods that are recommended by most diets:

  • Veggies, especially the green ones, with the exception of nightshades
  • Plant-based healthy fats, mainly from nuts and seeds
  • Fruits, but absolutely eaten in moderation and not juiced
  • We can also add water to the list

Make veggies your favorite food

Organic seasonal veggies, especially the green ones, have the best reputation in different diets. But you must go for the organic grown option.

The only exception among veggies are nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, chilies), for which some studies assert that they cause inflammation. To keep things as simple as possible, let’s keep nightshades off the list at this step.

Even without nightshades, there are so many vegetables you can enjoy with every meal:

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce, chicory, endive
  • Pea
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Zucchini etc.

As you can see above, there are more than 20 tasty vegetables to enjoy with every meal. Veggie soups, salads, green smoothies, and veggie mix side dishes are the healthiest options you should definitely eat every day.

Veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, they are low in calories, and there are so many different tasty dishes you can make out of them.

Healthy fats will make your cells super happy

Healthy fats also have a very good reputation in many diets. The most common reason they might not be recommended is because they are dense in calories. But that only means you must eat them in moderation.

And let’s not forget that there is a big marketing gimmick out there created by the sugar industry, claiming that fat is making you fat, which is absolutely not true. Overeating is making you fat, not fat.

Below is the list of foods filled with healthy fats that should absolutely be on your shopping list:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts (if you don’t have any allergies and make sure they’re not roasted and salted) – walnuts, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, cashew, macadamia, pine nuts and pistachios (exception are peanuts, since they are legumes, not nuts)
  • Seeds – flax, chia, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp and other seeds
  • Dark chocolate (85%+)
  • Olives
  • Healthy oils – olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil

Fruits are the best way to sweeten your life

You probably know the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It’s hard to fight such an old wisdom; as long as you eat fruit in moderation. Some diets are not very enthusiastic about fruit, because it contains quite a lot of sugar.

Unfortunately, modern fruit is grown to be as sweet as possible, since sugar is so addictive. Nevertheless, fruit is still packed with so much beneficial stuff for your health (vitamins, minerals, fiber) that a few pieces of fruit will absolutely do more good for your health than bad, at least in most cases.

When it comes to fruit, there are a few important rules to follow:

  • Buy organic fruit from a trusted supplier (same as veggies and nuts)
  • Go for seasonal fruit, especially the locally grown kind
  • Eat only a few pieces of fruit per day (up to 5 portions – pieces or small cups)
  • Don’t eat fruit after big meals as a dessert, but rather eat it as a snack between meals (otherwise fruit might mess with your digestion or make you hungry again)
  • Don’t drink fruit smoothies or fruit juices
  • Don’t eat dried or canned fruit
  • If you want to lose weight, temporarily limit fruit consumption
  • Don’t eat fruit if your doctor advises you against it because of some particular illness (diabetes etc.)

There are so many different fruits that can serve as a delicious snack:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries (berries are really good for you)
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons and limes
  • Mangos
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Passion fruits
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelons
  • All the exotic fruit

Let's not forget to drink enough water

Another tip that most diets recommend is to drink enough water. It’s the only way to keep your body and brain hydrated. Thus, drink a glass of water the first thing when you wake up, and then every time before meals and between meals.

You should drink around half a gallon (2 liters) of water per day, and even more during heat and exercise. Try not to drink out of a plastic bottle (plastic contains toxic chemicals like phthalates, bisphentol-BPA and xenoestrogens) and make sure you always have a glass of water by your side in the office.

Any other drinks like sodas, fruit juices, coffee, alcoholic beverages etc. do not count as an alternative to water. The only alternative might be un-sugared herbal tea (but not green tea). Still, make sure you drink a few glasses of water every day to become fond of drinking pure water without any taste.

Toxic food

2. The foods you should DEFINITELY AVOID

Much like we have foods that most diets and nutrition experts do recommend consuming on a daily basis, so we have foods that the majority of nutrition experts advise against.

These are the foods you should not eat at all, or at least very rarely (let’s say less than 10% – 20% of your overall food intake is reasonable and easily achieved).

Here is the list of the foods most nutrition specialists recommend you avoid:

  1. Foods high in added sugar
  2. Refined (highly proccessed) carbohydrates
  3. Artificial trans fats

We should add to the list also:

  1. All other highly processed food (sausages, salami, frozen food, canned food etc.).
  2. Cheap foods of an unknown source
  3. Cigarettes, alcohols and drugs

Sugar is your number one enemy

Let’s start with sugar. Sugar is your number one enemy and the greatest poison when it comes to food. The problem is because it’s so addictive and added to almost every processed food.

Sugar is not only in sweets, but also in low-fat foods, fruit yogurts, dressings, bread etc. There’s added sugar almost everywhere. While you can’t completely avoid sugar, it’s smart to limit it as much as possible.

Foods high in sugar (obvious and not so obvious) are:

  • All types of candies and sweets – muffins, cakes, bonbons, chocolate, pudding, desserts etc.
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Low-fat yogurts and yogurt with fruit
  • Honey, jelly and jams
  • Dressings and sauces
  • Cereal bars and many protein bars
  • Flavored coffees and ice teas
  • Pre-made soups
  • Granola
  • Bread
  • Canned fruit
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt and milkshakes
  • Juices, fruit drinks and smoothies
  • Sports drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • And so on

Trans fats are as bad as sugar

Besides sugar, trans fats are definitely something to avoid. Artificial trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Don't confuse trans fats with saturated fats from animal products.

Trans fat raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Not to mention that trans fats cause cancer.

Here are the foods high in trans fats you must avoid at all costs:

  • Baked goods – cakes, cookies, waffles, biscuits, rolls and pies
  • Snacks – chips, crackers, tortilla chips
  • Fried or battered food – French fries, doughnuts, fried meat
  • Breakfast sandwiches
  • Frozen pizza
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Margarine

Highly processed food and refined grains

The third group of foods to be avoided are refined and highly processed carbohydrates and refined grains. Refined carbohydrates are grains that have had all the beneficial stuff removed (fibers, minerals, vitamins).

Consequently, most diets agree that you should go for the whole, healthier versions of carbohydrates.

The refined carbohydrates to avoid are:

  • Pure sugar – white or brown sugar
  • Syrups – agave, corn, maple brown rice and all other types of syrups
  • Snack foods – chips, crackers, pretzels
  • Soft sandwich breads and toasts
  • Hamburger buns or hot dog buns
  • Instant oatmeal, pancakes and waffle mixes
  • Again, all types of desserts and sweets
  • Highly processed food with expiration date in years – sausages, salami frozen food, canned food etc.
  • White bread and white pasta (debatable) – but whole version is definitely healthier

In the end, we must add fast food, highly processed food and cheap foods from unknown sources to the list of unhealthy foods to be avoided. And you already know about the damage that cigarettes, drugs and alcohol do to your health.

We all need cheat meals

Does this mean you should never eat these types of foods? Being an extremist or a perfectionist only brings pain and suffering into your life.

I used to be an extremist and eating something from the list of “forbidden” foods above made me angry and anxious for a couple of hours. The emotional reaction probably did more damage to my health than that unhealthy snack.

When it comes to shitty food there are a few humane rules to follow:

  • Eating less than 10 – 20% of shitty food is in most cases good enough (if you don’t suffer from any real illnesses or if you are not on a very strict diet). Don’t expect to completely avoid shitty foods, because that’s impossible in today’s world.
  • It takes some energy, planning and a higher budget to avoid shitty food. The environment is not on your side when it comes to avoiding shitty foods. Be prepared for people, commercials and restaurants to not support your desire to eat healthy, rather than the opposite.
  • Always go for the healthiest food available and don’t emotionally beat yourself up if it’s not the healthy choice. Sometimes on a business meeting or when you are travelling, it’s just impossible to eat really healthy.
  • It’s normal to have a pig-out day from time to time (approximately once per month), when you eat all the possible crap food. It’s pretty much the same when you’re emotionally upset and there’s nothing that can calm you down except a big bowl of ice cream. Just make sure that it doesn’t happen daily.
  • If you find yourself eating shitty food for several days in a row, at some point decide to eat only healthy food for the upcoming couple of days. You can always correct choices with your next move.
  • Don’t have shitty food at home.
Experiment with different diets

Experiment a little bit with different diets

3. The foods you must figure out on your own if they work for you or not

Now you are familiar with the foods to definitely eat and the foods to avoid. That leads us to the last group of foods, with which you will have to experiment a little bit and find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Your religious, ethical beliefs, taste preferences and exercise goals usually also have a big influence on what to go for.

The foods for which you have to decide for yourself (best with experimenting) if you will eat them or not are:

  1. Animal products (protein source for muscle grow or source of fat)
    • Meat – chicken, cattle, sheep, pigs etc.
    • Dairy – yogurt, cheese, butter, milk etc.
    • Eggs
  2. Fish and seafood (protein source for muscle growth)
  3. Grains (complex carbs for energy)
  4. Beans, legumes and lentils (complex carbs for energy)
  5. Nightshades – tomato, peppers, chili, eggplant

We can also add to the list:

These are the foods where most of the confusion comes from – many different diets are for or against and opinions of nutrition experts vary.

There are also many contradictory scientific studies about the effects of these foods on your health. The best thing to do is to experiment a little bit and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Here is in general what different diets recommend:

  • Vegetarian diet – no meat products, only plant based protein and fat
  • Vegan diet – no animal products or seafood, only plant based protein and fat
  • Macrobiotic diet – based especially on grains
  • Paleo diet / Keto diet – no grains, beans, legumes or lentils
  • Zone diet – eat everything in moderation (1/3 protein, 2/3 complex and fibrous carbs), no fatty meat

A simple way to find out what fits your body and what doesn’t

First eliminate all the foods that you don’t like, don’t want to eat because of religious, ethical or any other beliefs, or that just aren’t very popular in your local environment.

Then the best way to find out which foods fit your body and which don’t is to write a food journal. In the food journal, you note the following things:

  • Your observations before eating anything – Do you like the smell, does the food looks tasty, do you like the texture and the actual taste? What is your body telling you?
  • Observe your body’s reaction after eating the food – How does your mood change, any variations in energy levels, do you have any allergic reactions, would you eat the same meal next time?
  • Body responses if you (don’t) eat a certain type of food – Do you have any cravings (doesn’t work for sugary foods), how good is your sleep, overall feeling, energy levels etc.
  • Scientific tests – You can measure your blood sugar levels, vitamins and minerals deficiencies, there are several allergy tests out there, DNA test recommendations etc.

By gathering all the data, you only need several months to find the foods that work for you and the ones that don’t.

While you experiment, make sure you don’t go to any extremes. If you listen carefully to your body’s reaction, you will soon find the foods that resonate the best with your body.

For example, here is what works for me:

  • I eat quite a lot of lean meat without fatty parts (saturated fat doesn't resonate well with me). Eating a lot of meat was quite hard for me, considering that I was vegetarian for a long time. But I have much more energy now and my blood test also significantly improved.
  • I eat yogurt made from goat milk, cheese, curd, but don’t consume butter or milk.
  • All beans, legumes and lentils, work great for me, except soy.
  • I need whole grains for high energy levels – wild rice, barley, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, oats. Refined grains don't work good for me, at least psychologically.
  • I do eat fish, but not other seafood.
  • I absolutely don’t like nightshades.
  • No coffee for me, but I do drink green tea.
  • I do take a few food supplements.
  • From time to time, I change my dieting regime a little bit to always try new things and options.

Other factors to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect diet

You might also have certain fitness or health goals that can influence your choice of foods.  Here are some general directions to follow:

Do you want to grow muscles?

If you want to grow muscles, you will have to increase your protein intake. The easiest way to get enough protein are animal sources (meat, dairy, eggs, fish, whey protein).

You can find vegetarian bodybuilders eating only plant-based protein (beans, legumes, lentils, rice proteins etc.), but it’s much harder to get enough protein for muscles to grow.

That means growing muscles most often requires eating a lot of meat and animal products. Many diets like keto, paleo, Atkins etc. are big advocates of eating animal proteins.

Do you want to lose fat?

If you want to lose fat, there are two important rules to follow. The first one is that you can never out-train your diet. Exercising absolutely does help to lose fat, but a six pack is mainly made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

That’s because it’s so easy to eat 500 kcal, and you need to work out for an hour to burn the same number of calories.

The second rule when it comes to losing fat is that you should be in a caloric deficit (around 500 – 700 kcal a day). Some nutrition specialists claim that the quantity of the food is not important, only quality.

That’s not true. Both are important. When it comes to loosing fat, quantity can be even more important than quality, and when it comes to your overall health we must add quality to the equation.

  • I lost fat on a standard American diet by restricting calories
  • I got fat on paleo, vegetarian or any other diet by overeating

If you want to really lose fat, the best way is to calculate your BMR, TDEE and macros (carb, fat, protein intake) and then track your daily values. In practical terms that means, you will have to restrict calories in your diet if you want to loose fat.

You will get the best weight loss results by:

  • Following a healthy calorie restrictive dieting
  • Regularly exercising
  • Increasing your protein intake foods rich in fiber
  • Eliminating simple carbs and sugars
  • Eliminating empty calories (sodas, juices, sweets etc.)

Do you want to run your body on glucose or ketones?

Your body can run on glucose or ketones. Ketones are alternative fuel, when glucose (blood sugar) is in short supply.

Ketones are produced in the liver from fat. When your body runs on ketones, your insulin level becomes very low. Your body produces ketones when you eat a minimal amount of carbs and a moderate amount of protein.

Some people feel great on the keto diet and others terrible. There is no other way to find out than to try it.

Ketones (70%+ of energy comes from fat) Glucose (energy comes from healthy carbs)
Fatty meats

Fatty fish

Cheese

Eggs

Butter

Oils

Avocado, olives

Whole grains

Wild rice

Beans, lentils, legumes

Sweet potato

Vegetables

Fruits

 

The perfect diet

Putting it all together – the formula for finding your perfect diet

If we put it all together, the formula for finding your perfect diet is pretty simple:

  1. Eat as many veggies as possible every day (except nightshades, if your body doesn't like them) – Go for veggie soups, salads and green smoothies. Make sure there is always some type of veggies on your platter as a side dish. Be in love with veggies. No matter which diet you follow, veggies are the most vital food for your health.
  2. Eat fruit in moderation – Fruit contains fructose (sugar), which is not optimal, but it is also packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. So, eat fruit in moderation, maximum 2 – 5 pieces per day. When you crave sweets, go for a piece of fruit. If you want to lose weight, or your body to run on ketones, limit your fruit intake only to berries and to 1 portion.
  3. Never forget to eat healthy fats – Avocado, nuts (if you're not allergic), seeds, olives and dark chocolate are great snacks and super healthy foods. You should get at least 20% of your calorie intake from fats, and if you want to run your body on ketones, that should go up to 70% (by adding fatty meats etc.). Fat is not making you fat, overeating is making you fat.
  4. Drink enough water – No matter which diet you follow, make sure you drink enough water. Drink a glass of water with a little bit of lemon when you wake up, and always have a glass bottle filled with water with you. Avoid all other types of drinks.
  5. Make sure that you eat less than 10% – 20% of shitty foods – these are foods high in sugar, artificial trans fats, refined carbohydrates, fast food and all other highly processed foods. They should be consumed as an exception when you have a cheat meal, can't calm down your emotions or there is nothing else to eat. But don't beat yourself up after you eat any type of shitty food. Don't strive for perfection, go for good enough. Be satisfied by choosing the best meal available at a certain moment.
  6. Six types of foods to experiment with – When you know the foods to avoid and foods to eat as often as possible, there are certain foods for which you must figure out on your own if they work for you or not. Your religious and ethical beliefs, local customs, dieting goals, different diets that sound reasonable to you, and especially paying attention to your body’s responses (by keeping a journal) should give you a good idea of what to eat and what not to eat. The following are the foods to find out on your own how they fit your body, beliefs and goals:
    1. Animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) – recommend by all high protein diets (paleo, atkins, low-carb etc.) and keto diet (fatty meats)
    2. Seafood (fish, seafood)
    3. Grains – As a source of complex carbs. A very popular type of diet is also to go primary for grains without gluten.
    4. Starchy food (legumes, lentils, beans) – observe how they influence your diegestion
    5. Nightshades
    6. Coffee
  7. Know your macros – Last but not least, one of the most beneficial things to know when it comes to dieting are macronutrients. That is the number explaining how many calories, protein, carbs, sugars and fats are in a certain type of foods. If you want to find the perfect diet for your body, you have to experiment a little bit with different macro ratios.

Here are the things you should know about macros and finding your perfect diet:

  1. Your BME and TDEE – your daily caloric consumption based on your height, weight and how often you train
  2. Do you want to be in a caloric surplus (gaining muscles) or deficit (losing fat)?
  3. Your per meal caloric targets (number of meals, calories per meal)
  4. % of carbs / proteins / fats that you intake on an average day
  5. g of carbs / proteins / fats / sugars that you intake on an average day
  6. g of proteins consumed per kg of your body weight
  7. Macro values for your typical meals
  8. Once in a while you can also calculate micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) to make sure you’re getting enough of them

More about that in one of the next articles.

Experimenting with different eating patterns

Last but not least, there are different eating patterns to experiment with. There are a few general recommendations for eating patterns that most nutrition experts agree on:

  • If you want to lose weight, you must permanently change your lifestyle, not only go on a diet
  • Simplify your meals so that you don’t overburden your stomach
  • Eat slowly – it should take you at least 20 minutes to eat a major meal
  • Do not overeat, you know to the point where you can explode
  • Controlled fasting can be beneficial from time to time, check out intermittent fasting
  • If possible, cook your own food

On the other hand, there are many other eating patterns that you will have to experiment with on your own to find what fits you best:

  • Should you go for a smaller number of big meals (2-3) or a greater number of small meals (5-6)?
  • Skipping breakfast, dinner or any other meals
  • Eating carbs before going to sleep
  • Cycling macronutrients (for example carbs) or supplements (for example creatine)
  • Using food supplements (vitamins, minerals, sports nutrition)
  • How much your Facebook or Instagram friends are interested in photos of every meal that you eat :)

Here’s what I figured out works best for me, and is an example of how a good personalized diet looks like. I need a very structured eating plan – 6 meals, more or less at the same time. My body runs best on complex carbs, but I cycle them to eat enough fats. It’s much easier for me to eat carbs than fats. Intermittent fasting works really great for me, with the last meal around 5pm.

In the end, it’s not that hard to find your perfect diet

When it comes to dieting, the information out there can be really confusing. But that shouldn’t stop you from improving your diet and overall eating habits.

There is no miraculous diet or a single trick that will make you super healthy and fit. Diets don’t work anyway. What you’re looking for is a permanent healthy lifestyle change, with healthy eating habits, regular exercise and a moderate lifestyle, which all combined provide you with optimal levels of energy, good health and a fit body.

As you’ve learned, there are foods you should more or less freely enjoy (veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, water) and foods you should avoid at all costs (fast foods, fried foods, foods high in sugar, refined grains and processed foods).

From the many different animal products, seafood and starchy foods, you must find the dishes that work best for your body. Having clear dieting goals and knowing your macros can help you a lot when it comes to fine-tuning your diet.

And eating a bagel from time to time won’t make you super fat or take 5 years of your life away.  That’s it. Implementing these simple rules will get you to the top 10% or an even smaller percentage of people who live a super healthy life and follow a long-term endurable healthy diet. And that’s more than good enough.

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