Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as the world’s greatest diet. Allow me to explain.
First of all, what would be the attributes of the world’s greatest diet?
1. It would be comprised of easily available foods.
2. It would NOT require any fancy measuring or fixing.
3. It would be easy to follow at a friend’s dinner party, a fine restaurant, or Mickey Dee’s (McDonald’s to old fuddy-duddies like me).
4. It would not just help with weight loss and weight management, but with health in general.
5. It would be made up of our favorite foods.
HMMMMMMM! TEACHER! I SEE A PROBLEM!
Okay, you can put your hand down. I see it too. It’s that “favorite foods” thing, isn’t it?
Everybody has different “favorite foods”, and we won’t even get into gourmet, regional, or ethnic cooking. I’ll leave that to my daughter and her husband. (Psst! Seen the pictures of my grandkids?)
Anyway, let’s see if we can put together the world’s greatest diet for health and weight loss…for you!
You see, there’s the rub, as my good friend, though somewhat older than me, Billy Shakespeare would say.
We are all different. We are different ethnically, environmentally, educationally, genetically (ran out of e’s), and, dare I say it, sexually. All of these things are important, because they exercise an influence on the results of any diet that anybody tries out.
Hey, there’s a good word, “try”. How many people do you know who actually stay on a diet…especially for the rest of their lives? I guess we need to add another attribute. The world’s greatest diet would have to be one:
6. You could and would stay on for the rest of your life.
WHY THE REST OF MY LIFE?
Simple. I don’t care what diet you go on and how well it works. If it does work and you stop eating according to that diet, over time you will find yourself right back where you are now and wondering where you put this article.
So, to build your “world’s greatest diet” we have to go back to the title of this article, “The World’s Greatest Diet For Weight Loss And Health”. I put “weight loss” AND “health” in there for a reason. There are diets that don’t really help you lose weight, there are diets that are not good for your health, and weight loss does not automatically equal health…particularly if that weight loss is accomplished through dieting.
Here we go. It doesn’t really matter what foods you eat. You like apple pie, have some apple pie. You like popcorn, have some popcorn. Filet Mignon? Sure, why not.
Let’s back up for a minute. A “diet” is simply a list of the foods you eat. In the last few decades, the word has gotten loaded down with all kinds of extra stuff like the pancakes at IHOP. A doctor can give you a “diet” to help you avoid hives, get over a stomach upset, or even to gain weight if that is what is needed for your health.
If that doctor gives you a “diet” that says you can only eat seven foods, he or she would be doing you a grave (pun intended) disservice. In order to get the nutrients your body needs for health AND for weight loss, you need a diversity of foods…and that diversity can range from soup to nuts…or Filet Mignon! You don’t have to JUST eat cabbage. You NEED to eat cabbage, hamburgers, biscuits, broccoli, apples, apple pie, chicken, fish, carrots…you get the idea. You can deny yourself a lot of the foods you like, take a lot of enjoyment out of your life, and even damage your health without even losing any weight by trying weird fad diets and strange pills that cause your body to act in an unnatural manner.
Your personal “greatest diet in the world” is going to be the foods you normally eat and enjoy eating.
THERE’S GOT TO BE A “BUT” HANGING AROUND SOMEWHERE!
Absolutely. It’s not about WHAT you eat. It’s about two other things:
1. How MUCH you eat, and
2. How you live the rest of your life.
You see, weight loss and health is about balance. The weight loss balance has been known for years. Eat more calories than you use, the excess gets stored as fat. Attempt to use more calories than you eat, your body burns the available fat and abracadabra you have weight loss. However, simply cutting calories down to the bone denies your body nutrients necessary to health and does not allow for the activity that helps keep a body healthy. Exercising (the way we most commonly burn extra calories) while continuing to eat excess calories not only makes it harder to lose weight, but still creates a condition in which our health can be threatened by that excess anyway.
A balanced program for health and weight loss does not deny you the foods you like to eat, it merely tasks you to realize what you are doing to your body and use some self control and limit yourself when food is offered or available. As far as the exercise side of the equation is concerned, “exercise” scares people, so let’s just talk about activity. Your exercise program can be gardening, swimming, bicycle riding, yoga, tai-chi; or gardening on Monday, swimming on Tuesday, bicycle riding on Wednesday, yoga on Thursday, and tai-chi on Friday!
There is an old saying: Keep doing what you have been doing, and you will keep getting what you have been getting.
Makers of diet pills and sellers of diet books know that you realize this, so they offer you something that seems to change that no-win equation. The problem is that without actually creating an actual change of the manner in which you eat and exercise, these diet pills and fad diets at best will only temporarily seem to change the actual equation and allow you to lose weight for a short time if at all. They will not make a permanent change in your life or your health, and their “weight loss” effects, if any, will wear out quickly, often leaving you in a worse situation than when you started.
An article such as this is much too short to get into all the various aspects of weight loss, diets, exercise, and health, but the basic equations are simple. Too much weight can adversely affect your health in a multitude of ways. Losing weight in an unhealthy manner may leave you in as bad a state as you were in when you started…or even worse. Combining formal exercise or enjoyable physical activity with a sensible enjoyment of food so that calorie intake and calorie use can be balanced will result in weight loss, health and a lifestyle that will continue to bring benefits for years.