Don't be afraid to break diet "rules"
Never eat before bed. You have to eat fruit and vegetables. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
There's an endless list of these sayings or "facts". Most of them are based on some sort of scientific data, others are pop culture/social media nonsense.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend skipping breakfast, never eating vegetables or engaging in excessive late night eating, just understand that there are all sorts of people, from pro athletes to doctors, breaking all sorts of commonly accepted dietary "rules".
Nothing is sacred
The key to you finding your perfect diet may involve violating something you thought was a non negotiable sin, in our current climate of almost religious zeal surrounding diet.
All you can do is monitor your body's response to certain foods, timing etc. Even if you attempt to follow the "rules", there's a good chance there will be a whole new rulebook in a few years anyways!
Think about the swing from low to high fat diets over the last 10 years or so the rapid rise in the popularity of various fasting protocols. Even the official recommendations from various health authorities or nutritionists are constantly evolving and adapting to new information.
Aside from consuming some base level of calories required for survival, I cannot think of a single dietary truism, and I challenge anyone to present one. They are all defied. A few examples:
- Warren Buffet or the current POTUS running empires, working all day long into their 70's and 80's and by all accounts, surviving on a diet of absolute dogshit their entire lives.
- The legendary Herschel Walker's bizarre once a day meal of "soup, salad and some bread". Huh?
- Inuit and other populations surviving off almost nothing but meat and a growing number of people claiming huge benefits from a "carnivore" diet
Don't be afraid to be a rebel!
Again, I am not suggesting you adopt the Trump diet or stop eating greens. I am suggesting that for most of us, there's a probably one or two of the most commonly agreed upon dietary guidelines that we might be better off breaking. It's all about customization, and you have to run the study on yourself.
It took almost five years, but I eventually reached what is for me, perfection in my diet. A perfect balance of enjoying the foods I love while having energy, not gaining weight and maintaining muscle mass. I only have a few rules I set for myself:
- At least two serving of greens per day
- I aim for a 40-30-30 balance of protein-carbs-fat
- No "junk food" unless I make it myself- if I want something like cookies or pie, I have to put in the effort
- I make sure to drink lots of water
- No soda, fruit juice or any sugary drinks
That's about it. I encourage you to play around with creating your own rules. Take some time off reading about the latest trend in dieting and pay attention to how your body responds and tolerates certain foods or eating patterns.
Be careful with the influence of social media as well; it's very tempting to shape your diet around what's popular or what you think will make you look like a dietary angel. I consume huge amounts of grains and dairy and feel like an absolute beast, stronger and more energetic at 37 than I was at 17.
If I had followed the popular path, there's no way I would have found my perfect dietary recipe. Go your own way and don't stop experimenting until you've found that magic formula!
Feel great again with Cooper Health Coaching!
Cooper Health Coaching is a personal training and health coaching service located in Vancouver, B.C. providing in-person and online coaching for clients locally and across North America. Founder Geoff Cooper is certified as both a Health Coach and Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE).