I’ve never been fond of diet labels, although I have in my time tried just about every diet under the sun – Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Scottish Slimmers, The South Beach Diet, Atkins, and the list goes on. None of them work. Or I should say, none of them work for me, in the long term. The whole concept of a ‘diet’, at least in the modern day sense (the latin meaning is ‘way of living’), seems to have a start and an end. This is fundementally flawed and leads to the yo-yo-ing which so many people suffer from, including me. There’s nothing wrong with having a goal, a target weight, but people are often not taught what to do when that’s over. And are any ‘diets’ really sustainable in the long term? When your focus is to reach a target for so long, it’s tough to know how to change your behaviours to maintain once you get there – and it is a behavioural change rather than a simple food one.
My more recent eating pursuits have pulled me towards the Paleo Diet. But being someone who doesn’t like labels, I’d rather not call it that, but it is really picking up pace, particularly in the US, as a more basic and healthy way of living. For me, it’s about finding what works for the individual. It may start with Paleo and end up being a version of it with a few things added and subtracted. We are all unique with different bodies, so why should we sign up en-mass to one way of eating? We should encourage and acknowledge uniqueness in all aspects of our lives, including what we eat.
So I’ve been playing with the Paleo Diet for a while, starting with The Whole 30®, which I did really to see if could cure some minor health issues (the book which introduces it all is ‘It Starts With Food’. Possibly the fastest I’ve ever read a book ). Its premise is to go right back to basics and eat only natural (caveman) foods for 30 days, and then reintroduce certain foods to see how your body reacts. You can then find out what works for you and what doesn’t.
Whatever it is that works for me, which I am working on and one day I hope to pinpoint, it’s never going to be 100% of the time, or even 90% of the time. There are things I just enjoy too much to give up, like red wine with a really good steak (or on its own in the pub with my Fella!), or a hot chocolate on a cold winter day, or the cheese plate after a really nice restaurant dinner. It’s about knowing the consequences of your decisions, and making informed choices. I know that by having the red wine I’m depleting my body’s funds a little, and I may feel a little less energetic in the morning. But I’m prepared to make that choice at times.
Unfortunately I didn’t do the post part very well, and for that reason I may need another Whole 30. I really do want to find out what are my trigger foods, the things that don’t make me feel good. I know gluten is definitely one of them so I generally stay well away from it now, but there will definitely be more.
I am not scientific, the science bit baffled me, but I read it. It sounded like it made sense, and that was enough for me! I will read it for a second time though and see if any more of it sinks in.
Meanwhile I’ll continue on my quest to enjoy and understand more about food and what works for me with the odd pitstop at the corner of Brie Street and Red Wine Avenue 🙂