It took me years of reading books and internet articles to figure out what the hell I should be eating.
And it’s honestly much simpler than I could have imagined.
Here’s what I’ve found.
Let’s face it, fad diets are ridiculous, and likely not even good for you.
They promise quick fixes. They sound too good to be true.
Some examples of fad diets are:
I’ve tried a lot of these myself before I decided to really look into things.
I wanted the quick fix. The answer to my prayers.
Truth is, there is no quick fix.
When it comes to real food, there isn’t much that can be bad.
My biggest peeve about fad diets is that they like to pretend that one size fits all. That we humans all have the exact same nutritional needs.
That, my friends, is what you call bullshit.
And to be blunt, fucking dangerous.
Everyone has different dietary needs
We are not all the same. Some of us need to watch what we eat for different reasons.
Some people have diabetes.
Some people have high blood pressure.
Some of us can’t eat certain foods because we’ll go into anaphylactic shock (AKA, we’re allergic).
For example, if I were to go vegan, I’d have one royal bitch of a time.
I would basically have to eat huge amounts of lettuce and grains all day because I can’t do nuts, soy, or peas (vegans rely heavily on pea and soy protein to make up for what they’re not getting from animals).
I’d probably get sick very fast. I wouldn’t be getting the nutrients that my body needs.
This reinforces the fact that not everyone can follow one set way of eating.
Everyone is different.
Don’t believe everything you hear
People out there like to make you think that you’re going to kick the bucket if you don’t start eating like them within the next 5 minutes.
That just isn’t true.
There’s a big anti-gluten kick going around lately and I just don’t get it.
The most important thing you can do is do your own damn research.
Don’t believe everything you hear about dieting.
Just eat real food
You get the picture.
The less processed the better.
I don’t mean to insult your intelligence and I’m sure you already know this, but there are 5 real food groups:
- Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs
- Vegetables and legumes
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Breads, cereals, rice
The last one is controversial these days. A lot of people have been hating on refine carbohydrates like bread, pasta and oatmeal.
These things had to be processed in some way, shape or form to become what they are.
Some people think that’s perfectly fine. Some people think they’re ruining your life.
I’m not a doctor.
But what I’ll tell you to do is some research, and make an educated decision for yourself about what is best for you.
Of course you can also consult your doctor, but I will note that your regular M.D. is usually not a nutritionist.
So, no offense to doctors or anything, but just because they’re a doctor doesn’t mean they know everything.
You know your body and how you feel. Better than anyone.
Make sure you eat the right amount of food
This one can be tricky, and will probably take some trial and error.
This may actually seem like common sense to some people.
What will be enough food for a 100 lb. teenage girls isn’t exactly going to be enough for a 240 lb. bodybuilder.
You should eat an amount of food that supports your health goals.
Are you trying to lose weight?
Or gain weight? (I don’t think people acknowledge this one nearly enough. But hey, who asked me?)
Maybe you’re happy with the weight you’re at and you’re just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Nothing wrong with that, either.
These goals will determine the amount of food you eat.
If you want to lose weight, you (might) have to eat less.
If you want to gain weight, you almost certainly going to have to eat more.
Pro tip: When trying to gain weight, most people are often eating less than they think they are. The opposite is true when losing weight. The only real way to know how much you’re eating is to count your calories.
There’s an automatic assumption that when trying to lose weight that you need to eat less.
This is not always true. Sometimes you just need to eat different (healthier) food.
Did I mention that you should do some research?
A useful tool that you can look up online is a calorie calculator to figure out roughly how much you should be eating.
I’d suggest to try a few out and compare what they say.
I say that because who knows who the hell made these things and that just because something on the internet told you to do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.
But, these calculators are a good way to get a good idea of how many calories you should be consuming.
A cool feature that you can find is the ability to calculate the macronutrients that you should be consuming (here’s one).
Now, if you don’t know, that big fancy word I just used just refers to the big 3 things that your food is made of:
You may have noticed I didn’t mention any vitamins or minerals. That’s because those are macronutrients, and something I don’t think we need to get into right now.
I’m trying to make this as easy as possible.
Counting your macros may not be necessary in the beginning of your nutritional journey. But they can be very helpful when trying to accomplish more specific goals, like bodybuilding, athletic training, etc.
Why eating healthy is so important
I’m not going to go too in depth on this because the list I’m about to throw down is pretty self explanatory.
The important thing to take away from this is that choosing to eat better will absolutely improve your quality of life in a lot of ways.
Here is a list of some things you can expect when eating healthier:
- Feeling more energetic throughout the day
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Control pesky health issues (diabetes, blood pressure, etc)
- Stabilize your mood
- Improve/maintain heart health
- Keep your bones strong
- Improved gut health (get rid of bloating)
- Feel fucking better
I’m not claiming that eating better will cure all diseases that plagued the earth or anything like that. But it will help.
There’s something I really should bring up about starting to eat healthier.
You probably aren’t going to feel better right away.
You actually mind end up feeling like shit. At least for up to a week or two. The simple reason is your brain is used to getting those sweet dopamine hits from eating all that shitty food and now it doesn’t know what the fuck to do.
Ride it out.
I promise it’ll get better over time, you’re not going to regret the choice to eat better.
Remember, good nutrition is only a piece of the puzzle.
Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. You can ease into it if you want.
It won’t be easy. Cheat days happen, don’t feel bad.
The best nutritional advice I think anyone can give is to eat real food, and find out what works best for you.
I hope this answered some questions and helped steer you in the right direction. Good luck!