At some point in your life, you or someone you know has probably tried a fad diet. Just as you’re constantly bombarded with fad workouts (hello, Zumba and spinning!), the same goes for dieting. And trust me, I’m not knocking Zumba. It’s just that I was born with two left feet! Picture Elaine, dancing on Seinfeld…it isn’t pretty.
In the 1990s, major fads included low-fat everything and the widely popular Zone Diet. In the early 2000s, diet trends were everywhere – from the 100-calorie craze to the Subway Diet to the celebrity-endorsed Atkins Diet. There was also a time when portioned frozen meals were the way to go (which, trust me, isn’t sustainable). Most recently, we’ve seen fads like juice cleanses, Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 receive significant amounts of both praise and criticism.
It’s no wonder why so many people are confused – it’s hard to make sense of it all! But that’s why it’s so important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all diet.
At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was taught the concept of bio-individuality, which means that we are all unique and recognizing and honoring our uniqueness is the key to health and happiness. Simply put, what works for one individual might not work for another.
Maybe you’ve already noticed that your food needs and preferences are different than some of your friends or family members. Maybe you’re most energized when you have a light breakfast and a hearty, protein-packed lunch. Maybe you’ve tried going vegan but noticed after a few weeks that your energy was low and you weren’t sleeping as soundly as you had been. Maybe you catch yourself trying to avoid certain foods just because your best friend doesn’t eat them. Remember, your body is the only one you’ve got, so it’s critical to consume the proper nutrients that get you going!
I was taught that there isn’t one way of healthy eating and this is what I teach my clients. I encourage my clients to explore a variety of diets to figure out what works – and doesn’t work – for them. You’ll also continuously hear that “one person’s food is another person’s poison.” It’s so true – the best person to know what’s best for you is…you!
Keep in mind that bio-individuality relates to primary food – relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality – just as much as it relates to the food you eat! What works for you and your partner may not work for your friends.
Relationships: We all need to give and receive love, which is why it’s so important to foster meaningful relationships with our partners, siblings, parents, friends, coworkers, etc. Maintaining healthy, strong relationships will help you live a long, happy life!
Career: Too many of us feel stuck in our current jobs. Maybe you wake up every day dreading to go to the office or maybe you’re just in it for the paycheck. Either way, finding a long-lasting career is essential to feeling fulfilled both mentally and emotionally. Do what you love and love what you do! This is a topic I spend a lot of focus on when working with clients. Just because you love to paint doesn’t mean you should quit your job and becoming a painter.
Physical Activity: Working up a sweat is good for the body! Whether it’s running, swimming, boxing, or boot camp classes, get out there and move! Again, it’s about finding what forms of exercise work for your body and committing to that movement a few times a week. Your body may crave a walk in the woods and your partner may love going to the gym. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you’re doing as long as it makes you feel alive.
Spirituality: Spirituality doesn’t just mean attending religious services. While religion is part of it for some, spirituality can add meaning to your life in different ways. Try daily meditation, yoga, going for a walk, or connecting with nature.
As hard as it might be for you to set aside fad diets and popular trends, follow your instinct and see what works best for you. Exploring diets and exercise to find what works for you, in the long run, will bring you closer to a sense of fulfillment.
What makes you feel healthy and happy? Share in the comments below! And, as always, if you know of anyone who may benefit from this post – please, PLEASE share it and ask them to click “like” 🙂