“God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy.” (Romans 14:17, The Message)
The internet, public library and bookstores are full of information and advice. Particularly, it seems, about what to eat and how to buy/grow/store/prepare it. I have read a lot of that information…and even followed it at times.
At this point in my life, however, I have come full-circle. Life is too short… and, at my age (56), getting shorter all the time.
The best “diet” for me is the one I can stick to for the rest of my life. Foods that keep me healthy, happy, and productive… and allow me time/energy to fulfill my purpose here on Earth before my time runs out!
Before proceeding, I must add a disclaimer: I have no known health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes. Most of my relatives have lived at least 90 years.
I also have no known food allergies, and there are very few foods I dislike.
What works for me may not work for you.
Over the years, at various times, I’ve tried high protein, high carb, low-fat, fasting, intermittent fasting, clean eating, Pritikin, Weight Watchers®, two shakes a day…
And, about ten years ago, eating whatever I felt like eating. Popcorn with extra butter. Ramen noodles. Nachos supreme. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
And somehow, the “eat whatever I felt like” plan led to the highest energy/leanest/best physical condition of my life.
Earlier this year I took a sports nutrition coaching certification course. One of the things emphasized in that course was this: “The best diet to follow is the one that’s best for you.”
“What’s best for you” may change periodically. I know it does for me.
Even with my weight in a stable place, I don’t always want the same types of foods. My commitment to tracking every calorie I put in my mouth also comes and goes.
Right now, with the holiday season approaching, it has already vacated the building.
While I was gaining the fifteen pounds I’ve added since mid-summer, I was tracking… then not tracking… then tracking some more. Oddly, I seemed to stop gaining at one point while eating 2400-2500 calories a day (which is a LOT for a woman my age and size). Then I lowered the calories to slowly lose the fat without sacrificing my new muscles. And I gained.
For now, I’m giving myself an early Christmas present. I’m going to eat intuitively, savor what I’m eating, move my body daily, lift weights three days a week, and enjoy life.
I’ll regroup after the holidays.
If you don’t feel like tracking every calorie, but don’t want to end up derailed, here are five habits to follow (as taught in the Precision Nutrition course):
- Eat slowly and stop at 80% full. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. Take your time and enjoy your meal.
- Eat protein dense foods with each meal. [women - 1 palm (20-30g); men - 2 palms (40-60g)]
- Eat vegetables with each meal. [½ cup raw= 1 serving, aim for 10 servings between fruits and vegetables per day.]
- For fat loss, eat most carbs after exercise.
- Eat healthy fats daily.
There you have it. Definitely a good place to start. In fact, depending on your goals, maybe it’s all you need to slowly lose weight and feel healthier.
I’ll keep you updated from week to week on how it’s working for me.
In the meantime, just keep moving…