How current diet trends stack up and how Lifestyle trumps all!

Diet trends have been commonplace since the 1940’s when calorie counting was first introduced. The world has been fascinated with diets since then. And you may be wondering if the latest trends of Intermittent Fasting or the Paleo Diet will work for you. 

This is a conversation about various diet trends and why lifestyle trumps them all.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed in this diet obsessed era. Seventy percent of the population in North America is overweight or obese.  

How to lose weight is a prevailing if not dominating thought for many and this drives the multi-billion dollar industry.

An image of Tosca Reno throwing a red apple ion her exercise clothes.

I know weight loss consumed me when I too was obese. I tried every fad I could from applying calorie counting numbers from the back of my mom’s Joy of Cooking to the Cabbage diet. 

After nearly 20 years of starving, sweating, bingeing, pooping, gaining and losing, I still was not in the lean, healthy condition I wanted to be.  No amount of starving myself or eating grapefruit worked. I became more and more overweight.

It took a new way of thinking about food to change all that, for life!  A way of thinking that I learned while preparing for a physique contest.  It was intense but I figured out how to make it user friendly for you. It’s called Eating Clean but first here’s the rundown on Intermittent Fasting and Paleo eating, two trends I have also tried. 

Let me caution you, before I begin, that a trend never yields long lasting results while all changes made through lifestyle practice usually is. 

A diet trend is temporary. A lifestyle is for life.

What is Intermittent Fasting 

This is a popular way of eating that focuses on reducing food and caloric intake to low or zero, for periods of time, to accelerate weight loss. The benefits, over and above weight loss, include protection from certain diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as improved brain health and physical fitness. You can also expect to reduce inflammation and blood pressure.

There are a few ways to achieve intermittent fasting.

5:2:  This fasting plan is a weekly plan restricting food intake for two days while normal food consumption occurs on the remaining five.

8:16: Time restricted fasting is another plan wherein food intake is limited to a 6-8 hour window each day.  During those other 16 hours, you are fasting.

EOD: “Every other day” or alternate day fasting is another way to achieve intermittent fasting where food is consumed one day but not the next.

Choosing the most appropriate fasting period has everything to do with work schedules and how it fits in with your busy life.  These fasting plans may work for you but let me remind you that we are all biologically unique – what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

In the Eat Clean lifestyle I have developed, there is an element of intermittent fasting.  It occurs when you stop eating at 7:00 pm or whenever your last meal is, and do not eat again until after your morning workout. This often means there is at least a 12-14 hour window where no food is consumed. That, by definition, is an intermittent fast and it’s built right into the Eat Clean lifestyle.

I have also tried fasting on bone broth for a two day period. I will often do this on the weekend or when I don’t have heavy demands on my schedule. I think of this kind of fast as a quick metabolic reset.

In general, going without food for periods of time is likely how we evolved as a species. Our ancestors did not have the ready accessibility to food as we do today. Those who could survive fasting periods when food was scarce, thrived and outlived those who couldn’t. Natural selection at work!

Here’s how to try a 5:2 Intermittent Fast.

Eat Clean for five days of the week. On the remaining two days eat two scrambled eggs for breakfast, 12-14 raw, unsalted almonds for a snack 3 hours later, 4 ounces grilled protein of choice for dinner. That’s about 500 calories. Of course drink plenty of water.

What is The Paleo Diet

In 2010, Dr. Loren Cordain published a book called The Paleo Diet. In it he touts eating according to how our Paleolithic ancestors ate. No Shreddies in this diet, it means eating meat, seafood, fruits, berries and vegetables. An obvious omission in Paleo eating is the lack of grains. Grains contain valuable plant fibre and numerous vitamins, particularly the B vitamins. Plant fibre also aids weight loss.

The issue with Paleo eating is not only the lack of those valuable nutrients but that people do not make careful selections about the meat they eat. While it might be better to eat bison and game, wild caught salmon and grass fed poultry, it is difficult to pay for these pricey selections so less ethically raised meats become the choice. Also meat is the most expensive macronutrient and with the emphasis on meat in this diet, it drives your food budget higher.

I have found that incorporating elements of the Paleo diet, but not all of it, into my eating makes more sense for me. You may already be familiar with my Paleo Bread (get that recipe HERE), a long time Eat Clean favourite, which I make weekly. It is a delicious, grain free option for those with gluten issues. I don’t eat it for that reason though, I eat it because I love it and it’s an ideal portable, highly versatile snack.

When I do eat grains, I choose fermented grains in the form of sourdough bread or soaked versions. That is why, in my definition of eating clean, I recommend that foods must be properly prepared. Soaking and souring grains is the proper way to prepare these. 

As a caveat about dieting in general, a prevailing principle about your biology is that we are all biologically unique. That means that no two people respond to any diet in the same way. Knowing yourself and what does and doesn’t work for you is the key and this comes from practicing mindfulness about eating.

As with so much in life, it all comes down to balance and balance, in my mind, is eating that makes sense to achieve wellness both in the physical body, and in the heart and soul. Eating must serve all of these in a positive way so as to enhance your experience here on earth. 

That is why the Eat Clean lifestyle makes so much sense. It’s a lifestyle way of eating that yields an outcome of wellness while addressing those three components of wellness ~ Eating Clean, Exercise and Emotional Self-care.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” ~Buddha

My invitation to you is to consider that your lifestyle is the greatest determining factor governing your overall wellness. Making choices to serve that outcome will yield more positive results than chasing a diet trend which ultimately may not serve you since 80% of those who follow diet trends regain their weight.

Wishing you balance and wellness,

PS. Please share your comments about this piece or your thoughts about dieting in general, in the COMMENTS below.