I would imagine how trying to decide which diet program or nutrition plan to follow can be pretty confusing.
I mean, with so many options out there (and always with new science and evidence to back up any claims being made), it’s no wonder that as time goes on, the general public becomes increasingly bewildered about the simple matter of…
…what to eat.
And since what I’m discussing here has to do with a basic human need, I feel it’s important to take a look at what is being advertised and how this influences our behaviors…and then opening our minds to the concept of exercising critical thinking and using discernment when it comes to making choices in regard to our eating habits.
Which Diet Program Should I Follow?
Now before I go on, I just want to clarify that I am not knocking anything or anyone…and I’m not looking to control your mind, nor your behavior.
What I AM doing here is pointing out a couple of things.
- How claims and advertisements are used to influence our buying habits.
- That no one has the same DNA and how this may play a role in which diet program is best for each unique individual.
How Claims and Advertisements Are Used to Influence Our Buying Habits
When it comes to diet and nutrition programs, it’s common practice to allude to an existing problem (such as being overweight and the negative effects this causes) and then to discuss how a particular system or product will act as a solution.
This seems harmless enough and can even come across as helpful.
But if you take into consideration the simplicity of the problem (a society of overweight/obese individuals in ill health) and then take notice of the abundance of solutions on the market, then why is the problem only getting worse?
The answer is because instead of getting real about how we take care of ourselves, we look for the next big miracle fix.
If you were to look to identify the root cause of the problem to begin with, then you may not be as susceptible to such advertisements. This is because by gaining awareness of how an effect was caused in the first place, you would develop insight about how to no longer create the circumstances you are now suffering from.
Under these conditions, if you did decide to make a purchase, it would be under a more conscious and deliberate mindset, knowing exactly what you need, why you need it and how you feel it would benefit you instead of believing a claim that is being made about something that may not be right for you…
…by people who know nothing about you.
It’s an advertiser’s job to sell you something. Now again, I’m not demonizing this practice, but I am pointing out that when you ask the question “which diet program should I follow”…the answer may not lie in a program, but may instead be a simple matter of shifting your focus to eating for optimal health as opposed to a system, plan or program that comes to a supposed end once the weight has been lost.
Do you want a diet program that has a beginning and an end? Or do you want to know how to no longer NEED a diet program?
Figure this out and you’ll find a solution that will be perfectly tailored to suit your needs – without having been sold on anything.
No One Has the Same DNA Which Makes Us Unique in Our Needs
Another factor to take into consideration in regard to following diet programs is that we all have our own unique set of biological blueprints – which means that what may work well for someone else may not be right for you.
Yet when it comes to advertising to the masses, if it looks as though there is a large following in support of a new dietary trend, it suddenly becomes the latest hidden secret to weight loss success.
This becomes evident when you take a look at the various nutrition plans being promoted out there as a solution to a problem that not everyone shares. A couple of examples of this are gluten free diets and vegetarianism/veganism.
Now before I continue – let me say that I AM NOT criticizing either of these two dietary behaviors because I feel there is validity and credibility to BOTH of them…and I support their role in the world of nutrition 100%.
But what I AM saying is that while one individual may respond well, and have specific reasons (such as a medical condition) for implementing one of the aforementioned dietary programs, it doesn’t mean that the same applies to you and therefore, you would greatly benefit from using discernment before taking on a dietary practice that may not work in YOUR OWN best interests.
I happen to know someone who has Celiac disease and she follows a gluten free diet because she has to for her health. She doesn’t use it to lose weight, but she does follow it because her life depends on it. Now I’m not saying that one shouldn’t consider lessening their consumption of gluten in whatever way works best for them simply because there seems to be mounting evidence to support the negative role that gluten plays in our overall health.
However, to begin a gluten free diet without having given thought to why you are doing it, and then diving head first into a lifestyle that you aren’t prepared for – you could be setting yourself up for failure as you practice allowing someone else to do your thinking for you (in the form of advertisements and propaganda).
Not to mention that you may cause yourself harm by implementing a diet that may not work with your genetic structure.
The same thing goes for vegetarianism/veganism – which happens to be close to my heart because of my love for animals. And truth be told – there does seem to be some evidence out there correlating to the relationship between certain health conditions and meat consumption – especially when it comes to consuming animals that have been raised in factory farms…which happen under extreme duress and negativity.
Now if you were to decide to cut out animal products from a place of conscious awareness while listening to your body to properly gauge its reaction to your new eating habits, then you are making an informed decision based on self-awareness and personal empowerment.
On the other hand – if you are doing this because you came across an article that promotes veganism as a means for weight loss and this is your reason for following this nutritional protocol – then you may want to take a step back and rethink things to see if perhaps you aren’t exercising critical thinking and instead, doing something to produce a result that you may not be right for you.
There have been people who have reaped the benefits from cutting out specific food groups while others have experienced the opposite. This is because everyone is different – and this fact needs to be taken into consideration before deciding on which diet program to follow.
Your best course of action would be to speak with a medical professional or qualified registered dietitian to see what may work best for YOU based on your genetics, symptoms and other factors before allowing a celebrity endorsement, advertisement or even your best friend’s success to determine YOUR decisions.
You also may want to get in touch with your “why” – as this is the basis for every decision we make.
So Which Diet Program Should You Follow?
In my opinion, based on what has been discussed here…the diet you “should” follow is the one that makes the most sense for you based on your needs, genetics and overall likelihood that you’ll stick with it for a lifetime.
The way to ensure a positive relationship with food is to eat for optimal health as opposed to following a trend.
Your best bet is to follow a diet filled with high quality and nutrient dense foods in whatever way you can enjoy and start implementing this at your own pace and build from there.
However, if you would like some specific information about some of the recent “diets” out there, you can read a detailed review about the Paleo Diet by clicking here, the Zone Diet by clicking here, and watch the film Forks Over Knives for information about plant based diets/vegatarianism/veganism.
Take some time to investigate what’s involved in the dietary options out there and see what makes sense for YOU and what YOUR body will respond to the best – even if you try a few of them out for a short period of time and under medical supervision if necessary.
Do the research and then follow your intuition. Listen to your body…and take action from there.
This is the way to practice deliberate and conscious eating habits for a lifetime.
Have you found a diet program that worked well for you, but didn’t for someone else you knew…or vise versa? Which diet do you follow, and why?
Image credit goes to Elle.com