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Health and Wellbeing

10 Dec 2015

Diets don’t work

It is with ever-increasing debate on just what constitutes “healthy eating”. Who do you believe? Do we eat paleo, LCHF (low carb, high fat), low GI, low carbohydrate, Atkins, etc.

The list goes on and, sadly, the majority of Australians constantly chase “the ideal diet”. I hate to tell you but there isn’t one. There never has and never will.

Why? We are all very different. We process food differently, some of us are highly stressed, overworked and/or don’t get enough sleep which in turn raises our cortisol levels. We are either male or female, active or inactive, have varying health conditions and have different heights and weights. It is for this very reason that there simply cannot be one diet that works for us all. Statistics show that the majority of people that diet put on all weight lost and add some more!

What is healthy eating?

There are many critics of the “healthy eating pyramid” that we have all seen over the years. People blame the actual guidelines for our spiraling rates of overweight and obese Australians, not to mention increased heart disease and diabetes.

But, sadly, the reason that the healthy eating pyramid guidelines are blamed is because hardly anyone actually follows them, instead electing to follow (as stated above) unsuccessful diets. Perhaps it is time that you revisit the recently revised “healthy eating pyramid” and see how your eating habits stack up – http://nutritionaustralia.org/sites/default/files/HealthyEatingPyramid.jpg

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. The key is working with people to know and understand what they are consuming, educate them to read and understand food labels, plan their daily and weekly eating and therefore be pro-active rather than re-active to what they choose to consume.

I often get clients to complete a seven-day diet diary (over as many weeks as it takes to guide them to a better understanding of themselves), have them rate their weekly diet from 1-10 and then I sit down and go over it with them and give them a rating from 1-10 to compare.

Over time the two figures get closer and we strive to always rate between a 6-8 out of 10. That then is sustainable and allows for living a happy, fun, sociable and healthy life and, if weight loss is the aim (which it is for so many), then this allows for a safe and healthy weight loss in the range of 0.5-1.0 kgs a week.

In concluding, everyone is different and a paleo diet that may work for chef Pete Evans may not work for the next seven people! We are all different.

Find what works for you but try and stay closer to the nutritional guidelines and you will be a greater chance of being where you want to be with respect to health and your ideal weight and/or size.

Please note that in late February-early March next year,  myself and Lisa Middleton (one of Melbourne’s leading sports dietitians) are looking to put on a 2-3 hour seminar/workshop at the Boyd Community Hub. We will be covering the topics of Health, fitness and lifestyle balance along with healthy eating and nutrition. If you would like further details or to register your interest, please contact me via www.justintimept.com

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