At Last, the Secrets of the Best Diet are Revealed

by: Adam Meadows

I'm currently beginning my 10th year in the health and fitness industry.  The first half I spent solely focused on the gym - learning how to keep clients safe, write effective programs, and get clients results.

The last half, I’ve put a much bigger emphasis on connecting with my clients and understanding how nutritional and lifestyle habits play a part in the equation.  

In fact (and this is tough for a gym lover to say) … they are absolutely the bigger pieces to the puzzle.

One of the most common questions I get asked… all the time… is:

"What diet is best? What should I be following?"

-You

Before I give my answer, let’s review my career stats:

I like to pride myself on being someone who wants to provide balance, truth, and clarity in a very confusing and chaotic industry.

Especially when it comes to finding the ever elusive “perfect” diet.  

You’ve got everyone in the diet world who are loyal to their beliefs  (whether it’s paleo, vegan, keto, Dr. Atkins, etc) trying to convert anyone they can… and take over the world. 

What about all the people who just want to get their health in check, rock it in those old jeans, and feel confident in their own skin??

Usually they’re left more confused… with no answers… and in the fetal position.

Quick Diet breakdown

Real quick… Let me do my best to offer you a little more clarity on some of the more popular diet approaches:

A diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.

A low protein, very low-carb, and high fat diet, that is advertised to help you burn fat more effectively.

A diet containing only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs.

Various types such as:

  • Whole-food vegan diet
  • Raw-food vegan diet
  • 80/10/10
  • The starch solution
  • Raw till 4
  • The thrive diet
  • Junk-food vegan diet

A diet based on a point system emphasizing whole, unprocessed foods including vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. While healthy choices are encouraged, members can choose any foods they want, as long as they stay under their daily SmartPoints allotment.

More of an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.

The focus is more on when you should eat food versus which foods you should eat.

There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods

A “lower carb” diet that still focuses on low-glycemic-index carbs and is rich in lean proteins and unsaturated fats.

… you guessed it.

A low-carb, high-fat, high-protein diet.  Proposes you can eat as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods high in carbs.

A diet where you’re asked to stick to eating a specific ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat.

what diet is best?

Back to your question from earlier… this may come as a shock… but I don’t have the answer.

I don’t have the answer because, despite what you think or may have heard from each camp, there is no such thing as THE perfect diet.

No such thing as the BEST diet for anybody and everybody. 

No such thing as the ONLY way to get the RESULTS you are looking for.

Why is that?

This seems like a no brainer.  I mean, we would never say there is ONE perfect outfit that EVERYBODY would like… and look fantastic in. Yet, when it comes to nutrition, we are DETERMINED there is ONE approach that’s the best.

The fact is, we are DIVERSE.

There are:

  • new mothers who want to get back into shape, but don’t have the time because… well there’s a kid
  • southern baptist preachers who want their barbecue and pecan pie
  • former athletes turned desk jockeys with big appetites who will drop kick you if you take away their tacos
  • busy executives who can’t imagine eating an animal under any circumstance
  • professional dieters who won’t touch fat or will run at the sight of a dinner roll

People are unique in terms of their body types… goals and limitations… eating experiences… taste preferences… budgets… nutrition knowledge and the ability to apply it… schedules… ethnic and cultural backgrounds… activity levels… environments… etc.

There is no way ONE diet can be best for ALL these people… with ALL these differences.

And why would we want that? It would be horrible.  Think about it!

“I hear you… money is tight.  But when you think about it… you only need one kidney.  Sell the other… and then you’ll be able to buy the organic, free range foods required for our program. I’m not saying this is the only way… but I’m not NOT saying that either.”

“Carbs are amazing. Ok, they’re heavenly, but on this program… think of them as MC Hammer’s dance moves… ‘u can’t touch this‘… No more cupcakes, lasagna, mashed potatoes, or fried rice. This is just what you HAVE to do to get the body you’ve always wanted.”

Honestly, if someone told me I could have a six pack… be shredded… AND dunk a basketball… I just had to give up sweet tea… I’d throw hands.

No thank you.

Yep. You read that right.

Lots of diets can help you get to where you want to go… the health and body you want… as long as a few conditions are met.

In fact, many of your traditional diets yield massive health benefits (lower rates of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and obesity) even though they take varying approaches.

But are they really that different? When you take a deeper look at all the “diet” options… they actually have more in common than you’d think. 

Their fundamentals are similar… fundamentals like:

  • helping you become more mindful and aware when it comes to nutrition
    • better food choices begin with being more mindful
    • you become more aware of what goes in your pantry and mouth
    • this increased awareness is what’s important … whether you’re trying to avoid carbs, eat more veggies, or only eat organic is irrelevant
  • eating higher quality and minimally processed food (the protein, fat, or carb breakdown aside)
    • maybe one of the most important nutritional interventions
  • getting rid of nutrient deficiencies
  • controlling your need to eat and food consumption
    • so if you’re able to do the above three (be more aware, eat higher quality food, and remove any nutrient deficiencies)… it usually leads to higher satiation and consuming less food
  • promoting regular exercise

And what’s cool about this is… the above similarities are what ultimately produces the results people get.

NOT how these approaches are unique.

Most people start out asking for food rules. They just want to be told what to eat… how much of it to eat… and when to eat it.  This may even be successful for a while, but usually ends up a disaster.  

Why?!

Because food rules… even the ones designed to support health… don’t fit in when it comes to ACTUAL people living out real life chaos.

Like when your boss throws a last minute, 3-day work trip at you and you don’t have time to meal prep all your meals and pack them in their matching containers. #nodaysoff

Or, when you’re out with your co-workers celebrating a birthday and don’t want to be the “weirdo” at the dinner table.

Or, you’re in Austin, TX and your friends want to eat VIA 313 Pizza (the greatest pizza in the world), but you’re on a low-carb diet… and so you just stay at your buddies place… with his dog… which is great… but also you’re sad.

What happens when you inevitably bail on the plan because you haven’t developed a more flexible set of skills?

There goes the wagon… you just fell off it.

Add on guilt… shame… disappointment… crippling despair. 

So instead of giving out meal plans or implementing strict diet rules, I like to teach long term lifestyle and nutrition habits.

Habits are more flexible and help you build skills that fit into your life… and they can work, even on your most stressful and worst days.

Ultimately, my goal is to help my clients get the health and fitness results they’re looking for, in a way that feels doable and makes sense for them. This habit based approach helps me do just that… and bonus… sets my clients up to continue this for the rest of their lives.

so... the best diet for you is...

  • the one that helps you be more mindful and aware
  • the one that helps you eat more high quality and minimally processed food
  • the one that gets you active through enjoyable and meaningful exercise
  • the one that you can actually stick with for the long haul (18 months or longer)

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