The amount of conflicting information out there can bamboozle and leave you scratching your head. It leaves people trying diet after diet and building an unhealthy relationship with food. Speaking to different people who are in different ‘camps’ will often launch into a tirade about their favoured way of dieting and how it works. The Paleo, Keto, dairy-free,iifym, gluten free, carb cycling, high carb, low fat etc etc crew will all have their reasons about why their way is best. 

People can often become convinced that they have some kind of intolerance towards a food group and cut it out. In actual fact this one way of actually DEVELOPING sensitivity to a food group! E.g. if you cut gluten out of your diet completely for months on end then suddenly throw a load of bread back in – don’t be surprised if you experience some bloating! This is brought about by unnecessarily eliminating a food group in the first place! Unless you are a diagnosed coeliac then you are not gluten intolerant – unless you are diagnosed lactose intolerant then why deny yourself dairy!? I recall the first time I had dairy demonised to me and I listened and started to cut it out. I became leaner. I convinced myself I had some kind of lactose intolerance and didn’t touch it for months. I was really bloated and sickly when I had cream in a coffee once and presumed that had confirmed it. Plus anything that helps you get leaner you stick at right? Actually, when I sat down and analysed it, all that had truly happened from the removal of my milk in coffee’s, bits of cheese/ice cream etc is a reduction in CALORIES!! Id removed a good amount of calories from my diet and switched myself from a maintenance or often surplus, to a calorie deficit. No wonder I got leaner! But in my mind dairy had been the devil and was responsible for me developing a bad phsychological relationship with it. 

Don’t forget that a similar outlook can apply to eating TOO clean. You can boast all day long about how clean you’re eating but you can still overeat! While you’re enjoying your organic almond butter and rice cakes coming in at 360kcals then I can still enjoy a chocolate few chocolate digestive biscuits coming in at 240kcals. IT ALWAYS BOILS DOWN TO CALORIES. Don’t be misled by unnecessary spending on organic style food either – it doesn’t matter if your food is the ultimate organic superfood farmed in the rich soils of heaven – it’s STILL the SAME unit of energy and will lead to the SAME weight gain if you overconsume them!
So which diet is best? – The one that is SUSTAINABLE for you. Identify your habits and behaviours around food. Do you eat when you’re hungry, for satiety, are you enticed by nice smells when you walk past a bakery, do you binge when you are tired? Do you binge on a weekend just because it’s the weekend? If you’re spending all week in a deficit to lose weight it makes NO sense to go mad and put yourself in a huge surplus over the weekend. How can you justify that over having small amounts of what you enjoy through the week and weekend, staying in a deficit and not leading to huge binging on a weekend. 

Can you identify the foods that would trigger overeating? – eg its all well and good taking two choc biscuits over something denser in calories, but are you likely to then go on and finish the whole packet? If you had a small amount of ice cream to make it fit your macros – are you then likely to go on and finish the whole tub? 
Sustainability is always the key and you should never feel like you’re on a ‘diet’. That’s why these ridiculous weight loss pyramid schemes like Herbalife/cleanse9/juice plus etc are such a problem. I mean, are you REALLY going to spend the rest of your life just having a couple shakes a day and a meal at night for the rest of your life?! Yes you are going to experience ‘weight loss’ when you start as you are cutting your CALORIES and putting yourself in a huge deficit! Effectively starving yourself your body will desperately hang onto body fat in a way to conserve an energy source. People who do this will often go back to putting the weight back on and more, then blame the food and say the need to ‘get back on the XY diet’. “but I need to de-tox” I hear you cry! I’ve got news for you – no special miracle drink or food can ‘de-tox’ or ‘cleanse’ you. If they did then someone better tell your liver and kidneys they’re out of a job!

Remember you are an individual. Find what works for you based on your eating habits and behaviours and is sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, if you are competing or coming up to a shoot etc then yes in the last 4-6 weeks you may really have to turn the screw on the diet and eliminate some things.I turned the screw waaaaay to early when i competed! But aside from that, let’s not take the enjoyment out of food. Let’s not avoid social situations or something you would enjoy because of a certain kind of food. Form a good relationship and work it into a happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Now what did I do with them biscuits…