One Size Does Not Fit All

The South Beach Diet. How glamorous does that sound? I remember when I first heard about it 15 years ago I thought, how bad could it be? Gorgeous women, tan and fit, they wouldn’t want to starve themselves for their amazing bodies, right? I bought the book and was so pleasantly surprised to learn that not only could I eat bacon, cheese, and other high fat foods but I was encouraged. Are you kidding?

I could think of nothing more appealing. And to top it all off, there was no shortage of celebrities and regular folks alike who were expounding the virtues of this “easy” diet and that they were all surprised at how the pounds just melted away…and they were never hungry. Oh my goodness, sign me up!!!

I dove into the diet with the enthusiasm of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom (oh yeah, did I mention I was a dateless cheerleader a week before every dance in high school, but that is for another post) and I followed the diet to the letter.

I felt so fashionable and trendy until after one week on the diet I decided to go to the movies with friends and when I grabbed a pair of jeans that I was anticipating just sliding on, to my horror, they were tighter than they had been two weeks earlier when I had tried to wear them. What???? I had just gone a week without any sugar or starch of any kind and my rear end is bigger?

Oh heck no!

This was just not going to work. So I threw on a pair of sweats to wear to the movies and promptly grabbed a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese in downtown Walnut Creek to ease my pain and frustration. I want to be clear that I am not saying that the South Beach Diet, or any high protein diet, is bad, but I have just learned that with my body chemistry (I do not produce enough stomach acids to break down animal protein) this type of diet does not work for me and I end up feeling sluggish and lethargic.

It was my first exposure to my now deeply rooted belief that all diets, or ways of eating, are not good for every body type. As knowledge about nutrition has developed and grown over the years, authorities are finally recognizing that what is great for one person to eat is not always the best thing for another. And to be honest, I am always weary of any eating plan that asks you to eliminate an entire food group from your life. First, it just doesn’t seem feasible to be able to function in society by eliminating a large number of foods from your diet.

As someone who loves to cook, I would be devastated if someone didn’t want to eat what I had so lovingly prepared for them merely because it wasn’t approved by some “diet authority”. And then, what about the nutrients that are gained from those specific foods that you have banished…how do you know you are going to be able to take in those vital nutrients from other foods? It is just too much to think about unless you are a registered dietician and you have the time and expertise to figure this out.

Think back to a time when you were at a weight that you felt good at and try to recall what your eating and exercise patterns were at that time. Then do a little experimenting and see if after a couple of days eating in this way whether you feel full of energy, or drained of all life. We should probably stay away from the latter.

Another important thing to consider, especially for us ladies, is your ever-changing hormones and how they impact your weight. If you are struggling to either lose or maintain your weight, you might consider making an appointment with your gynecologist and ask to have your hormone levels tested and then follow up with an internist or dietician to see if hormonal imbalances are causing you to hold on to weight or gain it.

There is so much information about there about nutrition and diets and it is important as a consumer to be as informed and judicious as possible when thinking of jumping into the latest fad diet. You know your body better than anyone else, so listen to how your body reacts to certain foods. If you feel great eating certain foods, stick with that and let your body’s natural rhythms work to your advantage. If we tune in to our bodies and become present in our bodies, amazing things can happen.

Do you want to discover your unique way of eating that will help you lose the weight you want forever? Click here to learn more.