Ever hear the phrase, “you are what you eat”? Yes, of course, who hasn’t. Since no one is obviously going to be a pancake or a piece of chicken breast, what does this phrase actually mean and how much should you be focusing on your diet? What if I told you that your diet could have a direct impact on the outcome of your life? Seem a little too drastic? Well, it’s not. It’s completely true.
Take a second to think about how you feel after indulging in a larger than necessary portion of greasy food. No, not how you feel when you’re eating it (amazing), but after you’re finished. Nine times out of ten you’ll feel a wave of regret and sluggishness roll over and smack the life out of you to the point where you don’t want to do anything but lay on the couch.
Now, think about a time when you had a meal that was of proper portion and directly contributed to your health in a positive way? I’m talking proteins, healthy fats, food without excess sugars. Perhaps you had a nice meal consisting of chicken and vegetables? I don’t know what you like or eat and it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that when you partake in a meal that you know is exactly what your body needs for sustenance, nine times out of 10 you’ll feel a hell of a lot better than in the aforementioned scenario when you scarf down a whole buffalo chicken tender sub and a bag of chips from Publix (still so good once a week though).
There are so many different diet plans out there and routines for eating. It’s important to try a few and find out which one works for you, because there is no one definitive diet plan that is the key to success for everyone. Upon countless hours of research and experimentation with different diet plans, I’d like to introduce you to a brief overview of a few plans/schedules so you can pick one to implement into your life ASAP!
1. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is all about choosing a window of time throughout the day where you allow yourself to eat. This is more so a schedule of eating than an actual strict diet plan that tells you what you should and should not be eating. One of the most popular goals of people who partake in intermittent fasting is to achieve weight loss.
The idea here is that you you’ll be eating fewer meals throughout your day/week and thus resulting in a lower caloric intake than you would normally be eating. There are also some serious health benefits that have seen to be linked with this schedule of eating, including increased levels of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which can also contribute to the loss of fat and support muscle growth. It can reduce oxidative stress, which has been directly linked to aging and multiple chronic diseases. It’s also believed that it can lead to a lower risk for heart disease, and much more.
The most common form of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method. This method suggests that you eat for only an 8 hour window of time throughout each day, while fasting for the other 16 hours of the day.
So whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain or you’re just shooting for a possible new way to support your overall health, give intermittent fasting a shot and see if it works for you!
2. The Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is a challenge for many people for a number of reasons, discipline being the main obstacle. There is also a lot of controversy surrounding the pros and cons of the keto diet from a health standpoint. Some people are strong advocates for it while just as many maintain a strong opposition.
Regardless, there are undoubtedly benefits to be reaped from the keto diet. Weight loss again is one of the primary goals of the many people who partake in this diet. The other huge benefit that people on this diet claim is the benefits that come from reaching the state of ketosis. Ketosis can be defined as a metabolic state your body enters when it is running on ketones as opposed to, say carbohydrates, for energy. People claim to experience almost a euphoric sense when they practically eliminate carbohydrates from their diet (typically taking in fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day) and their body is running on these ketones. The state has been described as one without any “head fog,” increased cognition, mental clarity and even memory.
Whether your goal is to shed some pounds or if you really just want to see what all the hype is about, kick those carbs to the side and check out the Keto diet.
3. Paleo A.K.A The Caveman Diet
The Paleo diet takes a strong stance against the excess amount of processed foods that are circulating our grocery stores and homes nowadays. This diet refers to the diet plan of early humans which consisted mostly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. People who partake in the paleo diet also tend to avoid all grains, dairy, sugar-rich and highly processed foods.
The origins of the Paleo diet don’t necessarily stem from goals of weight loss; rather, most people who end up participating in this diet do so for the possible health benefits.
The Mayo Clinic has a very informative article on the origins and over of the Paleo diet and they claim that, “the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices…” The Mayo Clinic then goes on to note that farming introduced new staples, such as dairy and grains, to human’s diets too quickly for our bodies to be able to adapt. This incongruity in the body’s ecosystem is believed to be directly related to obesity, heart disease and diabetes today.
4. Dirty Bulk A.K.A The All Year Round Don’t Really Give A S*** Diet
Yeah I wouldn’t recommend the 365 day dirty bulk cycle. Unless of course your goal is to simply put on as much mass as possible, then hey, maybe this is the route for you.
Like I said, there’s no one diet that will work for everyone. Be open to trying new things and find a diet plan that works for you. Feel free to throw in an occasional cheat day once a week so you can satisfy those cravings and you don’t go crazy! Your body is an ecosystem. Provide it with what it needs to run at maximum efficiency and the results will be more than evident. Diet can be an instrumental factor to providing you with the mental and physical energy needed to succeed on your journey for the long haul.