Finding Balance Through Simplicity

How can you possibly be successful at finding the diet right for losing fat? There are so many good foods out there. Ample opportunities for social interaction that revolve around food. There’s so much information about this diet or that diet and no matter what you MUST follow their rules 100% or it won’t work.

All or Nothing thinking leads to obsessive behaviors that leave us isolated from our friends and family. It also tends to create a sense of self loathing when you don’t follow the rules to the tee.

I’ve discussed the best route to finding the best fat loss diet, but I haven’t even hinted at the destination: what is the best diet? That’s because honestly the answer is it depends. It depends on what you’re willing to do. It depends on how consistent you can be. It depends on how important social adherence is to you. It depends on a lot.

I find though that you can’t go wrong with balance. The USDA release something to help people with nutrition in 1992 called the Food Guide Pyramid. Some of you may have grow up with it. It’s a pyramid with different foods and recommended amounts (servings) of those foods on it. At the time it was a great first attempt at balance that honestly should have never seen the light of day. Leaving out the political and financial sides of this story, the Pyramid was inadequate at truly giving people balance as each part wasn’t created equal.

Later it was updated with MyPyramid then MyPlate. Each were attempts at providing better nutrition to the American public. All three attempts have failed as people are fatter than ever. Where do you find the end all resource on balanced nutrition if not the USDA? That’s the funny part, there isn’t one. Everything is really just a bunch of SWAGs (Scientific Wild Ass Guesses).

So, to add my SWAG to the pile: Eat whole foods such as lean meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Eat mostly plants. This means fill your plant with green vegetables if you can, but if not at least 1 fist sized serving. Don’t eat too much. Use your hands to measure portion sizes and use some measurement consistently to determine if you’re getting fatter.

First part seems as if it contradicts the second part. Balance, but don’t eat sugar. Balance, but avoid processed foods. Going back to the all or nothing, what I’ve recommended is a guide and if you have some sugar or processed foods it’s not the end of the world. It’s a single vote. Filling your plate with dark, leafy green vegetables will NEVER lead you astray. No one has ever gotten fat from too much broccoli (it’s usually the 3 cups of ranch they dip it in or 2 cups of oil they cook it in). Vegetables are low in calories but high in nutrients that keep us healthy and primed to lose fat. They keep us full and our body functioning properly, so we feel good.

A hand sized portion keeps portion sizes to what your body needs based upon your size. If you’re told to do a 4 oz portion of chicken, but you’re a male, 6’7”, and weigh 280lbs, it may not turn out the way you’re wanting. Using that same example but having two palm sized portions of chicken would best meet that guy’s individualized needs and also avoid overeating. To keep starches to a minimum, use a cup fist for measuring it out. Fats are just a thumbs worth. If you’re a male do two palms of protein, two cupped hands of starches or fruits, and two thumbs of fat such as nuts and seeds. As a female do 1 of each of those.

BOOM! Balance is had. You’re avoiding overeating. You’re providing your body the nutrients it needs. You’re not denying yourself foods and social interactions. Sounds like a worthy way to eat for the most part. How do you handle mixed dishes such as a casserole, enchiladas, or slow cooker meals?

That friends, is the topic of next time: How to have balance and still enjoy food.

To Your Success,
Christoph Kettermann
Hidden Gem CrossFit