The big picture…
Ultimately, we all seek enjoyment. We want to be happy doing our life thing. That includes going to work, having relationships, and eating. The list is much bigger than that but you get the idea.
For me, exercise and nutrition have been the gateway for self empowerment, self awareness, and the pursuit of being happy.
It may not be as exciting as drugs, sex, and rock and roll but perhaps it’s a bit more sustainable. I know, total Dad Joke. At the end of the day, it’s your choice. Everything in moderation right?
Nutrition has been a powerful tool in my own journey of fitness, health, and self healing. My idea of good nutrition includes:
Food: what I eat
Good nutrition: how I eat
The Best Diet: why I eat
What is food?
Foods are the items we ingest in order to gain calories, vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals our bodies need to stay alive. Usually, food is broken down into macro nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
The 3 macronutrients are the overarching categories for items. Such as:
Protein: meat, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, etc
Carbohydrates: bananas, grains, spinach, pasta, etc
Fats: nuts, oils, butter, etc
There are endless combinations of foods available to us. Some food combinations are based on achieving specific goals like losing weight, gaining weight, improving medical factors, etc. Other food combinations are influenced by culture and society such as family meals and recipes, celebrations, good times, sad times, etc.
How food is made also influences what we eat. For some, ethical and moral reasons influence our food choices. Others are limited by health or they are empowered by it.
In the end, food is a complex subject that provides sustenance, has meaning, and empowers us. To limit it to one category does a disservice to the nuance of good nutrition.
What is good nutrition?
Good nutrition is how we eat and all the reasons that influence that. To be clear, I don’t think that there is ONE way to have good nutrition. We are complex individuals and how we eat is influenced by the things that make us.
Let me explain.
Good nutrition improves body composition, performance, and overall health.
This means it can look differently from person to person. Some people eat more than others, some people eat less. Others eat specific foods day after day, other people eat a wider variety. Some people eat for ethical reason and that makes them happy, others eat for performance and that makes them happy.
Good nutrition is a product of calories, goals, performance, meaning, lifestyle, resources, culture, and so much more.
Sometimes, good nutrition means accomplishing a specific goal. Like losing weight, increasing certain performance markers, gaining pounds etc. It can be helpful to have a specific goal to stay accountable and moving in a particular direction. The ultimate goal of good nutrition is to eat in a way that is sustainable for long periods of times, adjust when needed, and overall improve all aspects of health.
What’s the best diet?
This is a very difficult question to answer. It’s complex and vague at the same time. The best diet for one person may not be good for someone else. The context of what the diet is supposed to help them accomplish is an important factor that must be discussed.
The best diet is the one that gets results.
I may not agree with the philosophy and science, or lack of, behind it a style of eating but I can’t argue with results. However, I can argue with long term sustainability and outcomes.
Results speak volume but sustainability is king. I believe that sustainability has to do more with a mindset and less with a specific diet strategy. To be sustainable, a person must be able to adapt their diet and shift when things are not going there way.
An example of this is Patty, my keto-diet client. Fake name, obviously. Patty had success going keto for the first 6 weeks. She lost weight, felt great, and life was awesome. But, then she wanted to lift heavier and focus on performance. She was struggling with heavier weights and noticed her weight wasn’t going down any longer. We explored with some extra carbs and her performance improved. That brought up the idea that her diet was no longer getting results. It was time to change.
I want to note that if her performance didn’t improve, I would’ve noted that food was not the limiting factor and we would try something else.
The best diet ultimately is the one that gets results and is sustainable.
The BIG picture of good nutrition is to practice eating in a way that fits your goals, culture, likes/dislikes, lifestyle, and anything else that is important to you. Because, the purpose should be to create a food practice that is sustainable and leads to good health and an improved quality of life.
Interested in nutrition coaching?
Check out the LAST NUTRITION PROGRAM YOU’LL EVER NEED. I am currently taking new members but make sure it’s a good fit before you schedule a free consult.