The Best Eating Style for You – May Be a Customized Plan

December 25, 2018 in Health, Mediterranean, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

Have you come to the realization that what you eat or don’t eat impacts your chance of staying healthy? Is your eating style supporting optimal health? Is your mind providing little hints that it’s getting close to time to actually begin to make some permanent changes in your eating style? Are you anxious about what kind of eating style would be most advantageous for you?

There are so many popular diets it could make your head spin. I know it makes my head spin. Have you already fully confronted the thought to begin 2019, by launching a goal to adopt a new eating style?

If you’re thinking of improving your nutritional status this year, but you don’t know which way to turn or where to start, I’ll try to help you think critically about what’s going to serve you best.

Each year the US News & World Report gathers together 25 experts to try to help consumers decide what is a healthy diet. My guess is that it is not going to vary wildly from this past year; because part of the evaluation is based upon substantial nutritional research on the healthfulness of the foods they recommend.

Some of the issues that the experts considered for the US News & World Report’s list are:

  1. How easy is it to comply with this eating style?
  2. How likely is it of losing significant weight in the short and long term?
  3. How effective is this eating style against cardiovascular disease and diabetes?
  4. Is the diet safe?
  5. Are the calories unreasonable low?
  6. Is the diet nutritious in general?

So if you’re trying to get ahead of the game, at least mentally (which is a great first step), you may discover that the US News & World Report article published on January 3, 2018 will save you a lot of time. Last year the three eating styles (diets) that were on top of the overall list were:

  1. DASH Diet (tie with #2)
  2. Mediterranean Diet (tie with #1)
  3. Flexitarian Diet

It’s somewhat funny to me that my eating style is a combination of the top three eating styles. I had a little sense of validation; after all, there were 25 experts that decided what were the best eating styles. Let me tell you briefly why I say I eat a combination of the three top eating styles. The DASH diet is essentially a Mediterranean Diet that is lower in sodium. I like to keep our sodium under control; so the DASH Diet is a great way to accomplish that. The OmniHeart Study showed that a Mediterranean-style DASH diet was better than the original DASH Diet. Note: the original DASH Diet was much lower in fat than the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet has fats from extra virgin olive oil, fish, avocados and nuts, which turn out to be a healthy addition to our nutritional status. I often say that I eat a Flexitarian Diet; that’s because I’m not a vegetarian; but I fairly frequently have meals that don’t include animal products. Fish is included fairly frequently; and we don’t eat red meat or processed meat at home, except once in a great while for company. The main reason that I’m dragging you through this is to explain that you don’t have to adopt any one exact diet. I recommend that you design what you will be able to stick with. Don’t forget the concept of 80/20 that I wrote about October 9, 2018. It might serve you well to review the concept of moderators and abstainers. Everything you know about yourself gives you information and insights on how to position yourself for success. Make this a journey – a process; discover what works for you and keep remodeling it; customizing it as you learn new information. When you are process oriented, you’re much less likely to let a little slip from your decision derail your entire commitment to a new goal.

One concept that they embrace is that the very best eating style for an individual is the one that an individual can adopt, manage and sustain over time. I whole-heartedly embrace this concept. My advice is to look at the various eating styles and see what you think will best support your needs and desires. You may not want to consider going on a diet this time?  Maybe just start working on changing your style of eating. Remember, if you can’t sustain it; then you’re not going to benefit. You may even want to consider breaking down whichever style you choose, into small steps. For example, first few weeks, discontinue much of the simple sugar (for example, soda, candy, and some of the desserts or snacks); then start working on getting the veggies into your diet. If the style that you’ve chosen is vastly different than your present eating style, you may discover that focusing on one or two things for a couple of weeks diminishes the chance of being overwhelmed with an entire make over made from one day to the next.

I believe that customizing your new eating style has the potential for your managing and sustaining it over the long term and that is what really counts.