I am asked all the time about how to overhaul a diet. First let me first say that a diet is a way of living, so if your diet needs an overhaul, you need to look at all aspects of your life. That includes work, school, what you are doing for fitness and what you eat.
That being said, let’s pretend that you did all that and now your last step in your personal overall is your diet. First thing you need to do is find out what nutritional deficient you may have. You can declare that you are gluten free, vegan or even Paleo, but no matter how clean you eat if you are missing an import micronutrients like B12 or D, you will still feel like crap. It is always good to get blood work before taking things out of your diet. What you remove may actual be the one thing you need more of. Simple things to look at are how much water your drink, vitamins and minerals, proteins and fatty acids.
The second adjustment is portion size and attending to macronutrients to fit your body type. I am not one for calorie counting. I feel there is too much there for interpretation. Unless you are weighing all of your food to the exact portion size your calories are estimated. I have written other blogs regarding using palm size for proteins and veggies, thumbs for fat, etc. Eating the right macronutrients to your body type is also important.
Body Type and Percentages: (Again this is only a gage)
I types (ectomorphs): Rapid metabolism. Eat heaviest percentage in carbohydrates, then proteins, then fats. 55%, 25%, 20%
V types (mesomorphs) Typical metabolism. Balance percentage of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. 40%, 30%, 30%
O types (endomorphs) Slowly of the metabolism, eat the least in carbohydrates, then fats, and then proteins. 25%, 35%, 40%
Last tweak, how often you are eating or not at all. There was always a rule of thumb that you eat small meals through the day to control insulin and cortisol levels in the body. Then studies came out regarding intermittent fasting, spreading your calories into two meals with long spaces of time between. Which brings this last part into a new thought, mindful eating, or intuition based. Eat when you are hungry and don’t when you are not. Listen to your body singling that it is full and stop. If you are staying in your portion size then it should not matter when you eat it.
I wrote this today because I am always being asked about how to “do” a diet overall. This is a difficult answer without really taking the time to analyze their way of living, how someone eats and understanding calorie output. But above is an outline on how to get started on your own. As always, before starting a new dietary change it is good idea to see your doctor or meeting with a nutrition coach.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.