There are so many different diets out there: vegetarian, carnivore, keto, vegan, raw, paleo, pescatarian, flexitarian and mediterranean. What works great for one person may not work for another, and it’s our unique genetic makeup and biochemistry that helps determine what may be the most effective way to eat for you. However what I want to talk about here is how you can maximize results regardless of which eating style or diet you choose, which is why I have created 5 Steps to Getting Results with Any Diet you Choose
Here’s how to make any diet work for you:
Step 1. Create a window or block of time for eating and fasting.
You are meant to be a sugar burner for part of the day, and a sugar burner for the other part of the day. The ability to switch between these two states is called metabolic flexibility. In order to make this metabolic transition, you will need to tap into alternating blocks of time of fasting and feasting. Generally, an eating window of 8-10 hours works best for people looking to change their health. It might look like eating a later breakfast and earlier dinner. This will allow for a fasting block of 13-16 hours.
Step 2. Monitor your blood sugar.
Low and stable blood sugar is required to create fat burning ketones. High blood sugar will keep you from seeing results regardless of what kind of diet you’re on. Ideally you should be under 100 mg/dL. Get a blood reader like the Keto Mojo for this step, and learn how to measure your blood sugar and ketones. You’ll take a reading right after you wake up and a second reading right before you eat your first meal. What you want to see is that blood sugar is decreasing and ketones are increasing.
Step 3. Look at the ingredients in your food.
Ingredients matter, and in today’s world you must be extra vigilant as there are a lot of unhealthy chemicals, additives and preservatives hiding in your foods. The three worst ingredients that will prevent diet results are: bad oils, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. Bad oils include vegetable oils like canola, soy, corn, sunflower and safflower. These oils are almost always used in fried foods, restaurant and pre-packaged foods. For example, your potato chips may be organic but they’re still cooked in bad oils like canola oil.
Step 4. Continuously change up your diet and food variety.
Just because a certain diet or food is working for you right now, doesn’t mean you should always be doing it. Our bodies were designed for variation, in order to keep it adapting to our ever-changing environment. To be strong, the microbiome in your gut needs exposure to different types of foods. For example, if you always reach for the same lettuces or meats, what happens is you begin to create a monoculture in your gut, more of the same type of bacteria. What we need for health is diversity! In order to do this, you must expose yourself to variety, ideally changing your diet seasonally to keep with what is naturally being grown where you are. The easiest way I have found to do this is to shop at your local farmer’s market.
Step 5. Avoid or better manage stress.
Stress, whether external or internal, creates a surge of cortisol in the body. When cortisol goes up, it becomes very difficult to regulate insulin. When insulin is out of control, you’ll notice you might start to gain weight, become irritable, anxious or dysregulated in your blood sugar, digestion and eating habits. Thus, cortisol will prevent results on any diet. I recommend integrating more mental hacks, like meditation or breathing, listen to my podcast episode with Niraj Niak for more advice on this. I also use a Whoop band to track my sleep quality, HRV and fitness so I can see real time when my body is experiencing a stressor and it is time to rest and recover.