The Best Way Of Eating

This started as a facebook page status update, but apparently it was too long. So it became a blog post! I wasn’t going to post today because I’ve felt wretched, but suddenly around 9 pm I’m starting to feel better. Or maybe that’s just the medicine kicking in? Who knows. All I know is last night was horrible being sick and I don’t want to repeat it very often, which has gotten me thinking deep about the way I eat and take care of my body. Those thoughts led eventually to the following:

I’m trying to figure out what way of eating works best for me and the quest is taking unexpected turns (blog post about that coming soon). I think it’s FASCINATING how many different ways of eating exist and how everyone is completely sure they are eating the only right way. Paleo, raw, vegan, meat eating, vegetarian, no dairy, no fruit, only fruit, moderation, cheat days, high protein, low protein, high fat, gluten free, eating once a day, eating 6 times a day, etc. It’s really, really fascinating. And confusing. The more you search the more confusing it will become because on the internet you will find people in completely different camps saying their way is the best. I’m just looking for what is right for me.

I’m still searching for my “right” way of eating. The kind of eating that makes me feel my best. I feel like I’m getting ever closer to it but I’m just not there yet.

I want to know about you. Have you found the best way of eating for you? What do you think is the best way to eat?

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  1. says

    I’ve been searching for that myself. I’ve done low-carb (Atkins, and it worked great for me) and low-fat (many different incarnations), right carb and good fat. I’ve even dabbled in vegetarianism (though that never lasts long. I love meat too much to go completely meat-free).

    I keep wondering if I should go back to Atkins, because I was always full and energetic and down about 80 pounds. But I’m undecided. I’m full when I focus on eating whole foods, too.

    If you figure it out, let me know, will you? ;)

  2. says

    I’ve been struggling to find out just what works for me. I’ve learned that high protein foods generally tend to be better for me. I’ve tried the Atkins and it worked well but knew after I lost the weight I’d go back to carbs. That being said, I’m finding a mix of carbs in moderation and lots of protein tend to be perfect for me.

  3. says

    It’s true, there are a bazillion different eating plans and everyone thinks they know what is the “best” one and more importantly think people who don’t do it will fail. Lots of them have no problem telling you that. I do the…da da daaaa…high cal day. (People like to call it “cheat” days but I’m not cheating on anything. Why on Earth would you purposely put a negative spin on your plan? Mind game? Maybe. Doesn’t matter in the end.) High cal days keep us on track the other 6 days of the week which are all common sense stuff. (Lean meats, lots of fruit and veggies, whole wheat, etc) We need to eat in a way we know we can maintain for life. Many people say they can’t do them and that’s fine. But 166 lbs gone for me and 158 lbs gone for my hubby says they work for us.

  4. says

    I managed to finally cut meat out of my diet. Yup, that’s right – I went vegetarian. While I have vegan friends, I don’t see myself being able to cut out the dairy, though I do limit my intake (too many stomachaches with too much dairy). I agree, though, that the many options of types of diets can cause a lot of confusion. Ultimately you have to listen to your body – do what’s best for you.

  5. says

    Mary, I have changed things up a lot thru the years depending on just my bod, hormones, age & such but I have stuck to portion control & knowing basically the calories I out in my bod too. I pay attention to the protein/fat/carb ratios & also which for sugar grams, sodium & I like to see fiber where it should be! :-)

    Saying all that, I think people do have to find what works for them & that can be a lifestyle for them/ I am not one to be able to do Paleo or super low carb but that is me….

    Mary, you will find it OR maybe you will put together a mix of things that just feels right….

    • Christine says

      Jody, you’ve made a really good point that we can’t expect our bodies to somehow remain static and always happy with whatever plan currently works. Our bodies change, our fitness routines change, our fuel will likely change too.

  6. says

    I’m still working on it too. Here is some of what I think: I do best without refined carbs and sugars. I do best if I limit grains and have them later in the day. Same with fruit. I don’t handle moderation well and some foods I just have to avoid.

  7. says

    So often, I get asked what I eat {and ate when I was losing weight} and it is hard not to get frustrated. I remember being overweight and just WISHING someone would tell me what to eat. But it wasn’t until I figured it out for myself that the pounds started to melt off. It wasn’t until I started to truly pay attention to what I need, not try to mimic others, that I started to connect the dots. There was A LOT of trail and error, a lot of false positives and a lot of kicking and screaming but in the end, we each have to figure out our own path.

    I can’t wait to continue to hear more about your journey!

    And, p.s., I got my camera thingie in the mail – now we can skype!? Well, kind of. I have to figure out how the thing works.

  8. says

    I definitely don’t think that there’s one right way to do it. Everyone needs to find what works for them! And it’s SO interesting to see the many different “styles” of eating that people use that work so well for them.

    I’m figuring mine out… and I think I’ve found it :)

  9. says

    I think the reason there are so many different ways out there is because people’s bodies respond differently. I am currently dealing with stomach issues that is causing me to re-think everything I usually eat. It is very hard to know where to start to cut things out!

  10. says

    Now that I’m pregnant, I’m eating lots, that’s the strategy, lol. I fill the fridge with mostly stuff that looks like nature made it, and I eat when I’m hungry. As long as I make good decisions at the store (since I control the family grocery list), I can pretty much eat anything in the house and it will be fine. Plus because my tummy’s getting push aside by this baby-thing, it’s working as built in portion control since I can’t fit too much in there at once.
    I find I eat the most unhealthily when I eat out, I tend to go for stuff that’s really been mucked with and food’s never at it’s healthiest when it’s been mucked with.

    Post-baby, I’m going to try and keep up the natural food stratgey, if not for me, but to teach my kid healthy eating early on. I’m more likely to stick with something if I remind myself that someone else is relying on me.

    • says

      Also, I am lucky not to have an food aversions or intolerances. So I haven’t any stomach or tastebud problems I need to work around.

  11. sarina says

    i don’t think there’s any one good way to eat other than what works for specific people- just like you said. i know that when i try restricted ways of eating i always fail- moderation in portions & an uptake of fruits & veggies works best for me. i have maybe 1-2 servings of meat a day at most, & 1-2 servings of dairy at most. i eat a lot of fruit & veggies! the point i think is that restricting your diet in the end never really works because you’ll always want what you’re leaving out- & often binge & feel bad about yourself when you eventually fall into that line of eating. trial & error, just like you’re doing, is so good! thinking about how certain foods affect your body is also good. that helps me plan my meals to make sure i wont be hungry at an inappropriate time (like when i’m out & likely to justify to myself eating something like a muffin or a burrito that i didn’t really plan to). thanks for asking this question!

  12. says

    I did Weight Watchers for a very long time, so there was never any food that I felt like I couldn’t have. Now that I’m not doing WW, but still trying to maintain my weight, I am making a real effort to just eat food that I know is better for me.

    I haven’t cut out any food groups, but I’ve made switches to whole wheat pastas and breads, brown rice, things like that. I’m trying to limit my intake of overly processed foods.

    One book that helped me was Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It’s a very simple, quick read and a lot of what he talked about made sense to me.

    That being said, I agree with what several other people are saying here…you have to find what works for YOU. It’s really the only way.

  13. says

    I did weight watchers and dropped 50 pounds in about 6 months. I was never hungry and loved the plan. Now that I am in shape I am working out a lot more. I am training for a half marathon and the weight watchers plan just doesn’t seem to be fitting in to my life as well. I have gained 10 pounds because instead of planning my food I have gone back to saying… “I am running a lot so I can eat what I want”. I have to get back on track. 1mile only = 100 calories and if I do not pay attention to what is going in I can easily eat 1,000 calories at a meal… I am not going back to fat. So my plan… I am going to start writing down everything I eat again. I need to pay attention! Thats where I will start! Thanks for the post!


  14. says

    There is no single right way to eat. And honestly, as I lost weight I changed how I ate based on what was going on. It’s been a long time figuring that out, and I still play to a big degree. I think no matter how you eat, the best thing is to get rid of processed foods. Whatever else you need to change out of the ‘real’ food (such as dairy, grains, wheat, meat, whatever) will be by experimentation for what works with your body.

  15. Mom says

    Well I am trying a new one especially on the weekend from Friday to Tuesday I eat about every two hours just a small portion, and fruit, no carbs except one day a week. No red meat no pork just chicken and tuna. Salad a home made burrito and chicken salad sandwich, is most of the menu. I have gone from a size 14 to a size 8 and losing, How about your old mother now Mary…!!!!
    I also walk about an hour a day when the weather permits.
    I FEEL GREAT, and I do not hurt so much in my legs or knees, which is a great feeling which I am very grateful…
    Love MOM

    • says

      I’m so proud of you! When were you a size 14? I totally don’t remember that! Cause I’m almost a 14 and I don’t feel like I’m as small as you ever were, if that make sense. Anyway, I’m so proud of you!

  16. says

    Well, I figured out this week that Trader Joe’s cheese enchiladas are not ever going to be a part of my diet again… but the chicken ones are A-Okay.

    Other than that, I know that I feel pretty dang good on my current diet. Still working it all out, really.

  17. says

    Trying to figure that out has made me dizzy. By a combination of research and trial and error, I’ve found a general “I feel good when I eat…” but I don’t know if there is still better. Low or no sugar seems to be pretty darn key for me, though.

  18. says

    I do think there’s one good way of eating – in moderation, with common sense, while listening to your body. Eating real food, with as little added chemicals as possible, will always do us good. As Michael Pollan put it:

    Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

    And of course, know yourself, be aware of any health conditions you have to know what is “bad” for you. If you have stomach pains after eating dairy – cut it out. If you’re sick after eating meat or simply strongly believe in protecting the planet by going vegaterian/vegan, go ahead! If you have high blood pressure, cutting sodium could make it better. And so on.

    Just a little manifesto right here ;)

  19. says

    It’s become such a buzz-word these days (and a misunderstood one, at that) but intuitive eating is what works for me. That said, there were a number of things that had to come first (for me) in order to get to this place. First I was an overweight, emotional binge-eater. Then I was a dieter, trying various fads and pills (I’d lose, then regain). Then I addressed the emotional aspect and started a more practical “plan” that consisted of counting calories, exercising, and making sure my ratios were along the lines of 30/40/30 (carbs, protein, fat). I lost a lot doing this…then regained half. Why? Well I think part of it was was emotional (my head hadn’t caught up with my body) but now I also believe that it was partly that my body was out of balance (hormones, as well as chronic undiagnosed Lyme disease and some other issues). Now that all that has been addressed I eat in a way that can only be described as intuitive. I know what my body needs and if I eat too much (in general or of something specific, like sugar), I don’t feel well. So my body tells me…I listen. And the more aware I become, the better at it I get.

    And it’s true…there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what’s right!

  20. says

    I suppose I’ve sort of grown into the way I prefer to eat as I’ve progressed on my lifestyle change. It’s driven by my increased metabolism and the fact that I hate feeling hungry (I eat seven times a day).

    If I had to put a name to it, it’s a mish-mash of the sort of thing that a book called “Volumetrics” proposes and “clean-eating”: lots of veggies, pulses and whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats etc. I avoid added sugars and high sodium.

  21. Christine says

    Personally, I love food and I think it’s perfectly ok to have emotional connections to eating. Cooking and eating can be experiences of pure pleasure, of communion with others, of creativity and the style of eating that works for me is making the choice every day to look for nutrient-dense foods that are also delicious. Gradually, whole, nutrient dense foods have become what makes me feel good AND what I crave. I just got used to looking for the healthiest way to achieve maximum flavour while eating foods as close to unprocessed as possible. I make my daily choices with a bit more specificity than this, but this is my general self-guide.

    • says

      I agree. I think emotional connections to eating are fine. However, emotional eating in the form of using food to mask or avoid dealing with emotions (er, my past in emotional eating) is different and not a healthy thing.

  22. says

    I guess I’m always open to changing my way of eating. There are things I know are NOT the right way of eating for me: counting calories, going hungry, not eating whenever/how much I want. Beyond stuff like that, I’m open to trying new things/new ways of eating. Basically what works for me is just trying to eat healthy, but not making any real restrictions, mostly just what tastes good, and making sure I eat regularly so I don’t get depressed/bitchy/cranky. Oh and not eating foods filled up with chemicals & hfcs. One day I can see myself switching to a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet, which I’m not ready for yet, but probably when I get older and/or have more time and/or have more $, because I feel it’s more humane and healthier.

  23. charity says

    I TOTALLY hear ya- I too have been searching for the perfect diet. By the grace of whoever, I have been blessed with Celiac Disease and allergies to soy and whey and garlic (wtf?) and pretty much am forced to eat healthy. I am a super carb addict so I am sticking with a paleo diet as my body obviously doesn’t like grains. I try to eat real whole foods and that seems to make my body the happiest.

  24. says

    *soft smile* – the thing that seems to work for me is to listen to what my body wants in the moment, and then eat it (as best I can) mindfully. I tend to chafe against restrictions and “thou-shalt-not”s – so almost as soon as I forbid myself something, I want it ten times as much.

    The other thing that works is instead of looking at “can’t have”s, focussing on “try to have”s. So, for example, trying to have as much fresh fruit and veges as I can (up to the point where my body doesn’t want any more), or as much water as I can (up to the same point). Often if I focus on that, the desire to have unhealthy stuff seems to disappear – or at least become manageable.

  25. says

    It’s taken me 10 years, but I’ve finally found the diet that I want to follow for the rest of my life. It was such a relief that, even though it’s pretty far from today’s mainstream, adopting it was absolutely effortless. I don’t miss things, because I’ve simply stopped regarding them as food.

    I am now a low fat raw vegan, mostly fruitarian. My husband too. We feel fabulous!

    • says

      I was watching YouTube videos and reading a bit about your diet. It’s definitely not mainstream and nothing I would ever try or follow. But I’m glad you guys love it!

  26. Sarah says

    I eat a mostly primal/paleo diet. I crossfit, and this diet is basically the way of life for crossfitters. Honestly, I never feel better then when I am strict primal. I do make an exception for dairy occasionally, but I’ve found that store-bought milk messes with my acne, so I buy it direct from a farm, raw and non-homogenized when a cup of it is like a dessert on its own! I probably do eat sushi or bibimbop once every few weeks but the aim is 80/20 rather than 100% perfection.

    While paleo/primal may not be for everyone, I would challenge yourself to give up grains for a week and see how you feel. I read the blog Mark’s Daily Apple often and he outlines the rationale for this way of life on his blog.

  27. says

    It’s so individual… for me the best way of eating is something that doesn’t drive me nuts! I don’t want to have to eat 6 meals daily or else. I don’t want to have to have a certain number of carb or protein or fat grams, I want to eat when I’m hungry and not eat when I’m not hungry. I don’t want to say never to any particular food. In short, I want to be comfortable.

    So my best way of eating is kind of haphazard really, winged as I go, but mostly healthy and based on whole foods. Here and there I eat a fast food meal or pizza. That seems to keep the cravings for THAT at bay. Here and there, I eat something like a candy bar or chips. More often, I eat dried fruit instead of a candy bar. I’m not super fond of red meat and eat it only occasionally. I love fish and eat that often. More and more, I find I just don’t WANT the junk food.

    So I guess what I’m doing is listening more to my body, and just being more moderate and considerate of portion size. I try to eat things that I know fill me well. Oatmeal, a bowl of Kashi GoLean cereal. Apples. Large salads. A bowl of steamed veggies. Those things fill me up. I tried doing a lower carb thing for a while, but what I learned is that I feel like dreck and that fats don’t fill me up. If I want to feel energetic, I need some carbs here and there, but I try not to go overboard.