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What is the Ideal Diet?

healthy behaviours high on life podcast Jul 17, 2023

What is the ideal human diet?

Should I be intermittent fasting? How much meat is too much meat? Am I getting enough protein?

In the ever-evolving landscape of weight loss and nutrition, it's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of an ideal human diet. We search for the perfect combination of foods, hoping to unlock the secret to weight loss. However, most of us already know the basics of nutrition and what is considered “healthy”.

Instead, I encourage you to join me in challenging the notion of an "ideal" diet. True well-being requires us to consider the broader context of our lifestyles and behaviors, so here are action-able ideas to get started:

Let go of the pursuit of perfection

I cannot stress enough the importance of embracing pragmatism over perfectionism in our quest for a healthier lifestyle. We often find ourselves chasing the elusive "ideal" human diet, only to feel discouraged when we fall short. 

But here's the truth: Life is complex, and each of us has unique circumstances. Perfectionism often leads to all-or-nothing thinking, procrastination, or failed attempts, undermining consistency and long-term success. Instead, let's focus on making informed choices that prioritize whole foods, minimize processed options, and increase our intake of nourishing plants. It's progress, not perfection, that truly matters.

Rather than fixating on an ideal diet, focus on practical strategies. Consider the "how," "when," and "why" of eating, addressing emotional needs without relying solely on food, and making choices based on nourishing the body.


Understand the bigger picture

Did you know that before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879, most people slept for 10 hours each night?

Did you know that the average American now sleeps 6.8 hours a night?

The ideal scenario is going to bed when the sun goes down, sleeping during night time hours, waking during daylight hours. You would also be sitting down and enjoying a meal over a couple hours of time with your family and your friends, rather than eating very quickly in front of your computer while also on your phone between meetings. You would also not be sitting for 10 hours a day in front of your computer.

We can talk about ideals forever, but is that beneficial? There has been a lot of change in human behavior as civilization evolves.

While food plays a significant role in our well-being, it is crucial to consider the broader aspects of our lives. This includes prioritizing sufficient sleep, engaging in physical activity, and fostering meaningful relationships. To achieve a holistic approach to sustainable weight loss, we must broaden our perspective beyond what's on our plates. 

Shift from all-or-nothing thinking

Despite what diet culture teaches us, no food is inherently “good” or “bad”, rather it is about understanding the context and quantity in which we consume them and our relationship with food that truly matters. Instead of fixating on rigid dietary rules, let's learn to listen to our bodies' hunger and fullness cues.

Another important realization is that attempting to achieve an ideal diet can often lead to inconsistency and disordered eating patterns. Instead, I advocate for a mindful and practical approach that considers the "how," "when," and "why" of our eating habits. 

By developing a deeper understanding of our relationship with food and considering emotional needs, we can make sustainable changes that promote overall health and fulfillment. 

Prioritize self-respect and self-care

In our pursuit of weight loss, it is crucial that we prioritize self-respect and self-care. Our bodies are extraordinary vessels that deserve love and care. By approaching our journey with self-respect, we acknowledge our bodies' unique needs and make choices that align with our overall well-being. Weight loss is just one aspect of our health journey. Adequate sleep, stress reduction, and nurturing relationships are equally important components of self-care.

The question is not “what is the ideal diet?” but rather to challenge the notion of chasing an "ideal" in the first place. Rather than striving for perfection, let’s shift the focus to making conscious choices that suit our individual needs and preferences. The key is being practical and finding what works best for us as imperfect beings in an imperfect world.

By nurturing a positive relationship with our bodies, prioritizing self-respect, and taking a holistic approach to well-being, we can create sustainable habits that promote overall health. 

Remember, it's not about perfection—it's about progress and finding what truly nourishes us on this journey of life.


Listen to the latest High on Life Podcast episode to learn where to start on your health journey.

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