What Do All Diets Have In Common?

Diets come and go regularly as you are probably aware, but is each diet really new? You might be surprised to learn the things that all diets have in common.

Diet notebook next to a plate of salad

Five Things that all Diets have in Common

#1 Uniqueness

Whether it is by name or by methods, such as calorie counting, or nutrient profile, low carb high protein, or intermittent fasting, every diet suggests “try me because I am different”.

We can take a look at some recent diets and programs and what they are based on:

Calorie counting or restriction – Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and Noom.

Nutrient profile – Paleo, Keto.

Intermittent fasting – 5:2 Diet and 18:6.

However, all of these approaches are restricting the energy that you consume from food, which is measured as calories or kilojoules.

So they are not that different after all.

#2 Eating guidelines

The eating guidelines are somewhat related to the method of the diet.

Calorie counting or restriction

  • Food groups with a recommended portion or serving size
  • Monitoring of calories and kilojoules in food

Nutrient profile

  • Food groups with a recommended portion or serving size

Intermittent fasting

  • When to eat, when to fast
  • The kilojoule allowance and general guidelines for the fasting days
  • General guidelines for the non-fasting days

All of these approaches provide you with a list of good foods and bad foods, or what to eat more of, and what to reduce or avoid.

Basket of vegetables with a diet plan clip board

And this is what I believe adds to the confusion about what healthy eating is because each diet changes the focus from protein to carbs to fats.

Two recent diets, which I would refer to as healthy eating patterns, are The Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet, which means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, are backed by scientific research and are most aligned with national nutrition guidelines.

Not all diets are backed by scientific research though.

Some diets come with recipes and meal plans which seem appealing in the beginning, but many of my clients say that it gets too hard to eat in such a regimented way.

#3 The promise

Popular diets will have a range of promises; 10+ kg weight loss, more energy, and better skin are three common ones.

The promises are convincing because each diet offers a long list of testimonials from raving fans.

Did you know that healthcare practitioners are not legally permitted to share their client’s health and weight loss success?

So, unfortunately, this means you might think that a popular diet is more successful than an approach offered by a healthcare practitioner.

#4 One size fits all

One of the most concerning aspects of diets is that they offer a “one size fits all” approach.

And we are not all the same.

Do you agree?

We are of different ages, and gender, and have different health and lifestyle requirements.

We also all have varying cultural and social experiences of food.

Woman looking very unhappy with her plate of salad

#5 Limited long term success

The promise of weight loss, better health, and more energy are really attractive.

And I get that.

But research shows that diets do not offer a lifelong solution.

And my clients tell me this too.

One of the most common reasons why diets do not work is that they are impossible to stick to.

And unfortunately too often, my clients believe that it is their fault that they couldn’t stick to the diet.

But it is not your fault if you cannot stick to a diet.

A list of foods to eat and avoid doesn’t appeal to many people.

It also doesn’t help you to change your beliefs about food and yourself or make lifestyle changes to support a healthier way of eating.

So how can you achieve long term success?

What you eat is important, but not nearly as important as transforming your eating habits, such as eating when you are bored or stressed, so eating habits require attention.

Sleep, relaxation, and movement support healthier eating too. So a lifelong approach has to include these too.

The ideal approach also needs to increase your confidence in knowing what your mind-body needs. This way you can filter out all of the conflicting information about nutrition and health.

Woman happily eating her breakfast

For all of these reasons I created the Eating for You approach

  1. It focuses on habits first, then food.
  2. It takes a holistic lifestyle view.
  3. It provides techniques to improve your confidence in knowing what you need to eat.

Now that we have explored the things that all diets have in common, as well as the Eating for You approach, you may have a better idea of why diets have not worked for you.

If you would like to know more about the Eating for You approach and how it can help you achieve your health goals, then you are most welcome to send me an email.

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