Why do you eat the way you eat?
Did your trainer tell you that's the best way?
Did you read the latest blog post by some internet guru and they seem to know their shit?
Did your friends convince you through their impassioned arguments?
Did your doctor hand you a pamphlet and display concern for your health numbers?
Usually the diet we choose fits into one or more of the categories above. We follow the advice of some influence in our life, do it for a little while, fail and give up. I've been through that cycle a lot. Hell, I've been through the "try a diet, succeed, burn out, give up" cycle a million times, too.
What I often see are people who try the same diet over and over and over again. They'll note that "it worked for me last time" as they resolve to just resolve harder.
But if it really worked for you last time, why was there a last time and why are you having to do it all over again?
There isn't a one size fits all for everybody, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty details that so many diets push on people. Things like "eat 300g of carbs before bed" and "don't have more than 40g of protein in a sitting" or "if you eat breakfast before 10am you thighs will explode." That may or may not be true for you.
Not only that, but you need to be real about what your mentality and your lifestyle will allow. If your diet is saying you need to eat 6 times a day, but you have a work schedule that has you running around to meetings and clients all day, it's not going to stick. If you have a diet that says you can only eat X at a set time, but you're in a relationship that makes it hard to do, it's not going to stick.
There are a few rules that I think everyone can and should follow: eat real food, scale your carbs to your activity level, and make it fit into your non-food oriented lifestyle.
From there, you'll have to experiment with what works for you. If that's eating right upon waking because otherwise you're going to be grumpy with your kids, so be it. Don't beat yourself up. Figure out what foods in the morning won't lead to cravings later and cause a food meltdown.
Next post I'll talk about my experiments and how I chose to eat in each phase of my athletic career to this point.