I’ve tried pretty much every diet under the sun and up until recently, my hobby was reading health blogs looking for a magic pill. And no, I’m not overweight but I’ve struggled with keeping my stable for a while.
Everything began when I quit smoking a few years ago. Up until then, I was able to gorge in huge amounts of junk food without gaining significant weight. I’ve never been skinny but also not really fat.
When I dropped the cigarettes all that changed.
My bad habit of eating junk food went to the next level and for about 3 months I gained 10-15kg to the point that even my grandma told me I look fat.
As a result, I became determined to get this eating thing figured out and I began reading on dieting.
I managed to lose all weight for about 2,3 months by eating chicken and salads 5 times a day and doing cardio first thing in the morning.
I was happy but little did I know that what followed was that my weight would be yo-yo-ing all the time in the next few years.
Gaining and losing 5kg every month was a normal thing. Buying jeans became a struggle.
At some point, I figured I need to find a sustainable way to keep my weight down. I happened to find a video about paleo and keto and was immediately hooked. After I read a few books on the subject I gave Paleo a try.
It worked great until it didn’t. I felt great but after a while, I couldn’t handle the cravings. Every day felt like a battle to be fought for not to eat sugar and sweets.
The next step was to go Keto, I decided to go full-in and one-meal-a-day seemed to be the best option. (One-meal-a-day is exactly what it sounds. You eat all your food for the day at one sitting.)
Again, It worked until it didn’t. I felt like I had cheat codes for life. The mental clarity and focus I had were out of this world. Life was incredible until 1 month later I realized I’ve lost all muscle and didn’t look healthy anymore.
I began realizing that I wasn’t doing as well as I thought. I couldn’t go to the toilet regularly, every meal made me fall into a food coma for at least an hour afterward.
Not to mention the biggest issue with this type of diet. It’s simply unsustainable.
I decided to jump back into a normal way of life again only to realize that I can’t eat carbohydrates normally anymore. For the next 6 – 9 months I’ve had to endure plenty of issues with blood sugar.
Yeah, crazy I know.
I’ve never had issues with blood sugar but after 2 month of keto, a few pieces of chocolate were able to make me fall asleep in the middle of the supermarket.
After all this experience I figured let’s try watching vegan YouTubers on purpose see what they have to see. And after a while I realized both sides say things that make sense and things that don’t.
I became increasingly confident that the issue of “eating properly” has become polarized in a similar way to politics.
One day I was talking to my grandpa telling him about all kinds of diet I’ve tried and health etc. He looked at me and said:
“I’ve never tried any diets. We have a few simple rules at home. Don’t fry food and don’t eat too much meat and we haven’t done too bad.”
What he was saying made a lot of sense. My grandparents never cared too much what they ate, they were quite old without having too many health issues.
This was pretty much enough for me to drop it all and stop looking for the magic pill.
I stopped reading about health and began just experimenting and observing how I feel after each food.
And this made all the difference.
I quickly realized that no matter what paleo/keto guys were saying, nuts were no good for me. Nuts made me feel tired, skyrocketed my appetite, and made me crave sugar more than ever.
When I stopped eating nuts I felt great and dropped a few kgs out of nowhere.
I quickly realized that no matter what vegan guys were saying, eating meat and eggs made me feel great and full.
I always assumed that sugar always makes me feel tired but after some observations, I found that that’s not actually true.
I felt great after eating most fruits. Same with some chocolate or ice-cream.
Biscuits were the main problem and all kinds of bread with chocolate combination, so I just completely stopped eating them.
What nobody tells you is that if you don’t eat sugar, every time you eat something sweet it’s an insane boost of energy comparable to coffee. If you eat sugar all the time though it becomes a burden that has to be sustained.
Eating sweets after lunch/dinner is the worst because it makes you hungrier than you actually are. This is a well-known fact in the competitive eaters’ industry. If you can’t eat any more just switch between sour and sweet and your stomach will open up immediately.
What about fasting?
Fasting is good but if you do it all the time all the benefits go away. All types of popular fasting like 16/8 or 20/4 are just not as healthy as you think because after the first week your body adapts to the new style of eating and all the benefits go away.
What you want is to surprise your body from time to time. Fasting too often and predictable weakens your body. Just skip lunch or dinner some days or eat earlier or later than usual. That’s more than enough.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
The easiest starting point is to see what your grandparents eat and copy some of it. You share a lot of genetics with them and If they are alive and well that’s a good indicator that you should be doing the same.
After a lot of trial and error, I figured I feel best when I eat mostly meat, eggs, potatoes, and veggies. Eating just veggies made me hungry. A meal without rice, potatoes, or meat doesn’t feel like a real meal that will keep me full without going crazy-hungry.
I suggest you give it a try.
Important here is not to eat sweets after the main meals. Fruits or sweets are mostly for increasing energy or when you feel a bit hungry but don’t want to eat immediately.
Also, don’t go crazy with sauces. Keep food simple. The more different tastes the food has the more you’re going to eat.
If you feel like you want to lose some weight, eat a smaller dinner meal and focus on meat and vegetables.
What probably matters the most
I’ve spent so much stress, anxiety, and time on diets and the thing that made me realize that I was really stupid was Warren Buffet.
He is almost 90. He eats in McDonald’s every day for breakfast and drinks Coca-Cola like crazy.
Why is this important?
Because it shows that stress and good genes matter the most.
I might change my opinion in the future, I don’t know.
What I do know is that this is the least I’ve thought about food in my life. My weight is great, I feel good and that’s all that matters.