The Perfect Diet

There are some truths about diets that we need to cover. Many people think that a diet is a strict, planned method of food consumption with a goal in mind. The word diet is broader than that definition. Diet simply describes your nutrition intake. All diets perform perfectly. If you wanted to be in the condition you’re in, then you’ve been behaving perfectly. Part of that behavior is your diet.

Let’s take a look at body-builders. You will find they are the most intentional, most exact example of a nutritionally-minded individual anywhere. Ask a successful body-builder to tell you about their diet. They will tell you about macros and micros, feeding schedules, and fuel. You won’t hear Whole 30, Keto, Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, or any other name brand system that can pulled from a bookshelf. However, if you listen closely, you will hear all of the same fundamental elements of any of those diets. If you hear a body-builder mention diet plan by brand name, they’re being paid to say it.

An interesting exercise is comparing the lifestyle of an elite athlete and that of the average person. Did you know that body-builders eat from all of the food groups? Yes, carbs, too. And dairy! They do it because they know what fuel they need and where to get it. Did you know that competitive body-builders will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to eat some egg whites? Do you do that? I don’t. Body-builders live on a schedule. They eat when it’s time to eat; not when they’re hungry or when their friends invite them to lunch. They drink water according to an identified need for a specific level of hydration. They work out in accordance with their goals. They behave perfectly to attain perfection. They cook for themselves. A competitive body builder can’t risk a cook eye-balling their measurements. A heaping cup of rice is different than a level cup and an elite competitor chooses not to risk the difference. You see, these highly competitive men and women are living the principles of the brand diets I named earlier without ever buying one of those books, watching an online video, or using the brand name.

Please know, I’m not here to tell you that you need to set an alarm for 4:00 am so you can enjoy a quick egg-white omelet. My hope here is that you’ll realize the value of being intentional and discover that intentional nutrition doesn’t have to have a name brand attached to it.

It’s common for people to hear about a new diet system and think to themselves, “That’s it! That’s the answer.” While that diet may indeed provide an answer, I find not enough people are asking the right question. You can’t start with the diet and then decide where you want that system to take you. You have to start with the question, or rather, questions. Do you simply want to be trim and look better in your clothes? Are you preparing to compete? Do you need to sprint or run long distances? Your goal must be specific. It’s okay if it changes, but you have to start with an identified goal.

Here’s a good example of why your goal must drive your diet. I often meet people who are training for a marathon as a means of losing weight. There’s a false equivalency in running a marathon and being thin. Head to the finish line of a marathon some time. Sure, the first people across the finish line are going to be lean. Stick around for a while and you’re going to see people who are overweight finishing the race as well. How is that possible?

It’s possible because they intended to lose weight, but they trained for distance running, and those two goals are not the same. Performance training and weight-loss training are not the same. Performance strategy and weight-loss strategy are different. Training to run a marathon is the path to running a marathon. Training to lose weight is the path to weight loss. Running may be part of a total fitness system, but finishing a race is not the focus.

I say this simply to point out that we have to abandon our assumptions about the principles of diet and movement. Body builders fuel in accordance with their desired outcome. Are your diet and your actions in line with your desired outcome?  If not, let’s Focus. Let’s plan perfectly, and when people ask you what you what diet you’re on, you can reply, “I’m on mydiet.”

Share with us your favorite things on your perfect diet on social media. #perfectdiet.