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Achieving Your Fitness Goals: Uncovering the Best Diet for Long-Term Success

The best diet for achieving your fitness goals

Do you sigh at the idea of going on a diet? Does it make you think about boring, tasteless meals that you have to eat to achieve your goal? Most of the time, people associate diets with the idea of having to give up on foods that they love. They view it as the tool that helped them achieve their goal.

Whenever we set ourselves a goal, be it weight loss, muscle gain, or whatever else, our diet is one of the first things we look at. And how many times have you asked yourself if you should make some changes?

Whether you’re planning to go on a diet or you already tried having a diet but didn’t enjoy it, keep reading below and you’ll have a different opinion about diets at the end of this article.

Table of Contents

What is a diet and how do we know which one to follow?

You’ve probably heard of diets like paleo, ketogenic, vegan, all meat, or free-range and have an idea of the differences between them, but the idea behind them is this: Categorize foods and make them as easy as possible for people to understand. Tell people that this particular diet is the best because it worked for XYZ, so that’s why it will work for you too. *wink*

And although the ideas behind them are simple, oftentimes they can be incredibly difficult to follow and most people give up.

But a diet is more than what we think. A diet is about the way we eat, the food combinations we choose, the nutrients we get, and the practices that sometimes follow our culture or religion. A diet is constantly evolving or changing and is heavily influenced by things like our beliefs, environment, and even society.

What is a diet?

A diet is the food and nutrition choices someone makes on a regular basis based on different factors such as personal beliefs, culture, preferences, and religion.
It can also mean the particular set of nutritional rules someone makes so that someone achieves a particular goal such as muscle gain or weight loss.

Food plays such an important role in pretty much every culture. Can you think of Japan without thinking of sushi? Or Italy without pizza and pasta? Probably not, and there’s a reason why.

Food is an integral part of a culture, and part of its identity. In some ways, food does define a culture, it brings together families, and we celebrate important milestones in our lives with food. And food can alter the way we feel in a given moment.
But all of that and more is taken away now through the toxic diet culture.

The toxic diet culture

The diet culture can be pretty difficult to notice at first. It can hide in ‘innocent’ remarks, at work, at family gatherings, on TV, or on social media.

Let’s see some examples:

  1. Whenever you see an influencer urging you to think about the number of squats that you need to do in order to burn off an Oreo cookie you want to eat.
  2. Whenever someone judges what you eat, or you find yourself judging yourself for what you eat, that is a sign of toxic diet culture.
  3. When you go on a crash diet just because it helps you lose fat and “look better”.

What is a diet culture?

Diet culture is a set of beliefs and restrictions that are applied to a diet, at the expense of one's physical and emotional wellness. It categorizes foods as "good" or "bad" and encourages the idea and obsession with "clean eating".

Unrealistic diets and expectations are promoted, as well as unrealistic results.
And this is so part of our daily lives that it is difficult to see or stay away from it. We can see the negative impact of this toxic diet culture in many areas of our lives:

  • We start to become obsessed with the number on the scale. This in turn messes up our mental health.

  • We start to feel bad, guilty, and shame about our bodies and what we eat.

  • We start to categorize food as good or bad.

  • We call that Saturday meal a ‘cheat meal’ because you’re not supposed to have it.

  • We deny ourselves the pleasure to enjoy food because it’s not healthy or good enough.


I think the most important step is to become aware of these things and step away from them as much as possible.
Hundreds of businesses thrive and make millions on you feeling this way and falling for their promises. The diet industry uses your fear and insecurities to make money. Lots of it.

Why most diets fail?

Nowadays, the word diet is oftentimes synonymous with food restriction.
And although many people achieved their goals through dieting, a really hard truth is that most diets fail. So most people who follow a diet, do not achieve their goals, or their success is not long-lasting.

Many diets promote restrictions, especially towards a certain group of food, such as carbohydrates and fats. And for a lot of people, this simply does not work. The more you try to stay away from something, the more difficult it becomes. And yet, so many are tempted by the idea of quick fixes and crash diets.

A study showed the consequences of food restriction which include binge eating and feelings of distress around food. Although it is possible to lose weight through diets, another issue comes up when you want to keep that weight off once you’re done.  Many factors can contribute to this difficulty in keeping the results.

There is a hypothesis that prolonged food restrictions increase stress levels which cause the body to release cortisol, which can increase appetite and weight gain. So, it’s easy to see how restrictions can cause more damage than good. 

Another factor that can contribute to a diet pitfall is the stress a lot of people put on themselves to radically change their nutrition habits. It’s that all-or-nothing mindset, where you believe you can go all in and it’s going to work out because that’s your new goal. But what most people fail to realize is that new habits take time to implement and going all-in is not the solution.

So, treat the new nutrition choices you want to implement like creating a new habit. Instead of going all in, slowly building up new habits will create a higher chance of adherence to a diet. At the same time, do not force yourself to do things that are against your values or preferences. Because think about it, when was the last time you were truly effective with a habit that you hated?

But does this mean that diets are bad? Not necessarily.
Some diets are associated with low obesity rates, and good cardiovascular health, such as the Mediterranean diet.
And although there is such a high variety of diets that people follow, and it can be overwhelming to understand which is which and what you need to do, they are a lot more similar than you would think because they promote some important stuff when it comes to nutrition:

  • It creates nutrition awareness. They make us pay more attention to what we eat and it makes us care about what we fuel our body with.
  • It focuses on food quality. Some promote more protein, more whole foods, and nutrient-rich meals.
  • It helps control appetite – so whenever we choose healthier options to eat, it becomes more satisfying and filling, so we end up eating less.

What is the best diet?

The best diet is the one that works! I know it’s a bit underwhelming, but let me explain…

By reading this article you have a better understanding of what a diet is.
Generally, we think of diets as something temporary: “I am going to go, Keto, until I lose x amount of weight”.

But what people fail to realize is that the moment you’re done with the diet and revert to the old habits, you’re very likely to start losing the progress you’ve made and gain all that weight back.

So how about we start to change the way we view diets by replacing “I am going on a diet” with “Hey, I decided to change my nutrition habits, and create new, sustainable ones that will be part of my lifestyle, indefinitely”.

As I mentioned earlier, food can define cultures. Tell your Italian friend that he needs to go Keto and give up on his beloved Italian food and he’s probably going slap you and teach you a few lovely well-wishing words in Italian….

People come from different ethnical backgrounds, and what will work for them, might not work for you. In some parts of the world, people thrive on high-fat meals, with a minimum of vegetables. Other parts, such as Bolivia, have a traditional diet that consists of low fat and high carbohydrate. Age also plays a role in how our metabolism works, and how we digest food.

It’s a bit unrealistic to assume that there is one diet that will fit everyone. We have to keep in mind that we are all different. We have different nutrition mindsets, experiences, taste preferences, budgets, schedules, and nutrition knowledge. One single diet can’t be best for everyone.

And when it comes to weight loss, because I know many people have this goal, a study found no difference in weight loss in people who followed both low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets.

Even though you can choose to go on a more standard diet such as Ketogenic, Vegan, Paleo, and so on, know that you don’t have to, and it is not the only way.

The best results come from diets that you can follow consistently. Finding what works for you will probably take a lot of trial and error, but gosh it’s so worth it once you figure it out. Our bodies are smart, and they can adapt to many stressors we put them through, but sometimes there is a limit and the signs that, although can be very obvious, oftentimes we choose to ignore.

I want to give you more value with the article, and I truly want to help you create a better relationship with yourself and around food, so I’m going to give you a few guidelines you can look into to create your diet.

What makes a good diet?

Unfortunately, a common myth is that only through a strict diet and harsh calorie restriction you can lose weight or be healthy. This is so far from the truth. The things that I’ve talked about in this article also apply to you if you want to gain weight or just want to improve your nutrition habits.

If you decide to go on this journey of figuring out the perfect diet for you, I advise you to keep four things in mind:

  1. First of all, a good diet keeps you mindful and aware of what you put on your plate. By simply paying more attention to what you eat, you start to care and prioritize nutritious foods more.

  2. It gives you the outcome you want. You might want to feel stronger, and healthier or you want to lose or gain weight. Regardless of your goals, your diet should reflect that.

  3. It’s not restrictive. I recently came across an interesting perspective on how to handle food restrictions. So instead of telling yourself that you can’t have it, try to think of what you can add. Let’s say you want to eat some French Fries, instead of denying yourself the pleasure of eating them, think of something more nutritious you can add as a side. Perhaps a bowl of salad, or maybe some shredded mature cheddar as a topping.

  4. Good nutrition is sustainable. Regardless of the things that go on in your life, be it environment or finances, you can still make your new diet a part of your lifestyle and can adapt to the changes that happen.

Often times other things bleed into the way we see nutrition and our mindset around it. Factors such as emotional, environmental, and mental, do play a huge role in how we act around food and the way it influences us, that’s why keeping an open mind and being willing to experiment until you figure things out is key to finding what works for you.

Good nutrition is possible for everyone, and I believe we need more discussions around it, to educate people on what good nutrition habits are, how to implement them in our lives and how healthy food choices don’t have to be boring and tasteless.

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