About every year, Dr. Mehmet Oz puts pen to paper for TIME Magazine.
Every year it makes the cover, and every year people flock to newsstands on the basis of name recognition, seeing as the guy basically lives on daytime TV, either on his or someone else’s talk show.
Funny thing is, while people are probably ecstatic to hear about the absolute latest fad diet or hot topic trend in the weight loss world, they always get the same message.
And it’s always dull.
Most times, when Dr. Oz writes to offer a general take about how to best approach their diets, he sticks to the basics: eat good foods and don’t eat too much of them.
That’s the way to get and maintain success. Not by crash dieting. (More like crashing and burning.) By finding a sustainable approach and sticking to it.
I’m no Dr. Oz. But finding something like that goes something like this.
Always, always, always, one of the first absolute necessities of diet planning is variety. Give your body foods, lots of different foods. This is because different foods have different nutrient profiles, some of which we don’t even know about.
So often, people try to look at foods as the sums of their parts. They see and apple, and see 80 calories, 20 grams of sugar, an armful of B vitamins and some water. But the fact is, there may be so much more to that apple than science has ever discovered – not only the existence of previously unknown chemicals, but also just the general mix of all of these nutrients into one perfect source of nutrition.
There’s a great book on this premise called, “In Defense of Food,” where the author basically tries to debunk all notions of food as they exist on mandatory nutritional labeling. No matter how good a multivitamin is, the fact is, it can’t substitute for the same nutritional value as a particular type of food – because (1) it can’t substitute all of the nutrient components of that singular food item and (2) can’t provide them in the exact same mixes, which can make all of the difference.
So instead of thinking, “Hmm, how can I get my vitamin A today? Ah, a sweet potato!” just eat the sweet potato, because it’s got so many different things that are good for you in so many different ways you can’t even begin to understand.
Then, the next day, eat something different.
This is a sure-fire way to great health.
Health is Beauty
The great irony of our fascination with food is that, while trying to achieve optimal aesthetics, we often totally miss out on the fact that achieving them is often about being as healthy as possible.
Forget for a second that fad and crash dieting is a pretty efficient means to ravage your body on a cellular level. It’s also not really all that good at getting the look you want.
Though you may manage to achieve a relatively good BMI, it’s likely only to be for a short period of time, and it’s likely to only result in marginal “beauty success.” That is, you might be skinny, but not an attractive skinny. You might be thin, but you might also look unhealthy and emaciated and altogether unpleasant.
So, when trying to draft a diet and exercise plan around the premise of weight, remember that it’s health that’s the first and foremost consideration.
Best of all, do that right, and the weight follows.
Dr. Michael Barakate is a pediatric and adult otolaryngologist located in Sydney, Australia offering health and wellness information at ENTWellbeing.com.au.