In search of the perfect diet.

Cutting board with fruits and vegetables
In search of the perfect diet

Let’s face it dieting is hard. And since I am lazy I like to look for the most amount of gain with the least amount of effort. In other words I am looking for that holy grail the perfect diet.

Just like everyone else in the world. I want to lose fat and gain muscle. As an aside, I also think that carrying a few less pounds around during my summer runs will also be a huge benefit.

Oh ya! Did I mention that I hate being hungry.

So to recap, I am looking for a diet that will:
* Make me lose body fat
* Gain muscle
* Not feel like I am dieting

Should be easy

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Image credit – http://mawscm.deviantart.com/art/Diet-is-Die-262463096

8 hr diet

The 8 hr diet is very straight forward. Which is what I like about it. You have an 8 hr window out of the day to eat. And that is pretty much it.

To be honest, I find that 8 hrs is a bit of a small window and doesn’t work for me. But, a 10 hr window does. And I have seen some serious results.

If nothing else, it completely removes the after dinner snacks 😉

How does it stack up?

Lose body fat – It could, but if I eat ice cream all day.. unlikely
Gain muscle – same as the body fat. Possible but not because of the diet rules
Not feel like I am dieting – This is also a “sort of”. I can eat whatever I want (within reason) but I have to pay attention to time of day.

Low Carb

By now I think everyone has heard of The Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet. If you haven’t, then I think you have bigger problems. All kidding aside, they are both based on eating less carbs and filling your days with Veggies, Proteins and Fats.

I think it caught on because it encouraged eating bacon, which for years was a big no-no. But, the medical reasons behind it are solid. Low carbs mean low sugars which also means low insulin. In case you are not aware insulin also acts a storage hormone, it tells your body to take some of the carbs and store them as fat for a future date. Add to this the fact that insulin also tells your cells to hold onto this stored fat and I think you get the idea insulin is not good for reducing body fat.

Obviously, eating low carb is not all good either. Our body needs some carbohydrates to function properly. I am over simplifying but as you can see there is a definite balance needed.

How does it stack up?

Lose body fat – definitely. This is the main strength of these diets.
Gain muscle – Again this is a strength. Since these diets call for an plenty of protein.
Not feel like I am dieting – I guess it depends on the person, but if you like eating carbs then you are definitely going to know you are dieting. I know I do notice that I am dieting but I don’t crave carbs.

Carb back loading

Carb back loading is an interesting spin on the low carb diets. Instead of removing carbs entirely from your diet, you remove them from early in the day.

The theory behind this is that you don’t eat carbs when your body is going to store them as fat, instead you eat them when your more likely to store them as glycogen. When is that you ask? Glad you asked, after you have worked out. So in case you are wondering you work out later in the afternoon as well, 4pm is indicated as the best time.

How does it stack up?

Lose body fat – This is a low carb diet so definitely cutting some fat .
Gain muscle – Lots of protein.
Not feel like I am dieting – The great thing about this diet is that it has a lot of “cheat time” factored in.

Paleo

To be honest, I don’t have as much experience with the Paleo diet. I do know it is all the rage these days, especially with those in the CrossFit community.

The basic theory is to eat like mankind did when we were cavemen. Incidentally, cavemen did not farm. So it only includes items that you can hunt or forage for. Things like meats, fish, nuts and vegetables.

How does it stack up?

Lose body fat – Hmmm only eating protein, fruits and veggies. Ya you are going lose some body fat.
Gain Muscle – Absolutely.
Not feel like I am dieting – This is the Achilles heel of Paleo, at least for me. It is very restrictive. I mean, come on no beer! And good luck ordering off of a menu, with out a bunch of amendments.

In the end

I am experimenting with my own mix of these four. So far it seems to be working. I am losing some weight, keeping my energy up and not too hungry.

I think that this is the only true way that you will find a diet that works for you. Experimenting with other ideas. Some of these diets are great, but since we are all so unique it is absurd for us to think that there is a one size fits all approach.

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