Last week I had a friend ask me, “Do you know diets for fat people? I NEED to LOSE weight now!”
We all have felt this way at one time or another. I know I have.
And I would have helped my friend by opening a new browser window and googling “best diets to lose weight fast.”
But now that I’ve been studying at IIN for six months, that’s all changed. This time I responded with, “Ummm, you should follow what works for you, not a specific diet.”
Huh? What do you mean?
I was referring to a concept called Bioindividualitiy.
What is Bioindividuality?
It is the belief that we should base our diets upon our individual selves, and not on a dietary theory.
We are all unique beings. No two people are exactly the same. So why then, should we follow a dietary program created for the masses?
Men tend to eat different than women. They tend to eat more meat and hearty foods. Older people eat different than younger people. Younger people tend to gravitate toward instant food, aka fast food. We eat different during the winter, than we do the summer. The last thing I want to be eating on a hot August day is a big bowl of piping hot soup.
So shouldn’t we choose to eat in the moment that which makes sense for our bodies?
This is something that’s obvious but often overlooked.
“One Person’s Food Is Another Person’s Poison”
In IIN we often hear the phrase, “One person’s food is another person’s point.”
I love this quote because it is so true. And I am a prototypical case study of it.
I have never tried any specific diet program to lose weight. While I have had friends follow Atkins, or the South Beach Diet, it never interested me. I just tried to eat low fat food. And for a while it worked! A low-fat diet, combined with exercise helped me lose 40 lbs and drop four dress sizes!
But after a while my body started to rebel. No matter what I ate, or how hard I worked out I gained weight. Along the way I developed insomnia, and Leaky Gut Syndrome, among other things.
So someone suggested that I stop eating gluten. I had no idea what this meant so I read the Wheat Belly book. In it, I learned how gluten causes inflammation in our bodies that can affect our immune system. Since my mother has an autoimmune diseases I thought I might develop one too so I eliminated gluten. It helped some but not completely.
Then I realized that gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy. I attended a gluten-free food expo. Everything there was sugary, processed foods.
Feeling frustrated I started seeing a functional medicine doctor. She had me do some blood work. That's how I learned that I had sensitivities to wheat, dairy, corn and soy. So I eliminated those foods and decided to try the Paleo diet. I even took it a step further and completed a Whole 30 program! Without cheating at all! It helped a ton - but again, long-term not completely.
I was still experiencing IBS and Adrenal Fatigue symptoms. By then I also realized that grains, tomatoes and peppers trigger some IBS issues. So I added grains and nightshades to my list of eliminated foods.
Now I follow a Low FODMAP diet, which is the diet found to help people with IBS the most. Like Paleo and Whole 30, Low FODMAPS shuns processed foods. But it also restricts Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols (FODMAP) foods. Huh? What they mean is sugars. FODMAPS are foods that the body doesn't absorb well. It ferments by the bacteria the intestines causing IBS symptoms.
So FODMAP fruits and vegetables, like mangoes, apples, nuts, etc aren’t allowed on the Low FODMAPS program.
But wait - aren't those healthy foods?
Yup - those are foods that are healthy for most people. But they cause really bad bloating, gas and cramps for me.
In other words, they are my poison!
This is why Bioindividuality is so important to me - and should be to you too!
We have to be mindful enough to be in tune with our bodies and recognize how it reacts to the foods that we eat.
There is no right way to eat food because what is one person’s food is another person’s poison! The answer is Bioindividuality!
The next time you are looking for a diet to help you lose weight, or just to feel better, research them with an open mind. When you eat, pay attention to how your body feels, not just while you’re eating, but a few hours later.
You may even want to keep a food journal! It can help you notice trends and pinpoint what foods may be working against you rather than with you. Or perhaps notice how great you feel after eating certain foods.
Then go back to those dietary theories and pick what works for you.
Maybe you like the principle from Paleo to cut out processed foods. But you don't like meat and want to be plant-based. So become a Paleo Vegetarian! Is that even a thing? Who knows, who cares, make it up!
Don't be defined by a dietary theory! Do what works for you!
So what do you think of Bioindividuality? Drop me a note - I’d love to hear your thoughts!