The Currency of Health

By Douglas Pieterse

December 22, 2017

In today’s age and complexity of humanity it is a mystery that most people still have a very vague idea of what a normal diet is not to mention what it should look like. The word diet seems to invoke very different emotions among people. 


The word itself seems to denote a time period where we eat a specific way in order to achieve a specific goal as opposed to just being the way we normally eat. Just to clarify, a diet is whatever you are currently eating, your diet may be different to mine but whichever method you are using to decide what you put in your mouth is your diet.  


When I did my 60 day challenge I had to find the most efficient sustainable way for myself to eat in order not just to lose the weight but to keep it off. The first thing I had to do was dispel some weight loss myths.

Turns out these are all misrepresented or poorly interpreted nutrition facts, propelled by either a hidden financial agenda or the need for human paranoia. 


Next step, find the most compatible diet that will get me results, this was going to be fun. It’s important to realize that your diet should suit your needs, it goes without saying not every diet works for every person. If I am allergic to nuts and eating nuts will kill me, then effectively nuts are not healthy for me. Does this mean that nuts are not healthy for you either? Not unless you also share a nut allergy. 


Much the same could be said for some more observational dieting methods, again with an example. If I stood on my left leg, then smoked marijuana and followed that up with patting myself on the head, could it be said that standing on my left leg and patting my head makes me high? Or even a contributing factor? If you came to the conclusion of “no” then we can agree that the mechanism for losing weight is being in a calorie deficit. Yes, keto, gluten free, vegan, paleo could all possible help me get there but so could standing on my left leg and patting my head. 


This is where I came up with the concept of treating my daily calorie allowance like a currency. I gave myself a weekly budget, which was 7 times my daily allowance, and then stuck to that no matter what. There is a bit of fine tuning you can do with the macro breakdown but all in all having a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in a calorie deficit will get your weight down. 


In 49 days I had dropped more than 15kg, to put that into perspective that’s 3 big bags of rice, try holding onto 3 bags of rice and doing some squats. I didn’t need to do any extreme dieting plan that would totally disrupt my life or segregating me to only eating at home and voiding me of any social eating interaction. What would a diet like that really help? Sure, you may end up looking like a Greek God for one week but if it’s not sustainable in a normal lifestyle then the only option you have from there is to get fat again. Not good for the psych if you asked me and not a great strategy to a healthy, desirable lifestyle. 


So, is there an optimal human diet?

Only the one that is sustainable, with adequate nutritional content and energy balanced according to your own needs. This brings me back to functionality over vanity when it comes to eating.