I was inspired to write this sharepost after coming across the column, “The Hacker’s Diet: Should we be looking at nutrition like a computer nerd?” I loved the title and tagline, but my personal twist on the subject is a bit different - the article discussed nutrition and cognitive impact using tech applications. But it does make sense to still draw some parallels to the tech industry to inspire healthier life choices. So let’s begin by using the computer model as a guideline to dieting.
In fact, it seems intuitive to take a page from the playbook of the product that dominates our daily lives. When you think of a computer you may think of optimization, speed, dependability, updates, and IT experts. So why not apply some of those same concepts to your diet and lifestyle choices?** Selecting your computer = selecting your diet**
You ask for a lot of opinions before you invest in a computer. You may also do some online research, turning to websites whose opinions and reviews you value. You may even go into a store and test drive different computers. You evaluate different models based on your personal needs. Why not use these same techniques when evaluating a diet? Look to top health professional opinions before you decide the diet is a good fit. See how the diet will fit you, personally. See if the goals of the diet match your own end goals. There’s also nothing wrong with even test-driving a few different diets to see if they can really be sustained beyond a few days or weeks.
Price checking for the best computer price = Evaluating the diet’s cost
Ask yourself if the diet requires buying a lot of costly foods, supplements, diet aids or other products. Is it really worth the cost financially? Is there research or science to support the deit. There’s also another cost to evaluate. Does the diet have such strict parameters that it will challenge your daily routine or social enjoyment? Can you eat out, go to a party, go on a date, travel and live a normal life with this diet? Will this diet cost you the joy of living life?
Optimizing computer speed = Optimizing your energy levels
Many diets are too low in calories or so restrictive (cutting out entire food groups) that you end up with low energy levels – mentally and physically. Many trendy diets don’t offer healthy, simple fuel for your body, imposing bizarre guidelines. If you are too tired to exercise and if you feel like you’re struggling to focus mentally, there is something wrong with the diet. The diet plan needs to accommodate your needs and provide enough calories. It should allow you to eat a broad range of nutrient dense, healthy, filling foods.
Computer Updates = Diet modifications
Computers require updates to address bugs, viruses and to keep processing efficiently. Most experts agree that a healthy diet has to offer a range of options and has to be fluid to meet challenges. If you eat out on a regular basis for work, the diet has to address that life situation. A rigid diet will probably not work for someone who travels a lot or who travels to many different places. There has to be some room in the diet for modifications and it has to have quick solutions when you need to deviate.
Computer back up = Journaling or tracking
Most computer experts recommend backing up daily to preserve your computer information. You do that so you can recreate your work product should something go wrong. Journaling or tracking your diet and exercise provides credible information and data so you can figure out if you are meeting your program’s daily and weekly goals. You wouldn’t use your memory to recall your computer work product, and the same should hold true for your daily calories and exercise effort.
Computer performance = A diet that adapts
If your computer is sluggish, you look for fixes but you don’t abandon your computer. Similarly, you should be able to adjust your diet if you hit a plateau, or if you feel like you are not achieving certain goals. A diet should have a range of guidelines that can be adjusted. Issues should not make you abandon the diet. It should allow the ease of making personalized changes while still keeping the framework of the program.
IT support = Health expert support
Your doctor should endorse the diet or be asked to offer his insights as to why the diet may or may not be a good fit for you. The diet plan itself should endorse check-ins with your doctor on a regular basis. Alternatively, using a nutritionist or dietician to assess the diet or to create and support (even on an irregular basis) a personalized dietary program means that your “updates” will happen. A relationship with a specialist can help to guarantee that you will meet your goals. Most experts feel that support is crucial to long term success.
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Known as The HealthGal, expert contributor Amy Hendel is a popular medical and lifestyle reporter, nutrition and fitness expert, columnist, and brand ambassador, as well as a health coach. Trained as a physician assistant, she maintains a health coach private practice in New York and Los Angeles. Author of The Four Habits of Healthy Families, you can find her on Twitter @HealthGal1103 and on Facebook at TheHealthGal. Her personal mantra is “Fix it first with food, fitness, and lifestyle.”