Ever been to a clothing store where they sell only one size? Ever been to fresh food market where the naturally grown veggies are exactly the same color, shape and size? Nothing that grows naturally is an exact replica of the one sitting next to it. Nothing designed for humans is ever just one size. Ok, maybe toilet seats and golf balls.

So why do we use the measure of one-size-fits-all as the holy grail of whether or not a diet works?

Unpacking ‘diets’

First off, let’s unpack this thing called the “diet”. We use the term in two ways. One refers to what it is we consume on a consistent basis. Cows eat grass, lions eat meat, pigs (and humans) eat just about anything. We also use the term “diet” for a strictly regimented and inflexible approach to eating. Portions, contents, timing and recipes all neatly brand-packaged into the latest and greatest way of eating.

Tim Noakes and William Banting are getting stick because the diet goes against the ‘norm’ (whatever that might be) and doesn’t work for some. Braai lapas, Sunday lunches and coffee shop menus have become the site of the new struggle. Mom’s roast potatoes, Dad’s secret braai sauce and Tant Lizzie’s melk tert are all coming under careful scrutiny of the diet police.

How about doing a handbrake turn on this debate?  The point about Banting is not that it doesn’t work for some. The point is that it does work for some.

You are unique – so is your diet

As humans we’re designed for a range of foods. We’re also designed to cope with some bad stuff and extract value from the good stuff. We have our own unique range of tolerances, preferences and foods that work for us. It comes down to choosing the right foods for you. Getting the balance right between the good stuff and the nice-but-not-so-healthy stuff, is the aim.

As brand consumers we like bright colors, cool packaging and instant gratification. We’re suckers for the miracle cure. And it’s sooo much better when someone else can make the decision for us.

My work – as an advisor to people on getting their bodies to a place they love – often lies in helping people see that they are unique. Whilst general principles apply, each person has choices and preferences and has the ability to match what they need against what’s available out there.

So before kicking any diet into touch, understand why it works for those it works for, then decide where it is that you’d love your body to be. Now choose an approach that is uniquely you. You are you. One of a kind!