Eat only grapefruit and lose weight. Have cabbage three times a day and loose weight. Drink only soup and drop those pounds. No dairy. No legumes. No gluten. Eat no carbs. More carbs. High protein. Low fat. High fat. And you too can look like _____ (insert spokesperson or celebrity’s name).
You’ve heard the spiel a thousand times. But because it’s the New Year, you are even more susceptible to those diet-plan ads and stories to getting fit, getting healthy. New Year = New You, right? And every year you try the latest diet programs and can never manage to achieve the same results of that spokesperson or celebrity. I know this, because year after year I’ve done the same exact thing. This week, just as I was about to launch into a keto plan, we had a tragedy at home that put everything into perspective and gave this ‘mom’ a heart-breaking lesson and the eye-opening reason why those popular diet plans won’t work for every ‘body’.
A Heart-Breaking Lesson that Breaks the One-Size-Fits-All Myth
Our kids have been raising show pigs since elementary school (they are teenagers now). And every year their fall/winter revolves around raising the best pig that they can to auction of at our local county fair. What does this have to do with diet plans? Well, after years of trial and errors, our daughter appeared to have found the perfect formula to raising the perfect show swine- she even snagged a ribbon (last season).
With this ‘formula’ in place, this year she picked her pig from the same breeder- and it was a beauty! She purchased the same specialty feed that she had the previous year, and “Charlie” gained weight, but kept that nice muscly build of her show-pig breed-line. My husband and I were sure our daughter had a winner. Same winning formula = same winning results, right?
Then, one morning, our daughter came in from tending her pig. “Mom, there’s something wrong with Charlie.”
Charlie had suffered from a prolapsed rectum and had a huge fist-sized lump of her intestines sticking out of her butt. (sorry-gruesome). (And yes, I had to look it up to find out what it was). A prolapsed rectum (commonly called prolapse) can be caused by a number of issues that range from constipation to acid build up and indigestion in the stomach. It causes pressure in the abdomen to build up and push out the large intestine. However, Charlie despite her condition, was in good spirits otherwise- pushing her ball around her enclosure with her snout and eager to greet all the concerned visitors around her.
After several different calls to vets, we got a quote at a starting rate of $400 for a doctor to stick it back in and stitch it up- but with no guarantees- and because it was so far from the county fair date, this procedure would most likely have to be done more than once. The pig project tends to run about $600, including cost of swine, feed, fees, and materials. A lot of the kids only break even come auction time.
So, what happened with Charlie? Why didn’t the tried and (thought) true formula for the perfect show pig work?
Variables: The Reason Why Those Diet Plans Don’t Work for Everyone (Or Every Show Pig)
Our daughter did everything the same as she did with her last pig. Surely, this would have resulted in another champion pig, right? Unfortunately, like humans, no two pigs are alike. They’re not clones- and we are not clones (not yet, anyway). Each of us has different genetic makeups that throw those perfect formulas and diet plans into disarray. The fact is, one size does NOT fit all- nor does one ‘diet plan’- there are far too many variables.
Add to those different genes, variables like:
- Weather. Pigs (and people) tend eat more when it’s cold and less when it’s hot.
- Health. A healthy critter, be it human or animal is able to run, play, and keep active, but if you’ve ever gotten hit with a flu or sinus infection, you’re instinct is to crawl under the covers, sleep & hide.
- Time (See Parenthood)
- Money. Chances are, the show pig who ends up getting fed the better show food will end up a better pig- if those other variables don’t get in the way. And show food can be expensive! Just like organic meat and vegetables in the grocery store.
- Will Power & Motivation. Your mind is a powerful thing. But can you control it? Some people can walk by a bakery filled with delicious smells and not bat an eye, while others are enticed into splurging on a buttery confection. How much will power do you have?
- Parenthood. A care-giver looking after little ones doesn’t have the luxury of time for a trip to the gym. A new mom is lucky to count sheep in sleep, let alone counting carbs. A soccer-mom with multiple kids struggles to keep track of schedules and spends more chauffeuring her kids around then on her feet.
The variables are endless. The struggles are real. And the truth of the matter is: not everyone will be a champion. But you don’t need to beat yourself up over it.
What is the Best Diet?
Diet plans are over-rated. There is no absolute formula for success. No miracle weight-loss. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Those variables that are working for one person might be working against the other.
The best diet is the one that works for you.
The definition of diet is: food & drink regularly consumed by a person or animal. Find the way of eating that works best for you and your current life-situation. Talk it over with your doctor and a nutritionist. Make healthier eating choices and habits that are tailored to you. Your ‘way of eating’ may take some trial and errors along the way and lots of tweaking, to find what works best, but that is the journey of life.
And as for Charlie, our daughter decided she would make a drastic loss on this year’s pig project if she continued, which would affect her in the next coming year (she was thinking logically and like a true farmer- a necessary skill in the Swine Project), and concluded Charlie would have to go. A buyer was quickly found. She was at school when they came to take the pig away.
I gave Charlie one last belly rub and scratch behind her ear and shed my tears in solitude. She may have been a failed pig-project, but for me she would be remembered as a champion. With that heart-breaking lesson in mind, I by-passed my original keto plans and have now started changing up to healthier eats and longer walks. I may not drop masses of pounds in a short time, but that’s okay. It’s all about the journey, and I intend to enjoy it along the way.
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