What Jeb! can teach us about nutrition and health

I know, I know, I’m a little late with this. Jeb! is long out of the presidential race. But whatever you might think of him as a candidate, he’s done us all a favor by proving—yet again—that “diets” don’t work.

You may remember the story. Jeb! ran on a platform of…paleo. In that, at least, he succeeded. Everyone raved about his discipline and 40-pound weight loss. However, his lean and hungry look left him grumpy and, as Donald Trump meanly pointed out, “low energy.” Not a winning proposition.

What can we learn from Jeb!’s unfortunate experience? Don’t try a short-term fix for a problem that needs a life-long solution. Before you plan for a wedding, a reunion, a political campaign or the coming week, spend some time getting to know yourself and developing an eating and fitness plan that supports your health, vitality and state of mind for the long term.

Here’s the deal: there is no one diet/eating plan for every body. We are all different—from food preferences to gut microbes, so what works for one person may lead to totally abysmal results for someone else. Plus an externally imposed program that doesn’t account for your bioindividuality is simply not sustainable.

What does work?

1. Eating what you like. Cook healthier versions of your favorite dishes, using the best ingredients you can afford.

2. Watching your portion size. You can have too much of a good thing and you cannot work it all off with exercise.

3. Practicing good fit-trition. Find workouts that enhance muscle strength, cardio and flexibility. And incorporate activity into your daily life—stairs not elevators, walking around the block not eating at your desk, a five minute run or stretch.

4. Fighting cravings with the 80/20 rule. Eat “right” 80% of the time and add in “treats” 20% of the time. A good way to move up to healthier eating 100% of the time.

5. Finding balance with mindful meditation. Take the time to get in touch with what your body and mind are telling you and write it down. The more you know about your body and your motivations, the better you can refine your behaviors.

And become your strongest { self }.