Keeping it simple, while focusing on the positives
Simplicity – there is something totally appealing about the word in itself – clarity, beauty, sophistication, and accessibility.
For some reason, when it comes to looking after ourselves, we’ve moved to the other end of the spectrum. I believe we’ve totally over complicated matters, especially in relation to nutrition. As we seek help to look a little better, in search of the ‘Perfect Body’ (by the way, can anyone define this?) we don’t know whether to pick up ‘Eat Right for your Body Type’, ‘Eat Right for your Blood Type’, ‘Eat Right for your Zodiac Sign’, (I jest, but I’m sure it’s coming.).
Surely the best place to start, regarding how to eat right for you, should be you?
We’ve somehow got into the habit of looking towards everyone else to assist us with our nutrition or exercise routine, but shouldn’t we the best judge of ourselves – how we feel, how we want to look? Certainly, we need a little guidance and coaching to steer us in the right direction, but let me explain.
Firstly we are all bio-individuals – meaning we are as different on the inside as we are on the outside, and our nutritional needs vary depending on a host of factors. These include: sex, age, stage of life (e.g. pregnancy, lactating), genetics, health (symptoms, allergies), digestion, environment, and stress levels.
Secondly, each of us has unique and varied aspirations – a marathon runner wanting to shave minutes off her best time will have very different nutritional needs to a friend, who enjoys running but is trying to get pregnant. A perfect body should not be the goal in either case, but rather understanding how to fuel and look after ourselves in line with what we personally want to achieve. Looking good is of course important, but does that really mean losing/gaining X kilos because we feel under pressure to be a certain weight? If this approach makes us miserable and deprived, why go there? Let’s take a different perspective and focus on the positives, in line with what we, as individuals, desire to achieve for our unique self.
So let me offer a simple solution to the ‘perfect body’. Before we approach the overwhelming, overflowing bookshelf, let’s look within.
In seeking the perfect diet, I suggest clients be their own detective by keeping a Health Journal – listen to your body, and hear how it reacts to foods eaten, the type and timing of exercise, rest, and so on. If you’re not feeling on top of the world, then perhaps you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with you – maybe something you ate is causing bloating, tiredness, or some other kind of discomfort. Using your Health Journal, jot down when any symptoms occur, and observe if there is a possibly link to something consumed a few hours prior. Then, make changes to your diet to eliminate the suspected cause, so that you feel better and have more energy. (Please seek medical advice for serious sensitivities and potential allergies).
Secondly, maintaining a Health Journal over a week or so will highlight how well balanced our diet is overall, in terms of macro (carbs, proteins, fats) and micro (minerals, vitamins) nutrients, and portions. Consumption of sugars and junk foods might higher than we think; inadequate rest or exercise might become obvious as we stand back and look at the bigger picture – a good example of ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’.
In determining how to eat right, consider investing time learning about the basics of nutrition – it is such a fundamental part of our wellbeing that we should all understand the foundations, which we can then apply to our individual being. It’s important to know, for example, our protein requirements – which increase significantly for teenagers or during pregnancy; or the essential fats for any diet, even where weight loss is the goal. Along with all the fads, latest fat-loss pill and potions out there, there are some great resources that will teach the basic principles (feel free to start with my website J).
Surely the ultimate goal is to be happy and fulfilled. In order to achieve this, we need to be healthy, and a huge part of that is looking after our amazing bodies, despite its little flaws and imperfections. Focus on the positives – fill your life with good things (healthy food, healthy relationships, exercise we truly enjoy, uplifting thoughts), while crowding out the bad stuff (junk food, bad relationships, a fitness routine we loathe, demoralizing notions).
Leaving with how I like to ‘positively’ conclude presentations:
“You’ve one body – love it
You’ve one life – live it”
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Yours in health,