26 Jul Ditch the Diet: Focus on Your Health
A simple Google search for the best diet or healthiest foods can give you a flurry of conflicting information. This can be overwhelming and lead you to give up before even starting.
Rather than getting obsessed by the latest diet trend, put more emphasis on some simple parameters to guide you. Having a framework for your healthy habits helps you have a strong foundation so you aren’t tempted by the latest fad.
Here are some simple parameters to follow:
Watch your portions.
Just because there is more food available, it doesn’t mean you need to eat it. Follow the Japanese practice called “hara hachi bu”, which means eat until you are 80% full. Not sure how to determine 80% full: instead of eating until you are full, eat until you are no longer hungry. In terms of treats, it’s okay to enjoy your favorite foods at times, just pay attention to the portion size and the frequency of your indulgences.
Swap your drinks.
If you always grab a latte on the way to work or have a soda every afternoon at your desk, swap out at least one beverage for water to make a difference in your overall sugar intake and your hydration. Hydration is pivotal to feeling energized (even more so than caffeine), so look for opportunities to drink more water. Slowly start swapping your sugary beverages for water until you’ve made a habit that sticks.
Acknowledge your cravings.
Think through what you are feeling when a particular craving hits. Sometimes it’s a nutrient deficiency or other times it’s triggered by an emotion. Tune into your body and determine what you need at the moment to soothe the emotion. Many times, just drinking a glass of water, moving your body by walking up and down the steps a few times or getting outside will enable you to work through the emotion and change your state. If you can’t continue without the specific food, have one small portion and move on. Don’t use it as an opportunity to binge or feel guilty and ashamed. Once you eat the food, you’ve already taken back your power since you aren’t feeling restricted and obsessed with foods you “can’t have”! Think of food as fuel for your body and choose foods that you know will give you energy.
Eat the rainbow.
Summer is an amazing time eat delicious locally grown fruits and vegetables of various colors to get the most nutrients. Hit your local farmer’s market, choose produce from the local section at your favorite grocery store or join a CSA (Community Sourced Agriculture). I am part of the Alstede Farm CSA. Choosing local produce is not only the freshest and most nutritious, but it is also more environmentally friendly since it doesn’t travel from far away. Sometimes the fruits and veggies that you find at your local farm stand may not look as picture perfect as what you see in the grocery store. However, they are freshly picked and contain more nutrients than many of the large-scale farm produce that is picked and ripened in a factory. Stock up on seasonal fruits and veggies and freeze them to use later in the year for soups, smoothies and more.
Add different flavors.
Simple meals can be made more delicious with fresh herbs, spices and sauces. Add some local basil or parsley to your tomato salad, some mint in your tea or with your watermelon and feta, and rosemary and thyme to your roasted potatoes. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over your baked potato and add some pumpkin seeds to your salad. Keep an assortment off fresh herb pots in your yard (or window sill) and don’t be afraid to experiment. Be creative with your herbs and spices and make your meals even more nutritious and delicious.
READY TO RESET, RELAX AND RECHARGE?
Do you spend September focusing on everyone else – the kids, your spouse, your parents – and put yourself on the backburner?
Do you feel exhausted, overwhelmed and under-appreciated?
- Have fun in the kitchen
- Get out in nature
- Move your body
- Nourish your mind
- Reconnect with yourself
Learn to navigate healthy habits through guided practices that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Leave the retreat feeling relaxed, refreshed and empowered with the know-how to continue personalizing your health and wellness journey around your sustainable, healthy habits.