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Over the next several weeks I will dig into small microhabits of health that you can implement to create long-term sustainable health in your life.
Optimal well-being is so much more than what you eat or drink. I believe there are six key components to optimal well-being: nutrition, movement, sleep, water, mindfulness, and stress management. Over the next several weeks, I will break down each of these components to help give you better insight into how you can implement microhabits of health in each area.
Let’s dig into this idea of nutrition and healthy eating. With so many plans, programs, and latest fads, it is easy to get lost in a sea of information. Many things we read about today tend to manipulate your body to produce short-term results for a long-term problem. I love to guide my clients from a “diet mindset” to a “healthy living” mindset. What do I mean by that?
A diet mindset is based off of the notion of everything being “all or nothing.” When you start a diet, you tend to be strict about what you are putting in your body. Everything is going fine until one day you have a bad moment and eat a piece of chocolate cake. In your mind, you tell yourself, “I’ve already cheated, the day is wasted, let me go ahead and have another piece.” This can happen when you deprive your body of things and all the sudden you explode and eat everything that has been off limits. That is a diet mindset. You can only tell yourself, “I can’t have…” for so long before you rebel. You get stuck in a yo-yo cycle of “start, stop, start, stop” and never seem to make any progress.
I suggest we stop asking ourselves, “How can I lose weight?” The best question to start asking ourselves is, “How can I go beyond weight loss to achieve optimal health and stay healthy for the rest of my life?” If we stop the diet mindset and put ourselves in position to function as we were designed, we can tap into the body’s inherent capacity to heal itself!
Over the past 10 years in my coaching practice, the best way I have found to do this is to guide people through the process of learning balanced nutrition. Most programs that are on the market today are created to manipulate one area of nutrition or another. One may be high in protein and low in carbs, but full of sodium. Another may be low in calories but high in carbs with little protein. While others are low in fat and high in sugar. Confusing, isn’t it?
I believe the best way to look at nutrition is to view it as fuel for your body. Whether you are a diabetic, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, need to lose a little (or a lot of weight like I did), or are perfectly healthy, fueling your body with six small, low-glycemic meals throughout the day is ideal. Fueling your body this way keeps your blood sugar level which controls your energy intake and manages your insulin pump (which affects your metabolism).
Balanced nutrition works to have equal amounts of protein and healthy carbohydrates at each fueling. Let’s take an example of a typical turkey and sandwich. Two slices of white bread have about 30 grams of empty carbs. Two ounces of deli sliced turkey have 10 grams of protein. That leaves a gap of 20 grams that will turn straight to sugar and then fat, not to mention all the other things that will be on the sandwich such as mayonnaise, cheese, etc. I am not even getting into all the calories associated with such a sandwich, but you can see, everything will add up quickly and become unbalanced nutrition. Take the same sandwich and use one slice of whole grain bread (complex carbs) and the same amount of turkey and instantly you have a balanced sandwich of 10-13 grams of carbs and 10-13 grams of protein. So much better for your body!
All of this is to say that balanced nutrition is a more doable way to look at living a healthy lifestyle nutritionally rather than the all or nothing — cheat mindset of dieting. I work with clients all over the U.S. with our health program to help them do this in an easy, goof proof way while training them how to do it on their own. If you need a little encouragement or would like a free health assessment, reach out to me! I would be honored to see if I can help. Next week we will talk about exercise and what is appropriate for you.
Honey Wiggs is a speaker, author and a certified health coach. Even though she lives in North Carolina, she has helped over 7,000 people across the country transform their lives one healthy habit at a time. Honey can be reached at info@legacyOfJoyInc.com or visit her website at www.LegacyOfJoyInc.com.