How to Improve Your Nutritional Goals

When asked how many diets you have tried in your life, many people would answer that they have attempted a handful of diets with varying degrees of success. The amount of information thrown at women who want to manage their weight is overwhelming. They are told they can lose weight in as little as a week, but they have to buy this diet plan or order specially made meals. 

Raise your hand if you tried to survive on a week of the cabbage soup diet, the only result being you can never look at anything resembling cabbage in the form of soup again. Who remembers that green dirt drink known as Spirulina? Ever tried the three-day military diet? Juice cleanse? Just-take-this-pill-before-bed-and-watch-the-fat-melt-off method? Spent money on Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers? Spent time on Keto? Atkins? Paleo? If you have done any of these diets, you know that one scoop of vanilla ice cream could make your whole, carefully calorie-counted day come crashing down around you.

It’s not that these diets or plans are necessarily bad for you; it’s just that there’s a better way. Dieting can work short-term, but discovering the benefits of proper nutrition over strict rules and calorie counting is so much easier and better. Isn’t it great news to hear that you don’t have to completely give up carbs, candy, or carbonated drinks to get to your goal weight? 

Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset

One of the first things you can do to improve your relationship with food is stop using the word diet. Why? Think about it: Anytime someone mentions diet, some part of you cringes and begins to calculate what yummy snacks you will have to sacrifice for something you have to gag down in the name of looking hot in yoga pants. 

Instead of looking at how you eat as a diet, look at how you eat as nutrition. Using the word “nutrition” helps you focus on the overall value of the food you are putting into your body. Yes, the terms “diet” and “nutrition” can be interchangeable, but the difference lies in the speaker’s mindset. By focusing on the foods or nutrition you use to fuel your lifestyle, you begin to look at your relationship with food more positively. 

You Can’t Outrun Bad Nutrition

To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficiency. That means burning more than you intake. This may mean increasing your physical activity, decreasing the high-caloric food you eat, or a combination of the two. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all tasty food or drink anything nasty. It simply means you must pay more attention to what you eat to create a healthier, more balanced, lower-calorie diet.

No matter what, you have to move, at least a little bit. You can do low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, or yoga. More important, though, is your nutrition. Eating right changes your body from the inside out. Properly balanced meals can make you feel less lethargic, more energized, and mentally ready to take on whatever the day throws at you. 

Mental Health and Nutrition

Many people are taught at a young age that eating balanced meals will help them look and physically feel their best. Did you know that engaging in a healthy diet can also improve your brainpower? Studies have shown that when you engage in consistent healthy eating, you lessen mood fluctuations, increase focus, and lessen instances of anxiety and depression. 

A lot of food easily available today is highly processed and not very good for your body. Try to stay away from things that come in boxes, packets, or cans, and opt for homemade food with fresh ingredients. Yes, this might take more time to prepare, but your body and mind will thank you in the end. 

Studies have also shown the lack of essential nutrients in your diet can contribute to poor mental health. Giving your body properly balanced nutrition can help ward off mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and more. A healthy body makes a healthy mind. Similarly, exercise is a great way to give yourself a mental health boost. Together, good nutrition and exercise can help improve your brain function and mental health.

If you are unsure where to start on your nutrition journey, many options are available. Find an app — or a local nutritionist — to help you determine your body type, metabolism, and goals and pair you with nutritious foods, meal plans, and shopping help specific to your needs. Be sure to check with your health care provider to see if a visit to a nutritionist is covered under your health care plan under wellness or preventive care.

Building a healthy relationship with food takes time. When trying to engage in a healthier lifestyle, nutrition should be at the center of your effort. We are so inundated with layers of information from pills to protein powders to pre-made meals and exercise programs that even the best-researched plan can be confusing. If you are willing to spend your hard-earned money and efforts on a late-night infomercial, why not invest that same money with a nutritionist? Why not work with a professional who can give you tips on improving your eating habits and guide you to better nutritional practices? Once you begin to fuel your body correctly, you might be surprised at how well you feel and how much more energy you have. You may even enjoy your life on a whole different level. If you are ready to change your mindset from diet to nutrition, SokyaHealth can help. Call us at 503-298-4592 today.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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