If you came here looking for a diet, I’ll let you know in advance that you won’t find one in this article.
It’s not weight loss, the new trendy diet, or eating salads every day. It’s about providing your body with the nutrients it needs in order to keep your body functioning at its best.
Our bodies are incredibly complex biological systems split into hundreds of subsystems, each requiring their own nutrients. When we decide to not provide our bodies with these nutrients there are many outcomes, but none that are positive.
Here are a few examples:
- If you’re low on iron, you might be fatigued, dizzy, and have heart palpitations
- Low magnesium might lead to irritability, insomnia, and even depression
- Low potassium could include numbness, cramping, nausea, and fainting
In short, you’re not your best self when you don’t eat well. You can’t perform at maximum levels because your body cannot physically provide that. The remedy? Of course, eat healthily!
Let’s do some reflecting.
Grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you’ve consumed in the past 24 hours. This includes all meals, snacks, beverages, and desserts. Be honest with yourself. Does your list look like a well-balanced diet? Are these foods providing the nutrients your body requires?
If you’re not sure, here’s a good guideline, provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:
- A variety of vegetables: dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables.
- Fruits, especially whole fruit.
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grain.
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds.
- Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.
It’s a mix of nutrient-dense, diverse foods that keep your body running at its best.
If you don’t recognize these categories in your current diet, your body could be lacking some important nutrients without you even noticing. Introducing new foods and food groups is challenging and requires a lifestyle change.
It’s not only what you eat, but also how much you eat! Have you ever eaten so much at a restaurant that you felt like you can’t walk? This is your body telling you that you ate (way) too much! But overeating isn’t always this extreme. Many overeat on a regular basis without noticing the side effects: sluggishness, binge eating, and mood swings. It could take form by eating too much during breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, or by snacking throughout the day.
What else can you do?
A method to combat overeating is to practice mindful eating. To do it, when you sit down to eat a meal, place all distractions away from you. Put your phone across the room and turn off the TV. While you eat, think about nothing but eating! Observe the textures, flavors, temperature… pretend you’re a food critic! Right now, your only job is to focus on the food. By doing this, you will become more aware of the amount of food you’re eating. Notice the sensations of your body while you eat. Once you are no longer feeling hungry, that means you don’t need to eat any more. Strive to stop eating once you are comfortable; not when your body gives signs of discomfort from eating too much. Think about why you’re eating (hint: it’s for nutrition!) and if this meal will accomplish that for you. Not only will you feel more grounded after this, but you’ll also be more aware of your portions.
Looking for ways to incorporate this into your lifestyle? That’s where Fabulous comes in. We’ll guide you through developing healthier habits (like providing nutrients for your body) by using science-based tactics to make these habits last.
Did you know the Fabulous app has a journey for healthy eating? Download Fabulous and try our Celebrating Healthy Eating journey!