Why Does Nutrition Matter?
Nutrition is a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle. It is estimated that a person's physical appearance is 70% reliant on nutrition and 30% on exercise. Healthy habits increase longevity and are fundamental in optimizing physical and mental performance. A lot of people want to be healthy and the amount of conflicting information can be confusing. Our goal is to provide fundamental nutrition details that are widely accepted to help you lead a healthy lifestyle.
Diets Don't Work
Fad diets are everywhere in the mainstream media. Everyone is encouraged to get on quick fix diets, only to have their spirits crushed when they don't work immediately. The problem with fad diets is that they remove too many food items from a diet and also set unrealistic goals. Some diets are certainly better than others, but you should always consult a physician or nutritionist before making drastic dietary changes.
Don't Remove All the Bad
With most fad diet plans, the foods that you eat on a regular basis are stripped immediately, making cravings vastly increase. If smokers are encouraged to quit slowly, why do we encourage fast diets? Instead of completely changing your diet, try adding a healthy breakfast - nothing more. This will be easy to maintain and will start your day off right. After adding one good meal, later on in the habit changing process you can try adding some more healthy items. The changes don't even need to be full meals, it may just be as simple as eating a baked potato instead of french fries.
Psychologically, adding multiple healthy items over time rather than all at once will cause you to feel less restricted and thus maintain a healthy diet for a longer period. Another benefit of eating healthy foods is they tend to make you feel full faster. For example, eating 300 calories from a chicken breast will make you feel fuller longer than eating 300 calories of a Skyline 3-way. Adding good stuff will likely cause you to naturally eat less calories and you will have more room to eat larger portions.
The Good Stuff
- Lean meats/fish (chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey)
- Whole grains (oatmeal, pasta, bread, etc.)
- Olive oil, coconut oil
- Beans, legumes
- Protein powder
- Nut butters and milk
The Not So Good Stuff
- Red meat
- White carbs (white rice, white bread, refined sugars, etc.)
- Sugary drinks
- Most packaged fruit juices (loaded with added sugars)
- Vegetable oils
- Butter, or other margarine
- Pastries (cookies, cake, etc.)
- French fries, potato chips
- Ice cream
- Most protein bars
- Processed meats, cheese
- Coffee drinks
- Most processed foods
Small Changes Matter
If you're seeking to lose weight or improve health it is advised to make small sustainable steps. A difficult thing to do is to change your lifestyle overnight. It is better to begin small such as eating 30 grams of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking up, or eating a healthy breakfast. Both of these ideas are great options because your breakfast sets the course for the entire day.
Get a Buddy
Having a buddy who is getting healthy with you can help increase results and the success of you health plan. When someone is checking in on you it is more likely you'll stay on the right track. There are plenty of people who can help you lose weight and motivate you. We have resources at EAW who can work with you and help get you on the right path. If you want a health mentor but don't know who to ask, fill out the form below. You will be paired up with someone who is knowledgeable and willing to help lead a healthy lifestyle!
You can also check out these online resources to help you track and improve healthy habits: