Ditch The Fad Diet And Create Your Own Plan
In the last post we explored why 'one-size-fits-all' fad diets aren't the solution to your health problems. Today, we'll begin to work toward the creation of your own unique plan of action where health, diet, and fitness are concerned.
As a starting point, here a few universally accepted healthy habits you can begin to adopt:
I don’t like to give a set amount, because I really just think the 8 cups a day thing is a bit dogmatic. If you’re aware of what you’re body is telling you, gauging water consumption is intuitive. However, if you’re busy and tend to FORGET -- simply purchase a large reusable water bottle and set a goal. My water bottle holds 2.5 cups, so I resolve to refill it three times or more per day in addition to any other beverages I have.
Proper hydration works miracles in the body by flushing out toxins, clearing up and plumping your skin, releasing energy into the body and eliminating fatigue. If nothing else, this singular habit is a huge step in the right direction.
In the age of that 9-5 cubicle life, movement is critical. Some of us (and I’ve been there too) sit in a chair all day and then hit that high intensity class after work to sweat it out til ya pass out. Yes, there is a place for high intensity exercise, but it’s also critical to teach your body proper alignment, posture and foundational movement technique.
The human body suffers from sitting in the chair position for 8-9 hours a day. As a result, that post-dinner walk with your hubby becomes super important to your mind-body health. Move more. Move better. Get stronger.
3. Eat less sugar and processed food.
To make this simpler, stick to whole foods organically born from the Earth, which are typically found at farmer’s markets or the perimeter of the grocery store. Sugar and processed foods undoubtedly contribute to the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other modern day diseases. Cutting down on sugar and processed food will solve A LOT of your problems in one fell swoop, as sugar and refined carbohydrate cause pre-mature aging and skin issues, chaotic energy levels, cavities, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation and more.
4. Eat more vegetables.
The solution to consuming less sugar? Sub in vegetables containing the nutrients your body actually needs. Vegetables are full of miraculous nutrients like potassium, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, which are full of mood stabilizing, anti inflammatory properties that result in beautiful and supple skin and balanced energy. Crucial! Seriously, why spend so much money on anti-aging products when you can just drink more water and eat more vegetables?
5. Get outside and PLAY.
Studies (like this one) show that walking and being out in nature increases brain function and creative production. There’s a book solely dedicated to the daily rituals of the most creative minds in history and most of them were known for taking long nature walks where they came up with their most creative ideas. Getting outside also exposes you to vitamin D which is responsible for boosting immune function, cell growth and bone growth. Whether you qualify it with science or not, time spent in the great outdoors is undoubtedly the best way to gain clarity, reduce stress and make you an overall happy human.
Now that we’ve established a few universal truths to live by in your daily life, I’ll say that the most important factor in discovering which foods work best for your body is in the cultivation of mind-body awareness. This is not woo-woo weirdo stuff. Learn to listen to your body and you will discover exactly what it needs.
To do this, I encourage four things:
1. Daily meditation.
Take a few minutes in the morning and/or evening to focus on your breath. It doesn’t have to be complicated and of course we can get technical about it, but start anywhere and just see how it makes you feel throughout the day. I’ll follow up with more breathing exercises another time, but see this post and this post for some starting points.
2. How does your food make you feel?
When you drink that smoothie do you feel energized or lethargic? What about that cookie? Are your bowel movements normal (weird I know, but this is real)? It’s that simple. Take it a step further and write down how you feel in response to the foods you eat each day. Eventually you’ll start noticing patterns.
3. Eat the foods that make you feel like the the best, happiest, most energetic version of yourself.
The more you react to the positive patterns in your diet and eliminate the negative ones, the more your body will crave the good stuff. Awareness is key -- you’re developing and recalibrating your body’s intuition.
4. Start incorporating this awareness method into your exercise regimen.
Just throwing this out there, but Hanuman Health Club exists to help create that mind-body connection through movement, both in the high intensity format and also in rest/recovery formats (like yoga). Keep your eyes peeled on this space for an announcement about when the studio officially opens and classes start. Subscribe to our email list for updates.
Even if you don’t come to our classes, begin to listen to your body’s aches and pains. Where does the tension reside in your body? Why do you think that is? Does your body need a more restorative practice tonight? Take a yoga class. Does it want a bit more? Take a high intensity class. What not to do? Go to spin class because NYMag says it’s the best way to lose weight for Summer 2017. Start listening to your body and it will tell you everything you need to know.
Be aware that cultivating mindfulness within your diet and exercise regimen can take some time. If you’ve spent a lifetime following the fads without regard to the signals your body is sending, intuitive eating and movement isn’t something you can achieve in a day. So as with all worthwhile endeavors, be patient, kind and loving to yourself in this process.
Next, we’ll delve into more ways to find a health-centered approach that works for you. We’ll look at the quality and source of your food, explore what your ancestors ate, consider factors outside of food and exercise, and finally give practical tips for working within YOUR life framework. Not everyone can ditch the 9-5 life and some even like it -- which is perfectly fine! You do you. :D So how do we optimize living in that modern reality and couple it with some initiatives that promote health?
So much to explore. :D