QUICK TIPS FOR BETTER NUTRITION
Understanding how nutrition works and how to keep your body in the best possible shape is much easier once you understand a few fundamental principles. Read through the quick introductory tips in this post and you'll soon be on the road to a more active and nutritious lifestyle!
In our opinion, one of the most important first steps in achieving better nutrition is to prepare your mind for the healthy road ahead. You cannot commit to a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle unless you are mentally prepared. It's just too easy to fall back into old, bad habits. However, if you can exercise regular visualisation of your goals, remove negative influences in your life and generally have a postive mental attitude, it can go a long way towards helping you achieve better nutrition and optimal health for the long-term.
Once you have prepared your mind and are feeling sufficiently motivated, it's time to prepare your body. This means taking stock of your overall health, identifying potential problem areas (such as any existing medical conditions, intolerances or allergies etc) and first dealing with those as appropriate.
This might even involve visiting a health practitioner and giving your body a bit of an MOT, before making any drastic changes to your diet and level of physical activity (perhaps with their guidance). This will give you the best possible chance of success.
While it is never too late to improve your nutrition and health, changes should be implemented slowly and sensibly to avoid strong reactions from your body - particularly if you have indulged in a poor diet for a long time, or have been a little lax when it comes to exercise!
For example, you would think that quickly coming off junk food, upping your nutrient levels, drinking plenty of water and exercising more would all be "must-dos" for better health and nutrition. While that is true, they can all lead to rapid detoxification of the body if done too quickly or if you have a very high toxic load. This can, in turn, lead to some unpleasant symptoms (including headaches, cravings, a change in bowel habits, skin eruptions and generalised aches and pains). So, slow and steady wins the race no matter how keen you are! Otherwise, you might be tempted to revert to your old unhealthy ways.
Knowledge is power. Try not to rely too heavily on the knowledge of others, such as nutritionists or dietitians. While they can provide some very handy guidance in the early stages, at some point you are going to have to go it alone. So take positive control of your health, making decisions that are right for you, by spending some time researching what optimal nutrition actually means.
The more you learn about it and understand how nutrients work within your body to support health, the better able you will be to navigate day-to-day life in a healthy and nutritious way. It will also make it easier for you to sustain a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle for the long-term.
While optimal nutrition and a sensible exercise regime are likely to have the happy side effect of helping you to lose weight, gain muscle and generally tone up, it is also about so much more than that. It's not just about what you can see on the outside; it's about what's going on in the inside. Plenty of thin people are unhealthy!
So don't become obsessed with calorie-counting or body measurements - common with fad diets. Yes, it can be motivational to track your progress, but weight loss should come much more naturally and easily if you are already following a healthy, balanced diet on a daily basis.
A balanced diet will always mean different things to different people. There is no "magic" diet, that will suit everyone. This is because we are all unique and our bodies have different needs, strengths, weaknesses etc.
This is why it is so important to arm yourself with the facts. You know your body best, you are with it every day, and so you are going to be best placed to identify what your body is telling you it needs.
For example, your lifestyle may be energy intensive, requiring a lot more fuel than others; you may have a slow metabolism; or you may react badly to certain foods - even those that are generally considered "healthy". Listen to your body and alter your diet accordingly, to provide it with the nutrients that best suit it and a diet that is truly healthy - for you!
To this end, you may also choose to supplement with additional vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Particularly if you are finding it difficult to meet your body's nutritional demands through diet alone.
In this modern day and age of intensive farming, long-distance transportation of foods, long shelf-lives and the routine use of medication and artificial substances in the food chain, many foods (even so-called healthy foods) are nutrient poor or depleted by the time they reach our plates. Supplementation can therefore help to boost your daily nutrient intake, making it easier to achieve long-term optimal nutrition, in a faster timeframe.
So there you have it - some quick fire tips for better nutrition. Good luck and good health!