So many of us get bombarded with the new diet of the season, the most common question that I get is, “ Which diet works?”. The answer is simple: Any plan works. But, each has its own perks and drawbacks. And besides, if you are like me, I like to keep it simple, straightforward, and relatable. If you are just getting started on a fitness and nutrition plan here are four things you should do to begin building a foundation for your wellness plan.
1. Choose what you like. Everybody is different. You’ve got to go with the foods you enjoy. If you know that you will suffer through the cabbage diet – choose another type. Our like or dislike for certain foods can be influenced by our genetics, metabolic profile (how your body uses and loses energy), and other factors, like accessibility to certain foods more than others (we will chat a bit about food deserts in a later post. Choose the program with the foods that you enjoy, be willing to try out some new recipes and healthier options.
2. Choose high quality, whole and clean (most of the time). Like our friends or our cousins: We have the crazy ones and not the best influence and there are the ones who are like gold. Think of food in the same way, choose gold. Those that are healthy and whole. A lot like the foods we eat – choose the highest quality. In the nutrition world, we look at nutrient-dense foods that have little to no sugar, are not processed, and are packed with minerals and vitamins. In the Native world, they are all those good traditional foods and plant medicines. What foods will help your body function better? What will give you energy, help you focus, or meet that contest goal? Do your research on healthy whole grains, omega fats, and lean proteins – they do a body good.
3. Be willing to go through some highs and lows. Just get back on track. If you are starting a new lifestyle change or getting back on course. Expect that you will have those days. The challenging ones, when you want to break down and eat everything in sight. When our body is used to certain foods, it will take time to adjust. Be patient, take it slow, and find ways to adjust to a new wellness plan. Be willing and up for the challenge of adjusting to a wellness lifestyle it will be well worth it. Slow and steady always wins the race. Begin to fold in new daily habits.
4. Be consistent and follow through. When the days get tough, you will need to get tougher. Every wellness plan and routine should remain consistent. You can’t flip-flop around. To know success, we have to follow through and stick to the plan. For example, if we reframe the way we think of diets as we think of our best friends, we might think of things like loyalty, commitment, and follow-through. If you believe that your best friend would go to the ends of the earth for you – then believe that you would do the same for yourself. Value and trust yourself enough to stick to the plan. Hold the line. Stay on course.
5. Timing and intention are everything. If you are a beginner, start small and work one or more of these into your life. Focus on timing and settling into a lifestyle change rather than going all out in one weekend. How your body adapts is all about timing and the intention behind what you are putting in your body and when. Timing can give us information, when do you feel most hungry? That is an indicator that your body is making adjustments. Notice the types of foods that you eat and when you eat them. How does it make you feel? Are you more energized? Do you feel tired? That is a clue into quality. How much water are you drinking? Do you have a headache? That could also be a clue.
6. Get a trainer. It’s easier to get back on track with a coach. We are going to make mistakes along the way. Have someone that you trust and who has your best interest at heart. Communicate clearly with them what you need and it’s your coach’s responsibility to challenge you when you aren’t sticking to your own personal values and it’s their responsibility to affirm you, where validation is merited. Be patient. The most important thing to think about in wellness and our life is that we always have a choice to get back on track or go down the wrong path. Choose what diet is right for you and who the best fit is for your personal style and approach.
We all want to live healthy lives. Wellness plans are a lot like the people we surround ourselves with, how we spend our time and what we put in our bodies. Find out what you like, be willing to stick through challenges, be open to new experiences, be patient, and course correct. Most importantly, find a trusted trainer and coach who encourages you and challenges you to build up rather than stay down. Only choose the very best for you. Start simple. If you start here, you are bound for success.