In my last post, I talked about what it means to simplify nutrition. But I know these things can be easier said than done. So how do you begin to make it a reality? I want to give you four solid, practical steps to begin to weed through the noise and simplify nutrition.
1. Release the rules.
We know dieting doesn't work long-term. Even so, many of us are still caught up in a set of rules we've put around food- often the result of old diets, plans, and experts that may or may not have worked (or even been founded on research) but we hold them to be true, anyway. These diets create stress and complication around eating and often set us up for an on-again, off-again cycle. We're sticking to the rules, until we break them- and then, forget them... and then back onto them. Because here's the thing about rules: rules are made to be broken- habits serve us long term. And habits, unlike rules, can ebb and flow and change with the seasons as our needs change. But in order to create long term healthy habits, we need to get rid of the rules. What to do: 1. Write down a list of all the rules you still hold around food (download my food rule breaker worksheet, here).
2. Next to it, write down how these rules are serving you (or not).
3. Challenge yourself to break these rules- one by one. You'll never know what works for YOU until you strip away the rules and start listening to your body (need support in this? Set up a free coaching call, with me).
2. Bring it back to the basics.
What our bodies need is simple- we make it WAY too complicated. When we can get back to the basics and start fueling our bodies well with a variety of foods (removing food groups, much like rules, sets us up for failure- not to mention feeling awful!), our bodies begin to thrive. Our bodies need six main things to be fueled and thriving:
Macronutrients (these are the nutrients, save for water, that give us ENERGY to survive):
Carbohydrates (grains, beans, legumes, starches such as potatoes and winter squash, fruit and vegetables)
Protein (meat, eggs, fish/seafood, dairy products, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains/vegetables to lesser extent)
Fat (nuts/seeds, oils, avocado, olives, fatty fish, dairy product, meat, eggs, butter)
Micronutrients (these are the nutrients that allow our bodies to THRIVE and perform well):
From vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts/seeds, legumes, meat and dairy.
There is no complicated formula or equation to determining what your body needs, unlike what much of the nutrition world will tell you. It comes down to consuming the foods and beverages that provide these things (no need to count, measure or track) and paying attention to how our body responds.
It's from here we can begin to personalize and individualize based on our unique needs (This something I go into in far more detail within The Supermama Society).
What to do:
1. Am I eating a wide variety of foods?
2. Am I eating foods from all of these categories (it doesn't mean you need to eat EVERY type of food; if you are allergic to dairy products or beans don't sit well with you- it's simply eating foods from every category)?
3. Where can I be more intentional about including foods I'm not currently?
3. Get real. The easiest way to improve the nutrient density of the foods you eat is by choosing to eat more real, whole foods. This isn't a rule that needs to be followed, rather a guideline for increasing the nutrient density and bioavailability of foods by eating them closest to their most natural form. Whatever balance looks like for you is ok and will likely be found over time- we choose to eat mostly real foods but we also love takeout and going to restaurants for date night and we don't sweat it when we eat the occasional box of boxed mac and cheese. Learn more about choosing more real foods, here. This is something I dig deep into in The Supermama Society, as real foods are important- but they don't need to feel restrictive.
4. Create systems to allow you to succeed in living a healthy life.
It's not enough to simply know how to live a healthier life- consistency is what creates long-term change. Systems such as meal planning, regular grocery shopping, finding recipes you love and learning basic skills in the kitchen, light food prep to make meals happen- when you begin, one step at a time to create systems to make healthy happen, living a nourishing life becomes a reality, not just a great idea.
Learn to simplify nutrition and embrace the healthiest, happiest version of YOU with an interactive and supportive community (for less than $30 a month). Get on the Supermama Society waitlist now.