Friday, October 17, 2014

We Don't Know S*** About Food

It always boggles my mind the conflicting information I hear people profess about eating well, exercise, nutrition and wellness.

It amazes me how often I hear someone claim a food knowledge tidbit that is completely wrong, something like, most recently, "Lobster is super healthy for you." "Gluten free products are healthier for you than regular wheat products." "I don't have food allergies," (even though their body seems to be saying otherwise). "I know I should do [enter healthy thing here], but it is too hard."

It is not our fault that we don't know anything about how to eat, when to eat, what to eat. The reality is there is SO much information out there and it seems each study that is published proves the previous one inaccurate. How frustrating!

The same goes for exercise. One day it is recommended to exercise 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Then again you don't get maximum rewards until you hit the 90 minute mark, so keep sweating. You need to do aerobic exercise, nope, anaerobic, lift weights, don't lift weights, you'll bulk up! 


The reality is there is so much out there because different things work for different people. Rather than throwing your hands up in frustration and saying forget it I quit. Start experimenting. Start learning and start listening to your body. Start the journey to finding what works best for you, and only you will discover what works for you. Trust yourself.

Feeling good perpetuates wanting to continue to feel better. Each time you make a choice in a positive healthful direction; be it drinking 1 less soda a day and replacing it with 2 glasses of water; decreasing your caffeine intake, or switching your morning sugary cold cereal with protein, you'll start to notice subtle changes like sleeping more restfully, not getting as frequent headaches, pooping better. Although these might be subtle, each small change leads to another and another and then eventually you realize you don't even think of the old habits.

We give up because we get frustrated and being healthy feels like an all or nothing step. But it is not. Take baby steps. Add an extra veggie to each meal. Take a walk a few days a week, but don't beat yourself up if you have a really hectic week and only get 1 day in. Try again next week. Try a new workout class even if you feel intimated, the endorphin rush after will excite you and make you feel awesome!

If you are inclined and want to know more, do your research. Knowledge is power. There is a lot of information out there, be it documentaries, books, health coaches, blogs, what have you. If you are curious seek out information. Being afraid of information is worse than knowing more, because then you can start to make educated decisions that work best for you. Also don't be afraid to try something. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, it is not you that failed, nor the method, it just isn't a natural fit for you and your lifestyle. No hard feelings. Move onto something else.

All wellness, health and nutrition decisions, backed with knowledge and the desire to feel good, will be led by your gut, literally and figuratively. Trust you gut. Not your immediate cravings or urges, but that voice in the back of your head that says, "Really you know you shouldn't..." or "You know you really should switch this for that," listen to this voice. We all have the basic knowledge to lead healthful lives. If you proceed with that basic knowledge: more veggies, fresh fruits, real, homemade foods, more water, less sugar, less meat, less alcohol, less cigarettes, less caffeine, less wheat and move as often as possible, you can make more healthful choices on a daily basis.

And don't beat yourself up. Some days you just need a bag of potato chips or a soda. Have one. And make a better choice for your next meal. We make up to 200 food choices in a day. So you chose to eat something that is not so good for you. Fine. Enjoy, savor. But the next choice make it a better-for-you-choice.

Sure it can be confusing and frustrating and giving up seems the easiest option. But continuing to feel poorly is not the easiest option in the long run. Take tiny steps at first. Trust your instinct because we all know "what is better for us" in the most basic terms. Do those things. Listen to your body. Pay attention to how it feels. Don't you want to feel better? You can. Start small and eventually your natural endorphin rush and lessening of aches and pains will lead you to wanting to learn more and do more.