Part 1: Nutrition
Nutrition and diet is perhaps the area of wellness that has the most direct and obvious relation to your health and wellbeing. I would also argue that nearly everyone who reads this will already know enough about food and nutrition to eat better than they currently are doing.
“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it”
There are a few simple principals that most people already know that will go a long to helping anyone eat better yet the problem is often more in doing what you know than in the knowing what to do. I often say that convenience is the enemy of wellness because if it seems that the most convenient options are usually the worst for your health and the healthiest choices usually require more effort.
“Convenience is the enemy of Wellness
– Shane Pearson, Wellness Coach
For example, I am a certified nutritional therapist and I know quite a lot about health eating but if I don’t manage my time and meals you will find me opening the fridge or cupboards, too hungry to want to prepare a healthy meal, scanning for something quick and tasty to snack on.
If the wrong food choices like a pack of biscuits or some chocolate are looking back at me I won’t always have the discipline and self control to not grab the easy snack and satisfy my cravings (for now!). Despite my best attentions to lose weight and eat well I am already through my 2nd biscuit and half cup of coffee before I catch myself!
From the wellness coaching perspective knowing what to do is often not enough to guarantee consistent action. Educating yourself around food and nutrition provides an excellent foundation to make better decisions from but unless you make your healthy eating practical, enjoyable and convenient there is a good chance you will fall back into old habits or convenient but unhealthy food choices.
The unfair fight
When it comes to healthy eating versus eating anything it is a bit of an unfair fight! The food industry has gotten really, really, really good at producing food products now that have been exquisitely refined with the most satisfying flavours, textures, aromas and more to almost guarantee that fireworks go off inside your neurology. Fats, sugars and salt ratios have famously been perfected to make foods almost irresistible and addictive.
It is a great business model but it does little for the health of the nation as we are all discovering and when it comes to your wellness you need to be aware that many food products being sold are mostly designed to make sure you keep buying them rather than to provide optimum nutrition.
It might seem like an unfair fight but the good news is that once you have weaned yourself off of your favourite temptations your taste buds change and I can guarantee you, healthy eating can be really delicious.
Sometimes people who are trying to change their diet try and be ‘really good all the time’ but this usually means they come up against massive internal resistance. It can feel like a death sentence to have to give up all of your indulgences and rewards. A better approach might be the 80/20 rule. If you aim to eat well 80% of the time you can get away with being that little bit naughty 20% of the time.
If you are the ‘all or nothing’ type who is sceptical about this and think it is just flaking out just consider for a minute how much someone can binge on junk and sugar in a short period time and undo all the good that came before when the pendulum shifted from all in to all out. If you can do better than 80% of the time that’s great, just make sure you set yourself up for success by setting realistic and sustainable goals.
Do you already know enough?
Ask yourself, right now, do you actually already know enough about food and nutrition to eat better without learning anything extra?
If you answered yes then join the club!
Coaching yourself to improved nutrition will likely be more about the behavioural side of things like meal planning, bringing healthy snacks and meals to work, always having a delicious salad in the fridge or finding ways to stuff more vegetables into your dishes. Sure you can learn more but don’t get caught up in waiting to find the perfect diet from the perfect book. Just act on what you already know and aim to keep improving.
If you don’t feel like you know already know enough that is fine. There has never been as much free nutrition advice thanks to the internet, tv and every library has tons of books related to this area. Even a small amount of reading or study can really help you start to make big improvements to your diet but remember you must apply what you learn and put your knowledge into action.
To summarise, you probably know enough about healthy eating already to at least get started with some specific changes. If you don’t you are at the preparation stage in the readiness to change model and your next step is to learn more first so make that your action step. Get a book, watch a documentary, find a nutrition coach or ask your annoyingly healthy friend what they eat to look so good.
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