Bettering Ourselves Part 1: Physical Health
As we approach the New Year, we are looking at possible New Year's Resolutions or ways we can better ourselves.
I don't want you to look at New Year's Resolutions in a negative light. Some people make New Year's Resolutions that they know they aren't going to keep because they're making sacrifices.
They might even view it as a punishment. For example, many people think they overindulged during the winter holidays and have to start at New Year's diet to make up for it.
But you shouldn't look at resolutions as punishments or sacrifices.
Instead, make a New Year's Resolution because you love yourself and care about improving yourself. See how that's a gentler approach? When you're phrase it this way, you're building yourself up rather than tearing yourself down.
There is no shortage of ways to improve physical health. Change your diet. Change your exercise routine. Sleep more (or less). Drink less alcohol. Stop smoking. Practice safe sex. Wash your hands. Eat less sugar. Eat more omega-3s. Listen to your body; eat intuitively...and so on…
For the purpose of this post, we'll look at changing your diet and changing your diet mindset.
Changing your mindset: Everything is okay in moderation.
When people think about changing their diet, they often think about restricting foods or avoiding foods entirely. This is an unhealthy mindset.
In treating eating disorders, dietitians often tell patients not to label foods as "good" or "bad." Labeling foods in such a way is often what results in other unhealthy behaviors like purging or restricting to the point of starvation.
|Cookie Monster sings "A Cookie is a Sometime Food."|
Instead of good and bad foods (or healthy foods and junk foods), some people recommend calling them "everyday" foods and "sometimes" foods.
This is another way of saying my favorite nutrition phrase--everything in moderation.
Everyday foods are the ones we should eat MORE of. "Sometimes" foods are foods we should eat only some of the time.
I'm not going to tell you which specific foods are "sometimes" foods. These foods might be different from person to person. For example, someone with kidney disease may only eat bananas sometimes because they are watching their potassium intake. But, for many other people, bananas can be everyday foods.
What I will say is that most of us can work on adding more of something.
It might be adding more protein, more vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains, or more of a specific nutrient, such as more calcium. Or, it could be adding more water.
When we add more of something, we may naturally displace some of those less healthy foods.
When I started drinking more water, I drank less juice. Now, water is so much a part of my routine, I don't miss juice.
Similarly, by adding more vegetables to your dinner plate, you may feel fuller before you eat dessert. Then, you'll eat less dessert.
You might call this a win-win. You ate more food. You feel fuller, more satisfied. And, you reduced sugar without trying, without putting the focus on sugar.
What might you add more of to your diet?