By: Cheryl A Major, CNWC
In our world, let’s just admit it, gas stations contain more snacks and sodas than they have fuel for your car! It seems there’s a drive-thru on just about every corner, and it can be hard to focus on good nutrition. The temptation is everywhere! Time is short, you’re tired and stressed, it’s easy to give in and get fast food.
Here are some simple ways you can stay focused on nutrition without obsessing!
#1. Make a plan!
Plan in advance when you go out to eat. Almost all big chain restaurants will have a menu available online to show you your choices. If you spend a little bit of time looking at the ingredients and other nutritional information on the menu, you will make a better selection when it comes time to sit down to order. I don’t advise people to look at calories, but rather to choose whole foods. More about calories in
#2. Don’t Rely on Calories Alone
For a long time, people have been told that a deficit of 3500 calories would lead to a reduction of 1 pound of body weight (this is commonly called the 3500 calorie rule) Unfortunately, evidence shows that your body is more complicated than that.
A study published in American Family Physician discusses how your body has many preventative measures in place to prevent weight loss. While someone who eats a 100 calorie deficit a day for a year would be expected to lose around 50 pounds they tend to only lose 10. This is because of the elements like hormones, activity, and your body’s need to hold onto fat in case of famine (think 500 years ago, or even 100).
We are not designed to lose weight; when the numbers are charted your body doesn’t follow a nice, neat trend line. Focus on the foods you eat that will nourish your body instead of the number of calories.
#3. Eat The Rainbow
No, this isn’t a license to eat all the Skittles you want. Eating the rainbow is about getting a wide variety of food based on the different colors available. Think about your diet, how much color variety do you have?
If you know there is a lot of color variety in your diet, then you know you are getting a good dose of those wonderful phytochemicals.
What are phytochemicals? They are chemicals that produce the colors in foods like blueberries, strawberries, and peppers. Science is discovering they may act as antioxidants and have many other health benefits. Phytochemicals work synergistically with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in whole foods to promote good health and to reduce the risk of disease.
#4. Follow The 80-20 Rule
The 80-20 rule is a simple guideline to allow yourself to eat like the average person while still getting great nutrition. Bodybuilding.com recommends that 80% of the time you want to eat a diet made up of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Adding in a wide variety of proteins to ensure a healthy diet is also a good part of the 80%.
However, what about when it’s your boss’s birthday? Do you have to skip the catered meal at the office? Do you avoid the celebratory cocktail, an occasional glass of wine, or the rare ice cream indulgence? No! That is the other 20% of the food you eat. As long as you are eating well most of the time, you can forgive yourself for the other 20% and enjoy foods you love that may really not love you back.
#5. Keep a journal
We humans are really good at convincing ourselves we are doing the right thing, even when we aren’t! Accountability in nutrition is one of the most important elements of nutrition focus you can employ in your quest for better nutrition.
If you write down everything you eat and drink over a period of a few days at a minimum and then review it later, it will help you see if your choices were in line with your nutritional goals. Many times, you may find your food journal reflects your emotional health. As you experience stress, you may reach for salty, high-fat, hi carb comfort foods. The more quickly you learn this, the more quickly you can fix it.
#6. Try for 5
If you don’t want to count, log, or pay too much attention to diet, but you still want to make sure you are getting good nutrition simply aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you hit this mark, you’ll know you are focused on eating healthfully without focusing too much on things like calories and numbers.
I hope these suggestions help you focus on your nutrition. Try them out and see which ones work best for you in your quest for better health through healthier eating.
This article was originally published on my blog: ThinStrongHealthy.com
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! If you’re new to the world of creating better health, both mental and physical for yourself, please check out my training on how to get gluten out of your diet. Becoming Gluten Free Me is where to check it out. Learn how gluten affects us and how to go about reducing or eliminating it from your diet. You don’t have to suffer with Celiac Disease to benefit from getting gluten out of your life!
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P.S. If you’d like to read my success story of freedom from chronic depression through eating, please check out my book, “Eat Your Blues Away”. You can get the paperback or the Kindle version. You do NOT need a Kindle device in order to read it, as the Kindle Reader has always been available. Check the book out here: http://CherylLoves.me/EatYourBluesAway
P.P.S. My course “Embrace Optimism” is all about mindset and how to improve it. I really think you’d enjoy the 30 images with positive quotes I created in that course as well. If you follow me on Twitter, I often tweet out one of the images.