In a world where gas stations contain more snacks and sodas than they do fuel for your car, and there is drive-thru on every corner, it can be hard to focus on good nutrition. The temptation is everywhere! Here are some simple ways you can stay focused on nutrition without obsessing!
A study published in American Family Physician discusses how the 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 factors like hormones, activity, and your bodies need to hold onto fat in the case of famine (think 500 years ago, or even 100).
Our bodies don’t follow a nice, neat trend line. Focus on the foods that will nourish your body instead of the number of calories, or your macros, or micros. We simply don’t understand enough about the human organism to predict weight loss based on these numbers.
If you know there is a lot of color variety in your diet, then you know you are getting a good dose of phytochemicals.
What are phytochemicals? They are chemicals that produce the colors in foods like blueberries, strawberries, and peppers. Studies show that phytochemicals act as antioxidants and they work synergistically with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in whole foods to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.
However, what about when it’s co-worker’s birthday? Do you have to decline the catered meal at the office? Or do you avoid the celebratory cocktail, an occasional glass of wine, or 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 the hotdog at the ballpark, or popcorn at the movies.
You can write everything down and then review it later to see if it was 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, comfort foods. The quicker you learn this, the faster you can fix it.
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; aim for a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you hit this mark, you know you are focused on nutrition, without focusing too much on things like calories and numbers.
Hopefully these steps help you narrow your focus on your nutrition. Try them and see what works best for you.