In this fast-paced, high-pressured world in which we live, where obesity, stress and mental health issues are on the increase, what changes should we be considering to establish that long sought after balance?
The media seems to have created a culture of ‘not enough’; no one is ever thin enough, rich enough, successful enough etc. This negative focus, is ultimately contributing to so many physical and mental illnesses. I believe we should be stripping things back to basics, and tuning into ourselves.
The challenge as I see it, is that we are not mindful of our life choices and potentially don’t know what choices we could be making, to better support ourselves and our families during this intense lifestyle.
An area I’ve personally found very transformational, has been nutrition, having used it to overcome my own health challenges. Eating healthily is essential for both preventing illness and recovering from disease. The power of nutrition cannot be underestimated. Specific nutrients can help liver detoxification, give you sustained energy, help you sleep deeply, and support your general well-being. Which in practical terms means, you’re not a horrible person to work with during the afternoon slump hours, you’re a patient parent and you’re not indulging in road rage on the M25 when heading Westbound at 8am.
Food is often consumed as a distraction or simply out of habit. Have you ever questioned if you’re actually hungry before eating your lunch? Or have you decided to eat because it happens to be your lunch break? Dehydration causes your body to believe you need to eat, when what you really need is to drink, so maybe you’re just thirsty. I see this as the first phase; create awareness of your habits.
Then, as a second phase, considering the impact of what you eat. How often do you question how you feel after you’ve eaten? Bloating, for example, does not need to be the norm. If you’re experiencing bloating, then that is a sign of inflammation, potentially caused by something you have eaten or done. Did you know bloating is commonly caused by apples, dairy products and onions? Monitoring your choices and how they impact you will help to navigate what works for you. There are some fundamental rules, such as sugar is bad for you and consuming more than you are burning, will lead to weight gain, but beyond that, in terms of diets, no one rule fits all, we are all unique. The person who knows you best, is you.
The third and final phase, would be considering targeted nutrition. I challenge you to monitor your quality sleep, digestive function, mood and energy levels in relation to what you’re eating, how active you are and how stressed you are, to see if there’s any type of correlation. With this awareness, you can tailor what you eat and when, to achieve a desired outcome.
The right nutrition and lifestyle choices can be incredibly powerful. I believe it’s time to take control and start to become aware of the choices you’re making, what’s driving them and what the impact of them are, and you’re likely to discover how to support your body better.
Try this: Tonight, before you eat your dinner, take 5 deep breaths to bring yourself into the present moment, and try to really notice how and what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel.