By Angelica Roman, Certified Personal Trainer, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, and Holistic Health Coach
How you do anything is how you do everything.How you do anything is how you do everything. Click To Tweet
That includes your thoughts and approach to food and diet – being super restrictive and having a limited mindset towards food can lead to limiting yourself in other areas of life, whether you realize it or not.
As an Empire Builder, you have a lot of goals to reach, and you need to be at the top of your game to reach them.
Having a healthy mindset toward diet and nutrition can do more to help you focus on and achieve your goals than you may realize.
How most people think about ‘diet’
‘Diet’ is a four-letter word that isn’t fun to say…. It’s a source of anxiety, pressure, guilt and stress for many. Our society encourages this by constantly pushing what I call ‘sneaky negatives’:
“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!”
“Try this diet for a flat belly!”
“Fat burning foods to help you drop weight fast!”
On the surface these seem like simple statements but they subconsciously make you think you need to eat less or follow some crazy restrictive plan to be healthy or lose weight.
Hello, anyone else remember the Cabbage Soup Diet or Master Lemonade Cleanse popular just a few years ago??
In addition, our society runs on fast, easy, and convenient packaged, processed foods.
Who wants to chop and cook pasture-raised chicken breast, Brussels sprouts and quinoa when you can throw a meal in the microwave and – BAM! – be eating and ready to go in 3 minutes?
Why make an organic egg sandwich on whole grain bread when you can hit the drive through for a McGriddle?
Eating healthy, organic, whole foods is expensive and time-consuming, right?
Eh, not necessarily.
How we should think about diet
Ever go out for a celebratory night and wake up the next morning feeling, well, less than stellar?
I know you know what I mean… Your brain feels foggy and doing anything (even getting up for a glass of water) feels like an insurmountable task, right?
Poor food choices and a lack of proper nutrition does the same thing – except it happens slowly, so gradually, that your body adapts and you don’t even notice you feel awful because you always feel that way – feeling blah becomes normal.
Most people don’t even realize they feel badly until they make the switch to healthier options and begin to feel the energy and vitality that true health and wellness brings you!
You know the saying ‘you are what you eat’? Well, it’s soooo true.
The food you choose to eat becomes the building blocks for everything in your body – bones, muscle, skin, even brain cells.
Now, how much creative and problem-solving power do you think a Twinkie brain cell can produce?
What about one developed from whole eggs and spinach?
Eating nutritious foods isn’t just about being a healthy weight, it’s about building a healthy body, down to each and every cell.
That time and money seems a little more well spent, now, doesn’t it?
As every empire builder knows, it takes a lot of energy and creativity to build your dreams.
If you don’t feel your best, you can’t perform your best.If you don’t feel your best, you can’t perform your best. Click To Tweet
Your health is an investment, not an expense.Your health is an investment, not an expense. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t have to be as complex as Wall Street either; a few simple changes will get you on the road to a healthy diet mindset.
3 Mindset Changes to Help You Stick To Your New Lifestyle
Get off the wagon for good
On the wagon, off the wagon.
We’ve all heard it, and we’ve all probably said it ourselves at least once or twice.
“I fell off the wagon, we had cake at the office and I couldn’t say no!”
“I’m starting my diet again on Monday…”
This all-or-nothing mentality is the biggest reason ‘diet’ has become such a dirty word.
Instead of thinking of diet or healthy eating as being on or off a wagon, think of it more as a journey down a path.Instead of thinking of diet or healthy eating as being on or off, think of it as a journey. Click To Tweet
Sure, sometimes you may trip over a cupcake or a bottle of wine, but that doesn’t mean you turn around and start from the very beginning! You just pick yourself up, dust off the sugar, and keep going down that greens path.
Having a donut for breakfast doesn’t mean you’ve ruined everything and should eat terribly the rest of the day.
Make nutritious decisions most the time, and you don’t have to worry if you have a few treats here and there.
It’s important to remember, sometimes food isn’t about fueling our bodies – it’s about sharing and enjoying time with those we love and care about.
So, eat that birthday cake! (Just maybe not the whole thing 😉).
Small changes cause a snowball effect
You know how you can make a fist-sized snowball, roll it along the snow and it will get bigger and bigger, until you can make a ‘my size snowman’? Taking a similar approach to your nutrition can help get you lasting results.
It is daunting to go from eating all your meals from fast food or boxes to being a meal prepping, veggie wizard overnight. The good news?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT OVERNIGHT!
You will see the most success when you make small, daily changes to your diet that become consistent habits.You will see the most success when you make small, daily changes to their diet that become consistent habits. Click To Tweet
Here are some healthy-habit wins you can implement easily into your life:
Add more veggies: Many people are not eating enough vegetables. Veggies include important vitamins and minerals that are essential to many of our body functions and processes. Deficiencies in these can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps or soreness, feelings of weakness – all things that will significantly impact your ability to build your empire!
Drink more water: Sometimes hunger is just thirst in disguise. Swap out one of your cups of coffee or cans of soda for a tall glass of agua. A good guideline is to consume half your bodyweight (pounds) in ounces daily. For example, a 150-pound person should aim to get 75 ounces of water daily. A great way to start off your day is to drink a full glass first thing in the morning! You will not only be on your way to reaching your water goal, but it will help to flush out all the waste and toxins that has built up in your body overnight.
Portion sizes: Yes, a mini-mountain of mac n’ cheese sounds phenomenal, and it’s quite easy to keep heaping it onto your plate. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. And that measly scoop of veggies isn’t doing you much favors either. Getting adequate amounts of different food sources ensures your body receives the key nutrients it needs. This awesome infographic from Precision Nutrition shows you how to use your hand as a guide for portion sizes – no weighing or measuring out your food!
Slow down: We’re so used to eating on the go – grabbing a bagel on the way out the door, eating lunch at our desk while we reply to emails, eating dinner while we watch our latest Netflix obsession. If you slow down and eat mindfully, enjoying the taste of the food, and chewing it completely (near liquid state, not just swallowing your bites whole!), not only will you have a better experience and a tastier meal, but it will also help you digest your food better.
Make healthy options readily available: When you reach for a snack, you don’t want to have to spend 20 minutes putting it together. You don’t have to spend your entire Sunday meal prepping, but take a little time to make sure you’ve washed your veggies and fruits, and pre-chop anything you can (like peppers, squash, carrots, or strawberries). You can also portion out servings of things like nuts or granola into small containers or baggies. Now grabbing some berries and almonds is as easy as reaching for a bag of chips and dip.
Focus on health and wellness, not diet
Your health is about far more than just a number on the scale. Instead of focusing on weight as a gauge on your eating habits, here are some things that are much more important:
How you feel after eating? Throughout the day? Take a few days to keep track of these things and see how your diet is affecting you.
Energy: Do you feel lethargic and foggy? Do you get huge rushes of energy followed by severe crashes? Ideally your food should provide you energy that gradually subsides, without leaving you gasping for caffeine like a brain-hungry zombie.
Mood: Do you turn into Oscar the Grouch after lunch? Crabby, groggy, and ready for a nap? Or do you feel satisfied and ready to take on the next challenge? In general, how are you feeling throughout the day? The foods we eat should be making us feel our best, not like a grump.
Sleep: Our bodies function on a circadian rhythm (awake during the day, and asleep at night), dictated by the hormones cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol – the body’s ‘stress’ hormone, should be active during the day, activating many of our body functions and controlling things such as energy production. Melatonin is the body’s relaxation hormone – it helps to regulate your sleep. The over- or under consumption of some nutrients can heighten or dampen the production of either cortisol or melatonin. Here is a great podcast on how nutrition and sleep go hand-in-hand.
Presence or lack of pain/discomfort: I bet you didn’t know that some of the foods you’re eating could be causing that nagging knee pain or those afternoon headaches? Are you constantly bloated and uncomfortable after a meal? Certain foods, or high quantities of them, can cause inflammation in your body – a physical reaction in your body that causes swelling and pain in specific areas.
Satiety: If you are STARVING just an hour or two after your meal, it’s a sign you are missing some key nutrients. A solid meal should leave you feeling comfortably satisfied.
Stick to it for the long haul
Health and wellness are a lifestyle, and the methods you use to achieve them should be sustainable over the long-term.
Creating a healthy mindset toward diet and nutrition now will set you up for a lifetime of success.
… And isn’t that what every Empire Builder wants?