Such a loaded word these days, isn’t it?
The way I see it, overall health is compromised of three variables; 1) diet, 2) activity level and 3) genetics. Fortunately for us, two of those variables are completely within our control and the third can be significantly altered based on how we treat the others. Guess what? That means achieving optimal health really is in our hands. Now for some people, that’s great news. For others, it means they can no longer continue to treat their body horribly and blame it on “genetics”.
If we had to order these components by level of importance, diet would definitely come in first place. While exercise is also necessary, our daily diet is the foundation on which our health is built. Think of the saying “you are what you eat”…it’s true! Our bodies are built on the nutrients in which they are fed– so it’s crucial that we feed them well! Foods that are loaded with chemicals and processed and genetically modified into nutritional nothingness force your body to function on, well, nothing.
While we obviously deal with a constant obesity struggle due to high-sugar, high-fat, overly-processed diets, there has also been a massive rise in “diet” foods that are just as nutritionally-void. Confession: I’ve fallen victim to that trap myself. I mean, it’s SO tempting to buy-in to the idea that you can eat cookies and crackers and whatever else you want if it’s “low fat”, “low carb”, “fat free”, “low calorie”, etc. when, in reality, to qualify for those labels, it had to be stripped of the majority of it’s do-good nutrients. Sure, the calorie count is lower but all calories are not equal. Our bodies process and use calories from whole foods much differently than they do processed fillers. As difficult as it is to comprehend (particularly in today’s society), our bodies naturally function, feel and look(!) better when they’re being given whole foods- regardless of whether or not that means consuming more calories. And you want to know the best part of all of that? Whole foods keep you full and satisfied naturally! So, you no longer will have to count down the minutes until you can shovel [another] 100-calorie pack of frosted animal crackers into your grumbling tummy.
Now, transitioning away from “dieting” and learning to trust what your body tells you is a process. I’m still working on it myself. But after a lifetime of struggling with a disordered relationship with food, this is the first time I’ve tasted freedom. I’m learning just how different you can feel physically, mentally and emotionally with the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients flowing through your body. It’s kind of unbelievable. With the right fuel, our bodies feel satisfied, energetic and happy all on their own. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?
I’ve only been consciously focusing on this for one month and I’ve already seen/felt a major difference. Since the day I decided to cut ‘diet’ foods and artificial sweeteners and stop obsessively stressing over the number of calories I’m eating, I feel free. Free from the burden of worry, free from the cloud that was fogging my brain (weird- can’t really explain that one) and free from the urge to binge on unhealthy foods any time I got the chance. Our bodies are smart – listen to them- and they’re extremely fragile- take care of them. It’s as simple as that.
As this blog transitions more to ‘healthy-living’ (hate that term, by the way), I want to share this part of my journey as well and [hopefully] inspire others out there who have struggled with similar issues to trust their bodies. I’ll be going back to school in January (hopefully to become a registered dietician- more on that soon!) and I’m so, so passionate about helping anyone and everyone learn what it means to fuel themselves properly, get moving and feel beautiful- inside and out- sometimes for the first time ever.
Here’s to showing our bodies (and minds) some love…