Know Better, Do Better! This is my little mantra for my life as a woman, a wife, a mama, a girlfriend, a fitness instructor, a soon-to-be-official health and wellness coach… amongst many other roles. It’s simple and so forgiving. Know better, do better can be applied to our nutrition, our fitness, the products we use in our homes and on our bodies, and even how we react to a hard situation like finding out your friend might have cancer or can’t get pregnant. It works and it can keep us healthy and balanced. Let’s take a look at how it can work to help us live more healthy and balanced lives with regard to our food and nutrition.
Nutrition is a loaded word. It means something different to each and every one of us. In fact, foods that work wonderfully to nourish me might be someone else’s poison. (like dairy, nuts, gluten for example). We can read all the articles and cookbooks and diet plans we want but that doesn’t mean any of them will fit our individual needs. Frustrating, right? Additionally, the media would have you think that if you follow this ‘bikini body plan’ for a week you’ll look like that woman on the cover of the magazine or in the blog post. Or maybe a friend you respect eats a certain way and she looks fabulous to you but you can’t make it work. There’s a reason for this and it’s simple! We are ALL built differently and have a different chemistry within our bodies. We are different sizes and different ethnicities, have different stressors and have different preferences for food to begin with. This is what makes life exciting, but also what makes navigating nutrition for ourselves difficult. What if you decided to go on your own little journey to vibrant health and wellness by figuring out what works for you by starting simply and moving forward from there? I’d love for you to find your sweet spot with your nutrition. I’d love for you to be able to nourish yourself so that you have the energy you need to rock your mission everyday! Most of all, I’d love for you to nourish yourself with foods that will keep inflammation in your body so low or non-existent that disease cannot even think of creeping in. Inflammation is the silent cause of all disease, and it doesn’t care if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. So how do I do this, you ask? Start with these steps:
- Keep a food journal. Not for the purpose of counting calories but rather to see what you’re actually eating and drinking each day. Try it for a week, or even three days if a week feels too long. At the end of the day take a look at what you ate and drank. Reflect on how you felt after each meal. Did you have an energy dip in the afternoon after lunch? Did you find yourself having cravings in the late afternoon or at night? How did your meals make you feel emotionally? Did you feel nourished? Food and mood are directly related and tapping into that can really help us hone our eating and figure out what works and what doesn’t. I use a FitBook to do my tracking. I like pen and paper but there are also great apps to do this if you prefer.
- Keep track of your sleep for the week. How many hours? Were there interruptions? Why? (i.e. kids waking you, having to go to the bathroom, too much alcohol close to bedtime, perimenopause, unexplained reasons?) Our sleep is directly related to our nutrition and not getting enough can cause us to have cravings and also make poor nutritional choices throughout the day. How is your sleep? How can you improve your sleep?
- Start noticing how foods make you feel. If something you eat doesn’t agree with you every time you eat it, you might need to apply know better, do better. “I know this food bothers my stomach every time, so I’m going to do better and not eat it or find a replacement that makes me feel nourished and healthy.” For me this is Mexican food! I love it, but it doesn’t love me. My do better is to make my own more mindfully and in healthier ways! It works for me and is better than suffering all night!
- Do some research of your own! Find a few new recipes to try that sound great to you and make them. Try some new ingredients. Visit our awesome Goshen Farmer’s Market (or one in your area) this Tuesday or Saturday and learn about the farms you’re buying your food from. Then feel great about knowing that the food you’re eating at your next meal came straight to you from the earth! Also, research some things about food that interest you like sugar addiction, or gluten-free living, or what in the world is kombucha and should I be drinking it?
Get involved in your nutrition! Make more of your own meals and be conscious of what you’re putting in your body and how it makes you feel! Know better, do better.
Jessica is a certified Nia Technique fitness instructor and will soon have her health and wellness coaching certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. If you are interested in contacting her for health coaching you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org!