Fuel Your 2019!
As we begin this 2019 year and you embark on your resolutions, it’s essential to keep some things in mind in order to make the most out of you year (both in terms of physical and mental wellbeing).
- You are the same person you were in 2018, but with a new set of experiences and thus, new perspectives. Our experiences make us who we are, don’t erase them just because we’ve started the new year. Learn from them.
- Set yourself up for success with reasonable resolutions/goals and with a planned out pathway to get there. While a path to reach your goals is essential, ensure that your path leaves room for flexibility. It’s difficult to know exactly what the future holds.
- And… Food is fuel!
With that said here are some pathways and guidelines for common 2019 resolutions. If any of these are on your resolutions list, please give it a read…
- “Improve my diet”
What not to do…
Do NOT restrict or view food as an aspect of your life that is purely glutiness and thus should be eliminated. Your body needs it. Do NOT simplify and limit your diet to the point that the food your consuming is bland, boring and miserable.
It is mindsets like this, that often promote binge eating symptoms, feelings of guilt and feelings of failure as those diets are incredibly difficult for many to maintain.
What to do…
If your diet is something you’d like to improve upon, you can consume a more nutrient dense (healthy) and delicious diet. Healthy eating does not need to be miserable. In fact, I’ve found that many nutrient dense foods and meals are often just as flavorful if not more so than non-nutrient dense foods.
- Meal Prep over the weekend and have your lunches ready to go. If you are a student or feel that you often run out of time to make dinner, you can make your meals in large quantities and portion them out. This way you have, for example, dinner for Monday and lunch for Wednesday all in one dish.
Oftentimes our busy schedules can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. As we rush to find food during a lunch break and rush to consume it and get back to work, we miss out on enjoying the meal, eating nutrient dense foods, eating foods we truly enjoy and eating mindfully.
- Listen to your body and modify. Most of the diets out there are fairly standardized and do not really cater to the fact that all bodies, digestive systems and people operate differently.
If you are planning on participating in a diet, ask about modifications to the diet. Read the diet over, determine what expectations are reasonable to set for yourself and modify accordingly. If you have a trainer or dietitian guiding you, be sure to ask them what you can do to ensure success with these modifications.
Another option is rather than diet, set a resolution to listen to your body. Try to feel out what your body is craving and thus what nutrients it is deprived of. For example, if you are craving something sweet that may mean you are lacking in carbohydrates. You can choose nutrient dense foods to honor this craving such as fruit or whole/sprouted grains.
- Leave room for flexibility. Allow yourself to enjoy one or two “fun foods” a week. This way you are not depriving yourself of what you are craving. Rigid diets can be very difficult for many non-athletes to maintain and can lead to poor and detrimental eating habits.
Have you ever been on a diet and craved (lets say) a cupcake? Was it difficult to stop thinking about the cupcake? Did you consume the cupcake and feel like you failed?
First off, you did not fail. Your mind and body are incredibly intertwined and incredibly resilient. When we crave something, it’s our brains telling us that our body is deprived or is in need of certain nutrients. Our mind and body will do whatever they need to get those nutrients. You did not fail, in fact, your body exemplified resilience. Pretty cool.
Secondly, food thoughts are reinforced all around us. Our society revolves around food so much so that the sugar, dieting and beauty industries are all, individually, multi billion dollar industries. Ironic, huh? Once we begin to crave a food 1) our brains will do everything they can to honor that craving and 2) the thoughts and cravings will be reinforced by our environment (social media, ads, even simple discussions with friends, family and coworkers) that seems to be so heavily focused on food.
- “Lose (or gain) weight”
What not to do…
Do NOT shame yourself for the body you have. Do NOT shame yourself for not feeling good about your body. These can often lead to feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, making it difficult to enjoy moving your body and difficult to feel comfortable in a gym. Part of the Body Positive and Body Image movements are recognizing that 1) we all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin and 2) we will have days where we wake up and don’t feel good about our bodies and that is okay.
Additionally, in order to prevent a metabolic rebound and maintaining a healthy mind and body, do NOT set unrealistic weight loss goals. A reasonable amount, depending on your body and physician and dietitian recommendations, is 1-2 lbs per week.
What to do…
Embrace and accept your body as is and all the incredible things it can do. Give yourself grace when you wake up not feeling great about your body, when you don’t make it to the gym or you eat something that others may tell you to feel guilty about.
Ask a professional. Healthy weight loss is best done when working with a physician, dietitian or trainer who can let you know what reasonable, healthy goals are and how to best get there.
- Talk to a professional. A professional such as a physician, dietitian or trainer are the best people to clarify what is reasonable and what your body actually needs to be a able to thrive and function to its best capability.
- Enjoy the way you eat. Savor and enjoy your meals. Eat mindfully and intentionally. Eat foods that you know you will and enjoy and try new things you feel excited about!
- Build a support system of women who have similar goals. Surround yourself with people who can be supportive of you and your goals. Meaning, people who will tell you when your goals are unreasonable and will honestly communicate when your weightloss goals may be too extreme. People who will hold you accountable, but free of judgement. People who, when the year gets stressful, will help you find healthy ways to decompress and release that stress.
- “Go to the gym/workout more”
What NOT to do…
Do NOT set unreasonable expectations. Telling yourself you will go to a yoga class in the morning, you’ll jog in the afternoon and you’ll lift at night is not a reasonable (or fun) workout schedule to set for the average working woman, student, mom or working mom. Infact, that seems quite stressful and may make the gym seem overwhelming and not very enjoyable. Additionally, do not force yourself to do movements that are painful or not very fun. Every new movement you try may be awkward at first and will become easier as you do it continuously, but if you are in pain STOP and listen to your body. Injuries and gym fatigue are real. So often we start the year off full throttle and burnout or injure ourselves by March and don’t make it back into the gym until May.
The competition is only with yourself. You are under no obligation to attend the gym for 3 hours everyday. 1 hour of exercise per day is awesome! Unless you are a competitive athlete, your body doesn’t need much more than that.
What to do…
If you enjoy various kinds of exercise and movement, assign different workouts to different days. For example, you could lift Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You could run Tuesday and Thursday and attend a yoga class on Saturday. Of course you do not need to workout 6- 7 days a week either. It is necessary to have one or two rest days and allow your body to recuperate.
Use positive associations to your benefit. Attend the classes you love, learn new and exciting workouts and find out what works best for you and what you enjoy most. Build relationships with classmates and fellow gym goers. Make the gym a space in which you can decompress from the day and have a healthy, positive, FUN outlet. Exercise is often referred to as a form of mindfulness as you are in a state of purposeful, initial attention towards your body. Use that to your advantage and allow your workout time to be a form of “me time”.
- Start a Routine. Write out your weekly workout schedule. Start by checking to see when your favorite classes are and when you have time to attend. Then fill in the other days with various workouts you enjoy, leaving room for rest days. Talk with your fellow gym buddies and schedule times to workout together! After a few weeks, this routine will feel more like habit and a part of your day you feel excited for.
- Again, this one is important… Build Relationships with classmates and fellow gym goers. Set individual goals, but support one another with gentle accountability free of judgment. Workout together and spot and encourage one another when trying new things (if a trainer is available and you’re adding weight, ask for a spotter). Attend new classes with others.
- Enjoy the way you move. Choose exercises and classes that YOU love. Consider why you are working out. Ask yourself “am I doing this for me?” I the answer is no, evaluate the exercises, workout routines, goals and motivations you are implementing. Move because it makes you feel good. Move because you love this community of strong women. Move to increase both your physical AND mental strength.
Food is a pretty phenomenal thing. It fuels your body in so many complex and intricate ways that nutritional research is continuously discovering.
- Enjoy moving it. Enjoy the foods you decide to eat. Eat mindfully and intentionally. Attend the classes you love, learn new and exciting workouts and find out what works best for you. Start a routine. Build relationships with classmates and fellow gym goers. Set individual goals, but support one another
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Written by Emma Richardson | Dietetic Technician
Using functional nutrition & intuitive eating to encourage strong, healthy, thriving lives.