Great Nutrition needs to be about FEELING GREAT, not weight loss
There is such a stigma around nutrition that it’s the key to weight loss and weight loss seems to be the driving force with most people when it comes to changing their nutrition. It is true, your nutrition does greatly affect your body fat levels, but the other positive results from following a healthy nutrition plan such as increased energy levels, improved mood, less sickness, faster healing times, clearer skin, more mental clarity and overall wellbeing should be considered as much more important than the aesthetic changes. To be honest, I really believe that this is where we are going so wrong when it comes to nutrition.
Weight loss and the driving force behind it is a negative thing. Yes, it can help to improve your confidence and other aspects of health, but it should be seen as a by-product of leading a healthy lifestyle. If you are unhappy with your weight and motivated by this to change your nutrition, it almost becomes a punishment tool for your bad choices in the past. Great nutrition is not about punishing your body. Great nutrition is about being kind to your body. The foods that you eat need to be based on filling your body with foods that will nourish, energise and heal it rather than as a result of all of the bad things you have done in the past.
People may think that weight loss alone is the magic thing that will turn your life around. The problem with this is if you do it in a way that the only desired result is weight loss, rather than well-being, you may end up feeling worse than you did before you started the weight loss journey. Additionally, it will probably be more difficult to maintain long term, you will end up in a worse place than you were before you started and you will feel as though you failed. This is not only unhealthy for your body but even unhealthier for your mindset. Failure is something that never feels good.
At the end of the day, shouldn’t it be about feeling better? When you have more energy, recovering faster after your workouts, feeling mental clarity, avoiding sickness or healing faster and are being kinder to yourself, you are much more likely to continue with behaviours that will enhance your wellbeing. This is the difference between eating well to increase your health and eating well to lose weight.
If you were to stop and think about the true reasons why you want to lose weight, it is generally about how you feel. Unless being a certain size was a requirement to your life, your weight alone is not enough to make you feel horrible. It is the effects of your poor nutrition choices that make you feel terrible. You will always be able to find clothes that will fit you, there will always be someone out there who will love you for your mind, and unless you take things way too far, you will generally be able to function in day to day life. It just won’t ‘feel’ great.
Great nutrition is not about starving yourself or eating foods that you hate. Find out what foods are going to improve your health and what foods are going to negatively affect your health. Don’t just find out what those foods are, but arm yourself with the knowledge of knowing exactly what these foods do to your body. Want to improve your eyesight? Eat more carrots. Want to improve your heart health? Eat more capsicums and tomatoes. Want to reduce inflammation in your body and prevent sickness? Reduce and ideally eliminate processed foods and sugar. I could take this much further and list all of the other foods that will negatively affect your health but as a general rule this list includes most animal products.
Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise 3-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes will result in more energy, increased heart health and an additional calorie burn. There is no need to do any more than this for overall wellbeing. Increasing your cardiovascular exercise as a result of over indulging in the wrong foods will only serve to make you feel mentally worse and to zap your energy levels. The only time you would do this is if you were training for a particular sport that required cardiovascular endurance and you would accompany this with the correct nutrition. If you’ve indulged when you shouldn’t have, the only thing you can do is just let it go and get back on track straight away. Beating yourself up for this is a one way street to feeling even worse and will increase your chances of falling off the wagon again in the future.
Engaging in an effective strength training program will assist you to build lean muscle and boost your metabolism to impressive levels that will make it even easier to obtain healthier body fat levels. It will also, combined with great nutrition, assist you to stay injury free. Not only that, but muscle looks and feels remarkably better than fat.
Let’s be honest, the above things that I have talked about will more than likely also result in reduced body fat levels and an improvement in your appearance which I am sure that most people would be super happy about. I do honestly believe though that this is just a bonus by-product and all of the other benefits of this lifestyle change should trump your body weight! If you are driven to feel better and arm yourself with the right knowledge, you will be more likely to feel absolutely incredible in so many aspects of your life.
I used to think that I ate a healthy diet. My body fat levels and weight were right where I wanted to be but I wasn’t even close to being at optimal health. My back injury has completely overhauled my perception of what is healthy nutrition and I am so grateful for this. In my honest opinion, this back injury has led to one of the biggest, healthiest and most positive changes in my life and I will never look back.
So here’s my challenge to you? Think of as many reasons why you would love to improve your nutrition as you can that aren’t related to your weight. Write these all down and find out how to change your nutrition to match what you want to improve. I will be writing about this topic further in my next book Becoming Your Inner Goddess, but don’t wait until then to find out more. Learn now and change your life for the better!!
Til next time,