(HealthNewsDigest.com) – March is National Nutrition Month, which is the perfect opportunity to learn how to make informed decisions about nourishing your body.
Most of us already know the basics of eating healthy — keep your proteins lean and your fat intake moderate; include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and eat more whole grains than refined starches. But what also needs to be taken into consideration is that nutrition can also be very complex, and in some cases, personalizing your diet plan can help drive whatever results you may be seeking or trying to maintain.
There’s no “one diet” for everyone there are many different paths that can lead to the same destination. And, with some knowledge and the right tools, you can find your own way and a plan you can live with.
Susan Bowerman shares five ways to create a way of eating that is uniquely yours and works with your personal preferences and your lifestyle:
Determine Your Goals.
Are you interested in losing weight? Then you’ll need to cut back on your calories and increase your activity levels. Wanting to gain muscle? You’ll want to increase your protein intake and focus on some more weight training exercises. Or are you simply trying to reduce the amount of meat in your diet and adopt a more plant-based plan? If so, it’s important you understand what combination of plant-based foods you’ll need to ensure you’re getting the right amount nutrients – especially protein, calcium and iron – in order to make a plant-based diet work for you.
Find a Balance
The term “balance” may be overused in some respects where you feel more like you’re juggling a ton of things in life at one time, but when it comes to your diet the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats is important for good health. If a plan reduces carbohydrates to an unrealistically low level, for example, you risk missing out on many important nutrients. If a plan is so strict that you can’t stick with it, or if it’s so low in calories that you have no energy to work out or you lose weight too quickly, it’s not going to end up working well for you. That’s why establishing an eating plan that works with your lifestyle and gives you an easy approach to weight maintenance is so important.
Our hectic lifestyles mean that – even with the best of intentions – we may not always eat as well as we can. A daily multi-vitamin, mineral supplement or even a protein shake can help to close any gaps and provide ‘nutritional insurance’ but they’re not a substitute for a poor diet. The sweet spot is a combination of a healthy diet and daily supplementation. Supplements designed for women can help meet needs for specific nutrients they often lack, such as calcium and iron.
Be Wary of Trends
Personalization is really key to your success, rather than following the latest superfood or diet trend that’s being marketed to your social feeds. Just because kale is the superfood of the moment, doesn’t mean you have to choke it down if you can’t stand the taste – there are plenty of other leafy greens that offer just as much nutrition. A gluten-free diet is necessary for those with specific medical conditions – but for the general population, it’s not a guaranteed quick path to weight loss. And very low carbohydrate and “keto” plans lack balance since they severely restrict so many healthy foods including most fruits and whole grains. Instead, build your diet around the healthy foods you love and learn how to prepare them in ways you will enjoy eating time and time again.
As a dietitian, one of the best ways to help you meet your goals is with continued support and accountability. Whether you find your own dietitian, use an app to track your meals, or work with a wellness coach, all can help you to succeed and perform at your best. The effort is more important than the outcome, and that the desire to do well comes from within. Having a supportive person each step of the way will help you stay on track, share your successes with you, and help you through those rough patches during your journey towards a healthier you.
For more tips from Susan Bowerman, visit www.IAmHerbalifeNutrition.com