Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC
Do you or people you know say this time of year “I need to eat better”? Making changes in your food intake can make a huge difference in your health and general well-being. However, it can be overwhelming to start a whole new eating program. Don’t stress about being “perfect.” Be gentle with yourself as you begin changing the way you eat. Wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.
“Eating Better is a Choice.”
When it comes to wellness, you’ll likely come across a wide spectrum of advice, products, and methods for how to do it “right.” You may even have taken a ride on the diet roller coaster before, being “good while adhering to strict guidelines, only to return to your comfort foods with the added guilt of not having sustained some absurd expectations. Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. You’ll be tempted to crave out the perfect, healthy lifestyle program, but know that just making small changes makes a difference. You do not need to adhere to a strict plan from the get go. Remember eating better is a choice. You can be healthy and on occasion indulge in a little something. You are making a lifestyle change. Diets are things you do or don’t do. Life isn’t about perfection. Striving for that only causes stress and leaves you with a feeling of lack and guilt. (We have hundreds of recipes right here to help you get started.)
“If you take good care of yourself at least 80-90% of the time, and you feel good, then your body can handle the other 20 to 10%. “
I try to follow an 80-90/20-10 ratio which helps keep wellness in perspective. That applies to food, exercise, and most other self-care. If you take good care of yourself at least 80 to 90% of the time, and you feel good, then your body can handle the other 20 to 10%. What’s funny is by giving myself permission to not follow something so strict, I usually end up each week at a 95/5 ratio. Something can be said for not making yourself feel like you have so many limitations. For example, if you eat plenty of fresh veggies and nutrient-rich real foods, then you can enjoy some ice-cream on a hot summer day. Unless you have a health condition that requires unique attention, the occasional small treat or cocktail isn’t going to derail your otherwise healthy lifestyle. However, pay attention to your body. You might notice that after eating “clean” for a while that your body doesn’t like those sugary snacks you used to live off of.
Note: Marpé takes this approach into account with the its meal planning service. To reduce waste and avoid overwhelming our members, we provide recipes and grocery lists for just four dinner meals per week. We figure most people would prefer and could manage to cook at home at least every weeknight with the weekends being a little less predictable. This approach results in easier implementation while establishing habits that lead to healthier eating all week long.
“What works best for someone else might not work well for you.”
Wellness is about bio-individuality. What works best for someone else might not work well for you. You might have a friend who loves to run and that’s the only exercise they want to do, yet running might be the worst thing for you. Your body and your mind might be telling you, “I hate running. Please don’t make me do this.” Look for ways to exercise that you enjoy. The more you enjoy it the more likely you are to do it. The same goes for your eating habits.
“Life is about Balance.”
Let go of what the world is telling you about wellness. Make the best food, exercise, self-care and lifestyle choices each day that fit you. Don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally treat yourself to something or skip a session at the gym. Just make a better choice next time. Life is about balance. If you can choose healthy activities 80% of the time, you’re already doing better than over most of the population. So give yourself a break and get ready to feel and look great.