Recently, a friend commented on the US Government Dietary Guideline updates regarding warnings about cholesterol. This sparked an interesting conversation on nutrition.
The topic has so many opinions it is easy to get confused on what to do. “Cholesterol was bad, now not so much. How much water is too much? Are legumes ok? What’s the best fish oil to take?”
It seems that every week there is a new, better diet contradicting the last one. At Control Your Health, the fitness side of Wah Lum, we offer nutritional guidance as one component of your overall health.
Hold on, because I am about to reveal The Secrets To Nutrition (said in movie trailer voice):
1. Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be that hard. When nutrition rules are too complex, it is easier to fail and this will leave you frustrated and lead to binging or giving up.
Choose one habit you can change right now that will have a positive impact on your nutrition.
Scale that habit or behavior back enough that you feel comfortable it can be done without issue.
For example, don’t go from eating zero vegetables a day to five servings a day. Can you add vegetables to one meal a day?
Let’s build from there.
2. Eat a diet composed of mostly real, whole, and minimally processed food.
There is no single, best diet for everyone because people are too diverse. Don’t go looking for differences between Paleo, Vegetarian, or Slow Carb.
Circle the similarities between all the diets that have any value at all.
They all agree to minimize sugar, not eat cardboard carbs, not eat Frankenstein oils, and not eat at fast food restaurants.
3. Eat only until satisfied. Take your time, relax and eat slowly.
Enjoy your food, and if you are eating with someone, enjoy their company. If you are trying to lose weight, stop eating when you are 80% full during each meal.
4. Drink more water. Studies show that almost 75% of Americans suffer from dehydration.
This is a deficiency that if eliminated, could make you feel better in a matter of days. Stop drinking liquid calories without thinking.
By reducing or eliminating liquid calories and just drinking water, you could lose a few pounds without any extra work.
5. Participate in some kind of movement everyday. What you do is up to you and it doesn’t always have to be what is considered intense exercise. Take the dog for a long walk, play a game of touch football, or try something different like Kung-Fu or Tai Chi.
6. Get Sufficient Rest. Balancing the right amount of stress with recovery will be the topic of another post, but for now here is a simple formula:
Not enough sleep/rest/recovery = stress overload which = NO BUENO.
7. Repeat. The key to success is consistency.
You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time.
Focus on making good food choices but realize that every now and then you will choose an unhealthy option. That’s ok.
Just realize that you are making that choice!
You are responsible for your health and no one else.
Focus on the big picture in nutrition and don’t get bogged down in the minutia.
Eating a bag of Skittles and thinking, “Well, at least that was gluten free!” is what Coach Dan John calls managing compromises.
This is a big mistake.
Do you floss everyday?
Do you get regular eye, dental or physical exams?
Do you wear your seatbelt?
Do you weigh less than 300 pounds?
As you get older, do you know how to fall, recover and get up off the ground?
Please, don’t tell me you are still smoking?
Managing risks is way more valuable than managing compromises says Coach Dan John.
“Eat colorful vegetables and exercise 30 minutes a day. If you aren’t doing the bare minimums, then don’t tell me about the special Nordic fish oil you are taking or your awesome Paleo diet.”
What if you just can’t be bothered to do all of the things mentioned?
“Oscar, you said keep it simple!”
How about focusing on the single most important secret of all: focus on the amount of love and the quality of relationships in your life.
Go out of your way to give hugs, help out a friend, or build your social networks.
Sometimes the best secret is the one that provides the most positive return.
Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi
Control Your Health
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