Before you cringe, let’s clarify what we mean by “diet.” According to Merriam-Webster, diet is “food and drink regularly provided or consumed” and “habitual nourishment.” So, while diet can mean a limited food regimen, it also simply means what you are consuming regularly- the food and water that provides your body with the nutrients that fuel you.
The most important point here is that food is fuel. The food you eat is your body’s source for nutrients, which impacts you physically, mentally and emotionally. How you nourish your body will dictate how you feel, your mood, your energy level, and so much more. That’s why it’s such a critical part of wellness, and one that we want to be sure to cover.
Too many people become guarded as soon as they hear the word diet because of bad experiences. They think of terrible, restrictive diets that offer little food with little taste. Thankfully, that’s not the way it has to be! You can fill your diet, the food you eat regularly, with lots of delicious and healthy options; sometimes it’s just knowing where to start.
Today, there are so many resources available to help people start eating healthier. There are apps and websites that offer lots of healthy recipes. There are dieticians and nutrition coaches and even digital plans that can help you creatively come up with meal plans that can help you achieve your goals (weight loss, healthy weight gain, muscle growth, etc.). And, there are food-diary apps that can help you identify areas of nutrition where you’re lacking.
Getting the right amount of certain nutrients is another very important part of wellness when it comes to food. Your body needs a certain amount of vitamins and minerals in order for it to function properly, and ultimately, for you to feel good! For example, if you’re lacking in vitamin B12 or iron, you may notice that you often lack energy. This is just one example. It’s easy to get into a habit of eating certain foods that you enjoy and then end up lacking in specific nutrients; that’s why nutrition-tracker apps or keeping a physical food diary can be beneficial in helping you identify what your diet is missing.
Now, all of that said, it is important to note that there is still some discipline involved with proper diet and nutrition. Truly achieving wellness through your nutrition oftentimes does mean cutting back on processed foods, pizza, soda, desserts. However, cutting back does not mean never having them again, it simply means limiting how often you consume these types of foods. And, it means seeking out alternatives. There are ways to satisfy your sweet tooth with a dessert that still tastes delicious, but incorporates healthier options- like making banana bread with coconut oil and no additional sugar.
If you’re serious about enhancing your overall wellness this year, be encouraged! It is more than possible, and it does not have to be as terrible as you may have experienced or seen in the past. Remember to make those daily decisions toward wellness. Choose the salad tossed with strawberries, pecans and chicken instead of the greasy, bacon burger. Choose a smoothie and iron-rich cereal for breakfast instead of a donut. Then, have times and days where you indulge because life is meant to be lived! Bon Appétit!