March is National Nutrition Month sponsored by the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. The theme for 2015 is Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle. Don’t you love that? Obviously it’s a play on words, but to me it means more than just food. A healthy lifestyle is one that incorporates physical, emotional and mental health and to bite into that means to take action to create it for yourself. That might mean rest and relaxation at times and it also might mean pushing through something hard to accomplish a goal. Here are some other ideas:
- Develop a sleep routine and structure to ensure you are allowing your body rest and rejuvenation.
- Identify negative self-talk and set a boundary with yourself that you WILL NOT say mean things to yourself about yourself.
- Along those same lines, a healthy mind doesn’t speak or think negatively about others either. That might be something to think about for your own mental wellbeing.
- Move your body in a way you enjoy – could mean yoga, running, walking, dancing…you decide!
- Avoid people, social media feeds, magazines or shows that play on your insecurities, shame food choices or trigger comparisons.
- Set a concrete nutrition goal such as “add a fruit or vegetable to each meal and snack” or “eat regular balanced meals three times a day” or “slow down to eat more mindfully and notice hunger and fullness signals”.
- Allow yourself to feel and understand negative and positive emotions when you feel tempted to avoid them or distract them with food.
- Practice meditation 5 minutes each day.
- Allow yourself time each day or each week to do something you enjoy but don’t usually make time for.
- Learn a new skill, try a new exercise class, or take up a hobby you have been wanting to try.
- Wake up early to increase productivity during daylight hours.
- Make or keep a scheduled appointment with a therapist to discuss unresolved trauma or emotional concerns.
- Create a budget.
- Meal plan, grocery shop and do basic food prep on the weekend to make healthy meal assembly easier and more convenient.
- Say no to things that will cause unnecessary stress.
- Say yes to things that will be hard but allow you to grow.
- Clean your house and de-clutter.
- Take a nap.
- Make realistic to-do lists to help you keep on task.
- Find someone to help to increase your own attitude of gratitude and abundance.
- Make a gratitude list!
- Smile :)
Ultimately, your healthy lifestyle may look different than someone else’s. Isn’t that the beauty of it? YOU create YOUR life and you always have the choice to make decisions that are in your best interest. In fact, one of the best ways I take care of myself and bite into a healthy lifestyle is not eating "perfect" (whatever that means) and choosing to avoid the endless nutrition chatter- no labels, no diets, no restrictions, no deprivation, no preoccupation with food rules, no good or bad foods...that sounds miserable. Bleh. I share just so you know that IS a choice, and one that can contribute to your overall wellbeing.
I hope you will take some time to evaluate where you are and what you might want to improve in your physical, emotional and mental health. Allow yourself to take time that time to do it for yourself…you are worth it!
I’m sure you may have some to add to this list, and I hope you will! How do you or will you “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle”?
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD