Are you struggling to eat right, or to stick to a nutritional plan to manage a health condition? There’s so much information out there with conflicting advice about how to eat to manage your health, weight, and energy levels. But, that doesn’t have to stop you from finding the right balance for your body by adopting a common sense approach to eating for health and wellness.
Here at Couri and Smyth, our trained medical staff specializes in taking a natural approach to women’s health and wellness issues. We want to help you find the right balance. In the spirit of finding that balance, today we’re sharing six tips that will help you get your eating habits to a healthy, naturally balanced place.
Read on for good advice on how to manage your diet — no contradictory advice, tricks, or expensive extras included.
A common sense approach to eating for health and wellness
1. Plan ahead. It’s so much easier to eat right when you have regular meals planned. Waiting to decide until you’re already hungry is a recipe for making choices in haste that you’ll wish you hadn’t later. If you know you have dietary restrictions that you know help you to maintain your health and wellness, want to control portion sizes, have allergies, or other concerns it is always a good idea to plan out meals that are fast and easy to make — and take with you in a pinch.
2. Enjoy your food. Try to savor your meals. We often make the worst choices and eat too much when we’re in a rush. And yes, this also means that you should try to honor your personal preferences. Try to choose healthy foods but choose those you like, so you’ll stick to them. Eat slowly to savor each bite. Then notice yourself starting to feel full, and satisfied. Stop when you are. And extend your pleasure by anticipate your meals by planning them ahead.
3. Focus on how you feel. They say “don’t eat your feelings,” but we have to disagree. You should always try to notice the signals your body is giving you. How do the foods you choose to eat make you feel? Who cares how something tastes, if it leaves you feeling bloated, or with a case of heartburn? Not every body is the same. So pay attention to how you feel during your meal, right after, and in the next 24 hours. Your energy levels, sleep patterns, and other symptoms will tell you whether or not a meal agreed with you. Taking charge of your health and wellness starts with mindful eating.
4. Don’t give up. We all slip up and make mistakes in our diet. Food is social, and it’s about comfort and pleasure. If you find you’ve overeaten or indulged in a treat that’s not part of your healthy eating plan, don’t start a cycle of bingeing out of guilt. Instead just pick yourself up and start again. It’s guilt and a sense of failure that will derail your attempts at healthy eating, more than anything else.
5. Know that it’s okay to indulge a little. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Basically, you eat healthy most of the time and indulge a little when you want. That will help you manage cravings, feel more in control, and punish yourself less. You want to be able to eat this way for a lifetime, not until you can’t take it anymore.
6. Add veggies to everything. Eat what you love! Just have a small portion, and then round out your meal with extra veggies. Adding extra veggies, or sometimes even fruit, will help you stay full, add variety to your diet, and help you get in the healthy foods we often neglect when we’re on the go.
Couri and Smyth are both family practice physicians who are now doing Functional Medicine NaPro (stands for Natural Procreative) Technology in Central Wisconsin. NaPro is a women’s health science that treats underlying issues related to reproduction including infertility and hormone imbalance. The doctors also treat other women’s health and wellness issues, including heart disease, thyroid dysfunction, hormone imbalances, and more.