Exercise and nutrition work hand in hand; you can’t really have one without the other. But if I’m going to be honest, there is no one secret ingredient or diet that is going to work well with your lifestyle. Every body is different, and those differences require specific exercise routines and diets to achieve peak performance. The best way to find out what you need to fuel your body is to try new things and pay attention to how your body reacts.
Drop your love-hate relationship with food.
Nothing good will come of hating yourself if you eat whatever it is that makes you feel guilty about eating. Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite foods every now and then. Write down what you eat and how it makes you feel, find the foods that give you energy and fill you up. I started doing this when I found my energy levels crashing in the middle of the day. I found that the three bowls of sugary cereal I was eating every morning for breakfast gave me a burst of energy for a time, but left me starving and falling into a sugar crash later on. Now I make cinnamon nut butter overnight oats for every morning and the ample amounts of protein and fat keep me full and energized for a longer period of time. Experiment with your meals; incorporate healthy fats and proteins to avoid those sugar cravings, use veggie noodles in place of regular ones, try olive oil instead of butter, the list goes on! Most importantly, stop punishing yourself for wanting a double chocolate chip brownie or a vanilla milkshake at the end of the day, it’s all about balance!
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Try new things!
Whether that be a new form of exercise such as pilates or swimming, or healthy alternatives to those fried foods you always get at restaurants. Remember all those gross greens you hated as a kid? Broccoli, green beans, spinach, brussel sprouts, etc. Spoiler alert, your taste buds change as you get older, making it much easier to incorporate these into your diet. My little sister is always making fun of me for eating cucumbers, hummus, sugar free applesauce, and drinking unsweetened almond milk. I get it, I used to be the girl who brought containers of sprinkles with me everywhere (yes, I actually did that). I still eat more dessert than I should, but not nearly as often as I used to. I started trying new things as I got older, and I found that cucumbers and hummus are a delicious combo and I don’t feel like crap after eating them! Look up healthy recipes, it’s shocking how delicious most of them are without all the unnecessary junk.
Keep a record of your habits.
Feeling a little down lately? Yea, I guess it could be the moon or Mercury retrograde or whatever, but it could also be the fuel you are feeding your body. Start taking note of your lifestyle habits: what you eat, how much sleep you get, and how much you exercise. You’ll start to notice more patterns than you’d expect. Keep in mind that your needs may change from month to month, and even day to day. Your ideal routine will not look like anyone else’s. I have found that working out just 3-4 times per week is ideal for me, and I’m still working on my preferred diet and sleep schedule. Bettering yourself is a full-time job, and what better way to spend your time than figuring out what will make you feel your best?