Sisters In Christ Worldwide
10 Steps to a Healthy, Nutritious, and Balanced You
Cindy Crowninshield, RDN, LDN, HHC, Founder, Eat2BeWell & Eat4YourGenes; Consulting Registered Dietitian, Body Therapeutics
In my practice, I see a lot of people struggle with life balance. As a result of their busy life, activities they enjoyed become a chore – eating, eating right, being physically active, finding quiet time, pursuing hobbies and passions, slowing down, laughing, having fun, and/or being in the right job. As a result, hours pass, days pass, weeks pass and the “I regret” and “I wish” statements settle in with no motivation to change. I often hear “I don’t know how to get back on track and I need help.” or “I have so much fear and lack of courage that I hold back.”
Neglecting one’s body, health, and life has negative impacts. Stress, not eating the right foods and often eating incompatible foods cause bodily inflammation leading to symptoms like aching joints, brain fog, fatigue, migraines, mood swings, and sugar cravings. Symptoms and their effects are different for each person. If not treated or managed effectively, symptoms lead to chronic and acute health conditions like food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
If you want to improve your health and reclaim your get-in-shape determination, follow these ten motivational, realistic steps:
Step 1: Define what health means to you
Health is defined differently for each person. It can be defined as a number, feeling, energy level, being able to walk several feet, or holding your child/grandchild in your lap. Achieving optimum health is based on what’s realistic for you to achieve at this moment in your life.
Step 2: Deal with your fears
Admitting your fears and overcoming them helps you become a stronger person. You may feel a little scared at first, but in the long run, you’ll be in a better place to take that one next step in the right direction.
Step 3: Know your food cravings & triggers
Being aware of your trigger food, trigger feeling/emotion, or trigger environment is the first step in limiting overeating, managing stress, and achieving health success. Do you use food to cope with disappointment, rejection or boredom? Can you develop positive strategies to cope without using food?
Step 4: Be friends with life
Life is filled with ups and downs, negatives and positives. Remember the world is not out to get you. It does not punish you. You do that to yourself by choosing a negative response or reaction. Responding to a situation with healthy coping mechanisms allows you refocus your attention on other opportunities or goals.
Step 5: Make one simple daily change
Health-related lifestyle changes should not be an all or nothing. Start small. Make a few simple weight loss and exercise changes each day. These small changes can add up over time to give you a big health boost. For example, if you want to start walking again and don’t know where to start, try walking 10 minutes around your neighborhood twice a week.
Step 6: Surround yourself with cheerleaders
We all need cheerleaders to keep us going. Sharing your goals with a friend, family member, online ‘buddy’, co-worker helps you stay on track and accountable. Plus they help you hang in there when you can’t muster the determination from within. When you do reach a goal, invite your support group to celebrate with you.
Step 7: Give yourself permission
Allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite food from time to time is okay. Don’t feel guilty for having a dessert on a special night out or giving into the salty or sweet food craving you have had. Forgive yourself and start back on your more disciplined program the next day.
Step 8: Eat often
The biggest cause of overeating is undereating. With busy and stressful schedules, people often go too long without eating or skips meals. Then when they get a chance to eat, they pig out because they are ravenously hungry. Plan to eat often through the day. For example, plan a morning and afternoon snack daily to prevent binges.
Step 9: Keep a food diary
Keeping a food diary is an effective awareness tool. It helps you be aware of what you are eating, what you are not eating, and keeps you on track. It can also help you plan out basic meals and snacks in order to create a more balanced diet. There are a variety of paper and electronic tools you can use including fitday and myfitnesspal.
Step 10: Celebrate your success on a daily basis
When my clients reach a goal, even a little one, they don’t celebrate. They let the daily problems and fears overshadow them. While having healthy goals are important, make sure to take time to celebrate each day's journey. Live for the moment and savor some of life's simple pleasures -- every day.
Following these ten motivational, realistic steps will help you become a healthy, nutritious, and balanced you.
Cindy Crowninshield, RDN, LDN, HHC is a licensed registered dietitian and nutrition educator in private practice in Framingham and Worcester, Massachusetts. She empowers patients of all lifecycle ages to organize themselves in health and wellness through a whole foods approach and making healthy lifestyle changes. She draws upon her nutrition journey, business background, unique food-centered approach, and clinical experiences to help patients implement goals to improve their quality of life. Visit www.CindyCrowninshield.com for more information.