‘What to and what not to believe on the internet about health’. A great question recieved when I asked my people on instagram for newsletter topics. I love this. Because even as a fitness/nutrition professional, sometimes I get caught up in all of it as well.
We are CONSTANTLY bombarded with information about fitness, health, nutrition, wellness etc and it seems like each thing we read contradicts the last.
Whats the deal with carbs, are they good or bad?
Does fruit really make you fat?
Will cutting out gluten and dairy help me lose weight?
Do I need to do fasted cardio to reach my goals?
Maybe I should just try intermittent fasting.
I saw Martha lost 30lbs doing keto!
Is eating 6 small meals a day really going to boost my metabolism?
Annnnnnd so on.
So how do you know what to believe or what’s worth trying?
I’ll lay this out very simply, the answers are within. Stop basing your information on what Susan shared on Facebook and start listening to your own damn body. Have you tried that yet?
Of course there are general guidelines that I recommend and are pretty hard to argue:
- Eat mostly whole foods. Get in a good groove of doing this and pay close attention to how certain foods make you feel. Dairy leaves you feeling lethargic & blah? Bummer but maybe that’s a sign your body doesn’t tolerate it well. Whole grains make you bloated? Try cutting them out and see what happens. Most people don’t have any food sensitivities at all, they’re either 1. just eating too many processed foods 2. listening to the nonsense on the internet or 3. not taking care of their gut health by supplementing with a high quality probiotic and/or digestive enzyme.
- Drink enough water. Amount is going to vary per person here but just be sure you are drinking it throughout the day. Water does so much for our bodies including facilitating digestion & metabolism (also helps keep you full between meals), regulates our body temperature, lubricates joints, regulates blood pressure and maintains acid/alkaline balance to name a few! So many important functions and so many detrimental consequences if you don’t drink enough. So you should probably drink more.
- Get enough sleep. So crucial. poor sleep habits add to stress, irritability, anxiety, depression, poor immune system function, brain fog, decreased energy etc. Do everything you can to not compromise your sleep. One thing that’s helped me tremendously is setting a electronics curfew. I do not use any electronics past 9pm. This allows me to really wind down at night and get proper rest. Many of us simply stay up too late scrolling our phones or watching netflix. Cut that out – it’s not helpful!
- Chill with the alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy a good beer, glass of wine, tequila drink or gin & tonic here and there. But if your drinking multiple drinks more than once a week it’s not doing you ANY favors. Simply enough, alcohol is a toxin. Your liver is going to prioritize taking care of that (aka getting out OUT) over everything else. The liver actually has a LOT of important functions that contribute to our overall health and metabolism. So, the liver does all it can to keep the body healthy but when it’s overloaded with toxins it cannot keep up with everything else, those toxins accumulate and will lead to all kinds of health/digestive issues, including fat storage.
- Manage your stress. Unfortunately we live in a SUPER high stress society. What’s even more unfortunate is how detrimental stress is to our health. From hormone imbalances, to poor gut health, to immune system function, to weight gain, to high cholesterol. It’s one of those domino effect type of things. For more on stress and how to manage it, HERE is a newsletter I wrote a few weeks ago.
- Take quality supplements. Especially a high quality multivitamin, fish oil and probiotic. I know a lot of people think supplements are BS (which MANY of them totally are) but once you actually understand how all the systems in your body function, you’ll realize how important it is to give your body these vital nutrients. Basically, they help all the systems in your body to work well, like metabolism, digestion, energy levels, immune system etc. And not to mention how crucial they are in disease prevention. It’s one of those things where you’re going to invest now in quality supplements or pay A LOT more down the road in medical bills. Now, this is not to say these are a ‘cure all’. Your nutrition, water intake, exercise level etc are absolutely a priority. Supplements are just that, they supplement your body’s needs. Nutrition especially HAS to come first.
- Exercise regularly. Kind of a no brainer here right? The best way I can put it is a body in motion stays in motion. You want to feel good and be able to move around better as you age? I highly recommend finding an exercise routine you enjoy and can do regularly.
- Move your body as much as you can. Separately from exercise. This just means not sitting so much. Get up and stretch more, go on brief walks throughout the day. Our bodies are built to move. It’s wild to think how many people compromise their bodies well being just by sitting too much. Poor posture, tight joints, lack of mobility. It’s easy to prevent!
- Listen to your body’s hunger / satiety cues. My favorite one! And I think one that we all lose touch with at some point in life. Which is funny because you think about babies and young children, they definitely let you know when they are hungry or when they are full. When this starts to get skewed is when we start to become influenced by others & introduced to highly palatable, processed foods. It gets even worse when we begin to read up on which diet to do to lose the extra pounds we’ve packed on. Notice how no diet ever considers becoming in tune with your bodies hunger/fullness cues. They’re usually just based on some sort of restriction, which then leaves you feeling deprived (both physically and mentally), so then you lose control annnddddd the cycle begins. The good news is you can break this cycle at any time and begin listening to what your body is actually telling you. Pair this with practicing #1 and you’ll be well on your way to nutrition success & freedom.
- Watch your portions. You know what you should be having more of (wholesome, nutrient dense foods). Properly portion those (more on that HERE) and simply have less of the things you know aren’t going to propel your health but still would like to enjoy (pizza, ice cream, french fries). I hate to be that person but everything in moderation!
YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL!!! We are all sooooooo biologically different and there is SO much that goes into our gut health/digestion/how our bodies react to food. Seriously, so many factors. What works for someone else may not work for you too.
I want you to essentially erase everything you’ve heard/learned about nutrition, start with the basics and focus on YOUR body.
Implement the foundations and be CONSISTENT. I think the second part is what people struggle the most with. Not enough consistency, not enough patience.
‘But I ate well all week!’ but what about the weekend my friend? Check yourself! You can’t work on better habits M-Th, lose all discipline/focus on weekends and expect to see change. Bummer, I know.
If you need accountability & a little extra help, feel free to join the Fit Justice Facebook group : ) I am running an adherence chart challenge where you pick up to 6 habits you want to work on (could be some listed above) and track your consistency with them. Again, it’s not to be perfect, it’s just to see where you need work/improvement. I’ll be the first to admit some of the habits I am working on crumble on weekends. Now that I am able to see that, I take more of an incentive to plan ahead.
I also offer online coaching, where I take a no BS approach to helping you master your nutritional habits while still living your life and reaching your goals. I am taking on a couple more clients for the fall. Apply for that HERE!
Overall guys, nutrition, health and wellness is very simple. The world we live in likes to overcomplicate it. Companies prey on your insecurities to get you to buy their products. Go back to the basics, take notes, have conversations with yourself, be consistent and be patient. Attaining a healthier lifestyle isn’t instant, you have to recognize and accept that. You know what you need to do now. Let’s make it happen!