National Nutrition Month is here! National Nutrition month raises awareness about developing healthy eating and physical activity habits and making more informed decisions when it comes to what we put in our bodies. These days there are so many diets and different forms of exercise, it can be tricky to find something that works for you. So where do you start? Focus on habits, longevity, and exercise.
Habits and Health
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says the best way to start a healthy habit is to make a specific plan for when and where you will perform the new habit. He calls these “implementation intentions.” For example: I will exercise for 1 hour on Thursday at 5:30 at my local gym. Or: When I serve myself a meal, I will always put veggies on my plate first. Setting implementation intentions are an effective step for sticking to your new goals.
Since nutrition month is about choosing nutritious foods from all food groups, let’s talk about how you can make changes to your eating habits to include a diverse range of yummy, healthy foods. Use your implementation intentions to help you make healthier choices and set meal plans for yourself.
For example, set implementation for your cooking and shopping: I will cook my own meal at home Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening. Sunday, I will go grocery shopping at 10 a.m.. Try researching recipes that sound delicious to you and make you excited to cook. When making decisions on what to eat, focus on adding nutrient-dense foods to your meals rather than eliminating elements a lot of popular diets might tell you to cut.
Health and Longevity
If you want to learn more about nutrition and eating for your optimal health, check out Dr. Peter Attia. Peter is an expert on nutrition, longevity, sleep management and nutritional biochemistry. He gets very detailed and scientific when he talks about nutrition and well being.
So if you really want to dive deep into health and longevity, the articles on Peter’s website are very useful. He also has a fantastic podcast called The Peter Attia Drive where he speaks with experts in different health and wellness fields. If you want to achieve an overhaul of your entire lifestyle, then Dr. Peter Attia is an excellent resource.
We can’t discuss healthy lifestyle habits without talking about exercise! For some folks, motivating yourself to exercise may not come easy. Try an activity you enjoy and look forward to doing. One day you could try running or cycling, while another day you might try Zumba. For those that have busy schedules, HIIT training can be an option because it provides an intense workout in a brief amount of time. Exercise doesn’t have to fit into one category! You might find doing various forms of exercise prevents you from getting bored with one.
Creating healthier habits can be a big overhaul of your normal routine if it’s something you are not used to. Don’t make these changes all at once or every day. James Clear says, “Good habits are smaller than you think. We often get caught up in the end goal and think that we need to do it all at once, but usually it’s best to start with a very small section of our overall goal.”
Try adding these new habits once a day to a few days a week. Slowly integrate them into your routine. After some time, they will come naturally. James Clear’s book Atomic Habits is a great read if you want to learn more about building good habits and breaking bad ones.