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5 Important Things Most People Miss About Health and Nutrition

5 Important Things Most People Miss About Health and Nutrition

I credit health and nutrition to saving me from a very unhealthy lifestyle at a young age, and I credit health and nutrition to saving my life in many ways. After going to school for nearly 6 years to obtain a degree in the field of nutrition and dietetics, I’ve seen and read a lot as research continues to grow in a field more and more people are interested in. Diets and lifestyle choices are more popular today than ever before, and we are exposed to more versions of living a healthy lifestyle than we ever have been throughout history. And yet, more people are also confused about what types of diets they should eat at the same time. Something is wrong with this picture, don’t you agree?

The thing about health and nutrition is that it’s not linear. There are important things that most people miss about health and nutrition that prevent them from benefitting from a healthy lifestyle to its full potential. Here are five of the most important things not to miss if you’re looking to get the most out of health and nutrition in your own life:

1. Not One Approach is Right for All

The same diet won’t work for everyone just like the same job won’t suit everyone’s personality. While we are genetically the same to a large degree, the small percentage of the ways we differ in terms of digestion, hormone stages, and various lifestyles we lead will determine how our dietary needs differ too.

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This is exactly why you see one person thriving on a diet that’s completely the opposite of a diet someone else thrives off of. It’s also the reason that a person’s health can suffer when they attempt to eat a diet that’s not suitable for them. It’s important to remember that not one approach is right for all, and it’s vital that we respect each other’s needs for different diets and food and focus on the bigger picture which is if we are healthy as a whole.

2. Diet Isn’t Everything

You can’t exercise away a bad diet, but you also can’t eat your way to perfect health. Yes, you can get closer than you would by eating junk food, but your diet isn’t the only part that makes you healthy as a person. Emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of health also matter too. This belief is known as holistic health and the reason that a person can eat the “perfect” diet or exercise and eat “clean” foods but they may still suffer emotionally and physically for various reasons.

Overall happiness and fulfillment also matter when it comes to our health, not to mention socialization and the ability to be understood and accepted by the world. We also need to take into account that our passions and talents also keep us healthy, and if all of these aspects of ourselves aren’t nourished, we won’t be as healthy as we have the potential to be despite eating all the kale and chia seeds in the world.

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3. Exercise Doesn’t Correct an Unhealthy Diet

Running five miles a day doesn’t undo a diet full of junk foods and fast foods, nor does it mean you have the right to eat foods that don’t serve your overall health. We should also eat for the nourishment of our brains, not just our body. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, serotonin-boosting complex carbs, and amino acids from lean protein all help nourish our brain cells and take care of our hearts, muscles, and bones.

Think about your body and brain as a whole when you exercise and eat, not just what you can fit into your daily calorie allotment or what someone else tells you that you should be eating.

4. Balance is Healthier Than the Extreme

Overall, no matter what type of diet you eat, achieving a balance within that diet is the most important thing you can do. Extreme diets and extreme levels of one type of diet are not healthy in the bigger picture. This doesn’t mean you have to eat foods that are full of junk or not something you feel good about eating, but you should remember to give yourself a break and maintain a balance.

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Just because you don’t eat x amount of a certain food you think you “should” per day doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the right to enjoy a healthy treat or eat something that might not be within your dietary guidelines.

5. Perfection Isn’t Possible

Last but not least, always remember that no one eats the perfect diet and nothing you can do will ever help you achieve a perfect diet status. Why? Because perfection isn’t possible. Diets aren’t created to make us perfect, and depending on who you ask, the perfect diet is different for everyone. Many people consider a diet full of ice cream and soda the perfect or ideal diet, and others consider it to be all raw or all Paleo.

Nothing you eat is ever going to make you perfect, and eating the perfect diet isn’t the road to happiness anyway. It’s more important that we focus on eating foods that give us energy, digest well, and keep us healthy and happy as a whole. Everything else after that is just icing on the cake—figuratively speaking, of course!

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For more advice about healthy eating, you may also enjoy learning about 5 good reasons why a healthy lifestyle can help enhance your life .

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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