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