One side preaches to avoid bread, the other side preaches to load your coffee with butter, and there's another side telling you to skip breakfast.
When it comes to establishing simple steps to obtaining better health as a busy and ambitious professional, it's easy to get lost in the sea of contradictory nutritional advice. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be stressful nor come with an encyclopedia of rules that makes you want to pull your hair out.
At the end of the day, doubling your energy levels and boosting your health starts with covering these five simple habits.
1. Develop a plan to conserve mental energy and prevent unnecessary stress.
In the world of nutrition, there are many paths that can lead you to your desired destination of improved health and vitality. However, the key in deciding which path to follow requires you to assess your lifestyle and personal preferences.
Many methods are effective, but the key lies in finding the method that doesn't require you to make major life-altering changes.
For example, do you like bread? If so, then don't force the Paleo diet onto yourself. Don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole. No matter the type of eating method, take solace in knowing that they all prioritize eating whole foods with a great nutritional value over eating less processed foods that aren't as nutrient-rich.
Don't sweat the ten percent differences in them. Be nutritionally agnostic and choose the style and schedule that requires the least amount of resistance so you can direct that energy to more high-level tasks in your professional life.
2. Slow down your eating.
As a nutrition coach, many clients are often surprised that I'm more concerned with how they are eating instead of other common tactics. This is because by simply eating slower, you can lose weight along with lessening the chances of overeating.
It takes around 20 minutes for your brain to register that you're full. If you eat fast, it's easy to pass the point of being full due to the time delay along with the inevitable feelings of lethargy arising. While eating slower helps bring about awareness that you're nearing the point of being full.
Lastly, by eating slower, you're participating in a form of mindfulness because you're not rushing through your meal thinking about what's next on the to-do list.
3. Emphasize fruits and vegetables.
I know, this seems like a no-brainer. But often times, the fundamentals are overlooked due to people falling into the trap of equating complexity to effectiveness. But, one of the easiest ways to optimize your health and energy levels is to properly supply your body with micronutrients.
If you're starting at zero, start with an initial goal of a minimum of five servings a day. After you master that, graduate up to a minimum of ten servings (but of course, the more the merrier).
4. Imagine your plate divided into three sections.
A simple strategy I recommend most people begin with is to adopt the philosophy of showing equal love to all nutrients.
Think of one section being for protein which is included in every meal along with the second section for vegetables. And the last section is where you can add your carbohydrates and/or healthy fats for optimal energy and hormone production.
5. It's okay to not be 100 percent compliant.
There's no reason to stress yourself out with trying to "eat perfect" every single day. After all, food isn't just for fuel and functionality.
Food is there for enjoyment, cultural gatherings, and traditions among many other things. Healthy eating doesn't have to take over your life in order to achieve optimum health and energy.
Do you have an important dinner with friends, are your family in town, or is there an upcoming office party?
If so, enjoy yourself by indulging a little guilt free and don't waste your mental energy worrying about going off your plan. The most important key is to integrate a plan that leaves you feeling great while simultaneously allowing you the freedom to participate in the events and moments of life that are important to you.