By Shannon Hayes Buescher, MS, RD, LD
We are bombarded with so much information on what is right or wrong for your body. What you should be eating and what should be eliminated. What supplements to take and what exercise you should be doing. The problem with a lot of this information is that it is often the trending fad and the primary focus is on weight and not the actual health of your body. It has been shown that regardless of your size, these five things will optimize and improve the health of your body. Find out which one you may need to pay a little more attention to.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and nutrients that help the well-being of your body. The more colorful, the more goodness you’re getting. These gifts from nature help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, fight cancer and other diseases. The US dietary guideline recommends getting between 1½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 2½ cups of vegetables a day. Keep in mind, if you have been a chronic dieter, the last thing you may want are fruits and vegetables. Just give yourself time and keep an open mind. Often you just need some space from these foods to shift wanting them for health reasons versus dieting and weight loss reasons. Eventually, your body will be asking for them.
- Move your body. The way exercise is promoted is primarily about weight and changing the exterior of your body. This is often the set up and when someone is “off” their diet or feels they aren’t getting “the results they want,” movement stops. The key is concentrating on what moving your body does for your body. It not only helps with stress, anxiety and sleep, but it also helps to keep your bones strong, lowers cholesterol and blood sugars. Another big factor is to find something that you like doing. When you like the way it feels when you are moving your body and the after, you’ll have a better chance of staying with it. I always suggest trying to get four days of movement in a week-that way, you are active more days than not. Any other day over is a bonus but be sure to have rest days!
- Limit your alcohol to the recommended amount. The recommended amount per day is two drinks for men and one drink for women. Excess alcohol has been shown to lead to chronic diseases and cancer.
- Drink water. The goal of water is a minimum of eight, 8-oz cups a day. If you are more active and/or a sweater, you need more. Your urine color is a good gauge. The goal is clear to light yellow. If its medium to darker yellow-drink up! Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches, lethargy and feeling a false sense of hunger.
- Don’t smoke. Do I really need to say more about this?
Shannon Hayes Buescher, MS, RD, LD, has more than 15 years of experience working with people to help heal their relationship with food and their body. She is a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who is passionate about helping people heal from the diet culture. She has a private practice, located in Chesterfield and offers individual or virtual sessions, as well as online Intuitive Eating groups. Visit her website at www.hayesnutrition.com.