I want to get personal with you for a few minutes – hope you don’t mind if I imagine we’re cozy in my living room together, hands cupped around warm mugs of coffee or tea.
Self-care is something I really struggle with. I spent 10 years as a single mother, and then I got married in 2010 to a wonderful man who very quickly slid down the slippery slope of alcoholism. Between his addiction and the stress of a blended family, plus the addition of our own babies, I almost lost myself completely. (He’s sober now, by the way – about a year and a half – but it’s been a very hard journey)
In 2011, when my son was 3 mos old, I saw a dermatologist for my skin. I have always struggled with acne prone skin, but it was out of control then. I was having a hard time wanting to leave my house because I felt so embarrassed. He advised me to quit breastfeeding so he could put me on a drug similar to Accutane and that was that. I left the office in tears, unsure of what to do.
Once I was home, I knew there had to be a better way. I started doing some research and began learning how our food affects our bodies, and our skin! That very day I ditched refined sugars and flours, and after a few weeks, I was sold. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt – I had energy for days, I was happier, more clear headed, my skin cleared up and I ended up dropping 15 lbs without exercising. I knew I had figured out something really important.
Because my personal life was so hard and chaotic, making time for the typical kinds of self care just wasn’t going to work. Most days I couldn’t even get 15 minutes alone, much less use that time on myself. So I began to focus on what I could change, and that was how I fueled my body. I credit good nutrition for so many things. When my 3rd child was born with several issues and didn’t sleep through the night for 2 years, I did my very best to continue to fuel my body well so I was better equipped to handle the stress.
Experiencing how good, healthy foods changed my life led me down my current career path of health coaching.
In fact, I think nutrition is one of the most critical components of self-care. If you aren’t fueling yourself well, the other things will only get you so far. But a good diet will offer you clearer thinking, better sleep, more stamina for exercise, better skin just to name a few. The mantra I use all the time with my clients is: Progress, not perfection. It can be so tempting to throw in the towel after a bad day or even one bad meal. No one is perfect, and one bad meal will not ruin your life. Just get back up, dust yourself off and make the best decisions you can make. Every choice you make is either moving you closer to your goals or further away.
So, here are my top 3 tips for upping your nutrition game:
—–> DRINK WATER – I know, I know. Everyone talks about this. But it truly is so important. You should be aiming for half your body weight in ounces every single day. This is the hardest one for me, y’all! Ugh, drinking water is not fun for me – if I could I’d be hitting up the coffee pot all day long, but I make an effort every day to drink all my water. Our bodies NEED water, so get to chugging!
—–> EAT MORE PLANTS – No, I’m not asking you to be a vegetarian! (Unless you want to be!) But a good rule of thumb is to eat more plants. Smoothies are a fantastic way of getting a lot of fruits and veggies in, first thing in the morning. If you are not a fan of the idea of cutting certain foods out of your life, try adding MORE fruits and veggies. You’ll be surprised at the difference it will make.
—–> EAT MORE FAT – Yep, I want you to eat MORE fat. It might go against everything you’ve ever heard about being healthy but kick the low-fat, low-cal processed foods to the curb. If you’re filling up on whole foods, and lots of plants, adding in some good healthy fats to your day is so beneficial. Avocados, nuts, coconut oil, pasture raised eggs – fat is so important for our bodies to function well. In fact, a few months ago I hit a weight loss plateau (working on losing baby weight from baby #4!) and I increased my fat intake and lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks. Don’t be afraid of eating the right kind of fat.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be scary. Try new foods, experiment with what you like and don’t like and make food fun! Give yourself 21 days of incorporating more water, plants and healthy fat into your diet and I guarantee you’ll be feeling great!
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