On every health journey, there are going to be highs and lows. Somedays living a holistic lifestyle and eating a whole food, nutrient dense diet free of gluten, refined sugars and refined flour, can be a total breeze. Other days it can feel like a slow uphill battle.
In winter, when the weather is dark, cold and often stormy, staying motivated can be especially difficult. While there is no such thing as a quick fix or 'magic pill' when it comes to achieving optimal health, there are a number of things you can do to help make eating healthy a lot more fun and achievable.
In this blog, we'll be looking at what you actually need to do for optimal health and sharing tools and tips to help you stay motivated.
Being driven by science, holistic health and nutrition, BePure believes optimal health is not just focused on one thing.
However, we also understand that when looking at where to get started it can quickly feel overwhelming and difficult to pinpoint what to do first.
The goal here is long-term, optimal health, so the key to success is to take things slow and steady. We have a funny, little saying at the BePure Clinic that help puts this into perspective.
Question: "How do you eat an elephant?"
Answer: "One bite at a time."
To keep things simple we've put together some guidelines to help you stay focused. Try focusing on one guideline each week. Once you feel comfortable, slowly start adding others.
A key part of the BePure philosophy is to limit or ideally eliminate, bread, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and all processed foods from your diet.
For some people, these foods are easy to give up. For others, they can do without them for a little while but the urge to consume something, quick, tasty and satisfying often takes over. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, I think it's safe to say, there are always going to be occasions when you crave or feel tempted by something.
"So often we beat ourselves up for our slip-ups but we don't take the time to appreciate and celebrate the accomplishments we have made along the way."
In those moments it's great to have someone or something to hold you accountable to your overall health goals or to remind you why you're doing this in the first place. It's also really nice to have someone that you can enjoy a mindful treat with.
No one is perfect and we all have 'low' days. So often we beat ourselves up for our slip-ups but we don't take the time to appreciate and celebrate the accomplishments we have made along the way.
To help you note how well you're doing and stay motivated, here are our 10 top tips.
Whether that means roping in a friend, convincing a work colleague, bringing your partner on board, asking your mum, dad, grandparent, sister, cousin, aunty... Having someone to share the experience with and hold you accountable, is so important to your shared success.
A great place to start could be connecting with someone within our BePure Facebook Community Group. Everyone in the group is on their own health journey, meaning they especially understand the trials, challenges and celebrations you're experiencing.
Better yet, start an accountability or support group . Again our private Facebook Community Group is a safe space for members of our BePure Community to share experiences, ask questions, seek support and suggest recipes they have enjoyed. Click the link above sign up at any time and invite your group to join with you.
Food journals are a great way to stay mindful of what you are consuming, how you feel and to note the accomplishments you've achieved each day. It also makes it really easy to notice your behaviour patterns.
This can be in whatever format is easiest for you so that you remember to fill it in. Here are some suggestions:
You don't have to go on this journey alone. We have two incredible teams of BePure Clinical Consultants in both Auckland and Havelock North that can offer you personalised guidance and support. We offer a range of different tests so that you can find out exactly what you need to eat and do for your unique body and lifestyle. If you don't live in either of these areas, our Consultants are also available for phone and Skype consultations.
When it comes to health and wellness we like to follow the 80:20 rule. This basically means 80% of your meals and behaviours follow the BePure guidelines above, while the other 20% of the time you are free to enjoy your favourite whole food treats. Things like a glass of wine, a slice of brownie, or dinner out with family. As a rough guideline, over 7 days, of 3 meals per day, that would be 17 meals that follow the BePure Guidelines and 4 meals where you can include something a little more indulgent.
Exercise is very personal. Just as there is no perfect diet for everyone, finding what exercise works for you will be different to someone else.
A key purpose of exercise is to help balance out your stress levels. So if you are well slept with low stress in your day-to-day life, putting your body under some positive physiological stress will reap huge benefits. But, if you are already under a lot of stress or suffering from adrenal fatigue choosing a form of exercise that is lower in intensity and more restorative will be hugely beneficial. I have an entire blog post that goes into further detail on exercising right for you.
Deep, belly breathing helps to calm your central nervous system. Next time you're experiencing stress notice what happens to your breath. Usually, we switch to shallow breathing from our chest. This triggers a bodily response that we are under stress or danger, activating our sympathetic nervous system and fight or flight response.
Next time you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a couple of minutes to sit in a comfortable chair or lie on the floor with your hands on your belly. You can even do it sitting at your desk or driving your car. Gently breathe in and out until you notice your hands rising and falling with each breathe. Do ten deep and slow breaths to activate your rest and digest nervous system. This is great to do just before eating.
For more tips on this view our blog post 10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Mood.
BePure Clinical Consultant, Jontel Kiwi Kiwi, talked about this in her Q&A Interview on how to mind your health last week.
Many of us put the needs of others before our own and talk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to a friend. All of us slip up and make mistakes but you always deserve to be treated with love, kindness and understanding – by yourself!
Try to think about yourself as your own best friend and filter out the negative self-talk by phrasing things the way you would if you were talking to a friend.
Completely eliminating a habit can be very difficult for most people. Rather than cutting something out entirely, try replacing a habit you want to change with a different, positive alternative.
"Rather than cutting something out entirely, try replacing a habit you want to change with a different, positive alternative."
For example, do you come home from work and start mindlessly munching on whatever is in the fridge or cupboard? Or do you catch yourself snacking while cooking and baking? Try making a cup of herbal tea and sipping on that instead.
We like the mantra “progress not perfection.” As we've discussed above, achieving optimal health is a long-term goal. Finding foods you enjoy eating and establishing a healthy balance between time, money and quality food, is crucial to forming sustainable, consistent habits.
"Small, consistent changes reap bigger results over time than two weeks of intense, vigorous changes."
It’s important to be realistic and flexible in your approach. We can have the best of intentions and set goals to prep all our food on the weekend, workout in the morning and buy organic produce and meat, but some weeks it won’t all happen. Learning to be ok with this and not viewing it as a failure is critical for building long-term habits and health. Remember, small, consistent changes reap bigger results over time than two weeks of intense, vigorous changes.
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