“Our body is the only one we’ve been given, so we need to maintain it; we need to give it the best nutrition.”
Trudie Styler: English Actress
Your body only functions well when you give it the proper nourishment. This is not to say that if you eat a hamburger once in a while, you are not eating properly. A wise woman once said that a little bit of feasting on things that are bad for you is not, in itself, a bad thing. We agree with her that good nutrition principles require balance. Here’s why.
It’s a well-known fact that if you deny yourself a particular food, you’ll crave it more. Think about it: when you put yourself on a diet – and you say that you’re not going to eat pastries, sweets or cake – what do you crave? Answer: pastries, sweets and cake! So when we can’t stand the craving any longer, we gorge on these things that we’ve forbidden ourselves to eat. The result is that we eat far too much than we should, possibly making ourselves sick, and give ourselves a healthy dose of guilt that we slipped up in the first place.
To make sure that you don’t go on a bender, make sure that you introduce a bit of the foods that you like to eat, but know that you shouldn’t, into your diet. So if you know that your weakness is a chocolate cake that just oozes icing, let yourself have a slice once a week. But instead of going for a doorstopper-of-a-slice, ask the waiter for a half slice. You’ll be satisfying your craving while – at the same time – getting rid of any guilt.
Different stroke for different folks
Our bodies are all made differently. We all have generally the same components in our bodies however the finer details of our body make-up differ from one person to another. For example, some people may be lactose intolerant and, as such, will not be able to eat dairy products. These products are a good source of calcium which is responsible for building healthy teeth and bones. Thus, just because lactose intolerant people can’t eat dairy they can still get their calcium intake from other food sources or supplements.
Good nutritional principles are not one-size-fits-all. They need to be adapted and moulded to the particular person’s body make up so that they end up getting the nutrition that they need.
In our highly stressed world, we often experience a good amount of anxiety. We worry:
- Am I doing my job according to my boss’ expectations?
- Is my boss happy with me?
- Are my kids healthy and happy?
- How am I going to make it until the end of the month on my salary?
- Why do my husband and I keep fighting?
To get rid of this anxiety, we try to find ways of blocking it out and not dealing with it. Very often, we use food – which induces feelings of happiness and relaxation – to help us cope with the situations that we find ourselves in. Very often, people will turn to sugary foods – such as candy and cake – because the sugar releases endorphins that mask the feeling of anxiety.
In addition, people turn to alcohol to help them relax after a stressful day. This may have a short-term beneficial effect but the long-term results are far worse than the initial anxiety:
- Alcohol causes people to put on weight,
- It disturbs people’s sleep patterns, and
- Long-term alcohol abuse can cause liver damage.
By all means, eat those sugary foods and have a glass or two of wine! But when you start to not enjoy them – and are using them just as a means for escaping anxiety – you need to delve deeper into the reason for your anxiety and to stop using these foods as a crutch.
As we said in the introduction to this article, good nutrition principles are essential to maintaining good health. However, you need to take these, see how they integrate into your lifestyleand make the necessary adjustments should you need to. If you need any help introducing these principles into your life it is a good idea to ask a professional personal trainer their advice and let them guide you safely through your nutritional routine.