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Balance, Consistency, Structure

 
 Brittney Sharp, MS, RD, LD
The fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle are backed by living your life with balance and finding consistency in the way you structure your self-care. Nutrition is the cornerstone of these ideals.

Finding a balance in dietary intake is of the upmost importance in our overall health. Fueling our bodies is one of the many things we can do to provide balance. Our bodies require fuel throughout the day. This may look slightly different for everyone, but the basic principle of needing fuel does not change. There are many patterns of eating that include elimination, avoidance, or restriction that are used in the name of “eating healthy”. True healthy eating means finding the right combination of food that makes our body run efficiently. Premium fuel includes lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality dairy. By building confidence in our body’s ability to utilize the fuel we give it, flexibility evolves to mix in variety without compromising overall performance. Through this process balanced, healthy eating patterns can emerge!

People are often looking to reset their system of living. From a dietary perspective, to reset can mean creating consistency. This does not have to be expensive, time consuming or complex. Developing consistent eating patterns can be as simple as focusing on fueling your body at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For some, this may already be an eating pattern that is in place and improved consistency instead needs to focus on quality or quantity of dietary intake. Taking steps to add consistency to your diet in ways that are realistic and attainable with your lifestyle is key.

Now, to truly know what your body needs you must listen. Listening provides structure. I don’t mean listening to that craving for cookies or ice cream as we wind down for the evening, but rather the signs your body is telling you that you may not be getting what you need. Why are you craving carbs and sugar? Are you tired? Thirsty? Ravenously hungry? Do you sleep poorly? Are you irritable, depressed or anxious? Most people don’t attribute these things to a nutritional deficiency, when in fact, that is exactly the problem! Structure to what we give our bodies for fuel is imperative.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel your body uses to function during the day. Without carbohydrates you might notice sugar cravings, fatigue, lack of concentration or irritability. Choosing the carbohydrates that your body can use most efficiently helps your body stay fueled, without having to work overtime. Missing this primary component leaves your body asking for a more immediate source of fuel – insert sugar cravings here! Protein helps satisfy our hunger. Without adequate protein, we may find our bodies asking for things it THINKS it needs, but doesn’t truly need – insert mindless munching, overeating, or grazing between meals! Like carbohydrates, choosing the protein your body can use most efficiently makes us feel our best. 

Lastly, fats are just as essential when considering healthy eating. The right types of fat promote a healthy heart, protect vital organs and improve satiety when paired with premium proteins. That being said, our bodies will respond negatively to the wrong types of fat. Bodies prefer sources such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils derived from plants to utilize this nutrient most efficiently.

Ultimately, we all need the same types of fuel, just dispersed in different quantities and combinations. Pair the right fuel with daily mindful movement and watch your body transform into the best version of you! Balance, consistency, structure. Let’s find it together!