The media does a great job of painting wellness as this grueling process where the only way to feel better is to suffer first. That is so wrong and ridiculous! In fact, I know some simple things you can do right now that will have immediate positive effects by tomorrow! I have worked with so many clients who came to their first meeting braced for me to take away everything they love and throw a strict meal plan and exercise regime at them. For the record, I have never handed out a single meal plan. The plan we build together is based completely on the client’s current lifestyle, with small habits mastered one by one. Years later, these clients are still living their best life!
Think of your body as an instrument in a beautiful symphony. A symphony, by definition, has four parts. While each part is beautiful on its own, the movements in their entirety complete the magnificence that is the symphony. Our wellness responds in quite the same way. Wellness is not just one action, its multiple actions working together toward achieving something great! These actions motivate one another, to achieve optimum wellness. The four areas of wellness I want to address include sleep, water, nutrition, and exercise. Each on their own are excellent places to start. However, giving attention to all areas will create a great Symphony of Wellness.
Probably the most important of our four actions and can be the most intimidating. However, it is so simple if you let the media and fads go. The first thing you need to do is change your mindset and see food as fuel. If you eat well, you’ll feel well! The best place to start is to eat less processed foods and more whole foods. A whole food is something with one ingredient like an apple, or chicken breast – both of those are whole foods that have not been modified. Apple sauce is not a whole food, nor is a boxed chicken finger because both have been altered or “processed” from their original “whole” state. You can be strategic when you grocery shop to avoid the processed food areas. Use an online food order app to control what you buy and if you must go, always go with a list. Here is an example grocery list where I strategically shop the perimeter of the grocery store in specific order:
Mostly vegetables and some fruit
Lean Meat: Chicken, Turkey, Fish
Dairy: Plain Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Eggs
Plant Based: Edamame, Tofu, Lentils
Protein Powder: Whey Isolate, Vegan
3. Aisles & Frozen
*The goal is minimal/whole ingredients
Brown Rice, Quinoa
Natural Peanut Butter
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil & Sprays
Frozen Fruit for smoothies/yogurt
Frozen Vegetables for emergencies
Next, you’ll need to organize it into meals and snacks. Keep it simple and plan all your meals and snacks around lean protein sources. Men and women have different needs, however, setting yourself up on a food schedule is a great place to start. Here is an example day for each gender:
Women (3 meals & 1-2 snacks)
Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack
Men (3 meals & 2-3 snacks)
Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack
My clients hear me say this all the time, but it works! “Prioritize protein and everything else falls into place.” You will find you naturally add veggies and carbs to a chicken breast dinner, and plain yogurt is much tastier when you add a handful of frozen fruit. Protein is a macronutrient we seem to be lacking and once we eat enough of it, amazing things happen! Your energy level will skyrocket! Your pesky cravings will subside because your hunger will be satisfied. Eating on a schedule will help your metabolism wake up and burn calories too!
Not sure how much protein you need each day? Just ask your coach and we can guide you. When we calculate this for a client, we keep it remarkably simple. It is your Basal Metabolic Rate “BMR” (how many calories you burn daily before activity) and your activity level added together. That becomes calories for the day and from there we can determine how many grams of protein you should aim for each day. If you want to go further, we can determine how much fat and carbohydrates as well.
Interested in the other areas? Check out:
No matter where you start in these four areas, it should not feel like work. While there is effort required, the changes you make to your existing lifestyle need to be small and steady. Pick a quick win for yourself, like drinking that cup of water first thing in the morning for a week. See how you feel and how easy that little change was. Next, go to your bed and see if you can make some easy improvements like closing the blinds, or setting up your work PC at the kitchen table instead of your bed. After that, you could sit and make a grocery list following the perimeter shopping plan. Finally, get out and move! Go for a walk if that’swhat today looks like. Take it slow and enjoy the Symphony of Wellness!