Happy National Nutrition Month!
Doesn't this picture make you smile? If only we could all feel the same way about our body and diet. Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt confident, strong and proud about your lifestyle choices?
The theme for National Nutrition Month (NNM) is "Get your plate in Shape."
As a newly credentialed RD, I am so proud to be part of a fantastic community of registered dietitians as well as be part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But take away my credentials and all that is left of me is a body that absolutely loves the life that I am choosing to live.
When it comes to National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Formerly known as American Dietetic Association) doesn't add a lot of complexity to the theme.
The pictures above remind me of an overall theme as to how we should be eating and living. Each picture is colorful, bold and simply beautifuly to look at. Food in it's real form, natural, wholesome and pure.
When it comes to nutrition/diet and the opinions of many, rules and guidelines over-complicate such a simple idea.
Take a moment and think about 15 people in your life. 5 of those people are training/fitness buddies, 5 people are family members and 5 people are friends and/or co-workers. Now, consider having all of your friends join you for a workout OR perhaps take your least or most fit friend/family member and join him/her for a workout. For when it comes to differing fitness levels, it's so easy to understand that we all differ in fitness ability yet we can all share similar lifestyles as to how we approach physical activity. For we all don't have to be Ironman athletes to be active. It doesn't matter if you are a basketball player, ballet dancer, gymnast, tennis player, snowboarder, runner, triathlete or cyclist - life presents countless outlets to be active, be involved in the community, to enjoy free drugs (thanks to endorphins), to achieve goals, overcome obstacles, be competitive and to test limits.
So when you consider that there are countless ways as to how one can approach physical activity, why is that so many people strive to do what others are doing when it comes to food, nutrition and/or diet? Because a body image doesn't always tell the true story, following the rules of a person who is screaming at you via internet blog posts, facebook posts and magazine articles is no way to help yourself discover your own individual strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your individual diet.
Get your plate in shape
When I read the 2012 NNM theme, I think POWER. As an athletic woman, there's nothing more invigorating than feeling powerful. For with power comes strength and a sense of confidence.
A balanced lifestyle that emphasizes whole food can be powerful. For with a varied diet, one increases the chance of being well nourished. With adequate nutrients in the body, one is more likely to live a quality life. Certainly, while diet and exercise make up a large part of improving the value of your days here on Earth, it is important to recognize that diet and exercise merely enhance how you spend your days here on Earth.
With thousands of tips and guidelines as to how you should be living your life, reflect on your daily choices and decide on a few key areas that will be the driving reasons that you choose to "get your plate in shape". Maybe you want to train for a half marathon, travel the world when you retire or simply control your diabetes or reduce your risk from cancer (or recurrence of cancer). To get you started on your journey, here's a good starting point:
1) Identify the strengths in your lifestyle that you feel are helping you reach your diet, exercise and lifestyle goals.
2) Identify the weaknesses in your lifestyle that you feel are helping you reach your diet, exercise and lifestyle goals.
3) Decide on a plan of action as to how you can modify a few of your individual "weaknesses" and work on this for the next week. Don't aim for perfection, aim for progress.
Perhaps as you start this journey, you may also want to identify your relationship with food, your exercise routine, your sleep and stress habits or your resources that have an influence as to how you choose to live your life.
Rather than targeting that small serving of ice cream or cereal that you choose to indulge in at the later hours of the evening or perhaps that mid morning snack of a granola bar, be honest with yourself as to what you feel are your personal limitors as to why your life is not in balance...or perhaps, the most realistic ways of getting your "plate in shape".