Everyone is a unique and we have a sum total of all of our life experiences. There is not one complete program that is right for everyone. It comes down to personalizing your own health. It can take some introspection and experimentation to get it just right.
Eating a “healthy” diet isn’t as simple as consuming more salads, sipping more green juice or taking in more protein. Sweating it out in spin class or running five miles a day may not be the answer to getting back into shape either. In many cases, this can actually cause your body to retain fat and throw your hormones out of balance.
The truth is that each and every one of us is incredibly and beautifully unique.
Different things make us happy. Different things make us sad. In the same way, different foods and forms of movement will support each one of us differently. There is no “one-size-fits-all” recipe for better health.
When it comes to food, the main things to consider are how strong your digestion is and if the food is going to support your health or worsen any imbalances. About 50-70% of your immune system lies in your gut. How well you absorb the nutrients from your food and eliminate toxic waste is detrimental to the state of your health.
The quality of the foods you eat and the specific foods themselves can play a key role in how well your unique digestive process functions. Years of poor lifestyle choices, prescription medications, environmental toxins and stress can also impact the state of your digestion and negatively affect your health. Everything from weight gain, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances and skin issues are all connected to gut health.
When it comes to personalizing your own health, here are a few tips you can try now:
Pay attention to how you feel
The best gauge of how food is affecting your body is to actually pay attention to how you feel physically and emotionally when you eat. Practicing mindful eating and tuning into your body will provide you with more information than you probably think.
Respect your hunger
Six small meals a day or three large meals a day? The truth is there is no one right answer. It’s best to once again pay attention to your body. Are you actually hungry when you’re eating, are you eating out of habit, because it’s a certain time or because you’re bored or sad? As a general principle, eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat when you’re not.
More isn’t necessarily better
If you’re incredibly stressed out, having sleep issues and suffering from anxiety, going to high intensity bootcamp classes five days a week is only going to make things worse. Instead try incorporating more relaxing types of movement such as yoga (not hot yoga), pilates, walking or hiking.
Address the four pillars of health
According to Ayurveda, a 5000-year old holistic system of medicine, there are four main pillars to health: Sleep, Digestion, Elimination and Menstruation (for men, this would be other ways of purifying.) Look at the quality of each one of those in your life right now and ask yourself if each is operating at peak performance. If not, you may have a clue as to what is throwing your system off and causing you to not feel well.
The only way to really know what is working and not working for your body is to experiment with new foods, new forms of exercise and new forms of relaxation such as meditation or breath work. Try something new out for a few weeks and see if you notice any differences.
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