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Stop Worrying About the Details and Work on the Big Picture First!
It might be all you need anyway!
Hello, Friend! Happy Tuesday!
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So many of us need to stop worrying about the details, and instead work on the big picture first. In my opinion, there’s a hierarchy of nutritional needs, and it behooves us to work on building a strong foundation before we jump up to the higher levels.
For some of us, those lower levels can be challenging to establish habits around, and the higher levels feel more exciting, but they can burn us out quickly and spending time building habits that serve that bottom layer will benefit us for many years to come!
I created this pyramid a while ago, and have shared it on my Instagram before, but it’s relevant to add here:
Lookin at this again now, it might even make sense to swap sleep with movement!
Seriously though, I get it… as I said before those top sections might seem more exciting than going to bed early! And, in the fast-paced world of nutrition and wellness, it's easy to get caught up in the latest trends, fad diets, and the pursuit of perfection. However, it's crucial to establish a solid foundation before delving into the intricacies of higher-level nutritional pursuits.
At the base of this hierarchy lies the essential practice of consuming whole, real foods. Prioritizing nutrient-dense options provides your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients it needs to function optimally. Rather than obsessing over minute details, we can focus on incorporating a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats into your meals.
Following closely is the emphasis on protein intake. Adequate protein consumption supports muscle growth, repair, and overall satiety. Prioritize sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and plant-based options to meet your protein needs and sustain energy levels. Aim for at least for 0.7g per day! (For a 150 pound person, that’s 105g of protein… for reference, 6oz of chicken has about 35g)
Next, getting some kind of movement in complements this balanced diet. Physical activity not only promotes cardiovascular health and helps with weight management, but also enhances mental well-being. Here too, doing certain exercises simply because you heard they’re effective or are fads, and aren’t something you actually enjoy, isn’t great practice. Prioritize finding activities you enjoy, whether it's a daily walk, yoga, or strength training, to maintain consistency and reap long-term benefits. Seriously, strength train… lift those weights!
Undoubtedly, sleep plays a vital role in overall health. Prioritize getting quality rest to support hormonal balance, immune function, weight management, and cognitive performance. As boring as it may sound, establish a consistent sleep routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and limit screen time before bed to improve sleep quality. Get 7-9 hours as many night as you possibly can!
In my opinion, if those first 3 elements aren’t in place, it doesn’t make sense to jump to tracking macros or including/excluding any specific types of food. Why? Because someday we’ll stop tracking macros, hopefully!, and if those groundwork pieces aren’t there for us to fall back on, we’ll likely go right back to our old, maybe unhealthy, habits! No bueno.
Mastering these foundational elements provides a solid groundwork for your health journey. As you may have heard, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Similarly, long-term health isn't achieved by fixating on the latest trends but by establishing sustainable habits that prioritize these core components. Really, work on them.
By focusing on these base layers, the allure of higher-level nutritional strategies becomes less pressing, which is nice! You then don’t have to worry about intricate supplement regimens or the source of every vegetable being organic until you've established a strong foundation. Prioritizing the essentials and crafting habits around them empowers you to make informed choices, navigate the ever-changing landscape of nutrition, and build a resilient foundation for a healthier, more vibrant life. So, before diving into the minutiae, remember to get your basics right—because a sturdy structure is built from the ground up.
Apologies if this post being a little preach-y… and, trust me, I want there to be a pill that does it all for you but there just isn’t! I really do think it’s super important to work on this groundwork. Because you might find that you don’t even need to go any higher up the pyramid to reach you goals and improve your health!
Certainly if you need help, I’m here for you! Reach out! Comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As always, thank you for reading!