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Want a Different Body? 3 Things to Focus On

If you want something different, try something different.

#spoileralert: not a completely different body. A new way of caring for your current one to maximize your health and visual outcomes. 😉

The turn of the calendar often reinvigorates commitments to weight management, health, and wellbeing year after year. If “Groundhog Day” to you refers more to this cycle of starting over every year than it does to a rodent’s ability to predict how much longer winter is sticking around, then read on, dear friends.

Here’s the thing: if you want a different body (loss of excess weight/ improved health outcomes), you pretty much have to do things differently than you currently do. I like to be in the useful, ‘you can do it’ mindset, so here’s my take on it. It’s not going to cover everything because there’s a whole lot of details you could get lost in. Don’t get lost. Focus. We humans require a few basic things. Let’s start with a strong foundation of three areas (that are related) that you have choice in and that we need daily.

Sound too simple? Tough love question: Is what you have been doing working? No? Take a read before you make a final judgment.  Click through the links if you want to dig in on some details. Here we go:

  1. Sleep. Remember when you were little, you probably fought nap time and bed time? Ever wonder why we “make” kids sleep? Because we need it. At all ages. We don’t grow out of this need, and when you don’t sleep, it’s fascinating what can be impacted. When you sleep, your body uses that time to repair and rebuild. Sleep also helps allow for the ability to be creative and make decisions the next day, big and small. Is there more to it? Yes, but this is the gist. This one is first on my list because it impacts the other two things, so work on your sleep.
  1. Move. Our bodies are these amazing things we are in charge of. When trained/challenged, we see the possibilities – think of an athlete or a musician. We marvel at their skill. While natural talent has a role, have you ever seen an athlete or musician be successful without practicing? Without moving? Nope, I haven’t, either. If you have time to watch TV, you have time to move. Do push ups at commercial breaks. Zipping through commercials? Then march in place or stretch while you binge watch the next show/series. Do something. It’s not extra time, it’s just using the time you already have differently and with more thought about your end goal. Don’t forget, it’s almost always a good idea to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise routine.
  1. Eat. Ask yourself this question as you choose your food each day – why are you eating it? Because it’s there, or because it’s doing something for you? Would you hire someone without the skills needed to do their job? Why choose foods that don’t have the nutrition you need? It seems to me that somewhere along the way, many people have forgotten that the primary purpose of food is to help nourish us and keep us alive. It’s not just for recreation. It’s not a status symbol. It’s not just for entertainment. Care for your body and honor the farmers who grow our food.  Fill half your plate full of fruits and vegetables. Think about how to incorporate dairy, lean protein, and grains. Balanced meals can be beautiful to look at and help provide a mix of nutrients we need. You don’t need to be perfect. It’s ok to add something decadent. Some of my favorites? Honeycrisp and Envy apples this time of year, or roasted cabbage. Love a good toasted sandwich or a hearty bowl of soup, too. Casseroles? Yes please.  The point is, look at your food intake and ask yourself if someone else were in charge of picking your menu, would you be pleased with their selections for you? You pick your food. It’s okay to stick with things you love, just elevate them. My casseroles include increasing the veggies the recipe calls for. My soups integrate two to three food groups. My sandwiches have protein (and other nutrients) from a small portion of both cheese and lean meat, and I like a pile of veggies on them, too. Tweak your meals, don’t freak about them.

Which one of these three human needs will you focus on first?

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.