Pillar 4: Nutrition

Although most of us know that eating healthy is good for our overall wellness, proper nutrition seems to be one of the hardest things for people to understand and apply. It is easy to get confused with all of the fad diets that come and go, not to mention the fact that each and every one of us is different and we are all going to have different nutritional needs! Here at The Durable Athlete, we believe that living an optimized lifestyle requires you to adopt a “durable diet” or one that you can be consistent with that will ultimately fuel you for longevity and performance. 

Why is nutrition something we need to consider?

While getting regular exercise can improve how we look and feel, research has shown that nutrition has the largest impact on our fitness. Nutrition, like all of the other pillars plays a pivotal role in how we feel and function on a daily basis. And just like the other pillars, it’s not about being perfect everyday, but rather building habits that help you; not hinder or hurt you. 

We literally are what we eat! Our bodies replace billions of cells everyday with nutrients from our food intake. Therefore, the nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, hormones, tissue, organs, skin, and hair.

How does nutrition feed into an optimized lifestyle?

If you’re looking to optimize your fitness and lifestyle, we highly recommend you focus on healthy food intake as a primary goal. When healthy eating habits become a part of your routine, chances are you will be healthier and happier. ​Eating right has the ability to reduce body fat, which then leads to losing a few pounds and feeling more confident. Not to mention, healthy eating can reduce our risk of illness and disease and influence the longevity of our life.

Becoming more aware is a common theme with The Durable Athlete. Living an optimized lifestyle requires one to be curious, to learn, adapt and grow! Nutrition for a long and healthy life is not a one size fits all approach. It is up to the individual to dedicate the time to trying new foods, reflecting on how they feel when they eat those foods, and understanding what works best for their body. It is also a good idea to seek out a nutrition coach that can help guide this process. 

Another way one can become more aware is by trying what is called “mindful eating”. This practice ask that you slow down when it comes to your food and bring more attention to your hunger cues, cravings, and overall eating experience. 

How does nutrition affect our Physical, Mental and Social health?

Physical Health

Having a healthy diet can provide your body’s cells with the nutrients it needs to perform its daily functions optimally. Without quality nutritional food, metabolic processes slow down significantly, and your physical health suffers or declines. Proper eating habits that incorporate healthy food will ultimately work to protect the body against diseases, such as heart disease, type II diabetes and cancer.

Mental Health

Our physical and mental well-being is directly related to what we put in our mouth. For example, studies have shown that the gut produces more serotonin, the well-known happy hormone, than the brain does. 95% of all serotonin lives in the gut, not in the head!

When a person’s diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, calcium and iron, symptoms of depression can occur. On the flip side, eating nutritious meals regularly gives you the energy you need to complete your daily tasks and provides the necessary ingredients for a happy, balanced life. When we lack the energy to work hard, perform, or make an effort towards fostering the relationships in our life, you may fall short of accomplishing your duties and goals, which can leave you feeling sad or frustrated. Therefore, negatively affecting your mental health.

Social Health

Let’s face it, our society uses food and eating as a bonding activity. While going out to eat or attending a family function is important to our social health, sitting down for a healthy, home-cooked meal is a great habit to adopt. These intimate meals that nourish our body also help build deeper relationships, providing an opportunity for meaningful connection. Beyond that, improved physical health may make you more likely to take part in social games or activities which are great for bonding with others. The fact of the matter is by eating healthy food we can better achieve weight loss, increase our energy levels and improve our mental health. Feeling good and looking our best will positively impact our self confidence. Higher self confidence, or a healthy self-esteem can boost your social confidence, strengthening your ability to create and keep good friendships and intimate relationships.

In conclusion, nutrition is very important and must not be neglected when trying to optimize your lifestyle. It ultimately affects every aspect of your health. If you are interested in learning more about how you can optimize your nutrition, schedule a mentor call with one of us! On the call we are able to discuss different nutrition topics and provide tips to help you navigate the mass amount of information to find what works best for you!

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