How to Prioritize Your Nutritional Goals in 2024
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in fueling your body with the essentials it needs to function optimally. By prioritizing a balanced and nutritious diet, you not only support physical health but also enhance mental well-being. Incorporating nutrient-rich foods can boost energy levels, improve concentration, and contribute to better mood regulation. It can be tough to stay on track and that’s why we sat down with Kristina, owner and founder of Nutrition for Holistic Wellness to learn more about how her programs empower people to make positive choices that resonate throughout the year.
Q: How can I maintain a balanced and nutritious diet that supports my overall well-being and health?
A: The best way to support your overall well-being and health concerning dietary choices is to avoid extremes, and aim to get your nutrients from whole foods first. Shakes, mixes, and powders may be convenient, and may help bridge gaps in nutrition, but eating whole foods (specifically the act of chewing) stimulates the body’s natural digestion process, and can increase our natural production of digestive enzymes. Any dietary plan that cuts out whole food groups (i.e. fats, carbs, vegetables) is likely not holistically healthy.
Q: What are some effective stress management techniques or practices that can help me promote mental and emotional wellness?
My favorite three ways to manage stress are meditation, somatic movement, and breathwork.
Q: How can I incorporate regular physical activity and exercise into my daily routine to improve my physical health?
A: Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your health practitioner. Everyone responds differently to exercise, so what may work for you may not work for someone else. Some excellent low-impact and effective exercises are yoga, walking, swimming, and indoor cycling.
Q: What resources or strategies are available for cultivating a positive and proactive mindset?
A: Studies show that people with a positive mindset have better health outcomes. I say this with a bit of trepidation because toxic positivity, or pretending you feel positive when you don’t can be incredibly damaging. It is important to feel what you feel, even when you don’t feel incredibly positive. I like using affirmations to cultivate a positive mindset because the subconscious listens and adapts to the thoughts we think and the words we say. Some of my favorite affirmations are:
I have radiant, vibrant health.
Life is good.
Everything is happening for me.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Life brings me blessings or lessons, and both make me better.
Check out Louise Hay, Brene Brown, or Abraham Hicks for some well-respected, “relaxed and easy” mindset truths. For a more “hustle and push” energy, check out Mel Robbins, Chalene Johnson, or Jen Hatmaker.
Q: How can I create a healthy living environment, including practices for better sleep and relaxation?
A: We live in an overstimulated, always-on, hustle culture and most of us go, go, go until we hit a brick wall and slide down it into a pile of exhausted mush at the end of the day. We may sleep but we do not rest. In a society that equates rest with laziness, it is easy to get caught in the trap of perpetual productivity. To get a better handle on this, create blocks of time where you are not available (except for emergencies), and create relaxing routines and downtime. I recommend the following:
- Place your phone on Do Not Disturb from 9 pm – 7 am (or some block of time that makes sense for your life)
- Set aside 5-15 minutes in the morning and evening to journal, or read
- No screens 2 hours before bed, and 1 hour after waking up
- At sundown, dim the lighting in your home to signal to your body it is time to wind down
- Drink caffeine-free herbal tea or something warm about an hour before bed
- Practice the breathing exercises above – even when not stressed
- Keep a pen and paper by your bed to capture racing thoughts
- Stretch and walk throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of sitting
Q: Can you provide guidance on building and maintaining strong social relationships to sustain a healthy lifestyle?
A: It sounds counterintuitive, but the key to great relationships with others is founded in the relationship you have with yourself. Take great care in how you care for and talk to yourself. Fall in love with who you are, flaws and all. Self-compassion and self-kindness are critical if you expect to have healthy relationships. Without them, you may project your shortcomings and insecurities on others, or worse yet, you may allow unhealthy behaviors in your relationships. Nurture your needs first, so that you have enough self-respect and self-confidence to demand it from others. In relationships that are important to you, do not be afraid to speak your truth. If issues arise, don’t sweep them under the rug. No one likes a lumpy rug! Kindness, confidence, compassion, joy, and honesty are essential ingredients when creating strong social connections.
Q: How can I develop a holistic approach to health that encompasses physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness?
A: Holistic means whole, so taking an honest look at all of the aspects of your life that impact your wellness is important. Be real with yourself about the areas that need your love and attention. Know that you can eat the perfect diet, but if you are stressed to the max, you are not healthy. One tool I like to use is the Wheel of Life. Each month evaluate the quality of each of these areas of your life, and note why your score is what it is. If an area scores lower than you’d like, write down 1 thing you could do to improve the score for next month.
Q: What self-care practices or habits can I integrate into my daily life to support holistic well-being?
A: In my practice, I focus on 5 Foundations of Holistic Wellness. Sleep, Stress, Nutrition, Movement and Relationships. During each weekday, pick one area and do at least one thing to support wellness in this area. Take the weekends off. Below is an example:
Monday: Sleep – Take a warm bubble bath an hour before bed. Read 10 pages of a fiction book.
Tuesday: Stress – Have a dinner dance party. While making dinner, dance around the kitchen, and sing into the spice bottles. Have FUN!
Wednesday: Nutrition – Focus on eating the rainbow. Get at least 1 of each of the rainbow colors on your plate.
Thursday: Movement – Take a 5-minute walk every hour. Say “This walk is excellent for my health” over and over while walking.
Friday: Relationships – Plan a fun night out with friends, or call someone you’ve been thinking of- just to catch up.