It’s National Nutrition Month® and the theme this year is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day!” Your nutrition is personal—an important part of who you are and how you look, feel and perform every day. It impacts not only your day to day functioning, but also the health challenges you are experiencing right now or may face in the future. Because health is so individualized it’s important to find a style of eating that optimizes your personal health and fits your lifestyle, health management and schedule, while being delicious and satisfying.
Eating right most of the time pays off because foods that are nutrient-packed have powerful health benefits. They help protect you from serious diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis and can also reduce risk factors like high blood pressure, being overweight and diabetes. They can even help you ward off infections and the seasonal flu by boosting immunity and making your body’s defense system much stronger.
This month, take my eat right challenge and think about one change you’d like to make to improve your nutrition every day. How can you make that change a daily habit? In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg states that “what we repeatedly do has more impact on us than what we do occasionally.” I found this to be a profound insight into the power of our daily habits to determine our day-to-day energy and the quality of our lifelong health. The choices that we make most of the time have the most influence on how we feel, look & perform and the choices we make once-in-a while really don’t have much affect at all. Make sense? If we begin to think of our food, nutrition & fitness choices in that way, we can all achieve the optimal health we desire and deserve—much sooner!
The choices we make consistently—on a daily basis–can propel us forward to feeling better or keep us in a negative stronghold. Habits affect our energy levels and our potential to reach our vision and the goals we set for ourselves. Check out Duhigg’s YouTube video to learn about the anatomy of forming a habit. When we learn how to change the cues and the rewards we get from keeping a habit we can use this information to change the habit into a positive one. Research says that new habits done repeatedly, at least 21 times, will become a new habit. When we establish a new habit it reduces mental energy and releases us from constant thinking about that new behavior. We essentially are on auto-pilot—free to concentrate and spend our mind’s energy on other things. Planning helps us prepare for creating the mindset to repeating new behaviors and helps our environment support those new behaviors. What change will you turn into a new habit this month to move you a step closer to better health?