Nutrition is an individual journey. We owe it to ourselves to determine which foods and what style of eating works best for our bodies. Just like learning any new skill, nutrition takes practice.
The goal should be to develop an approach to eating that makes you feel great, maintain a healthy body, and achieve your goals. We all run into moments of weakness around food, but if your current diet makes you feel angry or sad on a daily basis it’s time for a change.
Let’s take a look at some different ways that eating better can make you feel better:
- Improved mental function
Our brain is the control center of the body and just like our muscles and organs it requires fuel to keep it going. In fact, some studies have shown that the brain uses up to 20% of our body’s daily energy.
Focusing on eating to improve our brains function is a great way to feel better. The brain loves wild fish like salmon and mackerel. That’s because these fish contain omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. DHA helps our brain send signals to our body and improves our memories. Try adding 1-2 servings of wild caught fish each week to get an optimal dose.
The foods we eat determine the way our body and mind perform. Next time you reach for that donut try to picture how your brain will run using the donut as fuel. Instead look for some fresh veggies and hummus, a handful of nuts, or a stick of turkey jerky to give your brain some jet fuel to run on.
- Add Muscle, Burn Fat
The battle to fit back in those jeans from college starts and ends in the kitchen. No amount of exercise can overcome an unhealthy diet. Figuring out the right foods in your diet is the key to unlocking your ideal body composition. Imagine how good it would feel to go out on your anniversary wearing the suit from your wedding rehearsal! Protein is known for building muscle but it can do more for your body than help you recover after a workout.
Set the bar at breakfast. A high protein breakfast is one of the best ways to improve body composition. Studies have shown that consuming 30g of protein at breakfast helps with satiety and improves glycemic control. This means less desire to snack on high carbohydrate or sugary snacks later in the day. One study showed that participants who ate a high protein breakfast on average consumed 441 calories fewer each day!
- Foods that light you up
Eating is often thought of for fueling performance, but food plays another important role as the building block of our cells. Certain foods help build healthy hair, skin, and nails.
If you’re looking for a youthful glow and to get carded until you’re 50 try these 3 superfoods:
- Avocado. Rich in vitamins A, D , E, and many phytonutrients; avocado promote supple skin, help prevent environmental damage and prevent signs of aging.
- Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for forming collagen which holds hair particles together.
- Lentils contain Folate, a B vitamin needed to repair cells in your fingernails and skin.
- Get Creative
Preparing meals from whole foods can be a fun and relaxing part of the day. Learn how to season dishes using herbs, spices, and complementary pairings. This eliminates “empty calories” from your diet that show up in sugary sauces and dressings.
Eating is a time for bonding and camaraderie, get together with family and friends to create a new dish. Focus on great conversation, chewing your food, and turning off the TV and electronics. By giving new meaning and tradition to your meals, eating can be a source of enjoyment beyond just the food.
The human brain is capable of amazing things.
It can process an image your eyes have seen for as little as 13 milliseconds – less than the time it takes you to blink – and generate enough electricity – 12-25 watts of electricity – to power a low-wattage LED light.
But it can also act as that little voice in your head that holds you back from accomplishing things, like getting through a particularly tough WOD.
One of the true challenges of CrossFit is driving to get in that extra movement, or move for 30 more seconds, before you collapse in a pool of sweat.
When our athletes are pushing through a workout, nobody is checking up on them to make sure they are doing what needs to be done; we expect that those who show up are willing to push themselves to great heights, even when it makes them uncomfortable. But, hypothetically, nobody is stopping you from cheating yourself in a workout.
That’s where you brain comes in.
Skipping through a workout without giving maximum effort is akin to procrastinating, which is something we are all guilty of. Why do ten kettlebell swings when eight will suffice? It’s easy to tell yourself you won’t do it next time around. But if you are the only person responsible for your success, it’s easy to make up an excuse not to do it.
Those who get the most out of CrossFit are the ones who push their bodies as hard as possible, even when their brain is screaming at them to slow down and take a second or two to rest. These athletes are the ones who succeed because they are willing to not take the easy way out. Rather, they push and push until the end because the benefit far outweighs the guilt that comes with stopping.
Those who have the proper mental fortitude can take success at the box and translate it to their everyday lives. It’s been said that those with the mental toughness to be resilient in the face of fear (or, in this case, 100 wall balls in five minutes) are the ones who become successful in their careers.
We are not saying CrossFit is the key to a successful life, but when you can push through a particularly challenging WOD, the project at work that’s due might finally seem doable.
After all, your brain might remind you it’s not possible, but you will know better.
Want to give it a try? Sign up for a free, no-sweat intro today!