Physical Well-Being Part 2: Fueling Your Body
Part 2 of our Physical Well-Being Series is all about fueling your body!
We should strive for a well-balanced whole foods diet, which may look different for each individual depending on personal preferences, time available to cook and meal prep, and food budget. There are many resources online that can point us towards creating the ideal diet to provide our bodies with the fuel it needs, but here are some everyday practices to be mindful of
- Many health sources recommend eight 8-oz of water a day (i.e. the 8x8 rule) to provide adequate hydration, but you may require more depending on your activity level.
- Carbohydrates are a readily available source of fuel for the body and brain. Strive for complex carbohydrates from whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and beans, rather than the simple carbohydrates from sweets and processed foods. Our bodies digest complex carbohydrates more slowly, which allows us to feel full longer and helps fuel our body throughout the day.
- Protein is also essential for our bodies to build and repair muscles. If you are obtaining protein from animal sources, select leaner meats such as fish and chicken, and avoid red and processed meats. Certain plant sources yield high amounts of cholesterol-free protein, such as tofu, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and nuts.
- Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients and minerals that are important for our bodies to function well. Try to “eat the rainbow” by filling half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at each meal. Instead of processed sweets, try fruits or vegetables as a snack (my favorites are frozen grapes or hummus with carrots!)
- There are different types of fats, and it is important to know which to eat and which to avoid: unsaturated fats are the “good” fats, and can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil. Saturated and trans fats are considered the “bad” fats and can be found in foods such as fatty cuts of meat, and dairy items such as cheese and butter.
- You can better fuel your body starting now if you keep these in mind as your reach for the pantry or grocery shelf! Physical wellness does not have to be a goal that we struggle and suffer to obtain. Rather, it is certainly achievable to have a healthy relationship with ourselves in which we prioritize small efforts that cumulate into enhanced physical wellness. Take the time to define your goals (write them out!) and commit to mindfully incorporating small steps throughout your daily life to reach them. Most importantly, be honest with yourself in choosing to enjoy the journey to physical wellness.
Look for the rest of this series!
Sarret Seng is a psychiatric nurse at Eastern State Hospital with degrees in both psychology and nursing. About her own physical well-being, she says, “Personally, I have found that training to get better at certain activities, specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and rock climbing, keeps me motivated to care for my body while enjoying and looking forward to the training.”
World Health Organization. Healthy Diet. World Health Organization, 29 April 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet. Accessed 15 May 2020.