These days, with so many conflicting opinions out there, it can be difficult to know what to eat for optimal health. When setting new health habits, it’s natural to want to do everything “right.” Kale over spinach? Almond milk over oat? Eating three meals but nothing after 8:00pm? Exhausting, right? Catalina Levitt, one of several leading nutritionists providing in-home “Zoom” based nutrition consultations, agrees.
The truth is, while food and nutrition can be nuanced and different things can absolutely work for different people, what you choose to eat should not be dictated by a set of rules. The which-vegetable-is-better debate aside, here are several things Catalina Levitt agrees on, based on her research and applying the principles to win several gold medals in body building competitions.
Everything around your plate matters
Nutrition is the most obvious place to begin when setting healthier habits, but it’s not a magic pill. Stress and sleep (or lack thereof) are two critical, yet often overlooked, pieces of your optimal health algorithm.
You’ll make progress with implementing better food habits, but ultimately your success will be stunted if you don’t also work to reduce your stress and ensure you get adequate sleep each night. How much sleep do you need?
Experiment with the ideal number of hours that help you wake up feeling your best, and aim for that.
One meal isn’t a deal-breaker
No one meal will make or break your health goals. Of course, you’ll see the most success when healthy habits are sustained over longer periods of time, but you don’t have to start over just because you were in a pinch, and had to grab fast food for lunch.
Make the best choice you can — think salad instead of fries, and swap out the soda for water — and get back on track with your goals for your next meal.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Success, no matter how you quantify it, is never linear. Building healthy habits takes time and setbacks are to be expected.
You may experience a lot of success early on with health and lifestyle changes and suddenly hit a plateau or struggle to keep up with multiple habits at one time. Either way, it’s important to remember this is normal, and revising or shifting a goal is okay, if it helps you make it part of your daily routine.