How to Add to Your Diet Rather Than Restrict it to Reach Your Health Goals
When it comes to healthy goal setting, people often think about what they need to eliminate from their diet or lifestyle first. But this mentality is accompanied by negativity and friction, which can lead to failed goals.
To help set you up for success when striving toward a health goal, it’s best to set your initial focus on abundance and what you can add to your diet rather than restrict it. This offers a more positive and liberating experience, aiding you in reaching your goals. It’s even proven that adding healthy dietary habits to your lifestyle versus restricting foods leads to a more successful outcome.1
Here are some small, healthy habits that you can add to your daily routine that will help you in reaching your health goals:
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1. Add Fiber to Meals:Fiber is praised for its many health benefits, including supporting gut health, promoting heart health, and keeping you full. Since it helps you feel more fulfilled and full after eating, you’ll be less tempted to eat or snack on highly-processed foods after you finish a meal. Setting out to add fiber to your meals and snacks could be impactful. Whether you choose to include more vegetables, fruit, legumes, or whole grains, you’ll start to notice a big difference in your overall health.
Tip: Because fiber can cause bloating when introduced, make sure to increase your fiber intake slowly.
2. Drink More Water: Staying well hydrated can help regulate body temperature, protect body organs and tissues, and assist the kidneys and liver in flushing waste products. Aim to consume about half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Tip: If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, leave cups or water bottles in multiple locations you frequent during the day, like your office, bedroom, or living room, so that it’s a visual reminder and it’s readily available.
3. Add a Multivitamin: While the goal is to get your nutrients from food first, we know that it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need each day through food alone. Taking a multivitamin can be a great way to bridge any gaps in your diet. It is important to note that supplements cannot replace a balanced diet, but they can help improve nutrient deficiencies and fill out your nutrient needs!
Tip: To remember to take your vitamins each day, try keeping your vitamins in the same area where you brush your teeth so you can take them in the morning or night after brushing.
4. Add in Movement: Incorporating movement into your day is another great habit to adopt. Exercise reduces disease risk, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves heart health, mental health, and weight management.2
Tip: To get started, choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. Whether that is walking, yoga, or weight lifting, any form of movement will be a beneficial addition.
5. Cook at Home: It is widely known that take-out and restaurant meals are filled with excess sodium and saturated fats. By cooking at home, you can monitor what goes into your meals and focus on balancing your meals with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Tip: Set a realistic goal for yourself to ensure you can stick with it! For example, if you eat out often, aim to cook at home two nights a week to start. You can always increase the number of days you cook at home over time. Be flexible with this goal, and allow for days that may not go as planned or for unexpected social gatherings.
If you’re ready to implement small, healthy habits on your way to reaching your health goals, focusing on what you can add to your lifestyle can be a helpful trick to feeling fulfilled rather than deprived. Try restructuring your goals so you can realistically tackle them and grow from the process.
If you’re looking to take your health goals even further, a personalized nutrition approach can help you create a health and nutrition plan that’s tailored to your unique, DNA-based needs, dietary preferences, and current lifestyle.
Our at-home DNA test will give you a personalized nutrition analysis that’ll provide detailed genetic-based results. You’ll discover your personal needs for 23 different nutrients, 100+ foods that are best for your genes, your eating and stress predispositions, and any sensitivities to lactose, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol.
If you’d like hands-on support to help you reach your health goals, our registered dietitians offer one-on-one virtual consults. They’ll walk side-by-side with you throughout your health journey and help you create a plan that’ll help you achieve your weight, diet, exercise, hydration, and sleep goals.
- Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Rozental, A. (2020). A large-scale experiment on New Year's resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PloS one, 15(12), e0234097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234097
- “Benefits of Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 June 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm#:~:text=Being%20physically%20active%20can%20improve,activity%20gain%20some%20health%20benefits.
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