Nix the Diet in 2020: Understanding Your Nutritional Baseline

Following the start of a new year, people tend to place added emphasis on improving their diet in hopes of shedding weight and finally reaching a healthier version of themselves. In fact, a 2018 study showed that 45% of Americans described losing weight and/or getting in shape as their top New Year’s resolution. As we begin to center our routines on weight loss, it’s easy to promote an unhealthy diet culture that does more harm than good, both physically and mentally.

Each week, it seems as if there is another new diet built on the idea that simply removing specific foods from your diet means you’ll shed weight and gain loads of newfound energy. However, research shows that a too-restrictive diet has adverse effects on your body. This can lead you to feel sluggish, weak and even hungrier than when you started–ultimately causing you to fail within the first week. 

To combat the effects of the ever-present diet culture that consumes the start of each new year, we encourage you to take a step back from popular crash diets and instead get to know your nutritional baseline. 

Understanding Your Baseline Nutrition

Baseline nutrition looks at the required nutrients our bodies need to perform and function properly each day. Our bodies are unique, as are our nutritional needs. Knowing this, it’s important that we give our bodies the food they need not just to get us through the day, but also enable us to thrive. 

Understanding your nutritional baseline starts by listening to your body. Unless you’ve been instructed by a licensed professional to avoid certain foods or follow a specific diet, you can begin to understand your nutritional baseline by paying attention to how a different way of eating affects your body as you consume certain foods.

For example, you may not be gluten intolerant, but you find that eating refined carbs makes you feel sluggish or tired. By looking at how your body responds to certain foods, you can start to determine which menu items to avoid or include on your plate.    

Back to Basics with Healthy Eating

You probably remember the Food Pyramid from elementary school, the visual guide that outlines what our diet should include on a daily basis. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (ODPHP) recent dietary guidelines, the friendly structure still rings true today: a healthy amount of fats, dairy, protein, vegetables, fruit and complex carbs should show up on our plates each day. 

In addition to a suggested 2,000-calorie diet, adding whole, nutrient-dense foods to your daily eating routine proves to have a greater impact on your overall health than popular fad diets. Too often, we associate healthy eating strictly with weight loss. While it is true that weight loss often comes as a result, healthy eating is associated with many other positive health outcomes. Specifically, the link between healthy foods, lowered cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity is backed by a growing volume of research.

As we move further into the new year, try taking a new approach to healthy living. Your body is unique—it’s important to listen and give it the nutrients it needs to reach your health goals. Interested in learning more about how healthy eating can impact your health outcomes? Our NorthCrest medical professionals are ready to answer your questions. To find a provider near you, visit our website or give us a call today! (615) 384-2411.