5 Things More Important than Nutrition

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We live in a world that values perfection and an unreachable standard of beauty. Unfortunately, it's perpetuated everywhere and I know how easy it can be to get obsessed with food and nutrition when striving for that perfection. It's consuming. But when we take a step back, it's easier to see that there's more to health (and life!) than diet. We still don't have all the answers but more research is showing us how connected our mind and emotions are to the rest of the body. When we make any choice regarding our health, whether that be what we eat, how we move or the information we consume, it has an effect on us and contributes positively or negatively to our overall health. So there is just no way that nutrition, or a "perfect" diet could solve everything. 

Today I'm sharing 5 things that are more important than nutrition. They might surprise you because on the surface they aren't "health things." If we look a little deeper, I think you'll agree that each can have a major impact on our health and spirit. Each of these things helps cultivate better self care-leading to better health. 

Relationships. Whether we tend to be more introverted or extroverted, we all need meaningful relationships. Studies show that love and affection can be more important to our health than meeting physical needs. Research done in orphanages have shown that if a baby is fed and has its physical needs taken care of, but not shown love, or held, the infant is far more likely to suffer from emotional and physical problems. We need to be with others, it's a need that we're born with. Seeking perfection through nutrition is isolating. We will end up avoiding social situations and we miss out on forming the relationships that help us thrive. 

Gratitude. I know from personal experience how easy it can be to forget about everything I have in life, and start complaining about things I don't have. Let me tell you, this does not lead you down a good road. A lack of gratitude opens the door for negativity, the comparison trap, and never ending striving for perfection. Practicing gratefulness can help us appreciate the simplest things. Savoring ice cream and conversation with a friend, having the ability to take a walk outdoors on a nice day, having a bed to sleep in, on and on it goes. If we started writing down all the things we're grateful for, I think we'd be surprised at how long the list gets!

Forgiveness. This one can be messy and really difficult. Holding on to negative emotions and anger do nothing to the person they're against. The person it really hurts is you. Forgiveness doesn't need to happen over night (and probably won't), just taking baby steps in that direction over time makes a difference. Many times the person we're refusing to forgive is ourselves. We spend so much time beating ourselves up for not being perfect, or getting it wrong. We just need to take a step back and give ourselves a break. 

Grace. This goes right along with forgiveness. We need to show ourselves (and others) grace when we get it wrong. Making changes can be hard, especially when we've been doing things a certain way for years and years. Messing up is ok, mistakes are ok. We learn from them and get better. We are never going to be perfect. Even people who are super normal eaters will overeat from time to time and miss fullness or hunger cues. It's more helpful and important to show yourself grace and compassion in that moment than beating yourself down for not getting it right. 

Joy. If we ignore the 4 things listed above, it's nearly impossible to find and experience joy. We won't find it when we're obsessing over food in the name of health. We won't find it when we're spending hours at the gym doing exercise because we feel obligated. We can eat and move joyfully, but if we're focused on the wrong things, we'll never find it. So cultivate relationships, be thankful for what you have, forgive others and yourself, show endless amounts grace and then begin to know joy.