Here are my 5 forest green rules to keep you feeling good and in shape. I'm not repeating Brigitte's headlines like "eat more vegetables, sugar is the devil, drink yourself slim and do more exercise". Everyone knows that. Hardly anyone sticks to it in the long term. In order to be permanently satisfied with ourselves and our own body, we have to start with our mental roots and our relationship to nutrition. Therefore, my forest green rule number 1 is:
1. Do not forbid yourself anything, prefer to enjoy in small quantities
Excessiveness or "gluttony" used to be a deadly sin. I also find that it does not lead to any satisfaction. It doesn't always have to be a whole bowl of granola, a whole jar of almond butter, or the entire mug of Ben & Jerry's. Dividing up your food, consciously listening to your feelings of hunger and satiety again and saving something for later can be much more satisfying.
Here and there 10 - 20 g of grated chocolate on top will do the trick. It doesn't always have to be a whole table. It is better to maintain small meals with many different ingredients, all of which contribute to your nutrient supply. Don't ban macronutrients, they all have a reason to be. Rather focus on the quality and origin of the ingredients. It can look like this, for example
Better like this than like this:
It's about tasting real and pure ingredients again and preparing them with a bit of sophistication. And that brings us to rule no. 2
2. Make an effort
As Jordan Peterson says in his book 12 Rules of Life, "think of yourself as someone you must help." Some people order Collagen Peptides for their dog to keep their joints healthy and their coat shiny, and then only eat frozen pizza. Why? Is your dog worth more to you than yourself? Your dog would certainly be reassured if you took care of your joint health and you could continue to go for walks with him. Make it worth taking the time to appreciate the quality of your meals.
It's less of a hassle than you might think, and once it becomes a habit, it's no longer a hassle. Many ingredients such as vegetables, sweet potatoes or rice can be prepared individually and stored in the refrigerator. The healthy starting point is usually already established and dishes can be created faster and easier.
It can look like this, for example:
3. Develop awareness
Be conscious of each bite you put into your body. Chew sensibly and don't gorge. Appreciate your food and imagine where it came from or how it grew or lived. What is food to you if you had to describe it in one word? I often hear "enjoyment", "joie de vivre" or "energy" as an answer to this question. In the times of the world wars and generally at many points in the history of human development, nutrition was purely a "procurement of energy". In my opinion, nowadays it is a bit of everything. It is culture, joie de vivre and at the same time a necessity. Take your time as well to treat.
Track calories or not? It depends on your point of view. If you're new to nutrition, it can definitely help to pick up a calorie tracker and start a few days straight - honestly and completely! - track everything you eat.
It gives you an overview and a new perspective on the composition of your meals. If you already know about nutrition, intuitive eating can make sense for you. The focus here was on the use of unprocessed ingredients and rules 1 and 2. Food should be a good balance between functionality, taste and joie de vivre or social ritual.
4. Sleep and exercise
Why two opposite things under one point? Because one can only coexist with the other. While you sleep, your neural signaling pathways are "cleaned" and reorganized. A hormonal reset takes place, such as that of cortisol and melatonin. It's an exciting question if we will ever be able to develop a technology that allows us to do without sleep, because until now we haven't even understood all the processes behind it.
The "physical cleansing" that takes place while sleeping is essential and can be seen as a fresh start. On the following day, it affects your feeling of hunger and satiety, your willingness to perform and your ability to concentrate and learn. The average person feels fine with a sleep duration of 7 to 8 hours. When you place them is up to you. You will surely know for yourself when the ideal time to go to bed is for you. Robin likes to work in the evenings when it's quiet outside and usually doesn't go to bed until after 1am. I get tired around 23 p.m. and like to get up earlier. Everyone has their preferences and that's fine. In the long term, however, we all only function if we plan enough time to sleep within our preferences. Avoiding blue light in the evening and using red light filters can help you fall asleep.
Physical exertion is just as important as the restart through sleep. I don't mean that you should push your limits every day. Nobody can consistently give top performance. It's about building in a certain amount of movement. Especially in times when we have been deprived of the opportunity to go to the gym, we have to look for alternatives. I find it in a combination of a daily session of Yin Yoga, occasional power workouts and going for walks almost every day with sometimes longer hikes in between. Everyone is individual and I listen to my physical condition. I do the power workout because I feel like exhausting myself, then managed to fall into bed and feel my muscles. Not because it's on my calendar. I do Yin Yoga because I feel like becoming more flexible and finding relaxation in certain stretches, etc. I think each of us has this feeling for physical forms of movement and can get used to routinely incorporating them again without fighting each other to have to. Just start with the goal of being worthy of yourself.
5. Gut bacteria and resistance
Let's say rules 1 to 4 are working fine for you, but you're still hungry all the time, feel weak and unbalanced or have digestive problems. When you have made sure – and only then! - that you live according to rules 1 to 4 and things are still not going as you wish, it makes sense to have yourself checked for any resistances, metabolic diseases or incorrect colonization. For example, I had an underactive thyroid that made it difficult for me to stay motivated and energized. I received a medication that made me feel better and was able to scale it down as much as possible through further experience and an improved lifestyle.
Still, I cringe when people tell me they can't lose weight due to hypothyroidism. In terms of calorie consumption, a functioning thyroid accounts for perhaps 10% to max. 20% of the total turnover. So this is not a KO criterion in order not to be able to live healthy. Still, of course, it should be treated.
Furthermore, I had a microbiome that I could get under control with a balanced diet, regular small meals and probiotics. But these are just two examples of my health history. If you feel like you're doing almost everything right and still have some kind of discomfort, I encourage you to get to the bottom of it. Your gut bacteria, food intolerance, lectins, or metabolic and hormonal processes play a major role in your long-term well-being.
I hope I could help you with my experiences. I welcome your comments or questions.