With all of the noise in the health and wellness industry, it’s easy to succumb to the latest trends that promise optimal health through a “quick fix” or a one-size-fits-all plan. A heavy emphasis on grueling fitness regimens and unregulated supplementation have taken over as the most significant way to achieve health and wellness goals. Even in the case of immune system health, most fail to recognize and commit to the most impactful aspect of health: Nutrition.
There are several components that contribute to health from a whole-person perspective, including stress, sleep, relationships, community, environment, fitness and nutrition. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important aspects of health. Lack of quantity and quality sleep can wreak havoc on the metabolism, immune system and overall health. Healthy relationships and being a part of a supportive community and a safe environment are also significant factors in a healthy lifestyle and mental wellness. And we all know the impact that stress has on our health – it affects almost every system of the body.
Out of all of these factors, fitness has reigned supreme over the wellness industry. Exercising has numerous positive effects on health, but it is typically recognized for one thing: calorie burn. While this is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, there can be a disproportionality larger emphasis on fitness as “the only” way to achieve optimal health – and it’s simply not true. The fitness industry is valued at $30 billion-dollars in the U.S., but health outcomes are declining. Calories burned through exercise account for only 15-20% of daily energy (calorie) expenditure; most calories are actually burned through internal cellular processes and during sleep, or our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). What is a major contributor to RMR? The quantity and quality of foods we consume.
The saying “you are what you eat” is incredibly accurate. The food we consume is literally transformed in the building blocks of our bodies on a macro and micro level. On the macro level, understanding the quantity of calories needed based on personal RMR can promote fat loss and lean muscle gain over time – even more than fitness alone can impact. By eating in a slight caloric deficit, but not less than what the body needs before it breaks down muscle for energy, can reduce body fat, increase lean muscle (that fuels the metabolism), reduce visceral fat and promote overall health. On a micro level, nutrition has the power to either promote disease through unhealthy foods, or fuel health through proper vitamin, mineral, water and fiber intake by consuming whole, fresh foods. When we eat a balance diet of unprocessed nutrient-dense and natural, energy-dense foods, our bodies function how they were designed to, from building muscles and tissues to the immune system. It’s important to also note that nutrition is personal. Each person has unique nutritional needs based on genetics, activity level, lifestyle and goals. Working with a Nutrition Coach, dietician or physician can be helpful in tailoring a nutrition plan to your unique needs to reach a health goal that can be far more transformational than increasing reps in the gym (though, we’re not promoting slacking on workouts!).
There’s no denying we need food every day, multiple times a day, to survive – and we typically have complete control over what we consume. Having the right knowledge and the right team in place can be beneficial to optimizing nutritional goals. Our advice: if you were to pick one area of health to focus on for overall wellness, choose nutrition – and work with qualified experts to lead you down a path to success.
Curious about Composition ID’s Nutrition Coaching packages? Contact our team today to get started!