First and foremost let me start by saying DIETS DON'T WORK!!! Sure, you can lose weight and reach your goal of 10, 20, 30 pounds, but when you stop your diet the weight will undoubtedly come back. I go out to eat with friends and hear how they are watching their calories, then I see what they order and just wonder "where do they learn this from"?. Of course, I won't offer advice unless asked. I've learned the hard way not to interfere even though I want to scream "HEY, I can help. I teach this stuff you know", Instead I bite my tongue.
So, let's start with the biggest diet myth of all time: Calories in should be less than calories out. While yes, basically this is true, let's look deeper in to this. In the world of nutrition and modern day eating you have to remember not all calories are created equal. Think about it, take a box of cookies and pull out 200 calories worth, then compare that to 200 calories of broccoli. Anyone who says that those two things are the same is living in a dream world.
There are so many calories these days that do nothing good for you. Our bodies are not made to consume as much sugar as we do today. Sugar is in everything man-made. If you are buying products marked low fat or gluten free that taste the same as their regular counterpart, I guarantee you they are loaded with either sugar or sodium, and many of times both. Those of us in the nutrition business call sugary foods "empty calories". They have little or no nutritional value because they are lacking the nutrients our body needs to be healthy. These empty calorie foods cause cravings, energy level crashes, headaches, irritability, frustration, lack of sleep, etc. The reason for this is our body is not built to handle this much sugar and our bodies are deprived of what they truly need to function properly.
So take your 1500 calorie diet that you are reading on the internet and hoping to use to drop 15 pounds by Muriel's Wedding. This is just an exercise in futility. You may actually make it to your goal for Muriel's wedding but by the time Muriel has her first baby you'll have gained all that weight back and then some. Why torture yourself?
Here is a REAL, honest to goodness, no bullshit way to become healthier, lose weight and feel good all of the time. Just eat real food. There is ZERO need to count calories. There is no doubt that anyone can argue that this nutrition plan would lead to better health, happier life, and less side effects from eating the crap a normal American eats everyday.
SO here is my plan for your success:
Eat only real foods, nothing processed, nothing fake. Choose foods that either grow on a plant, in the ground, or on a tree. Choose foods that come from a real animal that has been fed foods that they would naturally eat. Trust me when I tell you, if you eat a diet that is totally based on fruits, vegetables, sprouts, legumes, whole grains, lean grass fed meats, and non-farm raised fish you will become healthy.
You have to get rid of processed foods: Processed Wheat, Sugar, boxed foods and bagged foods that are loaded with chemicals that are killing us. When you can, you need to look for organic foods as they are the most likely to be free of chemicals and GMO's. Be careful of things that taste too good to be true. I bought some supposedly freshly brewed organic green tea the other day that was said to be made with honey. Upon further inspection yes, it was made with honey, but that was on top of a cup of added sugar, yuck!
You also need to avoid the theory that "everything in moderation" is okay. You can't expect the four salads you ate for lunch the past 4 days to balance out the super-sized drive-through fast food order you chose on the 5th day.
Another thing to remember is that fat is not the enemy (and no, it won’t make you fat). Fats fuel our nervous system and nourish our brains. We need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like the ultra-important vitamin D (which is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping our moods in the happy zone and reducing cancer risk), vitamin E (a potent antioxidant), vitamin A (vital for our vision) and vitamin K, a nutrient we don’t think about often, but without it, our teeth would rot out.
One of the reasons fat has such a bad reputation is because it contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins (fat has 9 calories per gram, while carbs and proteins have 4 calories per gram each). But here’s the thing — fat actually fills you up. How? It reduces glycemic responses in the body (i.e. blood sugar spikes and crashes), which lowers the likelihood of your feeling like you’re starving again shortly after eating. A fuller you is a happier you — one who is less likely to chow down on an entire bag of potato chips after dinner.
Think about it, Americans have followed a low-fat plan for the last 20 years, and where did it get us? Yep. It made us fatter, sicker and craving more food. This type of diet happens to follow a rise in diabetes, alzheimers and cardiovascular disease that has increased during this time rather than decrease.
If you have some confusion about where to turn think about this: Try to imagine what food was like before the grocery stores. What would be natural to eat? What could we eat if we had to hunt, fish, gather and grow our own foods? Fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, legumes, sprouts, seaweed, fish, etc. These are the things that will make you live longer. Trust me, try it for a while and watch your body change. Feel your aches and pains diminish. Watch your moods balance out. Maybe, just maybe you'll become a believer.
Here is MY definition of what REAL food is:
- Foods that are in their most natural state.
- Fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, legumes, seeds, sprouts, nuts and berries.
- 100% WHOLE Grains.
- Wild Caught Seafood.
- Lean grass-fed beef, pork and free range chicken.
- Natural Sweeteners such as honey and real maple syrup (not that pancake crap in the grocery stores).
- Water, Tea, milk, all natural juices (with no additional sweeteners or preservatives),
wine and some beer.
We can all get caught up in the what ifs, what abouts, and what would have happened if I would have done this differently. It's easy to say you are living a life without regret, but is that honestly true? Can you really say you don't wish you would have chosen a different path at some point or another and think maybe things would be better? Even if it is barely a thought that crosses your mind, it's natural.
It's only natural to look beyond where we are and wonder. That's part of being human. But along the way sometimes we lose track of what's truly important: Being present in the moment, being who we are and not who we think we should be, or even worse, who others think we should be. It seems that so many people are stuck in what Dr Seuss calls the waiting place:
Everyone is just waiting:
Waiting for the fish to bite; or waiting on the wind to fly a kite; or waiting around for Friday night; or waiting around for Uncle Jake; or a pot to boil; or a Better Break; or a string of pearls; or a pair of pants; or a wig of curls or Another Chance...Everyone is just WAITING!!! Waiting for a train to go; or a plane to come; or a bus to go; or the mail to come; or the rain to go; or the phone to ring; or the snow to snow; or waiting around for a Yes or No; or waiting for their hair to grow....
Everyone is just WAITING!!!
The problem is, next thing you know you're tired, stressed, over-weight, lost and living in the past. Looking back are you better off now than you were this time last year? And no, I'm not talking about driving a better car, owning a new house, a big screen, cell phone, whatever. That stuff is all nice but, does it really matter in the end? I'm talking about you. Are you healthier, more relaxed, more stable and secure in who you are? Can you honestly say you did something to make yourself better this year?
Well what are you waiting for? You have to take the time. No one is going to give it to you. Your job is going to drain the life out of you if you let it. Family and friends will demand more and more of your time, for good and for bad. Responsibilities, from bills, pets, cars, jobs, taxes, deadlines...they'll keep coming and they'll be there no matter what.
But honestly the world isn't going to fall apart if you say HOLD ON!!! I'm taking an hour a day for myself. I'm taking one day a week as my time. Why not? Are you that special that no one can get by without you for short amount of your time? Can you honestly say stepping out of your busy life for an hour a few times a week will be a disaster? If you think so then you're not dealing with reality. I'm not sure what the word is for people who think they are more important than they are but maybe that's you.
Think about this....there are people who have higher stress jobs, bigger families, longer work hours and more responsibility than you but they still find the time to take care of what is most important to them. Do you seriously think you can't do it? I say you can;t afford not to.
Every single person needs some down time. Down time to reflect, replenish, restore, recharge, and regroup. Time to take yourself out of the craziness and take care of you. Of course, I will promote that the perfect place for you time is exercising, in the gym, on the road running or biking, or in the pool swimming. But, that's not for everyone. It should be, but to some people exercise is just another burden. Your time could be used taking a long bath, going for a walk or a hike, reading, meditating, etc. But avoid making you time TV time, seriously that's not you time, that's taking yourself out of reality and going in to someone else's world which, in most cases, is even more stressed out then your own. You seriously have to totally disconnect from phone, television, and all the other electronic noise we are bombarded with all day every day.
I feel comfortable writing about this because I was there, and I see it in almost every client I take on. They are trying to find themselves, trying to take the time they neglected for so long to make themselves better. To finally be healthier and fitter, to find what is missing in their lives....balance. For many years I worked a job I thought I loved only to find out it was sucking the life out of me. I let it rule my relationships, my health and my sanity and to use up every hour in my life. But let me tell you when I made a change a new life opened up to me. My world changed forever and I love it! I know who I am and I feel more centered, balanced and healthy than at any point since I was a child. Making a change doesn't have to be that drastic, I'm not telling you to quit a job but to find some time for yourself.
If you do only one thing, commit to yourself to take some time every week to find your center. Drop the lame ass excuses. Think about this next time you say you don't have time: How many hours a week do you watch television? Can you honestly say that is more important than taking the time you need to take care of yourself?
Sometimes its just through meditation, reflection or deep thought. Of course, you will find that yes, you are a busy person, you're important and in demand. But nothing in the world is more important than taking care of yourself. Taking the time to be you. Not the person you think you should be, not the person people want you to be, but you.
Once you actually take that time you will find that your life becomes less stressed, because your head is cleared and you are truly able to organize your life and priorities.
There is NO ONE alive who is Youer than You!
Ref: Dr Seuss: Oh The Places You'll Go