When it comes to weight loss or the goal of improving one’s health, good intentions are generally at the forefront. I believe there is a deep desire to be healthy in order to feel good, look good and have energy by most everyone. It is in our biological nature to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. This makes sense and, well, works for us in a lot of instances. So why then, when it comes to food, do so many choose the pain over a pain free alternative? Arthritis, achy joints, low self esteem, labored breathing, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lethargy…All of which can be controlled through diet. The answer is simple: Immediate gratification! If we could just step back and look at the big picture, if we could forgive ourselves for the few set backs we have and then get back on track, if we could get past the first few weeks of “crashing” with the knowledge that it WILL rebound and we will feel 100% better after this short period of time, if we could just slow down for a second and have respect for our bodies and families enough to take care of ourselves the way we try to take care of everyone else! The list goes on and on.
It is well known that our society does not make it easy, and on top of that, we have emotional and psychological thoughts/baggage as well as physical addictions affecting the way we chose to live and the foods we choose to eat. But, notice how I use the word “choose”……that is right, whether you want to admit it or not, this is a choice, and one you make everyday. While it is not always the easy choice to eat healthy, with a little practice it becomes as second nature as reaching for that bag of chips. Not to mention you will feel so good it will be unimaginable to live life any other way. It is the easy choice to eat unhealthy due to the constant bombardment all around, the easy at which you can get junk food and the encouragement and enticement from adds egging you on with juicy burgers and fattening, sugary, salty foods…exactly what our body’s so easily get addicted to. But would you believe me if I told you that once you shift your habits you will start craving fruits and vegetables? The body is very efficient and adapts quickly if given the chance….. I am not saying it is easy but nothing worth while ever is. If you go into a venture such as improving your health armed with the right information, being ready for change and open to new ways of doing things (not the same thing you have tried over and over and over again) you will succeed! I mean it…YOU WILL SUCCEED! Remember, embarking on a weight loss or healthy lifestyle overhaul is a life long journey and takes commitment. It is not a number of pounds lost, or a period of time, that once reached is over. This is your life; it is a process. So get excited about it, pick up the pieces and lets get started! Below are some of the top reasons I see weight loss efforts fail and what you can try to avoid!
1. All or nothing attitude: An all or nothing attitude can be a very tricky way to lose weight. It often sets you up for failure before you start and gives you an easy out. For example “See I told you I cannot do this”…”I only lasted 2 day’s before I cheated”. Well, I hate to break it to you but there is no such thing as perfection, so lets get that out of your head right now. I myself am a perfectionist but I also know enough about perfectionism and myself to realize that it can be used as an excuse.
Just because you blew it for a meal/day/weekend/week or month does not mean you are doomed. What it does mean is that you have a fresh perspective on what you struggle with, what you can do in the future to help avoid it and some psychological background into your though process about foods. Are you an emotional eater? A social eater/drinker? Is it your identity? Is it all of the above? Ok…..Well, with that knowledge how can you fit healthy choices into your lifestyle? Remember, there is no end point. You are going to have to make exercise and food choices every day for the rest of your life so how are you going to start moving in the right direction? Are you going to jump in feet first or are you going to simply add more leafy greens to your diet everyday, or a nutrient packed smoothie, or a healthy breakfast or give up dairy? What is it going to be? Pick one and go with it. If it doesn’t stick, well then try something else or contact us. That is what we are here for. One thing I can guarantee is that you are never going to get anywhere by looking for perfection and being scared of failure. Every set back gives you a little more insight into your self and gives you something to learn from. So take the opportunity to learn and move forward!
2. Focus on Calories/calorie restriction V.S. Nutrient density.
This is a huge mistake I see over and over and over! Lets start by getting one thing straight: Diet is the foundation of your health. What you eat is directly correlated to your health (visit the diet health connection post). Choosing to eat nutrient dense, whole foods, automatically lowers your daily calorie intake while increasing the nutrient profile leading to weight loss and disease prevention all while slowing the aging process. It is easy to restrict calories by eating processed, chemical laden, artificially sweetened foods. However, by going this route you are generally worse off than when you started and disease will appear. It pains me to say that I have heard more than one person say…”I don’t eat carrots because of how high in sugar they are”. REALLY? So it’s the carrots that are causing weight gain/stalling weight loss? REALLY? One thing I think most rational people can agree on, is a diet high in micronutrients and low in macronutrients (what makes up calories), gives you the best of both worlds. This can be achieved without counting calories or severely restricting food intake by simply making the bulk of your food choices those high in nutrients and low in calories. Furthermore, cravings tend to go by the wayside as your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs. Check out all our recipes for ideas or further reading for more information. Below is an explanation of a macronutrient versus micronutrient and foods with good ratios.
Definition of calories and nutrient sources:
Macronutrient – Source of calories: Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein
Micronutrient – Holders of superior nutrition: Do not contain calories but carry out specific and essential rolls in the human body for proper function and health. Vitamins/minerals/phytonutrients etc. found in food (not supplements). Micronutrient intake is the most pivotal determinant of health and longevity!
What foods are the highest source of micronutrients and lower sources of macronutrients?
Leafy greens, non starchy vegetables, berries, fruits, legumes, certain grains (quinoa, millet, amaranth etc.). Pretty simple!..Whole Foods.
3. Not getting excited about it, getting overwhelmed with unrealistic goals and not fully understanding why you are changing your habits. All too often people enter into a “diet” with an end point already picked out. “when I loose 10 lbs, I will be happy”, “If I can go to my School reunion looking good, I will be happy” etc. etc. Sorry to say, but you are kidding your self with that kind of mentality/self talk. As stated above, this is a lifestyle. To make lasting change you must shift your perspective on food, health and what it entails. It takes commitment, not perfection (i.e. Even if you “fall off” the wagon getting back on is the only choice you leave yourself in the end) and needs to be something you WANT. This should not be looked at as a death sentence. It is a new chapter in your life, something to get excited about! Have fun with it, learn how to cook new foods, take the challenge head on and expand your knowledge. It’s exciting to finally be on a path that will give you more energy, will clear that fog out of your head, will help you loose weight and sleep better and the list goes on.
From our experience: Once we shifted our eating we noticed a whole new world of food opened up to us. Instead of throwing the same old thing on the grill every night we were challenged with new and exciting ways to make dishes, great new veggies, fruits and home made sauces we had never tried before entered into our world and it was delicious! And on those days we didn’t want to deal?….We found healthy alternatives to making delicious staple dishes that were quick. This is what life is about. It is about evolving and changing (not hanging on to what is not working because you are scared of change or losing your identity), it is about finding what works for you and always striving to improve, it is about not staying stagnant because it is easier and the other way is just too hard, it is about setting an example for your spouse, children and grandchildren. It is about being the best you, you can be at any given moment. A trick that works for many is when coming across a food that is unhealthy instead of saying “I can’t have that” say “I don’t eat that”. That simple change in words empowers you and leaves you in charge of your health instead of making it feel like you are giving something up.
4. Finally, one of the biggest key components to staying with anything is understanding why you are doing it. Weight loss alone is not enough reason for most people to make lasting changes. Simply loosing weight is not the key to longevity and health. You can loose weight by only eating chocolate bars if you keep it under a certain amount of calories. Does that mean you are healthy? Of course not! Food is medicine, period. The right foods improve your quality of life, keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight under control. They prevent, reverse or stall the onset of diseases such as heart disease (purely decided by diet), cancer, autoimmune, gastrointestinal issues etc. If you knew that the hamburger you are about to bite into was directly encouraging the proliferation of cancer cells in your body while also immediately clogging your arteries would you be as tempted? Knowledge is key and once you know certain things the choice is a no brainer!
We are here to share with you what has worked for us and our passion. Your job is to figure out what capacity you want to incorporate healthy choices into your life. The latest scientific research supports a Whole Foods diet to be superior, hands down, in preventing and reversing disease. Not only that, we have found from our own experience there is no other way we would choose to live given the improvement in our own health and the way we perform athletically and in our everyday lives. However, we also know not everyone is at this point in their lives. But I think one general consensus everyone can agree on is: The more Whole Foods, particularly vegetables/leafy greens one incorporates into their diet the better their health will be.
So what is it going to be? What healthy choice are you going to make today? Pick something and just go with it. That is the beauty about all of this…It is ultimately up to you. You hold the cards and make the decisions, we are just here to help you in any way possible.