60 days have passed since the New Year, and no matter where we are, it’s not too late. The new year momentum is a force designed to spur us into action and there is no better time than right now, to create the change you desire. As we move into spring, how can we not only create these shifts but continue to Live these transformations?
As many of you us see time and again if we wish to have excuses to stay with our old patterns, we have abundant scapegoats. This article is one of those: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all
To summarize, the article poses the question, why do we even bother trying to lose weight when there is evidence that packing it all back on is only a matter of time?
However, what this article fails to highlight is that the study was done with a “weight loss expert” who helped his clients lose weight by fasting. And then (The same expert) was surprised when his fasting clients later became more hungry and had difficulty maintaining their weight loss! As any of us know, these types of diets are destined to fail, setting off a host of starvation/craving responses with major metabolic long term consequences.
So why then do so many of us bounce up and down on the yo-yo following the latest fads or diets? There is the no Carbs Diet. The High Carbs but the right Carbs diet. The Vegetarian Diet. The Caveman Diet. Gluten, no Gluten. Juice Fasts. You name it, it’s out there.
What can we do to create a new lifestyle rather than a short-term goal pre-destined to become another cliche?
1. Start with the Basics:
This is not rocket science. Most everyone agrees on a few key basics that work for everyone:
- Eat Loads of Veggies – If you fill up with nutrient dense plants, you won’t have as much room or hankerings for the junk. Aim to have a minimum of 2-3 servings at lunch and dinner. Variety is key, use lots of colors and shop in season. Visit your local Farmers Market for local and organic produce that has an unparalleled taste and nutrient value from its poor kin which has been carted crosscountry and grown in factory farm conditions. Don’t have time to shop on your own? Greenling Organics is one of our favorites. Let them do the work for you. They visit local farms and bring you the best selection of organic, local produce.
- Cut out the junk. What is junk? Sadly over 50% of the average American’s diet is what we call “dead food”. These are foods that are processed and scarcely fit into the “food” category. Yeah yeah, we all know if we cut out the junk, we will feel better. But for many of us it just tastes so good. These “foods” often releases a cascade of hormones, creating a physiological cascade of addictive effects. How to break this cycle? Substitute with loads of veggies. And find your unique dietary sweet spots.
2. Find Your personal perfect diet
We are all unique and each of us thrive with different diets. We all have our own dietary sweet spots and perfect formula. When we try to fit into a one-size fits all approach, we often fail. I cannot tell you how many people have come to me and said – I tried a Vegetarian Diet, I tried Macrobiotics, I tried Caveman – and I might have felt a little better, but didn’t feel great. How do you know when you have found your sweet spot? Your cravings should disappear and you don’t just feel slightly better or feel good. You feel great. Learning to eat in harmony with our bodies signals sets us up for life long food empowerment and optimal health.
How do you create your dietary sweet spot?
- Use your cravings. Cravings are our bodies signals trying to get our attention to tell us what we are either missing or receiving in excess. Learn to pay attention to these cravings and let them inform you of your perfect Carbohydrate to Protein Ratios.
- Find Your Carb to Protein Ratios. Do you do better with more carbs? Less carbs? Are you sensitive to various types of carbs? How about when you eat these carbs? Ditto with proteins.
- Find your ideal protein composition. As someone who was a 25-year vegetarian, I was amazed to see such profound differences in hundreds of clients. While everyone begins on a vegetarian diet in our programs, we introduce meat in the second or third weeks. Some people thrive with meat, while others thrived on a primarily plant-based diet. This is why there isn’t an either or, black or white approach and this is where so many people fail. They key is in finding which proteins, whether plant or animal help you feel your best. How much of these do you need at each meal? If animal protein helps you feel your best, which types? Chicken is on the of most common inflammatory foods.
- Find your Snack Sweet Spots. What types of snacks sustain you throughout the day? How do these make a difference in your energy levels, cravings, weight and mood?
- Find the foods which create inflammation in your body. This one step alone can be life changing. Foods that we eat each and every day and think are good for us are often wreaking shocking havoc in our bodies. Most people have between 1 to 3 food intolerances. These intolerances can create the usual suspects such as weight gain or low energy. But they also can create allergies, digestive ills, pain, low mental clarity, depression, anxiety, skin issues and hormone imbalance. Discover which foods are holding you back to go from feeling good to feeling great.
3. Implement these changes in a lifestyle plan that works for you
Once you discover your personal food tools you are poised for lifelong success. You might have occasions when you fall off, but the fall is generally a conscious one and you certainly will know exactly what to do to get back on track. Perhaps you find that corn creates bloating and weight gain. But you are heading to Mexico for Spring Break. You might choose to embrace corn for a week, but will know what to do to get back on track upon your return. No longer mired in confusion and diet rubbernecking this new found clarity creates more of a lifelong grace in the race for happiness and health.