I've spent the majority of my adult life on some diet. I think I may have tried 15 different diets in an effort to be skinny. Skinny was more important than health, more important than strong, more important than sleep. Being skinny was my top priority in life. I stopped breastfeeding my second child early so I could take diet pills and lose my pregnancy weight. I was so brainwashed into believing that being skinny should be a woman's most important quest that I put everything else on the back burner. I spent hours on the treadmill. The more calories I burnt the skinnier I would become. I ate Lean Cuisine and canned soup for lunch, small salads for dinner. I took ephedra (before it was banned) for much longer than recommended. I suffered through the jitters every day just so I would lose weight. I fully admit how crazy this sounds. Forty three year old me wants to take 26 year old me by the hand and take her for a long walk and have a nice, long conversation. I'm certain my behavior back then may have taken a year or two off my life expectancy. Who knows.
After my liver resection in 2013, a lot of things changed for me. I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, worked as the in-house nutritionist for a doctor's office and worked with countless people on their weight loss and health journeys. I became a kickboxing instructor and am now in the happy position to combine my passions. I love to teach these classes, help provide people an outlet for their daily stresses and to make some nutritional recommendations as well.
Every time a new client walks in the door at our kickboxing studio, I am curious to understand where they're coming from, what their goals are, and how I can help them reach their goals. And I started noticing something in particular that makes me sad every time. I work with mostly women but also with a few men here and there. The women usually feel bad about their bodies. They are ashamed to show off their curves. They are the ones to warn me that they will probably suck at their first class. They apologize for making my job more difficult. Some go as far as to tell me they take up too much space in life.
I have never heard a man say such a thing. Sure, they want to get in shape. But they give their bellies a friendly pat. Their confidence is always strong. Their goal is never to be more confident. They never apologize for taking up too much space.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with men having such confidence. I have an issue with women not having it. The fact that they are so much more insecure and apologetic simply shows me that I am far from being alone in my own insecurities of the past and those that I'm still struggling with. And I want even more to help women become a better version of themselves not only physically but emotionally. I want women to give their bellies a friendly pat. That doesn't mean they shouldn't try to build muscle and burn fat. It simply means that they will be so much more comfortable on their journey because they don't have to hate who they are right now in this moment.
This is why I will start a series of posts on body positivity. I will talk about what this means, what you can actively do to be more at peace with who you are right now, and what you can do nutritionally and emotionally to get to where you want to be. Thank you for joining me.
Have a wonderful day.
Last weekend, I had the great honor of listening to Robb Wolf speak at the annual conference of the Nutritional Therapy Association. You may or may not know that Robb's new book "Wired to Eat" is about to be released in the United States. Many folks in Britain and Canada already have their copies. (No fair, right?)
Robb started his talk by sharing a couple of myths, that we, as 21st century humans buy into all too willingly.
"Eat less, move more."
"Everything in moderation."
If these statements were true, we'd have a lot more lean and healthy people among us. The idea that simply moving more while eating less helps you lose weight and then maintain it is just as wrong as the notion that eating everything in moderation is the solution.
First of all, the body doesn't care about how little you eat while you bust your butt at the gym. I'm a kickboxing instructor. I work out 4 to 5 days a week. But it is only when I dial in my diet to consist of real, whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats, that I start seeing results.
And everything in moderation is designed to make you fail. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, think of that bag of chips or that donut. Both have added sugars and other crap that make you WANT to have more. You don't want to quit after just 5 chips, because that happens to be a serving size. If you have that donut in front of you, you'll eat that whole thing, not just a serving size. As Robb Wolf put it in his keynote speech, every single study confirms that a lifestyle (paleo, keto, even vegetarian) actually works, while moderation of a crappy diet does not. And if you take the 108 million people trying a diet each year and consider that 4 out of 5 fail, the answer is clear. We have a myth on our hands.
Of course, as a person who actually wants to eat healthy, you are in a bit of a pickle. Boredom of certain foods is actually rooted in our ancestry. We call this palate fatigue. Simply put, you can experience palate fatigue during wine tasting. Too many different wines tried in a short period of time can make your taste buds tired, or as some researchers suggest, your brain grows tired of the similar sensory information. The same can be true for eating the same food every day. Is it any surprise then, that our grocery store shelves are stocked with 50,000 items and 11,000 new items are introduced every single year! All it takes are a few well placed commercials and ads to make you want to try that brand new food, and trust me when I say that you will not want to eat it just in moderation. It won't work.
Secondly, a person eating a healthy diet (say paleo) is still looked at like somewhat of an alien. Walk into a fast food restaurant and buy a burger, fries and large coke, and you're considered normal. Order a bun without a burger, a side salad and a bottle of water and people are quick to call you orthorexic. Think about this! A person trying to eat meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruit is considered somehow abnormal. Don't let that happen to you! You are not abnormal!
That said, boredom of these healthy foods can hit anyone. It takes a committed person to get past it, experiment with new recipes and ingredients, and maybe just find joy in a relatively simple diet. And when all else fails, then... well.... bacon!
In just a couple of days we get to say goodbye to, what lots of people are calling a challenging and sad year for a variety of reasons. They are ready to turn their backs to 2016 and invite 2017 with open arms and high hopes. New Year's Resolutions are posted to social media platforms by some, while others are adamant about the nonsense of it all. After all, January 1st is just another day.
Over the years, my opinion about New Year's Resolutions has changed. One year I'd make them, another year I thought "to hell with them". This year, I say that many of us love the symbolism of a new beginning, and I like the idea of putting this year behind me consciously and purposefully. Let the past be in the past and walk with confidence into the future.
As far as New Year's Resolutions go, I do believe that making them can be helpful, if it is done the right way. I've written about this a couple of years ago. And I still believe a lot of what I said then.
But this year, I would add that resolutions can go much deeper than the desire to lose weight or sleep better. Why not ditch the resolution to lose weight and turn it into "I want to run a half marathon by June. What do I need to do to get there?" Ideally, you'll take a full body approach. This means, you make the necessary dietary changes (a great way would be to join me for my clean eating challenge starting January 5th on Facebook only) and find a training program that will get you from where you to where you want to be.
If you have been dealing with gut issues (constipation, diarrhea, cramps) or even have a diagnosis, then make your resolution for the following year to dig deeper. What may have caused this issue and what do you need to do to get it under control? Heck, work with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! (Yes, that would be me.)
Think of what you miss the most in your life. More time to play with the kids or friends? Exercise? Reading books? Writing short stories? Maybe it's just simply time to look at your schedule and make time for the fun stuff in life. Think you're too busy for that? Think again. Did you know that the average American looks at their phone about 150 times in a day? Assuming that a good portion of that time is spent on checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat and/or e-mails that could wait until later, think of the time you're spending on your device. Maybe your resolution is to turn the phone off when you get home from work. Or maybe you set a time limit. We do it to kids. Maybe it's time we do it to ourselves.
My request for you for the coming year is to make it a more meaningful year for you. What do you want? And what do you have to do to get it? Sit down, create a list, and go for the things you KNOW in your heart you can accomplish, then go for it. Make 2017 an awesome year for yourself.
Happy New Year!
"I'm so fat! I look disgusting!" Be honest, how often have thoughts like this crossed your mind as you looked at your reflection in the mirror? The future will be better, because in the future you will have lost 20, 40, 60lbs and you will look so much better. And if you look better, you'll feel better about yourself. You'll be able to fit into the skinny jeans, the little black dress. You wouldn't admit these thoughts to anyone around you. These thoughts are secret. They are nobody's business. Others don't need to know about your self-destructive talk.
Newsflash! You won't feel better about yourself when you lose that weight. You'll find something else that is wrong with you. Now that you've lost the weight, you'll want to lose the flab. You'll want the six pack abs. You'll still see your imperfections. Sure, you'll be excited about the clothes you fit into now. But at home, naked in front of the mirror, the little nagging voice is still there, still bugging you that you are not quite right the way you are.
The Wellness Cycle
Isn't it high time you started loving you now? Wouldn't it be nice to learn to look into that mirror and thank your body for its hard work? Wouldn't you love to be able to look into your own eyes and say with conviction, "I love you."? Wouldn't it be grand, if weight loss was just a positive side effect of your healthy lifestyle rather than the one thing that you want for happiness? Weight loss alone will not give you happiness. It will not make you suddenly love you. The love for you has to be there already. The love for you is the biggest most important thing in the world. If you don't love you, how can you possibly be kind to yourself when you don't live up to your own expectations? Won't you just stand there and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, "I knew you'd fail. What did I expect?"
And would you ever say this to your spouse, your kids, your friends?
I'm asking you to start your day with a positive message to yourself. Practice looking at your beautiful, hard working body and say, "I love you, now and forever." When you do it every day, it becomes a habit. When it's a habit, it is no longer difficult. You deserve to be loved by you. Love from others is nice but it can disappear just like that. It is not guaranteed. But your own love for yourself will never go away. You will have that until the day you die.
When working with clients, I often find that people expect to see enormous results in their weight loss journey just by cleaning up their diets. Often, this is true. Especially for those who have a lot of weight to lose, a few small changes can yield great results. Just recently, a young client of mine quit drinking soda. He made no other changes to his diet. Amazingly, his frequent migraines had all but disappeared.
Another client did a Whole 30 and lost 15lbs. With my guidance, she learned to eat to maintain rather than to yo-yo right back up.
However, some people can change their diet down to the perfect macronutrient ratio, and they still don't lose weight. These people are usually stressed out, frustrated, and feel hopeless. After all, shouldn't they be thin as a rail after dialing in their diet to perfection? Not necessarily! You see, as humans, we are so much more than the food we eat. As you can see on the diagram, the Wellness Cycle as pictured above, consists of a number of compartments, all of them feeding into and building on each other.
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Sleep (a sufficient amount of 7 to 9 hours for healthy adults) leads to better food choices throughout the day. When you nourish your body with whole, unprocessed, sustainably raised foods, exercise will come easy. Exercise, when combined with a healthy diet and sufficient sleep can help reduce stress. And let's face it, when you're less stressed, you'll be a heck of a lot more pleasant, hence your relationships will improve. When you surround yourself with with good friends and family, you'll be more likely to out and play (or stay in and play for that matter), and when you get sufficient play time, work will be that much easier to handle. And to close the cycle, when your job is a pleasant one, you'll get lots of wonderful sleep.
When you hire me to be your Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, we will work on any or all of these issues as they arise to make sure you walk away from me fully equipped to take on life!
Every website should have an "About Me" page, yet mine lacks it. I've decided to change this and write a little about me, about why I'm here, and what I'm doing.
My whole life I've spent dieting, it seems. I started at the tender age of 13 when dieting was the thing to do. I didn't really have any weight to lose. I just felt I had to, because all my friends did. Suddenly, there was an expectation to look a certain way. Suddenly, I was no longer good enough the way I looked.
Fast forward three decades. Today, I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I went into this profession because after so many years of yo-yo dieting, it had become clear to me, that I needed to help others. I needed to go out there and spread the very important message that eating real food is what makes you lose weight. This is how I got started with this business. I wanted to help people lose weight. And I did. With my help, people have accomplished something that they thought they couldn't do. I was able to help people who thought there was nothing left for them to do, that they had to just suck it up and feel big and sick.
But as wonderful as this success feels, I've come to realize more and more that my approach was still wrong. Why would I say such a thing? You see, I'm currently working for a functional doctor in addition to seeing my own clients. I see between six and ten patients every day. About 95% of them want to lose weight. When asked what their highest priority is, I rarely hear the words, "I want to achieve perfect health." Don't get me wrong, there are a few people who are there just to feel better. But the vast majority of my patients want to lose weight, and most of them are still hoping for a magic pill, for a quick and easy approach. As a matter of fact, one young woman told me she would rather be skinny and tired than thick and feel well.
The gravity of this statement didn't sink in until that evening, when it occurred to me that my job is not only to help people lose weight. My job is to help people understand that they are buying into a standard that practically none of us can meet. My job is to remind people that their highest priority needs to be their health, not a number on their scale. My job is to help people learn to live in harmony with their bodies, so that they may accomplish perfect health. In the process they may lose a little weight, a lot of weight, no weight, or even gain weight when it is necessary.
My purpose, my focus is to help YOU to be well... not for the next two weeks but for a lifetime.
If this strikes a chord with you, then please reach out, fill out the form, schedule an appointment. I will work with you and help you accomplish exactly what it is that you really WANT and NEED to accomplish.