Itching for change?
With the New Year around the corner, many of us are assessing our resolutions. Those from 2011 and what will be in 2012.
While goal setting is undoubtedly a crucial aspect to success, these goals need to be attainable, worthwhile and it helps if they’re partially enjoyable. Otherwise, chances are high that you’ll fail at them.
There’s an obesity epidemic and crazy high numbers of people are dyeing — and suffering — from lifestyle related diseases such as heart problems and cancer. Any goals looking to improve the quality of one’s life, must surely asses and include lifestyle and eating habits.
Too often in our fast paced patch-it-up society we look for a diversion; a quick fix. For enduring happiness and good health we need to address the unsupportive practices at their core and work from a strong foundation.
Another factor crucial to success in changing one’s behavior, is making the steps gradual, indeed, step by step. And support definitely adds that level of accountability which further enhances one’s chances of transformation.
Yes, you can go ahead and make grand plans on how you’ll lose those 20 pounds by Valentine’s Day or how your cholesterol levels will be history by the Spring — but chances are this won’t work. (Sorry to burst that bubble, but we’re being honest here, right?) Teeny tiny little changes produce a lasting effect; produce a new, healthy and supportive lifestyle.
Here are three of my best and yet most simple ideas for helping you on your step by step path to increased wellness.
1. Another damn good reason why Grandma was so smart
I told you these ideas were simple. No rocket science involved. But just like Grandma, really smart.
She told us, “Eat your Greens.” And she was right.
One of the most lacking aspects of our diets today are green leafy vegetables. One of the most beneficial aspects of a diet are green leafy vegetables. I know you can do the math. There’s a glaringly obvious deficit going on.
I can’t even begin to do justice to the superb healthful qualities of Glorious Greens in this short piece, but here’s a taste of the health benefits that they provide:
- They reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease;
- They are essential for bone health;
- They significantly lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes;
- They protect the health of your eyes;
- They act as an anti-inflammatory (just so you should know, more people die in the U.S. yearly from taking the correct dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs than of AIDS — eat your greens! A far better option.)
- They are the perfect foods to maintain our essential slightly alkaline blood level; and
- They encourage weight loss.
So, step up your greens! Raw, sautèed, steamed, juiced, smoothies, lettuce, bok choy, fennel, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, wheat grass, alfalfa, beet greens, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collards, Swiss chard — just do it!
Listen to Grandma for Heaven’s sake. She knew what she was talking about.
2. Why Amy should’ve gone to rehab (and so should you!)
There’s a growing amount of scientific research that indicates that just like cocaine and heroin, sugar (and that includes High Fructose Corn Syrup — “the most demonized additive known to man”) is
That perhaps makes kicking the habit a little more complex but, I would argue, even more necessary. The lists of dangers of sugar goes on for pages so while you may be mis with your expanding waistline or butt, or seriously facing the onset of diabetes (if not already a victim of), there’s a whole lot of other boogie men lurking in that sweet fix.
Remember those greens I mentioned above? Well the more you eat of those, the less you’ll crave the sugar. Go for natural sweetness in yams and carrots and beets. Try Agave Nectar or Stevia as a substitute. And if you’re yearning for that sugar high when your energy is zero — switch to raw almonds or some other protein source instead. It’ll be far more effective.
What I need you to really pay close attention to is this: Don’t substitute one evil for another. More specifically, don’t dump the sugar crap for its artificial first cousin. That’ll make you sick too.
My little story: 14 years ago at a routine gynae check-up while pregnant with my son, my very orthodox doc said to me, “Don’t use artificial sweeteners during your pregnancy.” He never advised much else. But that he did. Now I know why. A recent study conducted by the Centre for Fetal Programming in the Division of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark and published in the September 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that women who regularly drank artificially sweetened carbonated diet drinks were 78 percent more likely to have an early delivery than women who never drank the beverages. That says something to me.
So kid yourself not, Amy Winehouse died from her addictive poison — don’t make the same mistake.
3. The Big Fat Lie: If it doesn’t pass through my lips it won’t sit on my hips.
You’d think, right? If I don’t eat the fat, I won’t store the fat. A little more to it. Check it out.
Let’s start with the statistics:
In the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with about 45 percent of their calories; about 13 percent of the population were obese and under 1 percent had type 2 diabetes, a serious weight-related condition.
Today, Americans take in less fat, getting about 33 percent of calories from fats and oils; yet 34 percent of them are obese and 8 percent have diabetes, most with type 2 diabetes.
A low-fat diet is not the solution. A ‘correct fat’ diet is, however, part of the answer. You gotta eat your fats to get healthy and thin.
Need a quick tour of the players?
- The Good: These fats are either Monosaturated or Polyunsaturated and provide a host of fabulous health benefits including (drum roll please) encouraging weight loss and reduced belly fat. You’ll find them in avocados, olive oil, pecans, almonds, chia, flax, pumpkin and sesame seeds and fish oil, to name but a few sources.
- The Bad: Here we’re talking about Saturated fats — and did you know that our bodies make all the saturated fats that we need? So why add more? The bad guys here come mainly from meat, skin on poultry, seafood, whole-milk dairy products and some tropical oils. They’re responsible for much of our cardiovascular problem today.
- And the Downright, Dirty Ugly: Trans Fatty Acids or Trans Fats are great for drawn out suicide. Not only do they raise your bad LDL cholesterol but they fuel inflammation which sets the stage beautifully for a host of other complaints. According to Dr. Barry Sears, “We now know that this silent inflammation is the underlying cause of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Virtually every type of chronic disease has a significant inflammatory component as its underlying cause.”
Practically, what does this mean for your daily consumption?
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 30 percent of your total caloric intake coming from fats. Penn Medicine breaks it down further into less than 10% of your daily calories from saturated fat, no more than 10% of your daily calories from polyunsaturated fat, and 10 to 15% of your daily calories from monounsaturated fat.
That’s the direction you want to be headed.
The Secret’s Out (But Now it’s Up to You)
You have the facts and the tips, but now, it’s only up to you.
How badly do you want the change?
How important is your health to you?
How motivated are you by an internal ticking to sort your act out?
Or are your health goals and resolutions set in some wobbly Jello that society, the doctor, your mother or I told you about?
If you aren’t committed as all hell, give up now and save yourself the emotional trauma, guilt and backlash. Pull out the Twinkies and Coke and enjoy them.
If you aren’t 100 percent driven by your own Holy Grail, your steam while simply go “Poof!” You absolutely have to have the confidence and belief in the transformation you’re aiming for and the path to getting there.
And that doesn’t require January 1st, Monday morning or any other sacred date.
So, if you’re passionate about you; if you’re passionate about changing your life and your health, jump in with both feet now.
And go forward. One step at a time.
Go on — now.
Before you know it, you’ll be running.