One of my favourite snacks has always been crackers. Unfortunately, most crackers are pretty unhealthy and not a great source of nutrients on their own. Crackers from a box are processed, refined and stripped of their nutrient value. On top of that, they are often filled with vegetable oils like canola, safflower, sunflower or cottonseed oil which are unstable inside the body. Most boxed crackers are full of refined carbs and unhealthy fat but have little to no protein or fibre content- the more you eat, the more you keep eating!
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I've been having such a great past couple weeks hearing that (almost) everyone has gotten their copy of Food Rehab for Food Junkies. I can't even begin to describe what an incredible and terrifying experience it's been to have my story and work out there. I have received the most wonderful and heart warming feedback from so many of you-thank you so much.
Ok, I'm going to get a bit personal here, but I'm sure all the women who read this post will appreciate the sentiment. When I go through PMS, it's like the gates of hell have been opened. Nothing satiates me and nothing makes me feel better. Everything could be going perfectly in my life, but when that week comes, all I can think about is leaving my sweet life behind and running off to join the circus. I want to change everything and in that week, and everything I once thought was great, fails to measure up to the "code red standard of excellence". My husband's not good enough, my jobs not good enough, my performance isn't good enough, my body, my looks and in the end, me. I become good not enough.
Over the last month I have been challenged to rise above the current standard I have set for myself, and to go beyond the complacency that can so easily encompass me. There are times in my life where I sit in a place of comfort and become complacent to stay where I am knowing that true success and breakthrough in any area comes when we get out of our comfort, or complacency, zone.
Have you ever heard someone say "I'd rather eat unhealthy and be happy, than eat healthy and be miserable"?
I find it very interesting that people assume they would be miserable eating healthy foods and happy to eat foods that harm them. Although people will say something like “at least I’ll die happy” and laugh it off, I don’t truly believe that this is what they want. The last time I checked, and correct me if I’m wrong, no one in the world has ever said “I absolutely love being on my high blood pressure medication, these statins are amazing, I feel great”! People who are sick are generally unhappy about being sick and people who are healthy are generally pretty happy about their health. The phrase “I’d rather be unhealthy and happy than healthy and miserable” is an oxymoron to say the very least. I’ve never met anyone who is chronically sick or dying from a lifestyle related disease that has said how happy they were that they ate a diet that led them to where they are now. No one in their right mind enjoys being sick and feeling unhealthy.
One of the main excuses I hear when talking to people about changing their diet is that eating healthy is too expensive. I realize that eating processed, mass produced food may appear to be cheaper, but in the long term it will cost you much more than you think. Does eating healthy really cost you more money? I want to share with you that eating healthy may cost you a little more money on your grocery bill, but will save you more money as you keep your body free from disease and your productivity levels higher.
This is one of the questions I get asked the most as a practitioner, and although the question seems simple, it has no one definite answer at any given time. Why? Because you are different from me, and your needs will vary and change all the time.
As human beings, we like to have a plan of action. We want to know everything so we can make a hundred lists and spreadsheets of every detail about our lives. We need everything categorized into neat and tidy little boxes so we feel more comfortable knowing we have everything "under control".
What does Christmas mean to you?
The holidays are among us and there is more cheer, laughter, and love than any other time of the year in most cases. Along with a surplus of joy there is also a surplus of food, and not just an abundance of carrot and celery sticks with extra brown rice and lean chicken breasts, but an array of savoury, sweet, fatty, and salty dishes…usually packed into one delicious meal!
How would your life change if you knew that half the groceries you were buying had poison in them?High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
What would your life be like if you didn't have to worry about what you ate? What if you knew that everything you bought was made with top quality ingredients and was completely beneficial to your wellbeing? Unfortunately, we do not live in a world governed by these principles and there are foods you need to stop eating, like yesterday.
Thanksgiving has just been upon us, and what a beautiful chance to express and reflect on all the gratefulness that seems to escape our minds throughout the year. I love Thanksgiving because I love family get togethers, and I love family get togethers because they are always filled with good food, lots of laughs, and an overabundance of love...all in one dinner!
Have you ever finished a meal only to find yourself snacking half an hour to an hour later? You are not alone! I hear countless stories from clients who have a tendency to snack after they've finished a meal, and most often, this meal is supper. So why are we still grabbing for snacks after we've eaten? Are we really still hungry, did our bodies not get what they needed throughout the day, or is it something else? "What am I doing wrong"!? This is the frantic cry I hear ALL the time. So lets take a look as to why one might be continually snacking or feel like they need to continue eating after a meal, particularly in the evening.
Have you ever been in a situation when you can't figure out what to do? You may be starting up a business, entering into a new job, falling in love, starting to have kids, or experimenting different ways to eat. Whatever you are trying to do will always be accompanied by times and feelings of uncertainty. A lot of people (including myself) don't really care for uncertainty, yet everyone loves a good adventure. We love going on trips or vacations, spontaneity, and the thrills we get when we watch a movie full of suspense. If basically all human beings like a good adventure, then we offhandedly like uncertainty.
Now I don't negate the fact that there are those text book, A type personalities, that read the plots and outcomes of movies before they watch them, they look at dinner menus online before they go out to eat, and they read the last chapter of a fresh new novel before they begin the book, but even those people like a good adventure...they just want to know it's a good adventure before it begins.
The way we can embrace the uncertainty of life is to change the way we view uncertainty. When we look at uncertainty and we change the verbiage to something like "Life Unfolding", we can take a step back and look at the big picture. We are never going to know what's going to happen at every moment in life, but that's the adventure. Some circumstances are not fun, like experiencing illness, or the death of a loved one, losing your job, or going through a divorce, but in every situation Life continues to unfold for us.
Because I deal with people's eating behaviours, I see all kinds of uncertainty when it comes to the foods they eat and the way they consume them. I see uncertainty with the thoughts they have towards themselves or food, and I see uncertainty when we sit in a session together and I tell them to embrace uncertainty. But everyone loves a good adventure.
Eating challenges present us with a chance to view Life Unfolding in a tangible way. When I was bulimic, I used to hate myself after each episode, and although I no longer struggle with an eating disorder, I look at it now as being a teacher and a guide. My behaviours, though damaging both mentally and physically, were actually helping me at the same time. They were a continual wake up call from my body saying that it needed help. This was my experience with Life Unfolding.
What areas of your life cause you anxiety or stress because you're uncertain of the outcome?
What is the uncertainty of each situation trying to convey to you?
Most often, we are challenged with uncertainty because Life is calling us to trust, to have faith, and faith in something greater than just your own self. The interesting thing about trust and faith is that they physiologically put the body into a relaxation response (Ie: Rest and Digest), which is the exact opposite of the Fight or Flight response. When we are in Rest and Digest, we think clearly, we breath slower which increases oxygen to all organs and muscles efficiently, and we can be at our highest metabolic potential. When we are in fear or anxiety, Fight or Flight is turned on and we are no longer in Rest and Digest. Do you think your body could possibly be smart enough to try to get it into a state where it can be at it's most vibrant and healthiest place?? The answer is yes. The body is physiologically beckoning us to trust.
Stress and uncertainty will always present itself, but the more important question is how will present yourself before stress and uncertainty? Will you continue to live in fear, or will you trust that Life is calling you to a higher purpose and trying to convey a higher message?
Hello Readers!! I am happy to announce that I have officially graduated from The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and am a certified Eating Psychology Coach!! With the training from the institute under my belt and as I look forward into the future of my practice, I want to give everyone reading this a clear message of what I am all about as a practitioner, what my mission is, my vision for my practice, what my core thoughts and beliefs are, and what services I provide.
My Mission Statement
I help people understand how their relationship with food is a direct reflection to their relationship with life. To empower and enrich a deeper understanding of oneself, and to elicit powerful changes in the mind, body, and spirit.
I have this overwhelming sense of urgency to get the word out that we have been brainwashed by so many different mediums when it comes to the way we view food and the body. We have been taught to hate it, abuse it, criticize it, starve it, over-work it, and pick it apart piece by piece. The vision I have for my clients, as well as myself, is to help uncover the many lies and toxic thoughts that have been ingrained in us from a very early age, to start to discover the meanings behind the symptoms and challenges we face on a daily basis, and to equip you with simple yet powerful tools and strategies that will transform the body from the inside out.
My Core Beliefs
- Where the mind goes the man follows
- The way we eat is a reflection of how we live and vice versa
- Embracing change creates transformation
- Self chosen stress has to go
- Change comes from being more not doing more
- Quality of food = Quality of life
Where The Mind Goes The Man Follows
- Wherever you allow your mind to wander is exactly where you will go
- If you want to be successful in any area of your life, you have got to change the way that you think about life first and foremost
- Before we "train" our body, we must train the mind first
The Way We Eat Is A Reflection Of How We Live And Vice Versa
- We can tell a lot about ourselves by the way we choose food, and the way we consume food.
- By looking into this avenue, we can identify root problems we have with food and with self.
- Example: If I eat every meal as fast as I can, 9 times out of 10 I am living life at a high speed.
Embracing Change Creates Transformation
- If you cannot embrace change in life, how do you think you're body is going to change shape or health?
- Change is the flow of life. You can see this clearly and evidently through each season. The world constantly changes, it has a rhythm to it and that rhythm is change.
- The way we eat should be constantly changing and evolving through life. If you are under the impression that you should eat the same way forever, you are not going to see the change you want in your body or in your health.
Self Chosen Stress Has To Go
- Because the stress response has such powerful effects on the body, it is of the upmost importance that we rid ourselves of self chosen stress.
- Example: self deprecating beliefs, negativity, an unforgiving attitude, stressful thoughts about the body, the need to be famous or noticed, using exercise as punishment, etc...
- Stress will always present itself but the more important thing is how you present yourself while under stress.
Change Comes From Being More Not Doing More
- Change occurs when we embody, meaning when we are in our bodies. Everyone embodies differently but we disembody by many of the same ways.
- Example: preoccupying our minds with other peoples bodies or lives, comparing ourselves to others, constantly trying to change the body, ignoring the symptoms or challenges we have or by putting a bandaid on them instead of looking for the root causes, by refusing to be aware or present.
Quality Of Food = Quality Of Life
- No matter what you eat, eating the highest quality version of that food will yield powerful results.
- When we take the time to nourish ourselves with high quality food, our lives begin to reflect that quality in the way we conduct ourselves, dress ourselves, the thoughts we think, and the way we treat ourselves and those around us.
- Quality supersedes any diet plan.
- one-on-one Nutrition Coaching in person or over Skype
- Group meetings or lunch and learns for corporations
- Speaking at private events or health and wellness seminars
- Customized meal planning for individuality of lifestyle
- Eating Psychology Coaching
- Mood and food, immunity and the diet, chronic dieting, binge eating, over eating, weight gain, fatigue, macronutrient balance, meal timing, stress and weight gain, desires, sexuality, spirituality, and the many aspects of our lives that directly effect the way we eat.
I want to thank everyone for your continued support and openness to what I talk about. I know it's not as the rest of the world teaches, but I think we can all agree that what we've been doing isn't working. It's time to truly think out of the box!
Hello again my faithful followers and readers! This week I will be discussing just one topic I have been thinking and talking about for quite some time now. It's the topic pf gluten free diets, and why they are and are not beneficial. A lot of people I talk to automatically believe that if a food gluten free, it must mean it's healthy. This is not always the case though... 7. Gluten Free Means Healthy
This is a very widely discussed topic throughout the nutrition world, the fitness world, and throughout the world in general. Gluten free has become a posh way of eating regardless of gluten intolerance or not. So what is gluten exactly? What is gluten intolerance, and is gluten free really the way to go?
I have been asked by clients numerous times about gluten free, and of course, I have tried it for myself. I ate gluten free about 95% of the time for about 2 years. Am I still gluten free? No, I am not, not because I don't think gluten allergies and sensitivities are real, but because I don't have one.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the protein found in the endosperm of wheat. Glutens job is to nourish the plant embryo during germination and also contributes to the elasticity of the dough when you bake with it. Gluten is composed of two proteins being gliadin and glutenin and isn't just exclusive to being found in wheat products, but other grains such as rye, barley, oats, and other various crossbreeds.
What is the difference between gluten allergies sensitivities?
When someone is allergic to gluten it is called Celiac Disease. When they eat anything containing gluten, their body will create an immune response that damages their intestines and prevents them from absorbing vital nutrients. According to The National Institute of Health, about 1 in every 141 people have Celiacs Disease (in the United States). In more recent research, scientists have come across another potential form of intolerance called non-celiac gluten sensitivity where common symptoms of celiacs disease are present, but the intestines aren't damaged. This could include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, skin conditions, etc..
Obviously if you are celiac, or know 100% that you have a gluten sensitivity, then by all means, please eat gluten free, but if you aren't, then why would you think you need to adopt a way of eating that is quite frankly, unnecessary? Following a gluten free diet when you don't have to can have it's drawbacks if you aren't careful. Often gluten free foods are made with refined, unenriched grains and starches which makes them high in caloric value, but low in nutrient value. Gluten free diets can also lack adequate amounts of fibre and other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folate, iron, phosphorus, B12, zinc, and more.
So why the craze around gluten free??
Generally people will start feeling better when they stop eating gluten not because of the gluten itself, but because of the increased amount of gluten containing treats being expelled from their diet. This means that cookies, cakes, pasta, bread, and french fries are all gone. Whenever you cut out something from your diet, your body is going to respond or react. For example, when you happen to cut out sugar, your body just so happens to react in way that includes but is not exclusive to: weight loss, mental clarity, improved sleep, improved digestion, improved skin health, improved dental health, lack of anxiety, lack of mood swings, etc.. So is it the breads fault we are feeling sick, tired, and are overweight? Maybe, but most likely not, seeing as celiac disease affects 1% of the population.
My take on eating gluten free is this: if you are celiac or have an extreme sensitivity, cut out gluten and adopt a gluten free diet, but make sure you are eating a well balanced and healthy diet, not just loading up on gluten free junk food. If you aren't celiac or have any sensitivity, eat gluten containing foods in their truest form, being their highest quality. This means: eat organic whole grain products that are unrefined and unbleached. Enjoy a bowl of large flake oatmeal, have a piece of whole wheat toast with an egg on it, these are fine. Eat gluten contain foods in moderation because like anything else, too much of something never turns out well.
Ask yourself what truly may be making you feel ill in your life. Is it gluten or is it maybe some animosity going on with your spouse? Is it gluten making you sick, or could it be the fear of losing your job, the mountain of debt you're in, or the fact that you just lost someone close to you? Life is calling us to wake up, listen, and take an inventory of what's going on. Are you sleeping enough, are you dependent on caffeine, sugar, or alcohol. Are you harbouring resentment or do you need to forgive someone in your life? What are your symptoms and how are they teaching you, calling you to evolve? These are all contributing factors that can cause symptom or disease in the body, not just the food you eat itself. Don't mask the real issues of your life by trying to change something in your diet, it will never work.
We continue on with more falsehoods we've been believing for far too long when it comes to our health and well being. Here are your next two points: 5. The Perfect Diet Exists
I hate to break it you, but there is no "holy grail" way of eating. I used to spend hours upon hours of my days researching the "perfect" way to eat. What foods I was allowed to have, what foods were on my "naughty list", what carbs did to the body, how much protein I should consume... I measured everything down to the oz. and every calorie of food was accounted for, even my chewing gum.
My goal was to find the absolute perfect diet. A diet where I wouldn't crave sugar or caffeine, where I would have the energy and stamina of a teenager, where I would have the most optimal digestion and never have stomach pain, or bloating, where my skin would be clear all the time, my sleep would be the perfect 8 hours and I would always feel rested, and where my weight would just naturally float down to what I envisioned to be the perfect size and shape. This was my mission, and I chose to accept it.
What I found out was very different then what I thought I would though. I never found the perfect diet because the perfect diet doesn't exist. No matter what I tweaked or changed, or how many carbs I cut out, no matter how much dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts, soy, you name it, that I didn't consume, I still experienced fatigue, bloating, digestive complaints, restless sleep, and weight that would initially come off but go right back on again. I used to think that "If I was just more Paleo, or if I just didn't eat that piece of bread, or have those extra almonds" that I would finally achieve nutritional enlightenment, but what I found out was there is no absolute in the way we eat.
We get really down on ourselves when we can't follow a specific plan that we think will change our world forever. "Why can't I just stay on this stupid plan, why is it so hard to not have milk on my cereal instead of almond milk"? These diets seem simple enough, and basic to say the least, so why are they so unsustainable? The answer:
The one constant we have in life is change. We are continuously evolving everyday. Our age changes, our moods change, our interests change, our minds change, so why don't we allow the way we eat to change? Well you can be certain that you have changed the way you eat, and will continue to change the way yo eat. I'm fairly certain you don't drink milk from your mothers breast anymore, nor do you eat baby food...unless you're on the "baby food diet" ;)
Our diet changes when we are sick, when we are training for an event, as we age, it's dependent on our geographic location, the season... Our diets where never meant to stay stuck on one program. Staying on a specific meal plan for the rest of your life means you are resisting the need for your spirit, soul and body to evolve. You are defying your own biology when you dig your heels down and call yourself "Paleo, Low Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian", etc. Do I think any of these strategies are wrong or bad in any way, no, on the contrary I think they are all fantastic, but what if those diets weren't meant to be taken so literally. What if we are actually supposed to take components of each, experiment, have fun, and incorporate each system in accordance to where we are at in life and then move on when it's time to move on?
I encourage you to experiment with different methods of eating but not to go into extremity. Extremity in anything never works out well because we put a plug on change. We deafen to where life is calling us and where we need to accept change. Where to stay and where to move are all hindered when we go into extremes. There is no perfect diet, there is only the best way for you to eat on any given day, and that's going to be subjective to your environment and how you respond to that environment.
6. Organic Means Healthy
I am an advocate of eating sustainably and humainly raised foods. I believe in eating foods that aren't genetically modified, processed and refined, or manufactured for mass consumption. That being said, just because a food product says it's organic doesn't mean that it's necessarily healthy for you.
For example, look at Tostitos chips. They are made with hydrogenated fats and are a refined carbohydrate. They aren't the healthiest option to say the least. Now they have come out with chips that are "baked" and ones that are "wholegrain". This may make the chips seem healthier but they are still the same food. The same goes for organic labels on packaged foods. You can buy a package of cookies but organic sugar is still sugar, organic wheat flour is still wheat flour, they all have the same effects in the body.
Yes, the standard for organic is higher than its counterpart, but it's important to really read the ingredient labels on those foods and take into consideration the amount of processing that's gone into each product. People make the mistake of going into a natural food or health food store and thinking everything is fair game, everything must be good for them because it says organic. This just isn't so.
When choosing fresh produce, nuts, eggs, meat, and diary, I believe organic or locally raised food is definitely 100% the best possible option because of the nutrient value and the way the food was produced. Anything that is pesticide free, herbicide free, sustainably raised, or raw is going to have a much higher nutrient value because of the soil that those vegetables or fruits were grown in, the lack of herbicides and pesticide which strip foods of their value exponentially, and the lack of hormones given to the animals I am choosing to consume, who aren't from feed lot farms feeding on high amounts of corn that goes undigested thus fermenting in their guts. This is why I choose organic or local for these food products.
Anything that is produced for mass consumption, organic or not, is not my first choice. Again, packaged cookies or chips are still cookies and chips. Don't be deceived into believing that everything that says organic means healthy or good for you.
This week we will be looking at the next two lies/deceptions we've been fed by the health and fitness industry. I hope you are getting as much out of these as I am! 3. Fat in Food Makes You Fat
This is a reoccurring theme we've been hearing since the late 70's-early 80's. Interestingly enough this is when obesity rates also started to skyrocket. What happened when the food industry started to take fat out of our diets, is that they had to make foods palatable enough for us to eat, and they did this by adding more sugar.
People have been blaming fat in foods for making them fat, but as we cut out more and more fat, we seemed to get heavier and heavier. Not only does a low fat diet effect your weight, but all the added sugar (particularly high fructose corn syrup) is not being processed by the liver and going straight into fat stores.
What happens to the body when it doesn't have an adequate amount of essential fats is truly shocking. Here are just a few symptoms of sub-clinical to clinical fat deficiency:
- redness around the eyes
- bry brittle nails
- dry hair
- skin rashes
- trouble sleeping
- hormonal challenges
- food cravings
- weight gain
- inability to lose weight
Mix a low fat diet with one that is high in sugar, and it's predictable that a person would gain weight.
Fat is essential for us to live. Our cells are predominantly made out of fat. Our hormones are proteins and fats. If we don't have adequate amounts of fat in our diet, the cell walls become rigid and less permeable, meaning hormone transport is made harder. If you know anything about hormones, then you know that when they aren't functioning properly, all is not well, especially when it comes to weight loss.
All fat, however, is not created equal. The fat that's in processed foods is not like the fat found in nuts, seeds, meats, or high quality dairy products. Oils like cottonseed or canola are highly unstable in the body and are known to induce inflammatory responses. This is because of their processing. You wouldn't sit and eat a bowl of cottonseed, so why are we consuming the oil? The amount of processing that some of those oils go through opposed to say something like olive oil, is so drastic that they ca become rancid in the process. They are then injected with hexane to get rid of the rancid smell and nicely stored on the grocery store shelf for your consumption...
Fats like avocados, raw nuts, full fat organic dairy, high quality meats, coconut oil, nut oils, these are highly and readily available for the body to use. The less processing, the better. Period. As far as dairy goes, there is processing and heat can be disruptive to the molecules (that's not my area of expertise), but I believe that buying full fat, organic products far supersedes their low fat, conventional counterparts.
If you experience any of the symptoms above and you know for a fact that you are either not consuming enough healthy fats, or have the toxic dietary belief that fat in food makes you fat, it may be time to have another look. Do the research for yourself. Watch documentaries like Fed Up, or The Bitter Truth and make your own calls.
4. Calories in/Calories Out
I guess it may go without saying after reading my last post, but not all calories are created equally. Isn't it interesting how a low fat diet can contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight? What makes that interesting is that:
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates or protein = 4 calories (each)
If fat is higher in calories, then wouldn't it make you gain weight? The answer is that because of these findings, not all calories are created equally.
I'm sure you've heard people say that it take 3500 calories to burn 1Lb of fat. So if you eat a low calorie diet and exercise more than you consume, you should be able to lose a pound to two pounds per week. Simple right? Not so much. Not only is weight loss a lot more complicated than that and complely subjective to each individual and their environment, but not all calories do the same thing inside of the body.
In the documentary Fed Up, Dr. Robert Lustig compares a can of soda to a handful of almonds. Each product contains the same amount of calories but have very different reactions inside the body. The soda has no fiber or fat and goes straight into the bloodstream spiking insulin. Not only does it spike insulin, but the fructose it contains cannot be absorbed by the liver so it has no other choice but to drop into fat storage. The almonds on the other hand are full of fat and fiber and breakdown in the body much much slower and are fully processed by the liver. As you can see, not all calories are the same.
What the health fitness industry claims is that as long as you "burn" more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight. Well this may be true to a certain extent, it also isn't at the same time. The body may initially lose weight (most of which is water), but will quickly plateau or even regress the long a low calorie diet is maintained. The body goes into survival mode through long periods of starvation and stores the little food it does receive in its fat stores, and for a good reason...it's keeping you alive through the next drought or season where food isn't plentiful. Weight gain in this instance is a good thing, it's what our bodies were created to do. Survive.
The problem is though that we don't have famine or drought, not in North America, so when we go on restrictive diets that beg us to "fall of our wagons" and we choose to binge on the very things are bodies have a hard time processing (like high fructose corn syrup or poor quality oils), you better believe the body is going to pack on the pounds, and not in a good way.
Not all calories are created the same because not all humans are created the same. How we digest food, how we eat food, how the food is grown, all effect it's caloric value. And because all of that varies, the calories in calories out methodology is highly outdated and moronic to say the very least. Not only does counting calories not work, but it keeps the body in a state of constant stress because of the fear associated with eating more than your allotted calories for one day. I don't think I need to go into anymore detail about the stress response, but we know that metabolism is directly effected the more stress we are under.
Instead of focusing on the amount of calories in a food, focus on the quality of that food instead. Don't get sucked into the trap of calories in calories out. It's just not that simple. We are not machines, we are organic human beings, start treating yourself like one.
The more I hear about different ways to lose weight, different diets to try to find that "perfect way of eating", or all the miracle pills, powders, surgeries, and strategies to help you finally lose that weight and achieve your full potential, the more I want to take a stand. I'm done being angry about contradicting information in the health industry because it will never go away. One day you'll hear that eating low fat is the way to go, the next day low fat is the worse thing you could do. One day coconut oil is better than anything else, the next day it's not. So with all of the contradicting information we have, what can we TRULY believe?
I will be discussing some of the most common "health" claims you've probably all heard at some point or another and explaining why they can be extremely deceiving and how some them are downright lies we've been fed to keep us unhealthy, overweight, and living in fear.
1. Exercise More + Eat Less = Weight loss
This is probably one of the biggest deceptions that we've been told when it comes to weight loss. And the worst part about it is that 90% of the world believes it. Does exercise burn calories? Yes. Does eating food add calories? Yes. But we are more than just calorie burning machines. We are organic human beings who need more than just a math equation to function optimally. I want everyone to know that I am in favour of movement. The body was created to move and to move beautifully and functionally. What I am not in favour of is how so many of us use exercise. We use it to punish the body into submission when we feel we have an extra pound or two to lose, we exercise out of a place of disgust with our bodies, and we create a stress response that will end up lasting for far too long. This means that the entire time we are exercising, we are creating an even bigger stress response and singling the body to stop the production of lean muscle and to start inhibiting the body of burning fat. If we are in this state, a state of self loath, our negative thinking creates stress in the body. Because exercise is a stress in itself (even though it's a good stress), and overabundance of it is a recipe for disaster. We tend to really go for it in the gym when we feel the need to be somewhere with our bodies, so we push and we push hard. The central nervous system literally takes a beating, the psyche takes a beating, and our hormones take a beating. Mix this with a low calorie diet used to "lose weight", and you have the perfect storm.
When you restrict the body of calories or any nutrients for that matter, the body becomes undernourished on every level and has no other option but to slow down. It slows down the metabolism to utilize the little food it's being given, it slows down the immune system because we aren't getting the vital nutrients we need for it to ward off infection, it slows down the digestive tract, the reproductive system, and it slows down the rate in which we burn fat and build muscle. The body is literally just trying to survive in this state. Not only are we physically undernourished, but we are emotionally and spiritually undernourished. This is itself perpetuates the already raging stress response that's going on.
Anything that puts the body in a stress response will inhibit its ability to shape shift. Period. When I talk to my clients about exercise, I encourage them to adopt the word "movement". Exercise has a very rushed and frantic connotation for most people, but movement gets us to tune into body wisdom and what the body needs specifically each day for each individual. Does that mean I don't agree with going to a gym to workout? Absolutely not. As long as it's for the right reason. Why are you exercising right now? Is it to lose that belly fat, trim your thighs, lift your butt? Or are you doing it for the health of your body? It's ok to want to look good, there's nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward and feel sexy, but when it's done from a place of criticism and judgment, and a place of "not good enough", the body will predictably fight back. You won't lose the weight you want, your body won't change in a sustainable way, and you put your health and your body at risk for injury and disease.
2. No Pain/No Gain
I have lived a life of many struggles, and I always thought (and sometimes still do) that I've got to live life from one struggle to the next. I always thought that if I'm not struggling, I'm not making any progress, that everything has to be a fight. I found out that this was a very toxic belief that I had to purge. What happens in life when we live from one struggle to the next is our perception of success becomes dysfunctional. We then create unnecessary drama so that our situations feel more "normal" for us, and we sabotage our efforts. Consider this postulation though, life is not meant to be a struggle, but a journey.
This became very real for me when I chose to stop lifting weights. I had this no pain no gain mentality where I always had to work really hard, sacrifice my energy and time, my health, or whatever it took just to be "fit". While I continued to live in this routine, my body started to fight back and I gained weight. I would exercise even harder thinking that just a few more sets of exercises or twenty more minutes on the treadmill would do it, but to no avail. When I started to listen to what my body was telling me, I started to slow down (it pretty much forced me to). I started to walk instead of run, and I started doing Pilates. If you know anything about Pilates, you know that although it's not easy, it's defiantly not fast...it's slow...really slow. This was a big leap of faith for me to take. "What if I don't sweat each time, what if I don't feel my legs aching the next day, what if it doesn't make me gasp for air"?!?! These were all the thoughts going through my head. What happened when I finally let go? My body let go. I stopped weighing myself everyday, I stopped restricting my food intake, and I stopped compulsively exercising. I do Pilates 4 times a week, walk a few times a week, and eat food that is high quality and that gives me pleasure. This was my outcome. Needless to say, what I was doing wasn't working for me, and it would have continued to not work for me. It was only after I slowed down and listened to my body that I finally gave it the chance to change.
Another situation that this rang true for me was with the way I ate. I thought that I always had to be on some form of diet or another to truly get the body I wanted. With every diet I tried, I failed. Nothing worked sustainably, and it never would have. I started to eat foods that I enjoyed. Finally I was able to eat what my body truly needed and wanted, and what happened when I let go of my restrictions is that my body naturally gravitated towards certain foods and away from certain foods. I've always eaten healthy but I had all sorts of notions about "good" and "bad" foods. For example, one thing I found out was that my body doesn't like coconut, and that my body likes dairy. I don't care how many Paleo hacks say coconut is the miracle food, for my body, it's not. I react when I eat coconut, but when I cook with butter or cream, I don't get bloated and my tummy doesn't hurt. You tell me who's right, Paleo protocols or my body wisdom? Eating food doesn't have to be a struggle to get your body to where you want it to go. When we have pleasure (and I'll talk about the importance of pleasure in another article), the body switches from a stress response into a relaxation response. Does that mean I'm saying to gorge yourself on cookies and ice cream? No, no I am not, if you think that's what I'm saying, you need to grow up. But the body was designed to receive pleasure. The moral of the story, I work diligently at what I do, but I don't kill myself. I do some form of exercise 5-6 times a week but I don't brake my back to do it. I eat healthy, high quality food that I prepare with love, but I eat what I want and what my body says it needs on any given day. I do not follow one specific diet, I refuse to live in extremity anymore.
It's time we start putting a little more faith and trust in our bodies. It is trying to relay information to you all the time, we are just too busy to give it a word in edge wise. It doesn't matter what any weight loss or diet strategy claims, it won't work if it's going against what your body actually needs. When we put faith in our body wisdom, we activate the relaxation response and turn off the stress response. This just so happens to be the state where the body naturally lets go of unnecessary weight and is able to function optimally on every level.
I think that we can all agree that in today's society, we have never been more overweight, sick, and unsatisfied than we've ever been. We have never had the technology that we currently have, we've never had the recourses that we have, and we over consume food day in and day out. So if we have everything we could possibly need and more, why are we as humans so insatiable? When it comes to our priorities, we are a mess. We place money, fame, and ego at the forefront, and everything else that truly makes up who we are on the back burner. I noticed this while I was walking in the mall the other day. Now I have to admit, I am really into fashion and absolutely love getting new clothes, but I find my insatiability for clothing comes the more I set my first and most important priority on looking good or seeking outward approval.
While looking at Summer 2015 fashion, I noticed that Fall 2015 fashion is already coming out. In fact, they were having "sneak peaks" at Fall 2015 in May! Now I know that in the fashion industry, you have to be "fashion forward", but it's getting ridiculous. While I appreciate Fall fashion as much as the next girl, I also appreciate enjoying the summer as well and not rushing though it. So as I'm trying to enjoy and relax in my Summer attire, I'm being bombarded by consumerism saying that "I need the next best up and coming wardrobe"...for a season that's 4 months away?? This is what I call insatiableness. We are never satisfied with what we have and we are always looking for the next best thing. We are rushing forward and forever living in the future (or the past), but never being here, being in the now. How did we get here?
I guess you could blame a lot on the media, and sure, the media plays a key role, but I believe it's our priorities. The trouble we face when we simply blame the media, is that we take zero responsibility for our own actions and behaviours and pin the accountability on someone or something else. The truth is that no one can make you feel or do anything, you consciously or subconsciously make the choice to allow or permit others to make you feel a certain way or do certain things.
The outcome of insatiability can come in many different circumstances and vary according to behaviour and mindset. Someone who puts their first priority on outward approval may chronically over exercise and in turn will become insatiable with that particular action. They are never strong enough, fast enough, thin enough, etc. Their diets reflect their insatiability by displaying extremity and an eternal dissatisfaction. They can never find the "right diet" and will be forever searching of new ways to cleanse and rid their bodies of toxins they believe they have all in efforts to achieve the "perfect body" and gain the worlds approval.
We all want people to like us or "approve of us" to some extent or another, but when we place our first priority on it, we become insatiable. Money can be the same, when our first priority is money we predictably become insatiable for it. We never have enough, we always need more. What we place our priorities on will become either building blocks for our success or something that will tear down our inner peace and joy for life.
One thing that I find interesting is that when I am done writing a blog, helping a client, or having a deep and meaningful conversation with someone, I don't feel or leave "hungry". In fact, I leave full. Full of life, full of energy, full of compassion, and ready to take on the world. I feel satiated. How can that be? Because my focus is not on me. When we focus on Me, we live in our ego, and our ego is insatiable. When we focus on others, we live in our spirit instead.
At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what your priorities really are. You have to ask yourself and look deep down inside in the areas you feel insatiable. Are you forever unhappy with your body, with your marriage, with your diet, with your job? If you answered yes, then the problem is not what you're unhappy with, the problem is that your priorities are solely on you.
If you are unhappy, you've made your entire world about you. It revolves around you, the sun rises and sets on you, and you put yourself before anyone else. You blame your unhappiness on what others do or think and you make everything about you. It's time to grow up and see the world for what it is. If you are insatiable in any area, you've missed the mark.
What areas are you insatiable in?
What are your top 3 priorities in life?
Do they contribute or detract from your insatiability?
Our focus needs to be greater than just put own needs being met. We have relationships and community for a purpose, and it's a purpose that's greater than just you. You play a role in society but you aren't the be all and end all of it.
Throughout our lives, we learn lessons. Some people call them Life's Lessons and some call it Soul Lessons, the two are interchangeable. The more work I do on my inner world, and the more I work with clients, and their inner worlds, I see a consistent pattern of this particular Soul Lesson: Letting Go
At some point in time as we go through life, we will have to "let go". We have to let go of relationships that no longer serve us, beliefs that no longer serve us, behaviours, actions, jobs, careers, money, addictions that no longer serve us, and we will eventually have to let go of our lives.
If we do not let go of old ways of thinking and behaving, we forfeit evolution and we forfeit expansion. We will stay in a contracted position and ultimately start to regress. There is no maintenance, there is only progression or regression. The thought of "maintaining" something is like the thought of the "perfect diet" or the "perfect body". We can get stuck in a mindset where we think we can achieve this optimum result and stay there.
This is what happens when people try to follow a specific meal or diet plan for too long. They think that, "If I could just find the holy grail of a way of eating then I will be perfect, my health will be perfect, my body will be perfect, and I will just stay here and never leave or stray or go off my plan. All will be good and I can just maintain my perfect life".
Letting go of the "perfect diet", the "perfect body", the "perfect heath", etc, are all essential for us to evolve into something greater.
Sometimes life is asking us to let go of relationships that no longer serve us anymore. They don't contribute to our Soul's growth, and they don't contribute to our journey. Sometimes, life is asking us to let go of a job that we've worked for years that no longer serves our journey anymore. Whatever it is, it is consistently being asked of us to let go.
The Hard Part
As human beings, we like to give ourselves labels. We like to identify with positions, financial status, the friends we have, the kids we raise, the sports we play, you name it and we will identify ourselves with it. The problem with doing this though is that when we have to let go of something (which is inevitable), we also then tend to feel like we are losing our identity along with letting go. We often see this in situations like when a mother says goodbye to her children when they leave for college, an athlete going through an injury and asked to give up their sport, or the business man who has worked at his career for 20+ years and is now retiring. The mother 'loses her identity" because she identifies solely as a mother, the athlete identifies with being an athlete and the businessman identifies with his job.
If we eventually have to let go though, who do we become, what happens next?
The good news is that when we let go of what Life is asking us to let go of, we can be certain of one thing: we have room to receive, and we have room to expand. Wen we let go of labels and situations, places, people, etc that we find our identity in, we end up finding out who we really are. Your identity is not dependant upon anyone or anything but you. Who are YOU? You could say "well I'm a vegan, or I'm a mom", but that's not your identity, that's the way you eat and that's one of the things that you are, but who are YOU?
Life will always ask you to let go of labels and with the things you identify with. It's not because life is mean and the world sucks, it's because Life is asking you to evolve. We lose our jobs, our kids move out, we get injured, because Life is trying to get our attention, and it's asking us to find our true identity. When everything else seems to crumble and fall around us, Life is showing us who we really are.
What labels are you identifying with?
What kind of person are you inside?
What are some of the labels you need to let go of and what are some positive words you can start to identify with?
Some of the words I identify myself with are these:
Bold, courageous, forgiving, giving, faithful, loyal, creative, healthy, caring, intuitive, worthy, successful, a force to be reckoned with...
It's time we stop identifying with the things that will pass away, and start to create a new identity in the things that will remain forever.