The New year resolution time is upon us, and this is the time most people think of their health goals. Usually this consists of losing weight, as the number 1 goal. Often this is attempted through fad diets, extreme fasts, or excessive exercise that usually causes pain, injury, and discomfort. All these things usually don’t last long and if they do, old habits return and the weight piles back on. There needs to be a different mindset, as the outlook must be long term and realistic. Start small, change one habit, exercise wise and food wise, then stick to it and add on gradually with new habits to change. This may be as simple as moving around more, not necessarily regimented exercise but movement, whether that is getting up every 30 minutes to stretch or a short walk. Food wise this may mean eating a healthy breakfast with your coffee vs just coffee or it might be slowly weaning yourself off sugar in your coffee or less sugary drinks in general.
There are so many underlying conditions that we ignore because we don’t see them physically and they are not as sexy as “weight loss” but are most important to our health. These different markers are: Blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and blood sugar levels. Once the focus is changed on getting these in healthy ranges, the mindset becomes different. The focus is no longer on weight loss at whatever cost, but now about getting healthy. Weight usually naturally follows along, as you are able to focus on feeding your body properly and giving it the movement, it requires. For some people exercise as we think of it, may be too difficult as it could be uncomfortable and hurt due to inflammation, sore joints, fatigue, or a host of other conditions. The focus should then be to start with proper nutrition and general movement, as mentioned above. Once you start feeling better and have more energy – which you will, then movement will naturally turn into more traditional exercise, as it became enjoyable and not painful. Cheryl, a client I started working with last year, could barely walk when I first met her, she had many health conditions and water retention that it made it hard for her to even stand. She now hikes, runs and even wants to start cross country skiing. She now knows how her body reacts to certain foods and has a lifestyle she sustains easily. You can see her live testimonial along with a few others on my DEEM Health FB page.
For some reason we have been swayed into thinking whole foods are boring and exercise is too hard and that when we reach a certain age medication is just a normal part of life. This is 100% false (other than family history). Proper nutrition and exercise in one form or another will allow you to prevent or reverse many chronic diseases that are brought on by lifestyle. Processed, fatty, sugary, salty, many packaged or convenient foods and a sedentary lifestyle, are all contributors to these lifestyle preventable diseases. However, I wouldn’t say for someone to never eat “junk foods” because that is also unrealistic, as these can be part of many social events and can be enjoyed. But the truth is, these foods should be limited. Follow a 80/20 rule – 80% of the time you eat nutritiously, 20% is whatever. Once you change your foods, your palette will change and all of a sudden, your taste buds wake up and you taste foods naturally for what they are, the natural sugars and salts will come alive along with a new found energy in your body. We don’t want to live – dying, we want to live – living, able to do things we strive to do without pain, medication or disease.