On introspection and choosing another path

In my other life, as a health coach helping people gain a healthier relationship with food while losing weight happily and healthfully, I have recently made a pretty major business decision. It is one of those shifts that is like jumping off of a cliff. It feels like there’s no going back. Like you’ve got to be all in–100% committed–or the scene will look like one from the coyote and roadrunner cartoon.

The thing is, I wasn’t getting anywhere with what I was doing. I was doing everything the marketing people told me to. I was authentic, passionate, and unique. I had an elevator speech. I regularly shared my story with soul-baring honesty. I walked my talk and am a product of the plan I was trying to sell. All I heard were crickets. Could it be that I wasn’t clear about what I was selling? Essentially I was selling myself on the internet. I mean, that’s pretty vague.

Authenticity is one of my core values, so my business plan reflects that. As a result, it is both rigid and fluid, and that might come off as wishy-washy. My compass is my internal barometer, which sometimes causes me to float in circles. I needed a solid plan, but first I had to figure out what was wrong with the other one. Continue reading “On introspection and choosing another path”

Why I don’t label my diet

You will rarely hear me slap a label on the way I eat. I know it’s the hip thing to do, but I don’t do it. People love to flaunt their food preferences for everyone to see, waving the vegan, keto, paleo, or fruitarian flag for everyone to see. Declaring food preferences makes sense in a way, considering that these diets veer away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) in such a way to be considered “odd” and it cuts down on awkward “I can’t eat that” occasions. It is also a popular conversation starter.

I don’t label my diet for a few reasons, first and foremost because once you put a label on a diet, much like putting labels on people, it becomes something we are able to compare and contrast. It becomes subject to the secondary label of a “fad diet.” Once you have been caught with a fad diet, watch out! I mean, I can’t even keep up with the clothing fads, let alone the food fads. Continue reading “Why I don’t label my diet”

You don’t know it before you know it

Honestly, I could talk about dietary theory until I was blue in the face. I could give you evidence from study after study about how sugar is bad, sleep is good, and meditation can change how you digest and incorporate nutrients. But until you are ready to hear and process that information I will be talking to myself.

People will not change until they are ready to. I could be dying to help you, but if you are not ready for that help I will be nothing more than an irritant in your life. So people like me sit back and watch you chip away at your health one can of Coke and piece of pizza at a time knowing full well the ailments you complain about can be alleviated, or even eliminated, by a few simple changes in your lifestyle.

When I ask my daughter (who is five) what she is going to learn in school today she says, “I don’t know, mom. You don’t know it until you know it.” That same phrase came up for me yesterday while listening to a lecture about food sensitivities and elimination diets. The lecturer (Tom Malterre, MS, CN) said something along the lines of, “People are amazed how good they feel once they eliminate the foods that have been causing them distress. Of course, I had been telling them this, but you don’t know it until you know it.”

Continue reading “You don’t know it before you know it”

Eating Mindfully vs. The Holiday Gorge

I’m sure you are at least superficially aware that diets don’t work. If not, let me give you a pro tip: Diets Don’t Work. They don’t work because they often require a Herculean effort in willpower that is made even more difficult by the simple fact that you’re flipping hungry. You’re hungry because you’re restricting calories and likely, in the process, also cutting out the very things that make you feel satiated (i.e. fat).

Then the holidays come around with endless temptation at every turn, not to mention the lack of sunlight causing seasonal depression, and your family and friends heckling you for being on another silly diet. It’s a recipe for disaster. Consequently, many people give it up entirely for the month of December and start binging on goodies, vowing to start the diet again in the new year. Hence, the holiday gorge. Continue reading “Eating Mindfully vs. The Holiday Gorge”

More Veggies, Please!

What is the most important thing you can do to improve your health? It’s an interesting question, and one I expect to get a wide range of answers to when I interview potential clients. I don’t get much variety, though. What most people say is “eat more vegetables.” And, they’re right. I mean, other things count, too–the quality of your food, getting better quality sleep, drinking more clean water, and reducing stress–but eating more vegetables is right up there with the most important thing you can do to improve health. Most vegetables have a low glycemic index compared to fruit and starches. They contain micronutrients important for cellular function, and fiber important for healthy gut microbes. Vegetables also have a low calorie to volume ratio. Which means you can eat a lot of them and still not meet your calorie quota for the day. And, not many people eat nearly enough of them.

Continue reading “More Veggies, Please!”

Whole Food Plant-Based Omnivore

This is my new favorite diet label. I mean, if you really need a label for the way you eat. It has everything important in it. The most important part is first, “Whole Food”. This one concept could erase our dietary woes and heal many of the “diseases of modern civilization”. Instead of concentrating so hard on percentages of macronutrients, maybe we should focus our energy on consuming real, actual food the way nature intended. Second, the “Plant-Based” part implies that most of what we would be eating on this plan would be plants. You’re exactly right! If you were to look at a plate and cut the plate into quarters, 3/4 of the plate would be some sort of plant. Then the omnivore part is where your choice of protein fits in. Obviously, if you were to choose a plant-based protein, your plan wouldn’t have “omnivore” at the end of it, but you would still benefit by paying close attention to the “Whole Food” part. My point is, processed foods that have been altered and adulterated in order to be cheap and shelf stable have no business in our diet and we would be healthier by far if these foods are removed from our plate. This “diet”, which isn’t a weight loss diet (although you will probably lose weight), is universal. Anyone can do it, regardless of allergies, location, income level, moral concerns, or health issues.

Continue reading “Whole Food Plant-Based Omnivore”

You Neanderthal

You may have been hearing quite a lot about the ketogenic diet lately. Popular diets such as The Bulletproof Diet, The Primal Blueprint, Primal Fat Burner, and Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy have been making headlines. My goal is to give you information and reliable resources so you can make your own informed decision about this type of diet. These are essentially upgraded versions of the well-known, but largely misunderstood, Atkins Diet and what is commonly known as Paleo or Keto. So what is up with the resurgence of these low-carb diets? Didn’t they already have their day in the sun? Let me clear up some confusion about how these diets work.

Continue reading “You Neanderthal”

Four Simple Solutions to Overcome Stress and Anxiety

Why is the topic of stress so important? Well, who isn’t stressed these days? We are overscheduled, overworked, and overstimulated, we lack time in nature, we lack connection with people around us, and we are so used to being this way that we call this stressed-out state normal. According to the Whitehall II study (1), which followed the lifestyle and mortality of a large number of civil servants in the UK, stress is the number one predictor of total mortality. This study looked at mortality due to several causes. Tobacco use was the biggest predictor of death in those who died of cardiovascular disease, but the largest factor in total mortality was stress. What this means is, you could do everything else right – your diet and exercise can be spot on, you don’t smoke or consume alcohol or eat red meat – but between you and your friend who does all of the bad things and none of the good, you will still die first if you are stressed out all the time and she isn’t.

Continue reading “Four Simple Solutions to Overcome Stress and Anxiety”

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