We realize the importance of starting our day off with gratitude, with an emotive THANK YOU, but, do we spend the rest of our day thinking of working towards fantastic health and wellbeing or the dread of sickness and disease?
Since we spend most of our time interacting with our environment, our environment has a huge impact on our thought process. Simultaneously the conversations we have, the reading we do [though these days it seems social media has trumped a good read] the tv we watch and the newspapers we read add to that environment. As I find myself researching the state of health globally, the latest diets, the impact of the food choices we make there seems to be increasing awareness and focus that lies within FEAR for the future when it comes to obesity and disease.
As I have an absolute passion for health and living to age 100 at least [yes my children, you may have me around for a good few more years than you bargained for] and have an understanding that if I keep my focus on the negativity of health and wellness well, then I am not creating a health and wellness outlook but rather a sickness and disease outlook. I also deal with people searching for better health focus daily and to turn their energy from their ‘struggle’ to what is POSSIBLE is my main focus as a coach and mentor.
I became aware of how a person can get caught up in the negativity when I read a range of books including Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said that “You are what you think all day long.” this continued when I started my journey in weight removal. I had just asked my daughter to take some pictures to keep a record of my journey and declared my disdain of where I was based on the dreadful pictures I was staring at, she turned around and said “Mom, can you imagine what those will look like in 6 months!!!?”. In an instant, I realized where my focus was. And, simultaneously I got her optimistic upbeat response. Literally, my world opened up and my awareness of where my thought process was landed on my lap. I realized that FEAR and FRUSTRATION in thought about better health drove my reaction to the photos in a NEGATIVE WAY. That from a person who ALWAYS SAYS “What starts wrong ends wrong“. It was such a learning curve as even though I sit daily with people applying positive thoughts when it came to my own personal journey I had just fallen short. I also realized that I could choose to make my thoughts work towards ridding myself of fat OR, allow them to drive me to fear and therefore gain weight! After all, our mind truly rules our body. The sad thing about this is it is true not only on the mental level but results in the physical outcomes of what we DON’T WANT. Then it gets even a little more complicated, never do we look internally, we find blame externally, so the first thing we do when we fail to rid our bodies of fat is we blame the diet we are on, maybe just maybe it is our thoughts that led to failure…
I read an interesting article and the following was said:
“The words you say come from the thoughts you have, which create the feelings you have. So go to the root of the issue: what are you thinking, and what are you putting into your body, into your mind? What is the food you are feeding this life you call your own? No one else will do it for you, and nothing that may have happened in your past is responsible for doing what you are now in control of, that which you do, think and speak. Every second is your own responsibility and within your power to change.“
If we embrace the understanding that thoughts create things we will be EXTREMELY aware of our thoughts. On a physical level let me explain; when we live in a world of external stresses and we take them on and add some more, of course, dinner does not stay at one plate of food, we start feeding the stresses and emotions, 2 plates later and 2 desserts later we feel no better! This then leads to waking up the next morning, and calmness turns to anxiety when facing our wardrobe, with anxiety on high alert your body misinterprets your tight pants combined with the anxiety for a reason to feed up and bolt down. We add fuel to the fire by blaming ourselves for weakness, lack of discipline and then family genetics for the tight pants and our thoughts lead to the fatty army in our body running for the thighs! Next minute we are 15kgs heavier, at least 2 dress sizes up and on anti-depressants. Yes, just like that our thoughts turn our attempt at dieting into fat protection.
The moral of the story? Quite simple, when you decide to go on a diet to get your health back, spend VERY LITTLE TIME on bemoaning the size of your thighs, how many diets you have been on, how many sizes of clothes are in your cupboard, the possible diabetes that runs in the family and more time on how AWESOME it is going to be to tie those shoelaces with ease, acheless ankles as you walk down the flight of stairs, the ability to walk and soak in the sunshine without feeling like a wounded buffalo and a cupboard full of GORGEOUS CLOTHES to wear again. Change the thoughts you dwell on and watch how you succeed at your regulated diet. Speak health INTO your life, go on a positive mental diet that I have dealt with on my previous post and REMAIN OPTIMISTIC about a healthier life – make it easier for you purely with the RIGHT THINKING in place!
So next time you catch yourself giving yourself and your life a hard time in thought and word, assess who you with [yes, the moaners and groaners have a tendency to influence our thoughts of ourselves as well], what you are reading, watching or interacting with and maybe pause and switch lanes. Reach for a better feeling thought to assist your waistline! Trust me, that change of lane can happen in a split second and you will be GRATEFUL for it and FEEL TONS BETTER!
Some people realize that one diet does NOT fit all, some people realise that whats right for the goose, may not be right for the gander… me on the other hand, spent most of my adult life believing, truly believing, if a diet worked for X person, then it will for sure work for me. 30kgs later, I realised one diet fits all was a load of bullsh*t.
Yes, it was a light bulb moment, though, maybe not as sudden as flicking a switch, more like a slow-burning ember that gets a gust of wind and lights up EVENTUALLY, I am slow like that. Sadly, even though I fully realize that I AM an individual with individual body requirements, somehow the idea that one diet DOES NOT fit all did not dawn on me until I walked that path and paid dearly for it.
My journey started at over 90kgs the first time I took on RIDDING my body of FAT, it was a wholesome eating plan which got me on the right track and I lost 30kgs over a year, as I reached my goal I fell pregnant with my first child, 2 pregnancies later I was tipping the 90kg zone again. Slowly the weight crept up to 106kg. At this point, I decided that feeling like a wounded buffalo was not for me. I started following the same food protocol which I had successfully used before and started exercising 6 times a week. My weight did not budge and I resided to being FAT AND FURIOUS for life. I had OFFICIALLY given up.
A friend introduced me to a shake diet and I decided to give it a shot, I was desperate and had never thought my weight was an issue until someone I had not seen in a while saw me, their jaw dropped non politely to the floor, truly, I heard the echo as it hit the floor, and in an instant if the earth could politely have swallowed me up I would have gone without putting up a fight! I started the shake diet with MASSIVE SUCCESS. At age 39 I gained my body back, moving to a wonderful 65kgs over a 6 month period. I never felt more like a lithe cheetah, 40kgs lighter, happier and more confident than a second hand car salesman.
Then, LIFE HAPPENED, AGAIN – she does that…. This was an interesting journey, but one in which sadly I spent 5 years questioning my worth, value, ability and leadership skills. Life literally sucked it all out of me and I ate my way out of the hole I found myself in. In that time, I moved home, got divorced, gave up my Art Degree, lost both my parents in a matter of 9 months, lost the work I loved and thrived in for 7 years and beat cancer. It was a shocker and I carefully reminded myself of the mirror I broke a couple of years prior which may have caused the quagmire of bad luck, though some would say that I had thought it into manifestation, so made it my REALITY [a different subject and sadly I tend to agree for parts of it]. Regardless, this time brought me back to packing on 40kgs plus to my small frame.
Long story I know, but at around this point that burning ember sparked, I decided to make friends with food, [for the fatties like me out there, we AIN’T friends with food – do not try kid yourself]. I decided to do the Hormone diet, the Metabolic diet, the HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) diet, Keto diet plan, the Cinderella diet, the 14-day diet, the Blood type diet, etc, etc… I was determined to become friends with food, I ONLY got fatter. Now some would argue and state that I did it WRONG. Sorry to disappoint folks, I have actively worked in the health and wellness industry since 2011, coached people to rid their bodies of over 8000kgs of FAT in that time, I understood what it means to stick like a postage stamp! Now spending time for 5 years questioning ALL I AM, then failing hopelessly with my supposed BFF food… did NOT HELP. I had not found the answer in that relationship-building process. In fact, that BFF food, lied, undercut, cheated and abused me and hampered every possible means of progress.
Some people, you know who you are, have had massive success in weight removal in the programs above, some have even said to me you just need to do X, Y, and Z and just like that weight will melt off you based on above programs… YOU JUST NOT DOING IT RIGHT… ARRRRGHHHHHH – KILL ME NOW. At a point, I decided that exercise will be my only saving grace, my NEW BFF, bugger food, even though I have always believed you can NEVER outrun your fork. The minute this buffalo decided to start walking the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. Knees started swelling, ankles ached, and shin splints set in. “Let us exercize” they said, “it will be fun” they said… not for this buffalo!
Back to the drawing table, I went, these diets worked for EVERYONE, after all, one diet fits all!?? The more fat I ate, the fatter I got, the more variety my diet got the more my joints ached. Then I checked my blood type, I am a keen supporter of Peter D’Adamo of course, and my blood type told me to steer clear of Avo, Banana, Butter and chicken [which when you eat salads, chicken is a firm favorite in most food-based diets…] – all of these foods were top of my list when I followed the listed regulated diets above, excepting banana, when I effentually took a look at the blood type dieting guidelines, I realized, – WHAT WAS I THINKING!!? Besides the fact that with my blood type I basically had to survive on tofu and lettuce.
Needless to say, I felt like a total failure. Self-esteem shattered. Confidence equivalent to a teenagers first kiss. Broken. Now the embers spark was well lit. The light bulb moment.
I started my investigation and realized that both the diets I had resounding success in was 50% Carbohydrate- GOOD ONES ONLY [Check out my course on Coach : no diet in which I explain the constant companions], 30% Protein and 20% GOOD fats and fiber. Both the diets required eating breakfast [intermittent fasting, I forgot to add that to the list above, but this one goes out the window if I look at my success dieting history]. Both required a large quantity of water a day. What I realized, not being a lover of cooking and baking, preparing and weighing [sorry Mom, I am no good at it and love foods starting with ‘RESERVATIONS‘ of a table for you Madam?], that the choice of my shake diet was the best way to go. The interesting thing about this diet is I helped all sorts reach success with it. Possibly the reason being that it IS BALANCED nutrition, 3 to 4 meals a day, with the correct fiber and water balance for your body. It was also not only shakes but food so it covered the best of both worlds.
Sadly I needed to go through the wringer to get back to it. I had to walk journeys highly recommended by all as “This diet will work for you, it works for everyone after all!!” Then failing, feeling that failure, QUESTIONING MY GENE POOL [Possibly alien, the verdict is still out according to my children] and fattening up in the process. I am one of the lucky few in my opinion that found the RIGHT RECIPE for me. Some never find it and do literally GIVE UP and GET FATTER. Fat not being the problem of course, the health challenges as a result of fat, now therein lies the TRUE problem. The second TRUE problem is our perception that one diet fits all. Herein lies the failed attempts, the yo-yo dieting, the health compromise, the breeding of low self-esteem.
Hear he, hear he, hear he… take note of the punters, the converts, and the believers and the naysayers, listen only to your heart when making your choice to go fat to fab, [and listen to your gut as well, it will let you know in possibly unflattering ways] YOU will know what is working if you gaining fat be weary. Look closely at your regulated dieting history – it tells a story. Look closely at responsive emotions over your lifetime, some may have a direct impact on your gaining and losing of fat. Draw a timeline and look, more stress, less stress, more sleep, less sleep, more exercise, less exercise, YOU GET THE PICTURE. Then, like a puzzle piece, put it all together and chances are you will be able to identify what regulated diet would be the right course of action for YOU, not your sister, brother, mother or bestest friend, but rather for you. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! Bugger the latest science, use it as a guide but tomorrow they MAY tell you how grass-fed cattle are killing you too…
How do you know what is the right diet for you, simple, IT WORKS, YOU WILL MOVE FAT OFF YOUR BODY... Whether you drop size, centimeters or kilograms – SOMETHING WILL MOVE!
Take a special page out of my flabby book, it is NOT about the diet, it is NOT about the diet being to blame, it is our closer inspection AND introspection of WHAT WORKS FOR US that leads to a regulated diet success!
If you find yourself caught up in the decision of a regulated diet or exercise, eat right or give up… It may be time to assess where you are and what and why you need the answer. Wading waist-high in decisions can be the one reason why we do NOTHING.
If like me you have found yourself staring at the less than satisfactory reflection of yourself in a shop window, convincing yourself that your value is not directly proportional to your size, digging deep to be ok with your XXL pants size while smiling broadly as a perfect size 10 stands next to you asking to advise on crop top versus chiffon blouse eating a muffin simultaneously, continue reading.
If any of this rings a bell then the next actions may too. With an absolute realization that the fat pants are having a dent in your self-esteem regardless of learning to ‘love yourself regardless of your shape and size’, you surround yourself with your bevy of friends to have a REAL discussion on your dilemma. Here comes the challenge, half of them spend time convincing you that you ARE GREAT JUST AS YOU ARE [not] and the other half start advising on better health. Debbie, for example, has done the Keto diet plan and she shook 15kgs from her frame and can only highly recommend it. Sally says no way, exercise is the only way to go, yes watch what you eat but you need to get a personal trainer AND exercise like a beast [YOGA is maybe an effort for you so the idea of sweating every day is making you cringe inside]. Pam pipes up that she got hold of Garcinia, a ‘magic pill’ that fabulously fries fat and eats and drinks whatever comes her way [not that she has ever struggled with fat and generally only takes it to make her bikini fit better than the previous summer]. Level headed Anna stays quiet, so you prompt her on her opinion as she NEVER seems to discuss fighting the bulge and she NEVER seems to eat at gatherings anyway, she claims without a blink of an eyelid that she never thinks about food, eats what she wants when she wants without it affecting her… [kill me now… – yes, there are Anna’s out there]. More confused than ever, you find yourself in a quagmire of opinions about how YOU should go about slaying the fatty dragon wrapped around your body.
No clearer on your direction to gain control of your thighs slapping together, you leave slightly demotivated. As you drive home, you try to convince yourself not to be ‘shallow’ and base a successful life on how you look, after all, everyone loves you regardless. Right here the devil and angel within start a full-blown battle… You are torn between handing over your thighs to fate versus acknowledging how you need to take control of the situation before your life span gets reduced or your size becomes unavailable in the shops. You end up leaving the arguing to the angel and devil and hit the bed to sleep on the way forward.
Morning comes, and you have decided now is the time to act. You realized that regardless of the love you feel from those around you, your self-esteem is teetering on broke and because you DO love yourself you are aware something needs to change. You also realize that YOU and only YOU can make a decision about what works best for you. Like a charging elephant [yes, the size of this beautiful beast was intentional] you decide to lean on our good friend GOOGLE to determine a direction. This IS where you WILL find the answer… [or not]. After typing out a string of searches regarding weight loss and fat loss and diet types and and and… you find yourself on a page about ‘cute puppy pictures’ and realize you lost the plot completely. Too many blogs later and countless email sign up landing pages later you throw your hands in the air… bugger it. Fat for life seems to be an easier answer, just then you get offered a muffin and you see it as a ‘sign’ that you should NOTGO ON DIET after all… 3 months down the road, 5kgs heavier, you sit through the same debate.
Now, this seems like a long sad story but I really wanted to paint the picture. If you are someone that struggles with weight, this story would resonate for sure. I would like to give some FURTHER advise to the hefty out there [this is not said in a nasty way, rather in a loving way as this IS familiar territory for me too!] for the roadmap to choosing a way forward.
THERE IS NO ON-OFF SWITCH
The world we live in allows us to live ‘easy’, as easy as it is for most people to switch a light on and off. EVERYTHING is literally at our fingertips. Ask and you shall receive has never been as real as it is in our current day and age. With this immediate gratification in mind and foundation of expectation, we not only expect regulated diets to be easy but FAST as well! And if it isn’t, we blame the diet. Generally, if we find ourselves desperate for answers we may just reach for something which is portrayed as THE ANSWER but is not necessarily OUR ANSWER. We are pushed by the ‘miracle possibility’ sold to us, YES, THIS miracle pill WILL WORK! And it will work FAST. Herein lies the fault and flaw to the entire process of selecting a regulated diet, we lose our power by handing it over not to the diet industry but to our assumption that ‘fast and dirty’ could work. We spend fleeting moments ‘deciding or choosing’ our regulated diets, charge forward to using/doing the regulated diet to crash and burn 2 weeks after starting [if we get that far]. The most important items to succeeding at fighting the flab are:
An inspired DISSATISFACTION with how your body fits on YOU
A clear understanding of what you are ABLE to use as a regulated diet based on your CURRENT LIFESTYLE
The clarity in the realization that there are no QUICK FIXES, no on-off switches, it took months or years to pile on, it may take as long to drop.
It has little to do with the diet you chose, it has everything to do with you STICKING TO THE DIET YOU CHOSE.
Accept the fact that not only do you have to live on a regulated diet to attain success physically, you will also need to do work on your MIND to accept and embrace the transformation.
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
We spoke about instant gratification. Heres the thing, when it comes to fatty fatness, it likes sticking around, if you see adverts for fat melting away like ice cream on a hot day, take cognisance of the fact that the brain is also made up of fat, and your body will protect it as best it can… also ask is it fat burning or muscle disappearing. Your body will protect fat at all costs ESPECIALLY if it is out of balance (fight or flight is important here), threaten your ‘survival’ through extreme regulated diets and your body’s resources [that would be the fat slapping thighs] will be locked up in two ticks. Now I am not saying you won’t rid your body of fat fast, there ARE actually healthy ways of dropping the fat fast, but use the brain and do the research. Generally, you can trust the company that shows the ingredient list and has scientific studies to back the product. So too, there will be not 1 or 2 reviews but many, check them out. Basically, fast IS possible, but check the chatter first! Personally, I have used a diet that managed to drop fat fast off my body, it was sound science, fantastic reviews, and properly planned. Those regulated diets that arrive by post with no support claiming magical fat disappearance not disclosing ingredients are NOT the answer. In fact, all it will make you do is dent your already wavering self-esteem when the magical fat-burning doesn’t happen to you… ever felt alien before???
Now, if you are on the larger side of life, be PATIENT with yourself. Acknowledge where you are and realize you can make the difference, over time… Write down how you feel currently, why you have reached this point of inspired dissatisfaction, it may be not fitting into a favorite dress, not being able to tie your laces, not being able to walk upstairs without sounding like a wounded buffalo, no matter what it is, write it down. I find 10 key points are a great start, keep that list with you wherever you go because just like we sometimes need reminding about a hair appointment, we sometimes need reminding why we are saying no thank you to a muffin too. This will keep you on the journey of reaching your success. We forget how awful that reflection was in the shop window when a choc chip muffin gets waved in front of our noses. Besides writing it down, record it to your phone, on the way to or from anywhere, listen to it, keep reminding how sh*t it felt to be that buffalo. You may have heard this before, motivation is like brushing your teeth, you need to hear it daily. Our prime instinct is to move AWAY from pain TOWARDS pleasure and that list will keep you on your toes when it comes to critical decisions on your journey.
Then take a look at the time it will take to lose the fat. If it is a long journey, let us say a year, it may seem forever, but we all know that obesity is the leading cause of illness, disease, and death. If we drop the fat we not only live longer but better too. Take that year and see how incredibly short it is in your lifetime. Zoom out and see your entire lifetime and realize that that year is over in a blink of an eye and with that, you can live a life filled with vitality to a ripe old age. If you have the tendency to worry about a birthday coming up that may interfere, know that you still have many more birthdays. A celebration? There will be many more IF you look after your health.
CHOICES MAKE US
This is not a willy nilly decision, a knee jerk reaction, it needs as much focus as deciding where and when you intend planning a vacation, how much you will spend, how you will get there. Choosing a regulated diet requires the same focus. This is where we get it all wrong, I will say this again, DIET’S ARE NOT TO BLAME it is our CHOICE of a regulated diet that is to blame. I have met with clients that loath a shake as a meal but opt-in on a shake diet, or that cannot stomach high fat but take on the keto plan OR someone who has a health issue but then decide to starve their bodies of essential vitamins and minerals which are key to healing themselves first. Point is, you need to sit down and firstly assess your daily processes, identify your strong points and work with those when choosing a diet. Let me elaborate, let us say you are incredibly busy and generally live on coffee and water during the day and the first meal down the pie hole is supper time. Would choosing a diet which requires planning, fresh-cooked meals 3 times a day preferably weighed out portions be the answer? If you said no to that option well done. Now it may seem simple but in pure desperation, people will attempt to move mountains and literally opt for the complete opposite of what they should in the hope that it will make some amazing difference. As a standard, it is human to stick to what is familiar and move away from the unfamiliar, you are possibly no different. Let us get back to the example above. The best possible regulated diet choice would be something that works within your strengths. As liquid is the primary input for the day, possibly a shake diet would be PERFECT for them, with a regulated meal in the evening. In that way, familiar stays fairly familiar and their strengths are worked with to lead to success.
The same can be said of exercise. Now yes, there are people who succeed to do a 360-degree roundabout when they move from passivity to doing exercise but it comes with the correct understanding of your own capabilities. Personally, I am not a fitness fanatic, a good yoga session is adequate for me, a walk even better. For some people struggling with weight they know they thrive on exercise and always have but for some reason, office, work, excess fat has prevented them from getting active, these individuals can start incorporating exercise once again and chose a regulated diet that fits within those parameters, here my only advice is slow and steady wins the race. If you are carrying excess weight you could damage joints along the way, try to shift some weight before doing MAJOR EXERCISE, stick to swimming or an easy stroll and work your way back to the gym.
Closing off, choosing and taking on a regulated diet is not a form of punishment, it is a journey based on your strengths and endpoint requirement. If you are feeling deprived or ‘punished’ as a result of your regulated diet chances are you have chosen the wrong diet for YOU. Take your time, be truthful to yourself and your regulated diet journey may just become a lot simpler. Besides the journey to your success, if you chose the right diet it BECOMES A LIFESTYLE instead of a LIFE SENTENCE and you can steer clear of the ‘haters’ when it comes to diets knowledgeable of the fact that you can make the RIGHT choice for your journey.
My first question to anyone who is focused on weighing themselves is this, “When you walk into a room, do you carry the scale on your shoulder or your clothes?”.
Now generally, some people if not all people use the scale to gauge unhealthy weight removal, then the second thing done in my experience is the minute the scale does not edge towards what they require in goal weight, then the DIET they are on IS TO BLAME… In the years I have worked with people in coaching fat removal, the biggest block in the journey becomes the SCALE. For some, yes, it is beneficial in GETTING to a certain size as the journey becomes about chasing that ‘golden number’, the problem comes from our focus on that ‘golden number’, if we DO NOT get to it fast enough or not at all, it becomes the noose around our dietary journey.
Because these days most things in life are based on immediate gratification when that scale does not move, hell hath no fury… We also get this ‘immediate gratification’ from external sources, we have ‘out learned’ to let gratification come from internal, hence we blame the diet we are on, possibly forgetting the rights and wrongs we have done ON the diet.
Let us start with fat loss vs weight loss, a scale is never a good indicator of fat loss, considering fat mass is much lighter than muscle mass. The upside in this is that if you see your clothes fitting better but the scale seems to be moving slowly, chances are you are sending fat to the furnace whilst safeguarding your muscle. The more muscle you ‘save’ on a healthy diet the better as the more muscle, the more fat you will burn, it takes energy [aka FAT] to keep those muscles working!
In a world were obesity awareness is on the rise, unhealthy fat is topical in all circles. In the process diets get dissed due to ‘not working’, meanwhile, it is NOT a diet problem, I hear this all the time. The problem is firstly we use the scale to determine success and secondly we CHOOSE the INCORRECT diet… and finally, anyone looking at the low-quality nutritional value of a lot of the food ‘stuff’ out there not to mention lack of exercise and the stress we face daily? The argument could be that people ARE getting it right out there so there are no excuses, this to me is an oversimplification. True as pigs don’t fly, there were times and still are times where I wish I was born with a supergene of athletic ability, honed physique, and a drop-dead gorgeous smile, sometimes loving myself as is, trumps the wishes stated above by a mile and allows me to love my life a lot more. This then leads to my acknowledgment that the scale is not the key that unlocks my health but rather self-acceptance as a starting point to better health and wellness.
Weight loss and gain, good or bad? That is the question.
We touched on this topic above, but gaining weight could be as a result of many reasons just as losing weight could be.
Our body weight is made up of bone, tissue, muscle, blood, water, fat, and, that which we have eaten making its way downstream… We might have a day where we have high salt intake and all of a sudden that salt holds on to our water intake and whallla we are up 1 kilogram on the scale, devastated by our gain, we blame the diet and proceed to take our anger out on a muffin – oh dear. Or, we decide to go on some crash diet, now, here, your body is super intelligent, starve it and it will guard FAT like its best friend [maybe that is a good thing seeing that our brains are fat-based and needs safeguarding!?], so as we starve ourselves our body starts chewing on the fastest available energy, MUSCLE, 2 weeks into the ‘starvation plan’ [note I did not call it a diet now for a reason] we get on to a scale and again, whallla, we down 5kgs and ALL IS JUST DANDY… or is it? Chances are we have fried some muscle as our body protects our brain and hip fat storage to its utmost. Next time we find ourselves in a pickle, we resume starvation and slowly we start carving away at the muscle supply in our body, we leach our bodies [muscle, tissue, bone] of water and again loose that unwanted ‘weight’ on the SCALE. Problem is this cycle continues, we hit 40 and bemoan the fact that NO DIET WORKS FOR US meanwhile back at the ranch we look old and disheveled due to muscle loss and NOT fat loss, gaining weight happens in 2 ticks due to less muscle to burn the energy we supply and losing weight becomes TOUGH!
Let us add some CAKE to the mix…
Now, I do use cake as a substitute for sugar, but, sugar, when added, carries more than just glycogen, in fact, it acts like salt and its best friend’s name is water. We may bite down on a ‘healthy’ muffin but next day 100 grams of muffin turns into half a kilo to a kilo depending on the sugar content. Here again, we chose a diet, let us say a keto diet plan, carbs are cut and all seems to be going swimmingly well, a friend has a birthday and we decide one slice of cake will not make the difference, which in the greater scheme of things really won’t, but we get on the scale the next day guilt-ridden due to the delightfully decadent cake we wolfed down only to find we have ‘gained’ a kilogram, SHOCK, AND HORROR… now the keto diet does not work!?? Not true, our body just needs to process the sugar hit and it can only do that by transporting the purely white and deadly stuff in the water. Try not to be fooled… sometimes diets touting massive weight loss is, in fact, massive water loss and here comes the bigger problem, we are 70% water, and generally everything functions in some kind of watery liquid environment in our bodies, minus the water, we have health challenges knocking at our doors.
One meal at a time, one kilo at a time.
Now let us start with when we weigh in a day. We decided to take on a diet, let us use Sally as our example, she takes it on seriously, regimented weigh-ins are important, so every morning, she wakes up bright and early, gets ablutions done and before getting dressed, [basically naked] she gets on the scale. Right there and then she has handed over the power of the day to a number, ON A SCALE! This is the thing, mornings we are ALWAYS lighter than EVENINGS in scale weight, BUT, we may not be lighter than the day before based on the birthday cake we put down the pie hole. It becomes a game of Russian Rolette, Sally peaks at the scale, [this is after the 2nd or 3rd time she got on to it after not being convinced first time round of course] dreading the number that will face us or feeling optimistic. Either way, I will paint both pictures. The first being, the scale goes down… HALLELUJAH the cake did not do major damage – Sally thinks… [‘that’ diet must be working after all!!!] She faces the day with glee – as if it is HER BIRTHDAY, and off she goes to work, our friend, [the birthday girl of course] decides to bring cake to work AS WELL just to make sure nobody feels left out… and the lower scale weight is still resonating in Sally’s mind, she feels GOOOOOOODDD…. So she decides, intellectually and logically [seeing as she beat this mornings scale and she IS DOWN in weight – not] that she dodged the bullet once with her cake from last night, she may as well give it another go. Down it goes, then her regulated diet lunch goes in, so too the mid-afternoon snack. Come supper time she has what is required to complete the day – a healthy regulated diet meal… Now, Sally knows after her day that it was not the greatest 24 hours and now she is curious to see what the scale has to say [oh dear]. At bedtime, she gets on to the scale and she weighs 2kgs more than her morning weight. Right there she gives up, maybe not totally but a little bit. Dazed and confused she realizes that the diet sucks [not really but it makes her feel better] and she decides she would make her decision after an evening’s sleep.
Herewith the second scenario. Sally wakes up, now she has had 2 pieces of cake in the previous 24 hours and was down in weight after the first slice, note she is on a keto diet plan. Now Sally goes through the same process as the previous morning, ablutions done, on the scale, before clothes of course. Now the scale is not friendly, certain parts of her evening meal, especially protein, is still making its way through her digestive system, now Sally is 2kgs heavier as well as with her limited carbohydrates on the keto plan, her body has celebrated by holding on to the carbohydrates she kindly supplied, and the water going with the purely white and deadly sugar on TOP OF THAT… Once again, Sally’s emotions and day ahead has been regulated by a NUMBER!!! Now she feels AWFUL!!!! And wants to burn the proverbial keto wagon after chopping it into tiny little pieces, “I am fat for life, bugger these “#@$&* diets!“. Off she stomps to work, most likely not kissing Tom [her partner who is patiently waiting for her to stop complaining about her weight], gets to work and mopes about for at least half the morning until someone brings another cake for Sally’s friend which they especially baked for her but decided they would wait especially for Fridays tea… What does Sally do??? Quite easily, she has said “#@$&* diets!” if you may recall, with her mood being set by the scale she now not only has a sliver of cake, she has 2 pieces for old times sake…
And so the SCALE has set the tone. So it has determined the direction of our waistline, be it on the increase or decrease.
The clock ticks… month by month
The last and certainly not the least, speaking one lady to another [men, please sit out on this discussion if needs be], when it is that time of the month, chances are you will feel bloated like a Sumi wrestler and retain water. I have seen it change scale weight from half a kilogram to 2 kilograms. Yes, it can be that much, and when you get on the scale feeling like a wounded buffalo, chances are emotional too, you may just want to end all thought of regulated dieting forever…. do be KIND to YOURSELF.
So here is the thing, by knowing these truths with regards to the scale you can, in essence, understand what is happening a lot easier when you get on the scale. If you use a scale to weigh, understand what you are weighing. Let us say you decide to have a cup of tea before weighing yourself, or a glass of water, the measurement of a liter of water to a kilogram is basically the same, lets us say you are REALLY thirsty and you have half a liter of water. Get on the scale and see the difference. It will be half a kilo and THAT IS NOT FAT, YOU ARE NOT GAINING WEIGHT!!!
Be kind, be logical, be honest with yourself. Then standing on a scale is beneficial. Besides using measurements and how your clothes fit, I find photographs work an absolute charm. Try to get full length, side profile, and face pictures as before and afters. These are the gems in seeing, understanding and accepting your weight loss journey emotionally.
If you have got the kahunas for a scale, great. Use them. Scales are good, they are not ALL bad. But understand your body and its cycles whether it is a short term diet or over a long period of time. Our bodies are like pendulums when it comes to your base weight and being up 2 down 2 is quite normal, don’t get shocked and starve yourself, or happy and overfeed yourself.
Even though no magic bullet exists in weight loss, there may be steps towards better HEALTH that promotes weight loss simultaneously. We take a look at magical food and spice PAIRINGS that are conducive to firstly your body getting healthier and secondly ramping up weight loss.
Below I have identified 3 primary pairings, firstly coffee due to the fact that most people love their coffee and if we can get it in AND benefit our health, AWESOME. The second is our consistent intake of starch and how to deal with this villain of a macro-nutrient without packing on the pounds… and lastly, a trilogy that not only reduces our chances of disease but may keep us looking younger too!
3 FOOD PAIRINGS THAT ROCK!
1. COFFEE AND COCOA
Being my absolute favorite drink besides good old fashioned water, I decided to start with coffee. But it is not coffee on its own that rocks, but the addition of cocoa to this tasty drink that creates an interesting fix in your cells. Cocoa has a wondrous way of controlling cell absorption of fat. Regular consumption of cocoa reduces the absorption of fatty acids in these cells, therefore, reducing your chances of obesity. Cocoa other superpower is that of thermogenesis in white adipose tissue and liver… ie FAT FURNACE extraordinaire.
So where does coffee fit in? Good quality freshly brewed coffee allows activation of fat cells, mobilizing it in your bloodstream making it available as energy. Now, if you are prone to drinking copious amounts of coffee and sitting dead still, it may not necessarily work in your favor, however, if you do this combination before your morning walk it may VERY WELL work in your favor.
The added cocoa prevents your body from storing fat and the coffee adds fuel to that fat furnace. A true win-win for ANY coffee lover!
2. CINNAMON (AND STARCH)
A second favorite for me is the delightful cinnamon, a spice that adds zing to just about anything, salty or sweet. Everybody is aware of the ability of cinnamon to regulate blood sugar by reducing the glucose that enters the bloodstream, especially after gulping down the muffin offering from a work colleague!
It has been found that cinnamon kindly gives a hand to digestive enzymes allowing the slow break down of carbohydrates in your digestive tract. It doesn’t stop there, it also contributes to your health by lowering blood sugar, it mimics insulin improving the glucose uptake. Yes, after believing our self-discipline WILL trump [oh dear…] and we WILL say NO THANK YOU to a piece of chocolate AND we DON’T, our trusty friend, cinnamon, WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.
A word of advice, if you are on a regulated diet for ridding your body of unhealthy fat, and you include the not-so-good-for-the-waistline STARCHES, add a bit of cinnamon to the mix, and preferably get the starches done by lunchtime so that you can make good use of the energy load coming in. Remember that healthy choices in Carbohydrates are important in helping a healthy balance in your body.
Attempt to add cinnamon to just about anything which includes starches, you may be surprised as it adds another FLAVORSOME ‘level’ in the food you taste.
3. PEPPER TURMERIC AND HONEY
A trilogy of potent ingredients that assist our bodies to fight inflammation. In a near-perfect world of dutifully growing our own veggies, not using synthetic products – like ever [extreme exaggeration to get my point across of course], milking our own goats, etc. we can say we have zero inflammatory conditions – SAID NO ONE EVER. No matter our situations we have little chance of getting our mix of nourishment correctly unless we live in a bubble. With that comes an inflammatory response in our bodies, which of course is good and bad. Good in the fact that if our bodies are functioning well, an inflammatory response is a reaction to our bodies call for help, you know, those times when you go run a marathon, your muscles are aching and getting out of bed is tough… or not, maybe it was purely a stretched muscle as you reached for a TV remote [heheheheheh, sorry I could not resist]. Either way, inflammation gets dealt with by an inflammatory response. But, increased continual inflammation leading to continual inflammatory response can be pretty tiring for your body too.
As our little soldiers work consistently in the inflammation in our bodies [ladies – this continual inflammation could even be a reaction to the ‘magical miracle wrinkle-free life face cream‘ we are tempted to use], it takes its toll. By toll I mean serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, in fact, besides a compromised digestive system that leads to a heap of health issues, inflammation is the deadly step sister for sure! As inflammation consistently happens, we wear our soldiers down. In steps this trilogy… and yes, the trilogy is important… I am sure everybody has seen how Turmeric has been donned as a superpower because of its delightful ingredient Curcumin, the problem with this is that Curcumin is the shy sister of Turmeric, this little bombshell doesn’t come out to play with ease… [For the sciency type, it will not cross the blood-brain barrier without a push and a shove] Now yes, Turmeric is powerful in the anti-inflammatory role but without Curcumin being available for the same playdate Turmeric gets a bit boring. Why we need these two to work together is quite simple, reduce inflammation in your body and suddenly removing unwanted fat becomes a whole lot easier. Simply put, if our bodies are so busy putting out fires [inflammation] little energy is left to worry about whether you fit into a size 10! So what gets Curcumin out of the bedroom to play? Add a touch of Honey and a grinding of pepper… Both these ingredients are KEY! Honey politely lifts your insulin levels JUST ENOUGH for your body to notice Turmeric, and the pepper unlocks the door and says to the Curcumin, ‘Do come in…‘ Delightful as a daily tea, try it. Personally, I like using a green tea or Rooibos base for the tea but straight up is fantastic. Generally, a generous helping of Turmeric in boiled water(half a teaspoon will do), a grinding of pepper, depending on how strong you like it of course and a half a teaspoon of honey will do. Just like that, there is a health party going into your body!
May I add to this, seeing as I did mention the not so good for you skin products that inflame the muscles that lie beneath our porcelain facial features, this trilogy, pepper, Turmeric, and honey may just replace your monthly botox injection and ‘its just laugh lines‘ discussions…
Even though multi-tasking has been taken to task [aka, BE PRESENT] when it comes to improving your body functioning, improving fat burning and adding great health into the mix, these combos and their multi-tasking abilities brings a smile to my face!
There are 2 types of accepted change; EXTERNALLY, that which we experience in our surroundings, from a change of scenery to our waistline expanding, or change within, INTERNALLY, change of heart, change of mind or change of character… this is a rather honest opinion about the latter.
First and foremost, if you truly feel the need to change your character you may be mixing with the wrong crowd… we are made perfect by perfect first and foremost, possibly if someone is suggesting change within you they may have their terminology askew or may ‘think’ they have YOUR best interest at heart… NOT.
Let me explain, personally, I am attached to WHO I AM, after all, I have been WHO I AM for 9months before fighting my way through the birth canal to land on mother earth, then playing my years through life on a journey which was mine alone… [Until someone plants a seed of maybe just maybe I am NOT enough – then the poop hits the fan in our brains and CHANGE seems to be the answer]. Now yes, we ‘change’, we are after all energy in motion, our cells ARE splitting and dividing continuously but that is a ‘PHYSICAL’ change [- with an undercurrent of emotions having an impact on those cells health too – but that is a story for another blog post]. And yes we wish to ‘change’ when our waistline starts representing a Starbucks muffin, but again that IS physical. Think about this; maybe our waistline is a point of contention because we are trying so hard to ‘CHANGE’ our true character to ‘FIT’ into this demanding world? The less we ‘don’t fit’ the more our waistline has the tendency of expansion. It gets scarier, part of that is, we THINKwe don’t fit based on assumptions, others’ opinions, and societal expectation – Lordy help me!! A side note, to the Moms and Dads reading this, please, tell your children how special they are, how individual they are and how growth within far outweighs FITTING IN.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen
Rob, my hero, you have said it perfectly – how to use the word change and to make sense of it.
This requirement for change has been driven by self-development guru’s who have picked up on the upper level thought process of ‘to change the world change yourself first’, it is not the world we need to change by changing ourselves, but rather, HOW WE SEE THE WORLD and the behaviors we embrace as individuals in reacting to the world.
Now on to the oversized waistline side of this conversation. We DEMAND change of ourselves, exercise more, eat less, more fat, fewer carbohydrates, NO SUGAR and so on and so on… then we set a ‘GOAL WEIGHT’ to ensure we drive ourselves to that perfect scale weight based on the ridiculous non-perfect BMI rates. So in the drive for a change of the waistline, some fail the change challenge and then the scale goal weight supports the double whammy of not only failing but not being able to change… Our stress goes up, we blame the ‘stupid diet‘ and look for a new ‘change challenge‘. Sad thing is, that story leads to us denting our soul, hurting our characters and possibly hitting the slippery slopes of lack of self-esteem. Trying to change ourselves is as good as trying to convince a Vegan to eat a rump steak AND enjoy it. You see, change, which by the way we have no control of, is something which exists externally, it is how we deal with it, our behavior which is important. Change INTERNALLY is ALL ABOUT growth. It is all about making decisions, you either want a smaller waistline or not, your actions to get there are either good for you or not. You don’t change as an individual, you change YOUR CHOICES, which in turn change your behavior which in turn changes your habits and then the results come. Please, try not to change yourself for in the process you may lose a little of yourself too. For us to make these correct choices to lead to success in our results, starts firstly in ACCEPTING ourselves exactly as we are, without reaching for external elements such as diet, exercise, and pills, besides acceptance, how about some good old fashioned SELF LOVE, not the ego-driven type, rather the type that is a self-realisation of your own inner beauty. By stating you need to change is the same as saying you are in essence a ‘mistake’. You are EVERYTHING AND MORE.
Seeing this drive for change in the self-development arena, I investigated some interesting terminology. Using Google as my search engine, I firstly entered ‘self-love’, with a return of 2,5 billion articles, I then entered ‘personal change’, this returned close to 7 billion results. Now yes, everything changes but clearly there is a greater requirement for personal change than self-love. And yes, everyone wants to ‘be a better person’ but half the reason why we reach for WANTING to be a better person is that we are not honestly the person we are – a void gets created, a discomfort, a disconnect between your character and who you THINK YOU SHOULD BE that drives us to SEARCH for a better ‘me’.
At the end of the day, we are all individuals, we do not need the additional label of a ‘good’ person, a ‘thin’ person, a ‘successful’ person and so on to validate ourselves as a person on this planet. We rather need to JUST BE. With that being said, DO GROW. If you see yourself as a beautiful expression of life on this earth, you may feel that you owe yourself the right to expand intellectually, emotionally, physically or soulfully, great! But start from the foundational starting point that you are pretty darn ok already and that this ‘GROWTH’ is your chosen journey in life.
The interesting part of change is that once you accept that change is something which happens externally and it is only OUR PERSONAL REACTION to it that affects us, then it OPENS your world completely. At the end of the day if our waistline expands it purely comes down to a decision of accepting the tighter and/or bigger pants or embracing the behaviors that will lead to easy fitting pants. It comes down to a simple DECISION every time, not necessarily the challenge of MASSIVE CHANGE.
With a realization that it is OK to BE, comes a period of time where your self-acceptance plays a key role. Learning to love yourself and grow in self-esteem is possibly the most important step forward in growth. This is ACCEPTANCE, SELF-LOVE, and embracing who you are as a character. Some suitable Subliminals can be used to ease the cross over from self-loathing change dependent to self-loving and authentic.
Learn to love who you are, and then JUST BE. Maybe all that is required is that acceptance of self and the requirement for change dissipates. Maybe it is only about growing forward and notgrowing up, growing in character and not changing YOUR CHARACTER. Chances are you will handle change that happens externally a whole heap easier once you come to grips with the fact that you are more than alright, that you are enough, and everything and more. Chances are any development that you do will be based on self-love instead of loathing, which will be based on growing forward instead of societal expectations.
When it comes to change, the only relevance I would advise is changing your requirement to change yourself, change a house plant, a pair of slacks or the radio channel, but leave yourself BE.
Everybody knows we have the same amount of ‘human time’ and it is truly WHAT we do with our equal share of time that makes all the difference… but what could happen if we could STRETCH TIME?
Ever found yourself standing still and wishing, pleading or begging for time to stand still? Ever wondered “where has the time gone?” Or started reminiscing with a friend about days and years gone by and the eventual utterance of “my word how the world has changed” when we discuss that our children now use Google instead of Encyclopedia Britannica’s full version on the bookshelves at Grannys house.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Theresa
Now you may be asking what has time to do with this blog regarding healthy living, well, if health is the new wealth, then we can safely say that time becomes pretty damn important in the equation, for without health, you have ZERO TIME. Personally, I have encountered many people who are wealthy beyond comprehension only to find them miserable and depressed, a life lived chasing a good retirement [is there such a thing?] and a little house by the sea… Only to get to 50 odd and start having health challenges that shatter firstly their retirement planned date [of course our medical profession like putting a time limit on our walk on the planet once the health challenge rears its ugly head] and secondly on doctors advice maybe settling at the coast is not a great plan for their condition having to be close to the health care services ‘just in case…‘
At around about this point of life, time kinda collapses, it implodes on us and all of a sudden we start wishing for more time. Sound familiar? I am almost certain it does. And EVERYBODY has heard this same story being told by their parents and their parent’s parents at some stage sitting around a dinner table at Christmas time. So why is it that we keep repeating the same old stories over and over again?
Ahhhhh, this is where we learn to stretch time. Where we learn to not only get healthy but live to 100 feeling bloody marvelous! I find that there is a [for me, a redundant] thought process circulating, that once you hit your 40’s or 50’s you are on the runway to take off, never to return of course [Do you realize that you still have 40 to 50 years left??!]. When and where did that happen? I realize that in my younger days I DID see my parents getting to 40 and 50 and acting old but the hardship of life was a little bit more intense then, than it is now… I mean, can you imagine what shopping was like in their day? They had to get into their car, drive to 10 different places [raising their blood pressure at the bad drivers along the way] to get their groceries and take 5 hours doing that! [leaving less time for family and work be that may]. Now with a click of my mouse button, instantly I find what I need within 30min and it gets delivered the same day or within 48 hours. We don’t even realize that we ALL HAVE A SUPERPOWER and it is getting stronger every day. It is not that we are unable to stretch time, it is that we are not consciously aware of the fact that WE CAN and ALREADY ARE STRETCHING TIME.
We have all seen the equation of a week that has 168 hours, if we spend a third sleeping [8 hours an evening for the lucky sods out there that get this right] leaving us with 112 hours for the week, of which another third is left for working and lets for good measure add at least 4 hours to the 8 hours of work – there are some brave characters who’s bosses STILL FIND IT NECESSARY for them to get into their car to go to work [yes, I know, we still need to get into cars for work, I am just having a dig at the bosses who most likely finished school in the ’80s if they still feel the need to babysit the workers] which leaves us with 28 hours to do EXACTLY what we would like to do in the form of family time, recreation, etc. Ohhhhhhweeee best you love your job if you are donating roughly 50% of your time to it and only 28 hours to living life. Now, of course, this equation can be molded and plied according to your whims but the fact is, we all have the same 168 hours.
Now a skill WE need to develop is HOW we use the 168 hours, please note that this is NOT a time management course, there is no such thing as time management unless you, like God, are able to breathe out stars and create planets of course. It is self-management that becomes evident as a skill required for stretching time. We need to add to ourselves, an awareness, a consciousness of what is happening in our world around us and embrace the fact that EVERYTHING is faster, more IMMEDIATE, instant in gratification based on the technology that exists. The minute we do that, the minute we become aware of our friend, TECHNOLOGY we claim our SUPERPOWER. With that comes a hoard of benefits. YES, YOUR HEALTH IMPROVES… if you ALLOW IT TO. You see, what technology does is it allows us NOT to get stuck in the ‘IMPOSSIBLE CLUB‘ the ‘IT CANNOT BE DONE‘ thought process, basically the negative space we find ourselves in if what we plan does not go our way. Back then, [those remember when days] we got stuck based on lack of information, lack of methodology on how to do this or that, now, we Google, and instantly the problem gets solved or eased just a little bit. Our stress levels remain intact and we go about our doings without a bat of an eyelid. This then has an impact on our health as in essence our heart beats a little easier, and our adrenal gland remains a little calmer, albeit we live a little longer. YES... We STRETCH TIME.
The second skill we need to develop as a SUPERHERO of time stretching is PRESENCE. This is a MASTERY skill and takes time to develop, you first of all need to be aware of your ability to stretch time and then implement it. This is where SELF-MANAGEMENT is key. We spend ‘time’ dwelling in the past when all we have is the present, generally, it has been shown that those that hunker in memories [basically STUCK in the past] have a higher incidence of depression. Now yes, it is fun to remember what we did as a youngster but if for some reason your current circumstances are not too flowery we have the tendency to WISH for better days as we had before, or we remember all the challenges we went through and question why we are still in the ‘same place’ [which of course we are not]. The SELF MANAGEMENT bit comes to play, we need to realize that EVERYTHING that happened before is firstly HISTORY, and secondly that by bringing it up over and over we are perpetuating your HISTORY into YOUR FUTURE by focussing on it in the present [One of the laws of mind is ‘what you focus on grows’ so chose your thoughts and memories wisely or that not so Pleasantville past comes rearing its head in your present and future…] and finally, if we realize that in effect history and life before happened FOR US to grow and develop into where we are today we can shake off the VICTIM mentality.
Life after all never happens ‘to us’ but rather ‘for us’.
In an instant, our past becomes a fantastical story where we play the character who ‘lets it GO’ to focus on their life journey ahead.
Now we get to dwelling in the possibilities of the FUTURE, either with excitement and enthusiasm or fear and dread – I am hoping it will be the aforementioned of course. Studies have shown that this focus on the future may lead to increased worry and anxiety, we all know the negative effects of anxiety on our health. So how do we stretch time in this scenario? Ever heard the statement that 99% of what we worry about never happens? If you find yourself stressing about the future, be aware of the fact that only what you do in the PRESENT will resolve the future. Running around in circles in the present stressing about tomorrows leads to you MISSING your present and that being said, possibly your family and loved ones missing your presence.
In the self-development world [yes, I think that is a world completely separate from planet earth at times] the focus is on SMART GOALS and future promises, but if our current state of affairs and presence of mind is lacking, chances are we are chasing goals disjointed from where we are CURRENTLY. We end up, as I said before, at 50 or 60 years of age, still chasing a SMART GOAL never being present for a CURRENT GOAL, and by not being present for the current goal OUR FUTURE goals are left unmet.
This becomes crucial in any weight management program, one of the factors I focus on in my course, Coach : no diet is to eliminate that magical scale goal and to rather focus on how you would feel and the improved health you will experience. For it is that goal that keeps us imprisoned in low to NO self-esteem. As human beings we need to be growing, changing, transforming, evolving, but to enable that we firstly need to be present, for only in being present and aware of where we are, can we move forward to our tomorrows.
If every minute of every day we soaked up all experiences, taste, smell, touch, hear, see, feel our way through each of those minutes, chances are we would succeed at living a prosperous, fulfilled, time-stretching life. We would with these heightened senses and experiences learn to stretch time by being and showing gratitude, by easily and effortlessly performing random acts of kindness [what goes around comes around…]. By being truly present [yes, put the phone down] we LIVE LONGER. We experience more because we are present to experience MORE.
So, next ‘time’ you find your thoughts careening into your tomorrows as you sit with your family at dinner time today, PAUSE, redirect your focus to your family and a good meal and STRETCH TIME.
As WOMAN DAY has just come to an end in our beautiful country South Africa, it seemed only apt to highlight these powerful beings and celebrate those who have learned to love themselves, and those who are still learning this fine and important art. YES, YOU are everything and more.
Learning to love YOU
I am driven to write this seemingly obvious blog, not so much about women and their success in life but rather a celebration for the women out there that are lost in their ‘roles’ of womanhood. Now, possibly this could be a blog about men too, for I do not feel that what I am about to write is specifically for women only, but it was highlighted in my mind at this time of year with it being Women’s month.
Personally, I feel that we are born with a knowingness of why we are here. My nature as it is, is a seeker, I am consistently seeking to understand what and why we live as we do and how we do what we do. I grew up in a staunch, STRICT home, asking no questions and telling no lies, but my Father simultaneously expected us to have an extremely open mind. This confused me and slowly I developed a silent inspired dissatisfaction, knowing that life is more than JUST growing old, consistently looking forward to holidays. I could ashamedly say I spent close on 40 odd years of my life keeping my opinion to myself once too often, thinking that this was the polite thing to do. With this in mind, I was fortunate enough to read a meaningful discussion, which was profound in every possible way, it led me to a greater understanding of how wrong I was about keeping my opinion to myself, it made me understand that finding my voice was not enough, USING IT was where the magic was. Part of the discussion I read left its mark forever on my soul, my interpretation was truly a light bulb, slap-my-forehead, tears to my eyes situation, simple as it may seem, it was massive to me; what I understood was as follows – we as humans are a creative expression on earth – I could think of nothing more beautiful and for an instant EVERYTHING STOOD STILL – I could literally, physically feel my shoulders relax.
If I embrace that I am a creative expression on this planet, it kinda opens up many pleasurable doors and shuts a couple of unwanted ones instantly.
Really, think about the simplicity of this statement.
‘I AMa creative expression‘ – anyone
Oh, my word, I can think of the realists reading this and plutzing around about now! [I still love you by the way as it takes all types to make the world go round] – yes, many would say “nothing is that simple!!”, I ask, “WHY NOT?“. And for those that do say that nothing is that simple, I challenge you, truly, how SATISFIED are you? How at ease are you? How much love do you feel within, not for someone close to you but for YOUR SOUL and where you are in life WITHOUT the title? I have had the honor and privilege of meeting and working with people, specifically woman who once stripped of the title of Mom, wife, CEO, sister, daughter, boss-babe, they then question “WHAT then?” and for that reason I say, PLEASE... pull it back, reflect on your inner soul, own your space, your fingerprint, your inner core, STOP looking for YOUR shortcomings, mistakes, inadequacies, RATHER celebrate yourself as a perfect creative expression. You see, once you do this, adding the ‘title’ of Mom, wife or Boss-babe does become a delightful frill, something beautiful and meaningful.
If however we do not know of our own beauty within, our own creative expression as souls on this planet, then no matter what frill we add, when it disappears, as it can, [my label/frill as Wife disappeared instantly one miserable day and I was left seemingly soulless not knowing how to identify with who and what I am], we flounder not necessarily knowing ‘where to from here’. I am fortunate for having marvelous influences in my life after my divorce, not only for some amazing men and women who were fantastic mentors, with who I surrounded myself with, but also what I was reading and listening to, this helped me open up the realization, acceptance, and knowingness that I could literally strip myself of every frill, title, and classification and STILL be BLOODY MARVELOUS REGARDLESS. I had reached a point of EASE INTERNALLY, my soul felt joy, a quiet peaceful humMMMMMMMMM. Let me take this time to state that by NO MEANS AM I OR WAS I in a perfect state of being, I consistently battle weight awareness, I am a single mom of 2 gorgeous children, this, of course, can come with its challenges, I am a business owner, these are the frills, BUT… WITH or WITHOUT these frills, I AM AT EASE knowing that all is and will always be GREAT. I choose that. I am and was done with self-checking, self-judgment, dis -ease within, wondering what I could do, say, be, live better… I chose ease. Maybe that is the secret to all of life, that simple statement because with it comes empowerment, with it comes removal of any possible victimhood or blame. A beautiful self-acceptance. Let me add here, this is NOT SETTLING, this is breathing, deeply, sucking in all of life and living it.
If there is one thing I would love my daughter to have on this Womens day, it is that understanding, ownership, and acceptance of self as an individual with the ability to CHOOSE. To chose life not based on the title which comes with it but rather to choose a life based on being a creative expression, for with that comes perfection, following of her bliss, and living a life of passion in a meaningful and significan way.
That being said, Women, where art thou? Be OK with being you, not just saying “I am OK with being me” but earnestly feeling marvelous with being YOU. Feeling at ease, making your choices based on YOU, and living a life with the knowledge that YOU ARE EVERYTHING AND MORE. Can you imagine waking up every day not wandering what mold you need to fit into today, yes, even if you do a 9 to 5 job or have to rush around with children, imagine KNOWING that it is ok to just be YOU? At ease and flourishing with just BEING. Knowing that every single breath, every movement, every thought, decision, and action is a perfect CREATIVE expression of YOU – and for that reason, IT IS PERFECT.
If you are into choice, variety, flexibility, and benefits when it comes to a regulated diet, then Intermittent fasting may be for you!
Intermittent fasting has always been on my radar, possibly because I have never enjoyed eating breakfast and ended up drinking coffee until my first meal at lunchtime. However, there needs to be a BUT or I would surely never have struggled with being fat! Like everything in life, drinking at least 4 cups of coffee with milk and sugar before lunchtime was a little OTT. There is ALWAYS a right and a wrong way to do anything…
This long lost art of eating we can thank our Neanderthal relatives for since 2010 the demand for and understanding of this manner of eating has escalated due to its successful manner in dealing with diabetes. For some reason, this practice disappeared but now it is back in full swing with success around every corner.
The basics are as follows, you get clever…(actually, your body does the cleverness, you just follow instructions), with intermittent fasting, your body understands that relying on fat for energy makes more sense, in fact, 5 calories more sense, as fat supplies 9 calories per gram and protein and carbohydrates only 4. Understand one thing however, if you are willing to supply it with continual copious amounts of carbohydrates, it is willing to use that BEFORE fat for fuel. Your body wants the simplest shortest easiest route to gain energy for your functioning, it WILL chose EASY if you supply EASY in carb form, so whatever you do, careful of that on your intermittent fast. It does need a little convincing i.e. regulated clean fasting to nudge it in the right direction of fat burning.
Let us look at the Top need-to-knows.
INTERMITTENT FASTING – It is all benefits!
Expect weight to drop
The minute you improve hormones – which you do with intermittent fasting, expect fat to start frying. Basic fat burning known as lipolysis kicks into overdrive. If you want to speed it up, use a VLCD (Low-Calorie Diet around 600 – 800cal) in combination with Intermittent Fasting.
If you have a desire to supercharge your weight drop then consider including 10 min intensive exercise in your day. As time progresses, add another 10min by including a slower pace after the intensive exercise. This depletes your glycogen stores that result in your body relying on burning fat for energy a lot sooner.
REMEMBER, fasting is not about calorie reduction (unless YOU chose this of course) it is about limiting the time period in which you eat daily. If you would like to focus in on fat burn then YES, drop the calorie load in that time period, but DON’T STARVE.
YOU will live longer!
Now, personally, I have not tested this theory but have an absolute belief that living to 100 will not be a problem… There is sound science that backs the fact by consuming fewer calories in a restricted time frame daily, aging may slow down and we will live longer. Just this benefit, if you love life as I do, is possibly enough to give this a PROPER go.
“We found [that beta-hydroxybutyrate] can delay vascular aging. That’s actually providing a chemical link between calorie restriction and fasting and the anti-aging effect.This compound can delay vascular aging through endothelial cells, which line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It can prevent one type of cell aging called senescence, or cellular aging. “
Dr. Ming-Hui Zou
Hormones, they get better and therefore your waistline too!
Everybody knows it takes control of insulin and blood sugar to start controlling and ridding your body of unhealthy weight. With intermittent fasting, that IS what happens. Not only does it control it but boy does it IMPROVE it enabling significant weight control and better health in muscle maintenance due to an increase in growth hormone and better heart health. With a decrease in insulin levels, intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity.
Be aware that it increases norepinephrine and epinephrine levels which of course increases fat breakdown. Reason being, both of these are attached to our Neanderthal status of fight or flight, stress response. When we fast, there is a primitive side to us (mine is extremely primitive, literally, my primitive side has an anxiety attack when someone says to me “maybe eat less often!”). Our bodies without food from around 12 hours starts protecting itself, releasing these 2 hormones indicates that we need to start finding energy elsewhere… that is, FAT for FUEL!!! BUT, if you have adrenal gland issues or thyroid issues, DO have input from a medical professional before taking on any fasting routine or your hunger will turn into HANGER and ill-health.
WT? is autophagy?? And why do we care?
Autophagy, sounds like a possible disease, but in fact, this is what prevents ill health in your body, see it as a built-in cleaning service with MEGA BENEFITS. And this is the exact process that comes into being in our bodies when we do intermittent fasting. It is our body’s way of cleaning out all our ‘YUCK’ cells. The ‘Auto’ means self and the ‘phagy‘ means to eat, so basically this process in your body, directly speaking is ‘self-eating’. Whilst fasting, the process of autophagy ends up breaking down cell debris and recycling proteins that are compromised. If your body is breaking down fat, there just may be a greater toxin load, and for that reason, dumping the excess debris may be required! The science behind this including information on Cancer is a great read.
Oooohhhh there is a choice…
Intermittent Fasting – Alternate Day
As it states this is intermittent fasting every other day for a full 24-hour period. Now, this is one which is not on my recommendation list at all, as you basically end up spending half your remaining life not eating. For us, as women where our hormones and fertility are regulated by calorie intake, this is NOT an advisable option.
Now yes, some do take on this fasting process but for me personally, I cannot see myself functioning optimally on this. First of all, most people with weight issues enjoy food. Chances are anybody fighting fat may have to choose between taking on a controlled diet and integrating it into their lifestyles for life and not eating every second day is diabolical. Then, if you have a lot of fat to sizzle, sticking to this over a short period can also be tough, never mind 6 months to a year and can cause you to give up and burn that diet wagon once again!
5: 2 Fasting
This is one plan which a vast majority of my clients succeeded at. It entails eating normally for 5 days and limiting food to 600cal and no more for 2 days. You chose the 2 days which makes it fairly flexible. With this plan burning fat around that belly works a charm.
16/8 Daily Fasting:
My personal favorite, where I fast for 16 hours and eat for on average 8 hours. I have found this an easy way to fast, based on the fact that I am not a big breakfast eater as said before and can go without. I also chose to skip breakfast rather than supper as I love sitting down with my children for supper. Within this manner of fasting is great flexibility, chose to skip breakfast or supper, chose to have your larger meal at lunchtime to reduce the calories that need work whilst you sleep. It may sound difficult but in fact, when you reflect on it you may find that you HAVE done this before without feeling regulated. You may not get to lunch and in fact, I know of people who don’t even get to lunch and push through to supper. Why I love this choice is it is something which I would do as a choice of lifestyle which allows me to live healthily and control my weight. Often when we chose a diet it does not allow us to embrace it FOREVER, I do believe that whatever we use to drop fat we must be able to do forever and a day AND be flexible within it.
The flexibility is also based on when you start, you can start your fast any time, and start eating 16 hours after. So maybe you would like to eat from 10 till 6 pm or 2 till 10 pm (little late unless you work nightshift of course) but pick your 8 hours based on YOUR LIFESTYLE.
This is once per week, on average for 18 to 24hours. You start from supper time around 6 pm the previous day, sleep through most of the fast (yes, I do advise an early evening to prevent finding yourself wandering to the fridge by midday the next day). Your intake for the day is water, tea, and good quality coffee till at least early evening, that is a full successful day. If this suits your lifestyle, fantastic. PLEASE be kind on yourself, there is no need to berate yourself if you do NOT make 24 hours. You have effectively stretched yourself and possibly no matter how many hours you have given your body a resting period it will thank you for and most likely next time around it will be easier!
My advice would be as follows, make sure if you are fasting that days you are not fasting in, for example, the 5 : 2 fasting times, make sure you eat sensibly, mindfully and not try to overeat or treat it like a ‘cheat’ day and gorge yourself… big mistake. Yes, common sense but sometimes we need reminding… Of course the same applies for the 16 : 8 hours, it can turn into on-diet and off-diet which can undo what we are trying to do.
METABOLISM, I need all of it!
We have been sold on the fact that little snacks through the day is good for us… it keeps our metabolism going… well, what I found firstly, was that when this was the approach healthy snacks eventually became ANY SNACKS and at this point for some odd reason, he he heheheheheheheh, there is a weight loss plateau… On further investigation we find muffins becoming the standard in between snack which causes more harm than good. Other than that, snacking is not necessary to keep our metabolism in place. There are plenty of available studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which deal with continual fasting and alternate-day fasting resulted in no decrease in metabolic rate. Even if you chose to do a very low-calorie diet of around 800 calories, your metabolic rate remains unharmed.
Being foodless is not the problem, rather excessive weight and lack of muscle mass is more the problem. You see, some plonkers – that includes me, did do extreme diets in which case muscle is lost, the minute that drops there is less to chew excess fat and then your basal metabolic rate drops… when eating correctly and nourishing your body with great REAL FOOD and include supplementing where needs be is the right way to go about this, then metabolism will NOT be a problem. Burn fat and live a healthy lifestyle and metabolism concerns will disappear.
It may be for you, OR NOT
Disclaimer: Note the benefits of intermittent fasting but know that it is controversial. If diabetic your dose may need to be adapted and you would need to discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor. Please take note that people who are underweight or have eating disorders like anorexia, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people under the age of 18 should NOT do this plan.
Take care, as stated above, if any adrenal gland and thyroid challenges and/or any chronic medical conditions seek medical advice before taking on intermittent fasting. Add to that, if you do have low blood sugar or suffer from dizziness if you do not eat, be cautious. Then, based on the energy requirements of a child, pregnant or breastfeeding women, this is NOT an optimal choice.
What could getting FAT, moodiness [might be as a result of getting fat], muffin tops, puffy ankles, and aching joints have to do with allergies? Well, just about everything. If you take your health seriously, and weight gain is an issue to you, pay attention to allergies!
In my younger days, I recall allergies being a sniffly nose or a bee sting going wrong. These days, it is on a different level… Becoming aware of it in my personal life with a daughter who from age 2 weeks suffered from allergies. Yes, her immune system was not the strongest for numerous reasons [ok, ok, it was totally my doing, elected Ceaser and not breastfeeding, etc. etc. etc – but this Mom was truly a duck out of water – my bad! I have learned a couple of things since then… thank goodness.] and for this reason, she ended up suffering till 9 years of age. It started out nice and easy, constant check-ups with a doctor, antibiotics every year, sometimes a couple of times a year, then asthma pumps littered the house and my handbag/s.
As time progressed, things got worse, her inactivity lead to weight gain and being bullied, and when she got sick it was 2 weeks of MAHEM… It didn’t stop there, strict instructions to teachers what she could and could not eat and limitations on running around, like any child should be able to do, based on her limited breathing ability and her allergic reaction to just about everything. Then allergy testing was traumatic with scratch tests, yes, it was not going well. I recall sitting up in bed at night holding her upright, tears streaming down my cheeks wondering “WHAT OH WHAT CAN I DO!!!???” due to her not being able to breathe after a fun birthday party rolling around in the grass and having that one [chemically-laden-to-taste-better] sweet, too many, that ONCE AGAIN triggered her bodies immune response. The good news is this, besides learning a heap full about good nourishment, I happily AND THANKFULLY learned a heap full about good NATURAL supplementation too, within a month of MARCH 2016, I had her off all her medication and slowly building her immunity back up to what it should be. From age 9 to now 12, her body has clawed its way back to ‘normality’. We have not seen a doctor for allergies in 3 years, no antibiotics for illness come wintertime and a NORMAL amount of broccoli [sic] instead of nightly plates full and a daughter who is playing hockey and excelling at singing. Happier for sure – in fact NOW, I have a HEALTHY daughter once again.
But, that is not what this article is about – I couldn’t resist sharing my story as, after all, it was the foundation of me finding my BLISS in life-supporting, coaching and mentoring those with health and weight challenges. You see, I may have got the first part horribly wrong for my daughter, but after that my intuition and inspired dissatisfaction with the status quo kicked in 150%. I realized that the chemicals I was pouring into her little body for the sake of science and medicine was doing more harm than good long term and I knew I HAD to change that. I knew that it may be helping right now, but LONG TERM, what were the effects and what were the repercussions of not dealing with allergies going to do to her life quality?
So, let us have a look at how we get unhealthy and gain weight which could have EVERYTHING to do with that slight allergy you have suffered with and also why, if you are a Mom with a child who has a compromised immunity, that you know you CAN do something SOONER THAN LATER to assist a better quality of life.
I will list a couple of items but will be discussing weight
gain in a bit more detail, but first I would like you to think about these in
the following way, you may have relocated and one of these symptoms magically
disappeared, or have gone on holiday and awarded your magically feeling better
to being ‘away from the boss’. If you
have physically felt the difference, it may, in fact, be a hidden food allergy
that has released its grip. Now yes,
there is a change of water or damp [or the lack of an infuriating boss] that
can impact this as well, but sometimes just taking a look at what you eat my be
COMMON AILMENTS SURROUNDING FOOD ALLERGIES:
Rheumatoid arthritis RA
Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers
Itchy eyes and puffiness
Now THAT IS A LONG LIST! And for me, these were all symptoms, and one of the primary causes, in my opinion, was a completely COMPROMISED DIGESTIVE TRACT. That was my port of call for my daughter. If I could get her digestive tract right, I could raise her immunity and address all these – exactly what we managed to do with good nourishment and supplementation.
But let us have a closer look at one of the nasties that take lodging and compromise your health when ALLERGIES are left unchecked.
WEIGHT GAIN [fat] AND THOSE PUFFY ANKLES
Seeing as I specialize in dealing with people in this industry – this is a primary concern and for once I cannot blame the fat on excessive sugar intake. If by CHANCE your thighs are slapping together more than they should be and you have not necessarily made pizza your standard food intake, in fact, you are quite careful about what you eat and the exercise you get in, then an allergy may be your challenge. Often the challenge here exists and starts in wheat. This then starts causing the damage it generally does in your body which then may lead to further intolerances to for instance milk and eggs, once the body starts breaking down due to an allergy making you its home, I have seen other ‘intolerances’ start popping up. The problem, of course, is that our HIPS start POPPING TOO!!!
How does this work? If you consistently have allergic reactions, you gain weight (I saw this in my daughter first hand). What happens is when you have an allergic reaction, your body releases cytokines (little cutesy immune messengers) to deal with the allergy. But these little cutesy makes you less responsive to insulin making your resistant to insulin increase, which of course is supposed to keep your blood sugar in balance… Your immunity starts to struggle to fight off invaders the more allergic reactions you have… and the more it struggles the more JUNK is swirling around in your bodies’ bloodstream. Of course, our bodies’ main concern is us, so it sends the junk to the liver to deal with [sounds like a hot potato pass and it is!!!]. Eventually, your liver ain’t happy, it’s overworked and underpaid and its capacity is reaching breaking point… if that is the case, your body, who is still loving you by the way, now dumps these toxins in YOUR FAT CELLS… oh dear… sounds like a good plan, but it ain’t. The JUNKIER your fat cells become, the slower your LOVING BODY is able to metabolize the fat for energy use, result: WE GET AND STAY FAT.
Then comes the wicked bestest mate who says “you JUST NEED TO EXERCISE MORE… [smiley face, smiley face]”. Arggghhhhh… Problem is, with toxicity overload you will experience massive lethargy and chronic fatigue… that ain’t gonna help any exercise routine AND may put your friendship at risk…
With this ALLERGY, comes water retention, a person can hold on to as much as 4,5kgs of extra ‘weight’ [ladies, noticed I did not say FAT!] in fluid retention.
So here comes the WHAMMY, those [and yes, I know, you are a logical intelligent reader and you would NEVER THINK of doing something like this] who have been beguiled into taking a couple of tablets to drop 5kgs in a week… this is it – water weight (and possibly, most likely, ok, definitely a bit of muscle too!).
Back to the puffy ankles. If you experience massive weight fluctuations in a 24 hour period, anything from 1.5kgs to 2.5kgs, have puffy eyes (yes those bags under the eyes) or puffy face, or do you need to loosen your belt after eating (without having overeaten)? Ever felt both your ankles swell up, and fingers? Possibly dry skin and dandruff? This could have everything to do with allergies. Of course, other related causes are blood sugar and kidney problems and excess sodium but chances are you will be able to see the causes by slowing improving how you eat. Eliminate the CRITTERS that could be causing it and start EATING CLEAN. Remove sugar, refined foods and possibly coffee [ouch, this one hurts me as I am a coffee fanatic, but it may be included when you have the health of your gut improved for those of you like me who cannot see life without it…]. Add healthy fruit and veg to your diet, including seeds, careful of gluten as there may be sensitivity on this one. Focus in on good omega 3, try evade additional salt and make sure YES… that you GET WATER IN! Drink at least 2l of water a day, more if you are exercising.
Then, seriously look into high-quality supplementation, I will happily point you to exactly that which I used for my daughters’ improvement and feel free to email me – I know the struggle with a toddler and what to do about it. Then, if you are at a point where you cannot understand your weight gain and have eliminated the wrongs and added exercise like an athlete preparing for the Olympics, do look into this. Address your gut first and foremost, keep the refined and processed foods out, that is, eat CLEAN, natural real food…include fermented foods. Then SUPPLEMENT! My children and I have a supplemented pre and probiotic EVERY DAY out of choice… not because we don’t want to eat real food but because sometimes we don’t ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT and need something to look after our billions of good gut bacteria, after all, THEY LOOK AFTER US!
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