Have you tried to lose weight with some diet that you heard about from your friend, co-worker, Dr. Oz, or read in Cosmo? We are all looking and hoping for the super-secret to be thin and fit without working out while still indulging in alcohol, dessert, and pasta. Once removing ourselves from the imaginary land of eating cupcakes and having six-pack abs most people would say, “YEA RIGHT! That doesn’t exist…you need to starve yourself, do 25 detoxes per year, and exercise 7 days a week to be thin.”
Is that really true? What about these Europeans that are super thin and gorgeous but they eat croissants, pasta, and drink boatloads of wine? I always found this baffling that other cultures base their lives around the art of food but still maintain their weight and the integrity of their health. This was really apparent to me when I had a roommate from Spain while attending chiropractic school and she put her eggs in the cabinet and not in the fridge. I saw her take the eggs out of the cabinet for breakfast and I quickly told her, “Nope, can’t do that in America. You better throw those out.” So why can they put their eggs in the cabinet in Spain and not in America? Well the answer is… quality! The eggs in Spain, as well as other foods, have such a higher level of quality that they won’t develop bacteria while being at room temperature. In America, the chickens are so unhealthy during their lives due to the use of battery cages and extreme confinement techniques that let diseases run rampant in chicken populations. This allows for the development of salmonella and other dangerous bacteria that are so harmful to humans.
The moral of the story is, let’s not be so caught up in what the next diet is and let’s focus on longevity and sustainability by understanding more about where our food comes from and what is in it. It is not about living your life deprived, it is about accommodating your tastes back to pure, delicious foods derived from nature. We have to break the addictions to all of these chemical laden foods that are poisonous to our systems and creating a rise in diabetes and obesity. We live in a convenience world; health, happiness, and vitality are not a direct result of a convenience lifestyle. If you truly want to lose weight and keep it off, it takes time and it takes patience. If you lose abruptly, you will not keep it off because chances are you didn’t gain the knowledge of how to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you starve yourself, your body becomes better at storing fat because it considers you to be in survival mode. You also have to consider how much healing your body has to do from the damage it has sustained over various months, years, or even decades of unhealthy practices. If you have inflammation, joint pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatigue, constipation chances are you have a lot of healing to do before that weight can start coming off. Unhealthy organ systems don’t allow for a fully functioning body and the ability to lose weight.
This brings me to a story about a wonderful woman who struggled with her weight, had various diagnoses over the years, and was prescribed various medications for those diagnoses. She continued down a path of decreased health and increased weight. It took her on an emotional roller coaster which pushed her to give up and accept her decline in health and inability to lose weight. This woman was my mother, a woman who naturally was very resistant to any advice that her daughter willingly provided. It took her about a year before being open to making any changes. When she embarked on her journey, she reassured me that she was doing this for her health and it was not about the weight. In reality, that statement assured me that it was about the weight. One month into making some changes, she lost a few pounds and was feeling confident. About 8 weeks into the program her weight became stagnant and she was extremely frustrated. It took another month before she could let go of the obsession of the number on the scale and focus on doing this because it was the right thing to do for her health. She continued with shakes, supplements, clean foods, and healthy choices.
We are now 14 months from the start of her sustainable lifestyle change and she is 80lbs lighter. She allowed her body to heal through supplementation, fueled her body with organic foods, and supported her deficiencies with wholesome nutrients. The key to her success was letting go of the number game and to focus on taking a small step each day to change her diet and lifestyle for the better. Through her journey of lifestyle changes in the past 14 months she did not incorporate exercise in her regimen for the sake of not being overwhelmed. I make this statement not to undermine exercise because it is absolutely a necessity in a healthy lifestyle but you do not have to go all or nothing into a new regimen to get healthy and lose weight. You need to start somewhere and starting with what you put in your mouth is important. When you start to give your body nutrients, fuel your cells, and nourish your brain, you will have more successful workouts and shorter recovery time. Above all, she decided to get out of her comfort zone and challenge everything she has ever been told about a “healthy” or “normal” lifestyle and made the necessary changes without looking back. She changed her mind-set and ultimately changed her life!