I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life working to inspire people to get healthy through exercise and sound nutrition. However, the challenge with my job is that not everyone wants to get healthy as much as they want to lose weight. Over the years, we have put such emphasis on weight loss that we’ve lost site of our health. Obesity wasn’t a big issue (no pun intended) 40-50 years ago for a few reasons, we were more active, we ate less, and the quality of our food was better. As people struggle with their weight, they are missing out on the real opportunity to get healthy and weigh less, and it all starts with making decisions based on improving health vs. losing weight. I’ve said it before, (many times) but I’ll say it again, weight loss (or a healthy weight) is simply a byproduct of healthy living.
The more I study nutrition, the deeper my interest in the quality of the foods we eat and how it affects our health. What I’ve found is that the most damaging changes in our food choices include, the increase of sugar consumption, and hormones used in so many products.
Dr. Christine Horner, is a nationally known surgeon and author advocating prevention-oriented medicine and ways to become and stay healthy naturally. Here is what Dr. Horner says about sugar.
“To me, sugar has no redeeming value at all, because they found that the more we consume it, the more we’re fuelling every single chronic disease,” Dr. Horner says. “In fact, there was a study done about a year ago… and the conclusion was that sugar is a universal mechanism for chronic disease. It kicks up inflammation. It kicks up oxygen free radicals. Those are the two main processes we see that underlie any single chronic disorder, including cancers. It fuels the growth of breast cancers, because glucose is cancer’s favorite food. The more you consume, the faster it grows.”
I have always believed that sugar is the “Beelzebub” of the food world. In my years of working with women, those who were addicted to sugar, were the ones with the most health problems while struggling with their weight. There are numerous diets and though they may help people lose weight temporarily, they rarely include health education in their programs. Further, not only does chronic dieting mess with your body, it messes with your mind. Sure, some diets include fresh vegetables in their “Healthy Foods to Eat”, but recently, Weight Watchers listed Chicken McNuggets as a healthy food option. WHAT? It goes back to the focus on weight vs. health.
If possible, I’d like you to stop for one minute, consider this internal conversation, “O.K., clearly I’m not a healthy weight, my blood pressure is high and I’m out of shape. Going on a diet is NOT the answer. I’ve got to learn how to eat better and exercise regularly as that is the ONLY long-term solution to improving my health and not jeopardizing it through some wacky weight loss program. How many diets have I been on? And ultimately, what have they done for me?”
But instead of that conversation, it often goes more like this, “I’m so fat, I’ve got to do something. But, every time I try to lose weight I quit, so why even bother? Most of the time I’m eating foods I don’t even like OR I’m hungry all the time. May as well just keep doing what I’ve been doing or try that cabbage soup diet. My neighbor is doing it and losing weight.”
I’d like you to start thinking differently, today, right now. When you think about food and your weight, remember these two points are the ONLY solution to long-term weight and health issues.
1. Eat whole foods including the following: fresh veggies, (think outside the carrot and celery box here), whole grains (not enriched, bleached flour) WHOLE grains, quinoa, brown/wild rice, fresh fruits (ideally organic, but hey, any kind is better than no kind, just wash it well), water and farm raised meats. Eating these foods will never leave you hungry, they won’t leave you craving more like processed and sugar laden foods do. I’m not a purist by any means, but 80-90% of the time I eat very well. Since losing 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I have not put my weight back on. Not because I’m “good”, I’m aware. I want to be in control of my health, I want to have the power over my body and not let the food that makes people a lot of money ruin my body, (remember, processed foods are much cheaper to manufacture and that is transferred to the consumer).
2. You MUST exercise. Look, we all know that technology has led most of us to sit far more than we move. If we are to give our body what it needs to function at it’s best, we must exercise. Exercise is NOT punishment for an imperfect body, rather it’s a gift that you can give yourself each and every day. When you exercise, you are allowing the body to do what it was designed to do, MOVE. 15-20 minutes a day is a starting point. Start, you have to.
Here’s the bottom line. Stop with the diets, stop. Start educating yourself about food and what food makes your body run more efficiently and work to prevent illness. You are welcome to email me and I will give you resources to start your journey(firstname.lastname@example.org). Type II diabetes CAN be prevented. Heart disease CAN be prevented, obesity CAN be prevented simply by shifting the way you look at food and making it your ally vs. your enemy. Don’t give food the power any more, it’s time for you to step up and take control of your health and ultimately your life! Who me, passionate? You bet I am! I want to see women gain strength and take back control of their health, it’s long overdue.
Dedicated to your good health,
By Nicki On April 18, 2010 9 Comments
Surprise, surprise as our First Lady does her part to get healthier foods in schools and households, and Jamie Oliver seeks to change the way kids are eating, KFC launches it’s new sandwich, the Double Down. The double down is 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1380 mg. of sodium. Believe it or not the Double Down doesn’t fare the worst. Burger King’s Double Whopper makes the Double Down look healthy. Yep, all this hype about the Double Down, the Double Whopper with cheese, includes a whopping 1061 calories, 68 grams of fat and 1544 mg. of sodium. So in truth, the Double Down is a brilliant marketing scheme but really doesn’t hold up (in terms of fat, sodium and calories) to the Double Cheese Whopper.
I find it interesting that even though the world is on a perpetual diet, foods are introduced that make absolutely no contribution to healthier habits. So what does that mean? It means that it’s really our job to be our censor, to be able to know and understand that the foods we choose to eat are well, the foods we choose to eat. It’s also important to note that no matter how much information is out there about healthy eating, there is still confusion in certain areas. My hunch is that we ALL know the Double Down is probably not on the list of healthy options. If you’re really looking to gain control of your health and your weight, fast food should be (ideally) one of the first things to go, next to fried food.
I certainly can’t blame fast-food restaurants (yes, yes, I’d love them to be more responsible) but the truth is, cigarettes are still being sold, diet pills are still being sold, and it’s our choice whether we choose to imbibe or pass them by. We are forced to make decisions about our lifestyle each and every day. The fact that a restaurant comes out with a new sandwich is hardly to blame for where our country’s health is. We are where we are by personal choice as well as mixed information. That’s why I always do my best to give you the straight story. There is no substitute for eating more fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. There is no substitute for exercise when it comes to better health. There is no substitute for taking control of YOUR health and YOUR bodby just saying, “No!” And if someone mentions a double down, toss out a thumbs down!
Here’s to your health! Nicki
By Nicki On January 1, 2010 2 Comments
Let me ask you a question. Do you know how much Americans spend on weight loss? Some research shows, well over 40 billion, that’s BILLION dollars annually.
Next question, is obesity in our country going up or down? Studies show that adult obesity was up in 23 states last year.
Last question, what individual took the popularity of Subway to a whole new level? That would be Jared Fogle. Yep, he’s the young man who catapulted himself in to commercial stardom by losing weight eating nothing but Subway Sandwiches. Plus, this fast-food chain figured if American’s were spending that much money on weight loss, why couldn’t some of that cash go in their pocket? Something tells me Subway had a very, very good year when Jared gave props to the fast-food chain. Unfortunately, since that rise to fame, Jared was spotted at the airport a few weeks ago carrying around a few extra pounds. My hunch is Subway got boring and life goes on.
This past week, a different fast food chain threw its hat in the ring vying for some of that weight loss money, Taco Bell. Someone in the marketing department took some serious notes from Subway. Welcome to the latest diet, “Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet” in which spokesperson Christine Dougherty claims to have lost 54 pounds eating off the Fresco menu. What a brilliant move by Taco Bell. Although, they make it very clear on their website that it is NOT a weight loss program? Huh? What? I’m confused then. Their whole push is losing weight while living on tacos and burritos. Imagine, being able to have your taco and eat it too! But you know and I know, this “diet” is yet another way for a company to make a lot of money while those that really need to get healthy, do not.
I think we can all agree that weight gain is the result of eating too much and moving too little, right? So sure, if all you do is live off fast food while keeping your calorie count in check you can lose weight, duh. It’s all about a deficit.
The problem I have with this whole thing is that number one, you know and I know fast food isn’t healthy. Although Fresco sounds so healthy, doesn’t it? Again, brilliant marketing. None the less, no matter how you slice it, fast food is typically higher in sodium and the quality of the meat and ingredients is one that I continue to question. Further, at what point does one take personal responsibility by making an effort to LEARN how to eat well sans a gimmick? A gimmick is a novelty and like all novelties, they eventually lose their appeal and all is forgotten.
So, Ms. Dougherty is all over the internet sharing her 54 pound weight loss thanks to the Taco Bell Fresco menu. But, I need to know more. Is that ALL she’s eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner (apparently Jared did that with Subway). Is she exercising? Does she drink soda since she’s at a fast food restaurant? Does she get in healthy fare any where else? And that my friends is the bottom line, WHERE IS THE HEALTH component? I know, I know, she’s lost 54 pounds and at the end of the day, that’s all most people care about. I would surmise thatTaco Bell is very, very happy thanks to someone who did their homework in the marketing department.
I lost 50 pounds, do you know how? Are you ready? I did it by giving up fast food and learning how to eat foods that I actually prepare at home. And you know what else? I’ve kept the weight off for close to 30 years. I have yet to see any of these crazy diets prove longevity.
I really hope that his new diet is short lived. Although sure, it’s great that this woman has lost weight touting fast food as the “secret” to weight loss does not sit well with me. By the way, you can see her on the website in her bikini. What? I wonder if all that driving to and from Taco Bell is what created those amazing abs? I can only hope that this painfully clear publicity ploy will not sit well with others. In fact, rather than trying the Drive-thru diet, my hope is that people will instead drive right on by.