After only 6 weeks in my new position, I hear the voices of my clients from the past (my clients from the fitness world). Client after client would swear that they just didn’t have time to exercise and eating well was near impossible due to eating out for business meetings. I rarely bought it and believed if they wanted it bad enough,they could make the changes.
As I write this, I have become my client. Working 12-14 hour days, my flexible schedule no longer exists as I’ve become a product of work hard, exercise later. This past week as I found myself feeling a little “off” after once again eating out. I now have a much better understanding of my clients challenges. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
You really have to want it. My day starts around 7:15 a.m. or so. If I want to get a workout in, I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. and in the shower by 6:00 a.m. I have chosen to set aside M,W,F as my exercise days, but right now I’m lucky if I hit two of those days. Thank God for Saturday and Sunday, those are my make-up days. I do commit myself to no less than three days of workouts with a feeling of exhilaration if I can make four. Who’d a thought? After 30 years of listening to what I thought were excuses, I now get it. However, I do the best I can knowing that staying committed to my workouts allows me to perform optimally both personally and professionally.
Oh the food. I now average eating out about 7-9 times per week. Additionally, there is always food at the office, not necessarily healthy food. Although I don’t eat any of the left-overs at the office there’s still eating out. I thought I had it under control. I never eat anything fried or processed. I stick to “clean eating” as best as I can, but the bottom line is that restaurant food tastes good for a reason, the secret ingredients whatever they may be. Even in salad there likely lurks something that may not be good for you. After years of eating most all of my meals at home and being largely in control of what I put in my mouth, that has all changed. After this last week of once again feeling “off” after eating out, I’ve realize I simply need to keep the fridge at work stocked with healthy food. When eating out, make it minimal such as a side salad, or small bowl of soup (ugh the sodium) and then come back to the office and eat what’s in the fridge. P.S. Why do hotels that have fixed menus think when you order vegetarian it means pasta and cheese? Just throw a bunch of veggies on a plate and I’m happy. Interesting perception.
Breakfast is still the most important meal. Because my time is crunched, I’ve been grabbing a Larabar with some fruit. I was used to better quality such as oatmeal, eggs, green smoothies, leftovers from dinner. I need to get back to that.
The weather has sucked. There is no doubt (I’m sure psychologists have research on this) that a long, cold, snowy winter changes food cravings along with the desire to exercise. Oddly enough, during the time of year when we need it the most, we don’t do it. Guilty as charged. I do hope once summer hits things will change. I live four blocks from work and have walked to work a total of one, yes ONE time. Why? Weather along with meetings where I need my car. It stinks. Once the weather shifts (if it ever does) I will get back to walking.
At the end of 6 weeks, here’s what I’ve discovered. As a country we don’t design life around healthy living, we design it around convenience which means too much fast-food and too little exercise. For years I believed that no matter how busy your life, you can and must make time for health. I still believe that however, my reality has altered. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.
- So how about you? Do you squeeze in the time to care for your health or do you find that it’s just too hard? If it’s the latter, I feel your pain, but do what you can to make it work, even if it’s just a few short walks here and there. Let’s not let work trump our quality of life, it’s short enough as it is!
Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments
O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too much belly fat? There’s a program for that. Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that. Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*! After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.
First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.
1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.
2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.
3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc. There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.
4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication: Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself. That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.
Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.
O.K. I feel better. Do you?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!
By Nicki On November 14, 2013 2 Comments
Much to my satisfaction, Kevin Trudeau is headed where he belongs, jail. I know he’s got some fans out there, but I’ve been following this guy for years. Kevin Trudeau is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the diet industry. He is a consummate swindler.
Run-ins with the law are nothing new for Trudeau. In the 90′s he was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud. He was also sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for misleading claims about his book. He settled with the FTC in 2004 and agreed he wouldn’t try and promote any of his products, other than books. In 2011, he broke his agreement and a suit was filed against him. Eventually, his entire BS caught up with him and this week after only one hour, a Chicago jury found Trudeau guilty of contempt for misleading infomercials about weight-loss.
Not only have I have followed Trudeau’s shenanigans, I’ve followed hundreds of other scam artists promising desperate dieters the “secret” to losing weight. Kevin Trudeau is not a lone ranger in the world of weight loss. The difference with Trudeau is that he was an easy target vs. the faceless ads that pitch their diet pills, potions and creams out to the public promising thinner thighs, flat bellies and a life filled with happiness simply because you chose their product.
I was a trainer for over 20 years. I saw the heartache of men and women who fell victim to Trudeau’s false promises and a myriad of others. People came to me broken, frustrated, hopeless. That is what Kevin Trudeau and so many other BS diet programs have done to the population and continue to do. They have put out products enticing people to try and if they do, they will find the “secret” to the perfect body. If they don’t, it’s not the product that failed, it’s them.
I liken the diet industry to a carnival. We know that most of the games are rigged, yet we still pay money hoping to win big and when we don’t, we blame ourselves.
Sure, there might be the 1-2% of people that find marginal success, but the reality is that the stuff Trudeau pushed along with so many other diet programs is nothing more than a ploy to separate people from their cash – carnies.
Over 35 years ago I lost 50 pounds, the old fashioned way. I changed my diet, gave up fast food, started riding my bike and walking. Within a year I had lost 50 pounds. Folks, there’s no magic, there’s no “secret”, there’s nothing except the decision to change your lifestyle, period. It isn’t always easy, but it’s the only thing that works long-term without any side effects.
There are times when I am just exhausted trying to tell people about practical steps to weight loss, sadly I’m often trumped by some new program promising a fast and easy way to the perfect body. Television and magazine advertisements prey on the fears of aging, especially menopausal women.
I can’t tell you the number of infomercials I have viewed asking the question, “Are you suffering from bloating, fatigue and depression?” Guess what? Thanks to the American diet millions of people are suffering from those things. No magic pill or potion will do anything to change it. Unless of course you’re suffering from some lifestyle related disease. But even then, moving more and eating better is pretty cheap and a very effective alternative to medicine.
I am convinced that part of the obesity issue is a direct result of ineffective diet programs. Every time someone loses weight with a fad diet, they eventually gain it back and more and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically.
I am glad Kevin Trudeau is heading to jail. I wish the same fate for the countless others that continue to sell bogus programs and products all claiming they have the “secret” to thinner thighs in 30 days. FTC, are you listening?
(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 11/14/13)
So what do you think?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments
It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.
This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’
By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait, you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!
Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.
Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.
Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines? And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.
Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval. In my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?
If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat. Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.
I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh. And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.
Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.
Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat. For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.
When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight. Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.” All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.
There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.
What do you think?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 27, 2013 6 Comments
The other day I was doing some research for a client. I was researching healthy snack ideas for diabetics. I was absolutely shocked when I came across this page . The list offers the top 25 snacks for diabetics. It was written by two R.D.’s so one would assume the the list is solid. Boy, was I wrong. I was so disturbed by what I read, well, I had to write about it.
Here is part of the introduction to the article. Ugh! Diabetic Living’s dietitians scoured the supermarkets to find the most nutritious packaged snacks, and a panel of taste-testers (including people with diabetes) ranked the treats. From chips and dip to cookies and popcorn, see which snacks were awarded the Diabetic Living What to Eat Seal of Approval.
The most nutrition packaged snacks? Are you kidding me? No, it is simply a roundup of advertisers that paid for their products to be promoted. I’m also disturbed that it made the Diabetic Living’s Seal of Approval.
Many of us know that the biggest culprit in the world of obesity and diabetes is processed foods. Unfortunately, diabetics have been educated to believe that if it’s sugar free, it’s good for you. According to MayoClinic, ”
- Sugar-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free. Sugar-free foods may play a role in your diabetes diet, but remember to consider carbohydrates, as well. A sugar-free label means that one serving has less than 0.5 gram of sugar. When you’re choosing between standard products and their sugar-free counterparts, compare the food labels. If the sugar-free product has noticeably fewer carbohydrates, the sugar-free product might be the better choice. But if there’s little difference in carbohydrate grams between the two foods, let taste — or price — be your guide.
- No sugar added, but not necessarily no carbohydrates. The same caveat applies to products sporting a “no sugar added” label. Although these foods don’t contain high-sugar ingredients and no sugar is added during processing or packaging, foods without added sugar may still be high in carbohydrates.
- Sugar alcohols contain carbohydrates and calories, too.Likewise, products that contain sugar alcohols — such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol — aren’t necessarily low in carbohydrates or calories.
When you have time and can go through the list of suggested foods, I think you will be as shocked as I was. I was disappointed that professionals that should be looking out for the health of people, are actually condoning the very foods that contribute to disease. It was a head scratcher for me.
I have read that nature is the best chemist. Foods such as dark chocolate (in moderation) blueberries, fish high in Omega 3, beans, almonds and walnuts (in moderation) are foods that add to health, not take away. There is also green tea and cinnamon which offer preventative or healing properties. The list goes on and is quite a different list than found on this diabetic site.
Why these RD’s chose to tout junk food as healthy options is in my humble opinion dangerously irresponsible.
Whether you’re completely healthy with no signs of diabetes or you’re a diabetic, this list of 25 foods mentioned (with the exception of air blown popcorn, tuna, and almonds) is way off base.
We wonder why our country is as unhealthy as ever. As long as professionals keep coming out and promoting junk food as healthy (because advertisers pay for it), the slower the healing process for our country. Diabetes IS preventable (not including Type I). If someone you know suffers from diabetes, this article is a perfect teaching moment. I hope you’ll pass it along.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On June 5, 2013 4 Comments
I had the good fortune of attending an event in Chicago, Farms to Forks which is three days full of lectures and food demonstrations geared to educate attendees about the power of health-promoting foods and the reality of health-harming foods.
Eating well has become more and more difficult. Our society makes it easier to eat poorly vs. healthy.
Even after 30 years of studying food, at times I still find myself overwhelmed with information. However what I heard over and over with every speaker, (obviously I’m simplifying), is that you can’t dispute that fresh fruits and veggies are better than processed, fried or fast-food. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that whole grains and legumes are better for you than a McDonalds breakfast sandwich or other boxed foods.
With every diet that comes along there’s always a catch, always a list that must be adhered to for proper weight loss. Most often diets are temporary as there’s no autonomy. Although the speakers at the event have their opinions along with science to back it up, they are all vegans, a strict way to live. However, I walked away with a different perspective. I got the impression that education comes first, realization comes second and implementation comes third. A sound approach to healthy eating.
When I owned my fitness business, I would tell my clients, “Start with one change, maybe adding breakfast to your diet or stop eating ice cream before you go to bed. As you master that change, add on another.” I felt the same way after walking away from this conference. I didn’t feel I had to be perfect, I simply had to be aware and then change what made sense for me .
I’m not sure I’ll ever adopt a vegan diet, but I know that I have already made some changes that I know will be permanent. The manufacturing and marketing of bad-for-you food is out of control. I thought it was bad when my kids were young, it seems to be worse now. Young mothers are confused but I simply remind them, “There are no labels to read on fresh, whole foods. Stick with them as much as you can.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn, mother and daughter duo full of enthusiasm and passion for a plant-based diet. Ann(in her latter 70’s) shared her tips on plant-based eating while Jayne shared some fantastic recipes that even a carnivore might consider. I’ll share those recipes in my next blog. But for now, here are some take-aways from the event. I hope you find them interesting.
1. Chronic disease is a result of a poor diet, period. – Dr. John McDougall
2. There are no adverse effects of clean water and clean food. – Dr. John McDougall
3. Alcohol doesn’t turn in to fat, it simply lowers inhibitions and increases caloric intake. – Dr. John McDougall
4. The U.S. does 1.2 million stents per year and mortality is 2%. – Dr. C. Esselstyn
5. Red meat increases the risk of heart disease. – Dr. C. Esselstyn
6. Carbs- It’s not about glycemic index, it’s about fiber, density and calories. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
7. CRAP= Cut, refined and processed foods. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
8. If people eliminated liquid calories from their diet, they could lose 40 pounds in a year. (The avg person gets 400 cals from liquids). – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
9. Never believe anything on the front of any pacakge, EVER! Always read the nutrition facts label AND ingredient list. – Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
Here’s to healthier eating for you and your family!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On April 8, 2013 8 Comments
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This quote is from a very famous 1976 movie called, Network. I was a teen when this came out and I recall seeing Peter Finch brilliantly deliver that famous line as Howard Beale. Now it’s my turn to use it.
It’s April, spring is a comin’ and with that comes the excess of weight loss ads. Even on my Facebook page there’s a push for a green tea bean and how to burn 30 lbs of belly fat per month effortlessly. It’s killing me. Quite honestly, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!
Right around the time Peter Finch was given his Academy award for his role as Howard Beale, I entered the health and fitness industry. I was four. 🙂
Although awareness about obesity has certainly increased, obesity back in 1976 was 8.7%., and today it is 34.7% . Obesity and its related diseases costs our country 190 billion dollars in healthcare and lost productivity. Yet, health clubs and diet programs grow in popularity right along with the American waistline.
The thing that leaves me scratching my head is why those that desperately need health clubs don’t go. Given my experience from a personal and professional perspective, I can answer that question, intimidation, unrealistic expectations, fear, feeling out of place, indifference from staff and lack of the truth. Now before my health and fitness friends shout at me, there are a number of very honest, ethical health and fitness professionals and clubs I admire. I just wish there were more. However, with every great, honest health and fitness pro, there are 5 behind him or her waiting to push the latest fad diet, supplements and God knows what else.
I was in business for 20 years doing everything I could to educate, motivate and inspire my clients to get healthy the old fashioned way. I hope I made a difference to some. But, thanks to The Biggest Loser and uneducated fitness pro’s that promise 20 pounds in 20 days, my honesty and real life approach was trumped all the time.
- Consumers have got to know at this point that anything that sounds too good to be true- is.
- Consumers have to know that it starts with taking a long, hard look at lifestyle and realizing that things have to change, not overnight, but change must occur.
- Consumers have to know that beating yourself up mentally and physically is NOT the way to achieve good health, it’s quite the opposite.
- Consumers need to know that there are health and fitness professionals out there actually interested in helping clients go through the process, safely and effectively so that weight loss isn’t temporary but sustainable.
- Consumers have to understand, work is involved and at times it’s hard. Then it simply becomes a question of whether or not you’re ready. If anyone tells you weight loss is easy, they’re lying.
- Health and Fitness clubs have got to know that for someone walking in to a health club overweight and out of shape, it is terribly intimidating. Please have someone working the front end that gets it, not someone who is bored with their job and intolerant of incoming guests.
- Health and fitness clubs need to welcome and respect those that can’t withstand an initial hour-long class that includes squats and lunges as their first class. (I see this all the time).
- Health and fitness professionals have got to denounce the fast-n-easy weight loss scams out there, stick together and create an alliance for ethical health and fitness practices.
- Health and fitness professionals can play an amazing role in the health and wellness of our country as long as they understand what the deconditioned client needs to be motivated and ultimately successful. It’s got to be a solid partnership.
- Health and fitness professionals have an obligation to put clients first and “do no harm.” Check out IDEA’s Code of Ethics.
I have to say, I dread this time of year as much as I do December, resolution season. Weight loss adverts ad nauseam.
If you’re currently frustrated because you didn’t stick to your goals, don’t be, 98% of people don’t. Instead be more realistic. Don’t buy in to the promises of fast and easy weight loss, thinner thighs in thirty days because aside from all those promises it’s really about you and your health. The only reason you should change your lifestyle if you’re currently inactive or dealing with excess weight is y our health, period. I’ve kept 50 pounds off for over 30 years, not because I’m a rock star but because I remember what it felt like to carry that extra weight and I know what my body feels like now, it’s a marked improvement. At almost 52, I’m medication free.
Save yourself money and frustration. If you need help getting on track and staying there, hire a qualified professional that doesn’t make ridiculous promises. Find someone who puts your health first.
If you remember nothing else when those crazy weight loss commercials come on, remember these three things:
1. If diets worked, obesity would be non-existent. 2. The only way to get yourself healthy for the long-term is find a way to move everyday, even if it starts with a walk around the block, and focus on eating less food with more nutritional value.
3. It’s weight loss season and the hype is here, don’t get sucked in.
Here’s to a healthy spring and a healthy you.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On April 1, 2013 No Comments
Last week I attended and lectured at IHRSA(International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) 2013 Trade Show. IHRSA is a trade organization serving the health and fitness club industry with over 14,000 club members from 80 different countries. If you want to know what’s going on in the health and fitness world, you’ll find it here.
I shared the platform with my co-presenter Lisa Taylor. Lisa is from the U.K. and owns an organization called Momenta. Momenta is probably one of the most practical, medical and science based weight management programs I’ve ever seen. It’s not in the U.S.yet, but Momenta plans to seek out pilot sites in the U.S. this fall. (If you’re a fit pro interested in piloting a program, visit their website).
Our presentation was, Reducing the Global Weight Epidemic: Delivering Successful, Evidence Based Weight Management Programs. The gist of our presentation was to provide insight in to the obesity crisis and what we’re missing. The really interesting thing is although I was co-presenting with Lisa and she’s from the U.K., she shared some of the most startling information about obesity in our country. Below are just a few of the stats she shared. Some may surprise you.
- 2011- 65% of US citizens overweight or obese, by 2018 -75% of US citizens overweight or obese . The US has the highest rate of overweight and obesity in the world.
- Obesity is affecting our national security- *Since 1995, the proportion of recruits that failed their physical exams because they were overweight has increased by 70%.
- *27 percent of 17 to 24-year-olds in the United States are too fat to serve in the military. That’s 9 million potential recruits!
- Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Ironically, health clubs and diet programs have also grown dramatically.
The bottom line is this, as someone who spent 30 years in the health and fitness industry we don’t seem to be improving the health of our country. In fact, the healthy are getting healthier while the obese are not being properly educated, inspired or invited in to health clubs. Clearly, the health and fitness industry is missing something. Don’t you agree?
As someone who lost 50 pounds over 30 years ago, I never felt welcome when I walked in to a health club. I still hear that from people today. I have always purported that the health and fitness industry turns away the exact people they need to attract. Again, how can health clubs continue to proliferate right along with obesity? It doesn’t make any sense.
I encourage you to keep an eye on Momenta. It is the first program that takes in to consideration, not only the nutritional and physical aspect of weight loss and weight management, but the psychological component as well. A triage for success.
In my humble estimation, something has got to change and it needs to start with how we’re educating and inspiring those that are not naturally active nor has access to practical, honest education about health. What do you think we’re missing? I have my thoughts but would love to hear yours.
Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On March 27, 2013 6 Comments
When I lost 50 pounds over 35 years ago, it was the first time in my life that I paid attention to the food I was putting in my body. It was also the first time I fell in love with cooking. Thirty-five years later I continue to learn about food, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you continue to lose your way in the maze of unhealthy diets, perhaps this post may help in your journey toward healthy eating.
Healthy eating starts at home
I have learned over the years that to eat healthy you must have a healthy relationship with food. It really starts with an appreciation of food which is realized when you do your own cooking. I’m not saying you have to become Martha Stewart, I’m simply suggesting that healthy eating begins when you’re up close and personal with food.
When I decided to lose weight all those years ago, shopping, preparing and enjoying my own creations educated me on what foods go together and how to keep all of the flavor while reducing calories, fat and sodium. Had I not learned to cook, I may not have kept my weight off all these years.
There may be some of you who cringe at the idea of having to cook. Even starting with just a few meals a week at home is a start. Keep it simple. But trust me here, the more you learn about the power and flavor of real food, the greater chance of wanting to cook more at home. Cooking at home results in healthier meals and greater nutritional punch.
Since losing my weight, food trends are out of control. Lets walk through them and see which ones may sound familiar. When my kids were little, it was low-fat or no-fat. Then Susan Powter hit the world touting high carb and low protein. Then there was the oat bran craze, cabbage soup, food combining, low carb, Atkins, Paleo and gluten-free. I’m sure I’ve left a few out, but these are the most memorable. Now, what do all of these food trends have in common? They have all been used not for health, but for weight loss. Every time a new food trend hits the media, weight loss is typically the motive behind its success.
I have always believed that there are elements in each one of those diets that are redeeming. However, most of them are nothing more than a fad that helps drop pounds quickly yet rarely if ever is health focused, simply weight focused. Hence why obesity is alive and well.
Get Back to Basics
When I was pregnant I was dedicated to feeding myself and my unborn child well. I gave up alcohol, stayed away from foods that might be toxic (fish) and exercised daily. The idea of dieting was not even a thought. My focus was my unborn child. I believe this is true for most women. So, the question becomes why are we willing to risk our health by doing less than healthy things for our body when we’re not pregnant?
What I have discovered is that you’ve got one shot to make your health a priority. Figuring out the facts and myths surrounding food is next to impossible because there is so much conflicting information out there.
After thirty-five years I have learned the real truth behind healthy eating and healthy weight:
- Trust yourself. Deep down inside you know a good choice from a bad one. Green beans good, French fries not so much.
- Don’t jump on the latest food trends, they will be temporary and if they have staying power, read more about it. Look at the research and educate yourself.
- The healthier the food, the fewer ingredients. Have you ever seen fresh fruits or veggies with an ingredient list? No, because its straight up good for you, solid nutrition.
- Get back to basics. Eating too much is not good for you. Fried foods, processed foods, high sugar and salty foods are not good for you. Less is more when it comes to meat, saturated fat, sodium and portions.
- Eat for yourself, not for weight loss. You’ll likely choose more wisely. Further, a byproduct of healthier eating is weight loss.
Don’t choose food for weight, choose it for health.
If there’s one tried and true “secret” that I’ve learned over the years it is, eating for health vs. weight. This approach is actually the best way to lose or manage weight. Think about it, if you’re able to focus on the foods that are naturally good for you, you will weed out the less healthy foods that caused the excess weight to begin with. Sticking with whole, fresh foods is the surest way to a healthier you.
Trust yourself to make the right choices. Focus on your health and understand its a process. I learn something new everyday. I also seek to learn as much as I can so I can make the best decisions for my health. Isn’t your health worth it?
Two of my favorite new reads include: Julieanna Hever’s- The Complete Idiots Guide to Plant Based Nutrition and David Grotto’s Book, The Best Things You Can Eat.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 7, 2012 No Comments
Though the Olympics play a rather large role in getting people active again, it’s a bit of a paradox when these average every day folks see Olympians touting their devotion to fast-food restaurants and junk food, primarily McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. These companies are the proud Olympic Partners.
Wait, let’s see if I’m getting this right, the most stellar physical athletes in the world claim that junk food is their go-to food when training and performing? I’m not buying it, but unfortunately plenty of other people will because, “Heck, if it’s good enough for Olympic athletes, it’s good enough for me!”
In my opinion, there’s a sense of responsibility on behalf of the Olympics and the athletes. Remember the scuttlebutt over American Olympic uniforms being made in China? People were aghast. Doesn’t the fact that hamburgers, fries and soda are being condoned by athletes and the Olympics ruffle a few feathers, somewhere?
The athletes are doing their fair share of getting the junk food message into the living rooms of families watching the events. LeBron James, Loul Deng, Apollo Ono, Shaun Johnson and others are pitching foods that just don’t connect to their performance and physical fitness. It doesn’t make sense to me. Oh wait, I hear a “ching,ching” in the background- money. That’s right, that silly little thing that often trumps just about everything else, integrity, health of our country (which by the way has a huge obesity issue) and well, good old fashioned conscious.
Though we are incredibly proud of the performance these athletes have executed, the blatant promotion of “carbage” is somehow disheartening. I will say, Subway stays away from deep fried foods and does offer veggie sandwiches. But for the most part, junk food is NOT what allows these athletes to perform at such a high level. Basically, it’s false advertising.
Some will ask, “What’s the big deal with having junk food once in awhile?” Well, the fact is that there are those who understand moderation, but tell that to an 8 year old who loves the gymnasts and sees them promoting McDonald’s, suddenly that is what she’s going to clamor for. If he or she is lucky enough, she’ll have a parent that understands moderation. But for many others (remember the obesity issue I mentioned earlier?) not the case. Bottom line, it’s a mixed message, pure and simple.
I have to give kudos to Ryan Lochte, who obviously didn’t let the endorsement cash get to him. He gave up junk food two years ago. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard anyone praise his efforts not only from a physical fitness and health standpoint, but for someone who didn’t get sucked in by a multi-million dollar contract.
I’m certainly not a purist, but when it comes to inspiring the next generation of athletes, there is some responsibility that should be realized by the Olympics and the athletes. In my opinion, promoting fast-food restaurants and soda is no different than promoting Marlboro reds after a long workout. (Yes, junk food can contribute to cancer). LeBron, got a light?
Here’s to your health!