energy

First Steps to Health: Shrink the Change

First steps can be tough. 

My boy starts Kindergarten in a few days, my baby boy has his first steps completely behind him and I am learning how to balance a completely different life than the one I thought I would have.  First steps can be scary, will test your limits, but can be completely exciting because change is happening and change = growth.

When we tackle resolutions or changes aimed at making ourselves better, many times it can be extremely overwhelming.  Have you ever tried to start a meditation practice, exercise regiment, clean eating schedule, etc., just to find out that you can't stick with it?  

I want to give you a simple strategy that will increase your success.  It's called "Shrinking the Change".

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We now know that about 85% of chronic diseases don't stem from genetics or environmental impacts but from behavior.  And behavior, like willpower, works like the rest of your body.  You wake up feeling rested and refreshed (hopefully) and over the course of the day, you get tired and need more rest at night to keep going.  Willpower is the same way.  It can diminish and be harder to use the more you have to use it.  It's a limited resource.  Building habits instead of relying solely on willpower will help you become more successful in behavioral change.  And the best way to do this is by shrinking the change.  It's like climbing a mountain.  If you want to get to the top, you don't stare at the peak the entire time, you focus on the next step in front of you and over time, the compounded effect allows you to reach your goal.  

So when you want to make a change, start out so ridiculously small that willpower isn't even an issue.  

The action also has to be measurable and doable for it to be attainable.  Here are some options using the example we used earlier:

If you want to start a meditation practice, download the Headspace app and try it out at least twice over the next week.  
If you want to exercise more, make it a point to take a 30-minute walk with a friend at least one time over the next three days.
If you want to improve your eating habits, try just one new recipe per week.  Use Pinterest boards (or a folder for printed recipes) to keep your favorites organized.  

So what is the behavior you'd like to change?  

What is the first small, doable step that you can do to shrink the change and make this goal very attainable?

Comment below and share your plan with me and I can help you brainstorm additional steps moving forward.  

Cheers to first steps!

Question What You're Told

It doesn’t seem fair, but almost all the sources we might turn to for wellness education are broken and contaminated by financial gain. 

Until very recently, the majority of us would have never questioned the legitimacy of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid (now MyPlate), an organization from the beginning, riddled with deceit with close ties to food manufacturers.  We went to school, were taught that we should eat 6-11 servings of BREAD a day and went on our merry way.  Think about the last time you had 6-11 servings of bread a day! 

The 1991 Food Guide Pyramid

The 1991 Food Guide Pyramid

 

Unfortunately, this pyramid was suggesting people eat a lot of everything.    This is not a scientific document, but a political one.  Governmental ties to food manufacturers would shape the future guidelines of what we, as a whole, should eat, for the pure intent of financial gain and nothing else.  If this doesn’t madden you, it should because the 1991 Food Guide Pyramid was initiated and encouraged until 2005 and that's a long time to be eating 6-11 servings of bread a day.  And so many people did and still do!  No wonder we have such an issue with obesity in this country.  

A few law suits later that showed USDA had financial ties to the meat, dairy and egg industries happened at about the same time obesity rates were going through the roof across the country.  The Food Guide Pyramid was then renamed MyPyramid, which improved a bit, giving vegetables more of a preference, adding nuts and seeds as protein sources and admitting in the description that not everyone can properly digest cow’s milk.  It also encouraged exercise with a stick person running up stairs.  Better, but not great, since most Americans do not exercise and should not be consuming the same amount of dairy as vegetables.  

The recommendations morphed once again, but this time to a plate (MyPlate - our current nutritional guideline).  It’s easier to read and understand, but where does this image fall short?  How can you use these suggestions to adjust your own plate in order to feel better, lose weight and gain energy?

First of all, what does “grains” mean to you?  Are you eating refined bread with dinner or a whole grain like quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice?

Why are we still drinking milk with our meals when it’s one of the most inflammatory foods on the planet and most people have difficulty digesting it anyway?  Instead, try drinking water and here’s something to think about:  don’t drink it with your meal.  Wait…what?  You heard me.  Drinking water with your meal will dilute the stomach acids needed to properly break down and digest your foods optimally.  Aim to drink most of your water between meals.  This will also help to curb mindless eating.  People who are well hydrated have fewer episodes of impulse eating.  

There’s also a lot of food on this plate.  Most Americans eat too many calories per meal.  Start by using a small salad plate if your main goal is weight loss and fill it halfway full with vegetables. 

Add in healthy fats.  Eating a meal without healthy fat makes nutrient absorption more difficult.  Even if weight loss is your goal, you still need healthy fat as a staple in your diet.  Some of my favorites are avocados, hemp seeds, avocado, coconut and olive oil, and chia seeds. 

Bottom line is that we are all individuals.  My clients hear me say this all the time…the diet that I thrive on will not be the same exact diet that YOU thrive on.  The dietary guidelines published by the USDA are just that…guidelines.  It’s just unfortunate that the recommendations given to us since 1917 are biased by larger manufacturers trying to push their own agenda.  The same holds true for any company trying to sell you the magic weight loss pill or energy drink. 

Know your body, be a detective and ask questions because there is nothing out there better and more impactful for your health and longevity than good, clean whole food. 

Below is an EXAMPLE of how you could build your plate if your main goal is weight loss, to regain energy or to balance hormones, including the thyroid.  There is no one size fits all diet.  Every one of my clients has a slightly different diet and it's dynamic.  The foods my clients eat when they are healing are different than the foods they thrive on afterwards.  

How are you building your plate?  Does it still resemble the outdated 1991 Food Guide Pyramid or MyPyramid?  Evaluate for yourself the difference in that pyramid compared to the plate I have designed for you below.  What are the biggest differences you see?  

Are you sick and tired of wondering what to eat? Have chronic issues that just won't go away even when you do eat healthy and exercise?  I hear you and there's so much you can do to finally get that life of thriving energy.  See the success past clients of mine have had.  Send me an email or sign up for a free mini-session so we can uncover what's holding you back and put you on a path towards what you're really meant to feel like.