Here in the Northern Hemisphere it’s almost bikini season. I’m sure in some areas it already is! Where I am in Southern Ontario however, we’re only just now enjoying weather warm enough to take our jackets off. It seems winter took its time going home, and now spring is all of a sudden here. I’ve already been out in my garden pulling weeds and raspberry shoots to get ready to plant my food in a few weeks.
While my thoughts turn to salad greens from my own garden, others are thinking about losing some winter flab and putting on their bathing suit. Still more are dreading being asked to that first pool party, or long weekend trip to the cottage and putting on shorts, nevermind a bathing suit!
Some folks may resort to quick fix diet plans that promise “lose 18 pounds in 18 days!” by starving themselves on nothing but water and lemon juice with cayenne pepper. Or cardboard tasting frozen dinners that aren’t enough food to feed a 5 year old, let alone a grown adult! Let me tell you a secret. Temporary fixes work only temporarily. If you want to fit into that bathing suit, and look good in a pair of shorts, and you do this Every. Spring. How about make a complete 180 lifestyle change and get healthy, get fit, and maybe even lose some weight, And Keep It Off For Good?!
One thing I’ve learned in all my learning about health and nutrition (and it’s been quite a lot!) is that crash diets don’t work long term, they don’t teach you what you should eat to be really healthy, and if you do lose some weight, it is not sustainable because you’re starving, and as soon as you go back to eating how you did before you started, you put all the weight right back on again. So what’s the point? Yo-yoing is worse for you than just keeping that spare tire around your middle. But keeping that spare tire is hindering your health, and leaving you susceptible to all kinds of modern diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome…not to mention the pain in your knees and lower back from carrying around all that extra weight, and the cost of having to keep buying a new wardrobe as the spare tire turns into a tractor tire.
While there is no one diet that works for every person, there is one common thread among the “diets” that actually work for life. Real Food. Like Michael Pollan says “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”. And “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t. ”
What’s that mean exactly? Well, if Kellog’s made it, or General Foods, or Kraft, or McCain’s or or or, don’t eat it. Or eat it only very occasionally. If however Mother Nature herself made it, and you can trace its origins fairly easily in your head, or even better, you know the farmer who planted it and harvested it, or raised it and processed it, you should eat that. And lots of it. More often. Whether you lean towards a Paleo or Primal lifestyle, or vegetarian, or vegan lifestyle, Real Food is the key. “Food changes everything” – Joshua Rosenthal.
I’m not suggesting that you cannot ever again eat an Oreo cookie, or a handful of Lays potato chips. What I am suggesting is that they should not be a daily thing, nor even a weekly or monthly. They should be *very* occasional. Honestly, once you switch to a Real Foods lifestyle, you will discover that you no longer even like cookies or potato chips, unless you make them yourself and you know where all the ingredients came from and can pronounce them all.
Which brings us to the word that always makes me cringe. Moderation. What is moderation anyway? Dictionary.com defines it as the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance. I’m a bit of a dictionary geek, so I’ll give you another one from the Gage Canadian dictionary: freedom from excess; proper restraint; temperance. So, very much alike in definition, but the Canadian definition adds freedom from excess. Imagine, if you practice true moderation you can free yourself from excess ill health, pain, inflammation, and very likely as a side effect of getting healthy, you lose the love handles and the bingo arms as well! Freedom from excess! Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Whether you want to fit into a new bathing suit, or you’re getting married and you need to fit into your wedding gown, or your tuxedo, or you’re going on a cruise and you want to look good in a slinky new dancing dress, it doesn’t matter your “why”, what matters is the “how”. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are temporary fixes. Do you really want to keep doing this Every Spring? Or would you rather make this one change, and make it stick for life? Make your “why” because you want to live a long and healthy life, without the last 10 to 15 years being on several medications, in a nursing home bed, unable to remember your children’s names. To quote Mark Sisson “Love long, drop dead. Grok on.”
Real Food. It’s that simple. But it won’t be easy. I’d be honoured to support you in your health goals, no matter what your “why” is. If you’d like to schedule a free health consultation, click fill in the Contact Form below.