"If it doesn't open, it's not your door."
I've had this quote as the screensaver on my phone for over a year now because every time I check my phone (which is pretty often), it reminds me that many things in life are out of my control.
As a perfectionist, I do need to remind myself of that regularly.
We all want things in life to turn out a certain way... OUR way... the way we think will bring us the most joy, pleasure, success, wealth, health ___________ (fill in the blank). Sometimes we REALLY think a certain situation is the best for us. It could be a job opportunity. A relationship. A certain type of diet. A house you want to buy. A particular workout program. All of these things represent possible doors that can lead to a future that you envision for yourself.
But somehow some of those things do not work out as you wanted. They don't go your way.
While overeating is a common problem there are also many times when we don't eat enough and that can be a problem too.
Food is our fuel and when the tank is on empty, it affects our metabolism and hinders our physical and mental performance.
I find that there are generally two main reasons why some people don't eat enough. The first reason is because of "weight loss" intentions and the other reason is because of "being too busy to eat". The "weight loss" reason stems from an intentional effort of restricting calories with the idea that this will help lose weight quickly. The "too busy" reason happens when life is going faster than the speed of light and food falls to the wayside.
Let's dive into how both of those reasons play out and some tips on how to overcome both so that you can fuel your body the right way.
Did you know that most people who eat the "Standard American Diet" aka "SAD" are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids?
You might be asking "why ARE omega-3 fatty acids so important and can't I just take a fish oil supplement and eat whatever I want?"
There are like a MILLION benefits of having adequate omega-3s in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health and decrease inflammation in the body. (Inflammation is the underlying cause of many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and diabetes.) They also help to regulate blood sugar, balance your hormones, keep the cardiovascular system healthy, and lower cholesterol.
While omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for health, there is an over-abundance of them in the typical American diet, and because they compete with omega-3 fatty acids in the body, having too much omega-6 can wipe out omega-3. When these two fatty acids are not in balance, our health suffers. Not good.
I have a habit of collecting motivating quotes. When I see one that I like, I either write it down, save it to my phone, or actually print it out and post it up on a bulletin board in my office.
Motivating quotes are...motivating. And motivation is GREAT. It gets you fired up and in the mood to do something awesome. But...it isn't enough to keep you on the road to success.
Many people think they aren't achieving their goals because they are not motivated. Or they think that they need to keep seeking out motivation in order to lose weight, get in shape, eat better or whatever it is they are wanting to do.
Motivation (or lack thereof) is not the problem.
We live in a world in which we have been tricked into thinking that we could do whatever we want...eat whatever we want, abuse our bodies however we want...and then take a pill, or have some kind of medical treatment to erase it all.
But it doesn't work that way. Our lifestyles and eating habits play a very important role in how our future will play out. The major diseases plaguing us today...obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, some autoimmune disorders, dementia, etc....are mostly due to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
You can't erase a lifetime of bad habits with a pill or a medical treatment.
Do you remember being a kid and having the ability to improvise with whatever situation you were in? If you were stuck on a long car trip, you would think up a game to play. Or if the weather was bad and you couldn’t go outside, you would invent something fun to do. Or during a power outage, you pretended you were living in ancient times.
As an only child growing up, I was in that situation countless times. Boredom didn’t defeat me; it challenged me to be creative and productive in the moment. There were no limits on what I could think up, imagine, or do. I was fabulous at putting on dance shows for imaginary audiences, creating enough artwork to fill a museum, and pretending that roller skating in my grandmother’s basement was an Olympic sport.
As we get older sometimes we forget what that is like because we get caught up with all the stresses and worries of an overscheduled busy life. And sometimes use those stresses as excuses for not bothering to keep up with healthy intentions. When things don’t go as expected, it is easy to get off track and get flustered.
Do you ever look at the nutrition label on the packaged food that you buy?
If so, what do you pay attention to the most?
The fat grams? The protein? The carbs?
You know that tag line for snickers? Snickers satisfies you. Well...smoothies satisfy ME. Because I load them with TONS of nutrients that give me energy and staying power. If you hate the idea of drinking something that is super healthy and would rather eat an artificially flavored , corn-syrup filled piece of candy that contains partially hydrogenated crap (aka Snickers bar), than don’t bother reading the rest of this post.
What’s on your agenda for this week? Planning on grilling?
Here are some simple strategies to keep in mind for eating well at your summer BBQs, along with a 20 minute workout you can do while the grill is warming up.
BBQ season officially started up this weekend and with that comes along lots of chips, dips, and other not-so-healthy snacks. And this also happens to be the very time of year that many of us are wanting to look our best for the summer. For ladies that means wearing a swimsuit on the beach without a cover-up. For guys that means being shirtless by the pool.
Avoiding all that garbage food that shows up at most BBQs and summer parties can be part of your strategy for eating well this time of year. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies for making this happen. So let's get to it!
A lot of times when we have goals...whether they are big goals or little ones...we get distracted from ever reaching them.
There are many reasons along the way of why we get distracted. Sometimes those distractions are because we have not set up intentions to really prioritize them.
This applies to any goal...health related goals like: goals of eating healthier, goals of losing weight, goals of getting in shape or committing to an exercise routine, or it can be lifestyle goals such as: areas of self-improvement, acquiring a new skill for a career change, or making an effort to improve your relationships.
This week I started flying lessons. No, not learning how to fly a plane. Trust me, I come dangerously close to knocking off the side mirrors on my car when pulling in and out of the garage…I certainly shouldn’t be flying planes.
What I mean is that I am learning how to fly by jumping.
Let me explain.
Sugar is addicting...
The average American consumes approximately 20 teaspoons of added sugars daily. The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake be limited to 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women (heart.org). What are some realistic strategies for reducing sugar intake?
What does 2017 hold in store for you? Do you have goals and desires that have been simmering under the surface for awhile? Will this be THE year that you lose weight? Get healthier? Get in shape? Run a marathon?
Are you making New Year's resolutions?
Are you telling yourself things like: "THIS is the year I'm going to eat better and get fit."
Making resolutions when a new year begins may seem to be motivating, but the trouble is that many people abandon those resolutions as soon as a slip-up or setback happens. The fact of the matter is that slip-ups and setbacks ALWAYS happen. Perfection with diet and fitness (or anything) is not possible.
December is a high-stress month. Lots of month-end reporting for your job. The holiday season with all its pressures to shop, spend money, and prepare. And it also happens to be that time of year when lots of sickness is going around. No time is a good time for getting sick, but December is definitely at the top of the list. Getting sick at this time of year totally sucks when there is so much on the rapidly growing to-do list.
It also makes it harder to keep up with workouts and healthy eating intentions when you are sick. Fortunately there are ways to keep your power fueled and prevent sickness or minimize the duration and severity of a cold when it does happen. Let's get right to the point...
Being healthy is not only about eating right and exercising (although those things are super important).
In addition to eating well, it is also important to nourish your life with good self-care. Good self-care includes making sure you get adequate sleep! You can eat all the dark leafy greens in the world, and still not be the healthiest best version of you, if you are not getting enough sleep.
"I get very hungry at work and I start eating everything. How do I stop them from bringing that stuff to work???"
And my reply was..."You DON'T stop them."
When you are stressed, you want to eat junk food, yes?
Drown your sorrows in a pint of ice-cream. Wolf down a bacon double cheeseburger. Eat a big plate of fries.
This might seem comforting in the moment but it is the worst thing you can do.
When you are under stress, your body takes much longer to clear saturated fats from your bloodstream. Stress also slows down the speed of how food is moving through your digestive system, which leads to weight gain and increased inflammation. Increased inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, by the way.
So you have committed to a diet plan for yourself and you are super motivated and determined because THIS time you are going to stick to it. Your intentions are to follow it PERFECTLY. "That’s it, I’m going to be good starting tomorrow!" (whatever your definition of “good” is).
You start off like a rockstar eating perfectly. But then a few days go by and life gets in the way. You find yourself starving after a late unexpected meeting at work. Or there was no time to cook dinner after driving your kids to baseball practice. Before you know it, you ordered a pizza and 3 slices later your perfect diet intentions go up in smoke. Might as well give up because what’s the point, right?
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Megan Ántoni Placa, MS, CNS