How long has the word “diet” been a mainstay of your vocabulary in terms of weight loss??? I swear the word must be tattooed to my thighs and brain! I truly WAS the honorary member of the “try any and every diet to lose weight and look like Twiggy” club. And since you can see by the date of this blog that New Year’s was just last week, does the equation “Resolution + Diet = Frustration” look familiar?
HOWEVER, I was absolutely ecstatic when I perused the health trends for this new year only to find the traditional “diet” idea of losing weight, that is to be a certain (usually unrealistic) magic pound number and certain pant size is being shunned by old and young alike! The coming health mantra now is: be strong and healthy, boost your brain power, deal with stress in a healthful way and embrace natural foods instead of junk. It’s about time!!! The millennial philosophy is epitomized with the now famous instagram phrase by actress/writer Lena Dunham, “It’s about the brain, not the xxx (word for donkey)” and Weight Watchers revamped their program this year, titling it “Beyond the Scale”, emphasizing the quality of food, not just the calorie count!!! Think of the ramifications of this new edict! Not only will it lead to a more sensible, healthy living for us as adults, but it will ALSO have a very positive effect on our kid’s health and body psyche!!
Okay now, I need to take a breath. Let’s talk some sense into this new way of healthy living concept, starting with the psychological side of the equation, giving us insight on how we can hinder or help our personal “health success.” Then we’ll move over to the template or framework to work from, a/k/a the pragmatic solutions that will get us there. Finally, staying positive while achieving and then maintaining your new healthy way of life by celebrating each step along your own “wellness journey” way:
1.Responsibility and Response Pave the Way– My husband Randy, Alisa Kigar and I co-host a weekly radio show called “Healthy U” out of Memphis, MO on KMEM FM 100.5 (You can stream it at www.kmemfm.com Tuesdays at 10 AM Central). This past week we had the privilege of interviewing the co-author, Dave Andrews, of the new book The 30 Day Sobriety Solution. Dave has been named “America’s #1 Sobriety Coach”, having the experience of having recovered from alcohol these past 10 years. I know we are not specifically talking about alcoholism here, but the pearls he presents in his book applies also to setting your mind on the right track first before you can accomplish any measure of success. I’m going to apply a key equation he lays out in his book to our journey of health and wellness to get our minds on the right track:
E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome)
“Every outcome you experience in life-sobriety or alcoholism, excessive drinking or “normal” drinking, financial success or poverty, health or sickness, happiness or dissatisfaction- is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event or events in your life.”(The 30 Day Sobriety Solution).
Applying that to your current food addictions, whatever they are, means your current healthy (or not so healthy) lifestyle is the culmination of your response to events over your lifetime. You CAN:
A. Play the blame/complain game- By saying your schedule is too busy (E-event), you choose not to plan healthy meals or take the time to exercise, or take the time to healthfully unwind (R-response) giving your the outcome of constantly feel stressed and fatigued, lacking needed sleep, with a nonstop sensation of malaise (O-outcome).
B. Take charge of your responses to events to yield the outcome you really want– By taking “100% responsibility for all of those life experiences” (hey, I know it’s tough out there, but we can do this!) you can take control of your life and (yes) your health! So let’s say (again) your schedule is really busy (E-event) BUT, you’ve decided to start fitting in 20 minutes of walking per day along with fixing large quantities of healthy meals on weekends that you freeze only so you can bring them out on those busy weekdays. You also are taking a couple of minutes in the morning and night for quiet meditative time to gather your thoughts along with snoozing the right amount of hours at night to feel refreshed (R-response). I’ll bet, with some of these simple lifestyle changes you’re feeling more energetic, experiencing more brain power (see How to Protect Your Brain With Simple Lifestyle Choices) and feel less stressed. You are on the way to a healthy lifestyle (O-outcome)!
2. Practical Wellness Package is Priceless!– It’s all about the package. ALL aspects of practical wellness work together to give you a healthy outcome:
A. Nutrition- Forget the refined foods and embrace those that are as close to the original source as you can. Remember, you are what you eat, eats! (See The Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef Debate: You Are What You Eat, Eats!). Knowing that inflammation is central to all inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, follow an anti-inflammatory way of eating. Revving up on vegetables (see Vegetables Are a Well Kept Secret) and fruit along with lean meats, healthy grains (see Discover the Goodness of Ancient Grains), legumes and healthy oils, like fish oil (see A Healthy Acronym “CYH with EPA/DHA”) and olive oil will serve you well.
B. Movement- Honestly, just start moving every day in every way that you can. Park further away, take the steps, walk in place in front of your favorite t.v. shows, get a standing desk. It all counts!!! Try alternating, aerobic, with weight training (you can use your own body weight for this) and core training like pilates and yoga. Just an extra plug for yoga here. It’s one of the few forms of exercise that has aerobic, core strength and stress reducing properties all in one (see Here’s a New Year’s Resolution With a Multi-Faceted Payoff: Yoga)!
Just to show you I’m keeping it real, here’s our entire family the day after Christmas working out at the local gym (Scotland County Fitness Center). It’s officially a family tradition!!!
1.) Stress Response– Stress CAN really be a good thing! It pushes us to do our best, turning it from stress to eustress (healthy stress). However, it can also get the best of us if we don’t have the right arsenal of tools to combat it, like stress control techniques (i.e. Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson of the Mind Body Institute of Harvard) or coping skills (i.e. keeping a daily journal or accepting your action for dealing with a stressor and moving on). See Turn Unhealthy Stress Into Eustress for more stress-buster ideas!
2.) Sleep- Are you unable to “turn it off’ at night and get a good night’s sleep? Think of sleep as having a garbage disposal function for your brain, flushing out all of those toxins so you can wake up feeling refreshed. Does that give you a little more motivation to think of maybe changing your sleep hygiene? Those electronic devices in your bedroom might be the culprit, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the devices promote wakefulness by miscuing the brain. See Fixing Broken Sleep for more sleep hygiene tips.
3. Baby Steps and Forgiveness are Key, Just Give Yourself Time to Unlock that Door!– I’ve developed and promoted the notion of Practical Wellness for a number of years, talking about achievable lifestyle transformation in all of the related aspects outlined above. I make a special point to celebrate those baby steps because they’re pivotal in the long term success of my clients. I remember so many times, when I ask how they’ve done with their wellness walk in the last week, a look of sadness crosses their face. That sadness emanated from not being totally “perfect” in all aspects of “their” practical wellness walk. I stop them right there and EVERYTIME, I find some forward progress they can celebrate, i.e. one less helping of potatoes per day or using a fitness DVD at lunch, when previously they were totally sedentary. You also need to celebrate the baby steps, giving yourself time, as they eventually become larger, then giant strides! Of course, there’s always a large dose of forgiveness if you slip off the wellness path now and then. After all, to err is Human!
So, out with the old idea of DIET, in with the new PRACTICAL WELLNESS PACKAGE, for a longer, healthier life!
THE NEW FOUR LETTER WORD: D I E T Recap:
1. Responsibility and Response Pave the Way so either play the blame/complain game or take 100% responsibility for your actions.
2. Practical Wellness Package is Priceless: Nutrition, Movement and Recovery all work together to get you on the road to a newer, more energetic and productive,YOU.
3. Baby Steps and Forgiveness are Key, Just Give Yourself Time to Unlock that Door!
I’ve really enjoyed having this talk with you all but now my stomach is calling. I have some Spicy Beef (Grass-fed) and Black Bean Soup that I just made this afternoon. It’s been simmering on the stove for the last 5 hours, so the fragrant cumin, coriander, chili powder, onion, garlic, beef and fire-roasted tomato scents have totally invaded my nostrils. It’s freezing outside right now, so this dish’s warmth is just calling my name. Randy will be home very soon to enjoy it with me (with a glass of earthy Zinfandel)!
Here’s to heart-warming yet healthy meals on cold nights!!!
SPICY BEEF (or LAMB) AND BLACK BEAN SOUP
2 lb. Grass-fed beef roast (or Lamb Shoulder Roast), cut in chunks
2 T. olive oil
½ cup onions, small dice
2 cloves roasted garlic
*2 T. pickled jalapeno, chopped (amount depends on how much heat you like in your soup)
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 bay leaf
2 qt. beef broth
1-1 lb. can of black beans
2- 14.5 oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes
2-10 oz. cans of diced tomato green chilis
Salt (to taste)
½ cup non-fat greek yogurt
2 T. fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. Lime juice
1. Lightly brown the beef (see beef note) and set aside.
2.Heat the olive oil in another skillet, when the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook over low heat until almost tender.
3.Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander and bay leaf. Stir to mix with the oil and vegetables.
4. Add the beef stock and black beans.
5. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Add the tomatoes, diced tomato green chilis and browned beef.
7. Set the stovetop to the lowest heat setting and let it simmer for as long as you can (note that 1 hour is fine but 3 hours are better).
8. Add salt to taste.
9. Mix the yogurt, cilantro and lime juice. Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of the mixture.
Servings: Many. This was enough for the Randy and I to have a couple of dinners and lunches. It even gets better the day after you first prepare it.
*Recipe adapted from “Professional Cooking” by Wayne Gisslen
Beef Note- If you are using grass-fed beef secondary cuts (like roasts), cooking time should generally be low and slow. The grass-fed meat roast is flavorful, but lower in fat (than grain-fed meat) and a tougher piece of meat than the primary cuts. You can also substitute lamb shoulder roast for beef, Randy likes it even better than the beef choice.