When do you think of, hear, or say the word ‘diet’, how do you feel?
Personally, I do not LIKE the word and how it is used. It has a negative connotation to me and here is why…
Dieting was part of my life from my teens thru my mid-30’s when I started my health transformation journey. I gain weight very very easily and have a hard time losing it. Knowing of my ‘bad’ genes for hypothyroidism (double mutations / homozygous) and what therapies (nutrigenomics) I can positively impact their expression is amazing. Not all genetic mutations are a problem.
The expression of these mutations is highly influenced by our nutrition choices, toxicity, and environmental factors. That is great news because each one of us has a great deal of control over these choices. Surely, from childhood to my mid-30s, I ‘poked’ my bad genes day in-day out. I had blinds on and had no idea.
That’s also another reason I love what I do. I find that offering nutrigenomics, along with functional blood chemistry analysis and uncovering their lifestyle preferences is a great tool to my clients. Click here to schedule time to learn more about genetic testing and nutrigenomics.
The word reminds of ups and downs, uncertainties, restrictions, inconsistencies, the on and off type of stuff, and disappointments. Over the years, I realized I am alone.
When I ask people what emotions the word diet brings to them, it often includes frustration, deprivation, stress, guilt, discouragement, helpless. Rarely, I hear anyone say they feel positive, encouraged, excited about embarking on a diet—ok, they may feel encouraged for a few weeks before all goes downhill because of some of the reasons we discuss shortly.
When I coach my clients, I help them build a nutritional template and redefine the word diet to a more positive and sustainable approach to eating, socializing, and living.
Obsessed with Dieting?
If you pay attention to conversations whether among friends/family gathering or at coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, and many public places, the topic of diet will come up sooner than later. When you read the news on health and fitness, dieting is definitely the center topic.
We know that “diets” for weight loss, whether it’s something like Atkins, Weight Watchers, 500-calorie diet, Jenny Craig, or whatever it is DOES NOT WORK. What I mean with that is that rarely a person reaches a healthy weight and sustains for the rest of their lives.
Every year, U.S. News puts together the Best Diets Rankings report. The 2019 report includes 41 of today’s most popular diets. 41??? Let’s get real. This is insane. If you are following any ‘diet’, especially for weight loss, press the PAUSE button NOW!!!!
Redefining The Word Diet…
#1) Diet is Essentially What Your Food Intake Is.
Your diet could be you are eating Taco Bell every day or you go down to the building’s cafeteria to have a turkey sandwich. You may choose the healthiest options among the restaurant and fast food places. Or you may choose to eat based on the smell and taste and whether is healthy, it is often not too important. Or all the above!
#2) Diet is a way to fuel your body and mind.
Here you think and plan about what is ideal from a lifestyle standpoint to help yourself reclaim and/or stay healthy, productive, energized, and feel good. You are intentional with a purpose!
You may guess that as holistic health coach with a focus on weight management, energy capacity, and physical and mental strength, I choose and recommend YOU to FUEL your body and mind.
The Maria’s Diet
People ask me what diet I follow and recommend. There is no name–OK, it is ‘The ‘Maria Diet’. I eat to maintain a healthy weight, give me strength, feel good and energized, and support an active life. I eat to protect me from infections, lower the risk of diseases and medications. I seek to understand my body and mind, its mode of operation, and predispositions so that I do my best to fuel it to thrive. I eat to enhance the quality of my life, slow cognitive and functional decline.
Nope. I am perfect! My goal is to feel proud of my choices and aligned with my goals. Do I have my down days? Absolutely. There is a conscious decision each time so I minimize the risk of the emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been there, done that. My commitment to my long-term health and growth has helped me build practices and resilience. It’s a commitment!
Everyone is unique and deserves a personalized solution that fits their lifestyle and is based on their goals, dreams, conditions, predispositions, medications, and environmental exposures.
I must share my enthusiasm about the ‘Everything in Moderation‘ blah blah out there. Sorry, I do not mean to hurt your feelings or judge you. I am here to ENCOURAGE you to REMOVE this sentence from your ‘dieting’ and lifestyle beliefs and vocabulary.
3/4 of Americans are overweight and/or obese and trust me, most are firm believers that moderation is the way, yet they cannot get and/or sustain results. You are NOT an average, you are YOU. Toss it. Get help.
And for the ‘everything in moderation’ believers, please keep it to yourself. I get you to stop sharing the moderation speech recommendation with anyone. Here is why I am so passionate about this…
It is great you know your body and needs well, but you do not know theirs and changes are moderation for that person is NOT a solution. If the moderation routines YOU PRACTICE keep you emotionally, physically and mentally healthy and happy, AWESOME. Understand that your body/mind and needs are yours. You know little of those around you. Instead, if applicable, say that you have learned what it works for you. Be kind and respectful to others.
Complexity and Confusion
I understand and know this is not simple. Maybe it’s finances. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s the area you are living. Maybe it’s your living and family situation.
There are many ways to get help. There are in-person and online programs available. You can consult with a holistic health coach, a dietitian, various medical doctors, an alternative health consultant, a fitness trainer, etc. You can read books, watch YouTube videos, enroll in online programs that offer support and advice. Yet, I feel like there this interesting obsession that we have deserves to be questioned. Where does it come from? Where does each person’s relationship with food and diet come from?
Putting Yourself In An Island
Our relationships with food are very complex and complicated.
People tend to jump on and off various diets depending on whether a friend is doing, or whether a celebrity is doing it, or whether it’s the latest book or headlines on the newspaper. Plus, it is far more complex and calories in and out.
Not everything is for you. You don’t want to put yourself in an island.
What I mean is if you’re a carnivore and you like to eat meat, why are you doing a Vegan Diet? It’s not your lifestyle. Is this something that’s sustainable for you to do? Is this necessary? What’s the root cause of your health concern?–Do you know them or are you guessing? Are there other modifications you can make to your nutrition and quality of foods that may allow you do still enjoy foods you love? So many questions…
Sure expect to be a learning curve and period of time during your healing journey that it is to your best interest to avoid certain foods to give your organs to rest, rediscover itself, and re-establish balance.
I also like to think that we shall start any plan with the end in mind. Reflect on reasons you are starting, goals, and what happens if after a while, with results or not, you figure that what you are doing is no longer viable? Or you need to take it to the next level? What’s the exit plan?
As far as your nutritional choices, please do NOT put yourself in a space where you are not able to be social, where you’re not able to afford it, where you’re not able to do the things that you need to do to achieve your goals. Your nutrition plan is to work for your life and not be confused with your friend, family, and celebrity on TV. Yes, adjustments and patience is required.
Lastly, our weight and health are a lot more complex than the foods we choose to eat. Nutrition is a lot more complex than calories in, calories out. Toss the calorie concept away NOW, please. Your physical activity, stress levels, sleep quality and quantity, environmental exposure, fun, and mindset are all components of building and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. And of course, medications and genetics, as mentioned previously, play a role as well.
Simple Small Steps…
Here is a simple success story that has happened this week. I met this young man who came to Atlanta to take a brutal 9-hour board exam. When he learned I am a health and fitness coach, he shared his latest fitness and nutrition regiment and choices. He is working with a personal trainer to keep him accountable to his workouts–kudos for recognizing the need. He shared what he is doing for his nutrition. That included calorie counting. He asked what I thought about what he had just said. Well, I had a bit to say :-). He seems focused and enthusiastic about his goals. Let’s say I did some pro bono work :-). My thoughts included:
- Stop counting calories.
- Focus on nutrients to fuel his body and mind to help him progress.
- Challenged his fitness program by giving him a few tips to increase his strength and cardiovascular capacity.
- Replace the foods he had brought to eat in preparation for the exam with options that would improve his performance.
Next day, I followed up with him and asked he felt about the exam. Here is what he texted me back.
The test was a killer but I made it through! Brought all the Kroger snacks you suggested and made it through without being hungry and with an unusual amount of energy. Usually I start to poop out 4 hours in but I felt great until hour 6 or so. Thanks for everything!
Thank you for the amazing talk, meeting passionate and motivational people like yourself makes every traveling hassle worth it ten times over. I’ll be thinking of your words during my renewed fitness journey.
Theddy’s reply made me smile. It shows that small adjustments can make a big difference. I was proud of this young man for his curiosity, active listening, and for taking action. All this happened within a 36-hour window between Jan 30th and Jan 31th, 2019.
I could dive into metabolism and dieting (healthy eating or for weight loss), but stop here. Whether its weight or disease prevention, or fatigue, or blood sugar and insulin and so on, NUTRITION is ONE of the pillars of health. Yes, it is a very important one, the most confusing and discussed out there.
To achieve long-term results, we must combine nutrition with lifestyle modifications. That is the path to maximize what we can do from a hormonal perspective with food.
Remember that you are in charge. You have choices. You can choose better–one thing at a time. You can take steps that will get you closer to your goals. You are strong. You are smart. You are enough. It starts with one step. Take a step into possibilities. No Excuses!
P.S. If you need help finding answers, setting your goals, staying accountable, getting support, and diving into the root cause, take the first step and book a complimentary ‘Energy Audit’ strategy session with Maria.