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Today I choose what I eat based on nourishment and energy, not based on wanting to “be skinny” or to “look good for one special weekend trip.” Health is not a temporary assignment. It’s not something you should feel is only necessary or important for a certain amount of time. I am now a Certified Health and Life Coach. Health is my optimum concern — body, mind, and spirit, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's an ongoing accomplishment.
This was not always the way I chose to live my life. I struggled with fad diets and a yo-yoing weight for years, and I never knew why. I always wanted to be healthy. I always cared. I was just doing all the wrong things. In fact, I was making it so much more complicated than it needed to be. On top of this, I always felt like my body was against me, like I had to trick it into being “skinny!"
In fact, the body is always trying to protect you. Its ability to heal you and to keep you healthy and safe are amazing. Your body is always on your side. More than likely, however, you’re just confusing the hell out of it and sending all the wrong signals, which probably leaves you without the results you want.
Here is the list of things I started doing differently, which led me to mental clarity and the healthiest waistline of my life.
1. I exchanged every single processed food I ate for real foods. I stopped eating things that were labeled “low fat”, “sugar free” or “reduced” anything. The thought of eating these things now makes me cringe. I even ate the "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” poison and drank skim milk.
2. I started eating light to heavy. The order in which we eat our food is so crucial when it comes to health, wellness, and weight loss.
3. I stopped counting calories and grams of everything and anything. I used to think the theory “calories in, calories out” was not
only accurate but how one should live her life. How exhausting does all that counting and calculating get? It’s the worst.
4. I stopped exhausting my poor, overused adrenals. I stopped forcing myself to work out, made eight hours of sleep a priority, stopped drinking ALL caffeine (yes, even green tea, which I thought would make me lose weight) and gave up alcohol other than for special occasions.
5. I took my digestion seriously. I’m a snacker and someone who (a lot of the time) likes to taste things one by one. I’ve been known to pull sandwiches apart and eat each item separately or like a salad. I used to eat a ton of different food items all together. I loved snacking for a meal. However, now I know how to do this in a way where I won’t upset my digestion.
6. I started drinking green smoothies for breakfast instead of my usual dairy, gluten- and processed ingredient-filled meals first thing in the morning.
7. I stopped eating processed sugar, gluten, dairy and meat.
8. I started cooking my own food. Like, really cooking instead, of just making baked chicken, eggs, or pasta. It’s one of my favorite hobbies now! I’m even planning to become a certified raw food chef. Knowing how nutritious everything I eat is makes it so much more fun.
9. I stopped drinking water while I was eating. Drinking enough water was never the problem for me. I’ve known for a long time that hydration is important. However, I used to chug water before, during, and after I ate. Little did I know, this completely disrupts the digestion process, causing weight-gain.
10. I switched from the sugar-filled, highly processed sports drinks (like Powerade and Gatorade) to organic coconut water and magnesium-potassium powder to get my electrolytes.
11. I stopped combining my starches and proteins. Food combining is one of the best changes to make. I now choose either one or the other per meal.
12. I stopped using salad dressings from the supermarket. Yes, even the “healthy” ones.
13. I stopped eating all artificial sweeteners.
14. I stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing and focused only on what I was doing. In social situations, eating healthy can be the hardest of all feats. Refusing a usual favorite treat or dish can seem so impossible and torturous. However, you have to stop comparing yourself to others. Know that everyone is on their own, unique journey, and remember your goals.
15. I never deprived myself or ate anything I didn’t like. Eating food you dislike and depriving yourself is not what this life should be about.
16. I never pushed myself to impossible goals too quickly. I eased into it. Cutting out gluten, dairy, meat and sugar is a lot of change.
17. I persevered and never gave up.
There's no time like the present.