When you think of the word nutrition, what comes to mind? Nutrition boils down to the food we eat. The more nutrient rich our food is, the more essential vitamins and minerals our bodies receive. A proper diet full of nutrient rich foods, the less our bodies are susceptible to illnesses, diseases, cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders, weight gain and much more.
Then think of the word diet. There are a plethora of other four letter words that could have used in its place, but it conjures up negative feelings for many. Intentional weight loss is a process. Looking into the different programs can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming, but start with the desire to change your appearance.
Lifestyle Design is where you incorporated the things you desire in your life to reach your goals. This is a subjective approach to including nutrition, weight loss, optimum health and asking yourself some tough questions to better understand not just how to reach your goals, but why are you setting them in the first place. The basis of Lifestyle Design is to do a few things first:
1. Get a piece of paper and write down the following questions:
a) Why am I overweight? Many of your first set of answers will be, "I work all day and I am so busy I just grab what I can.", "Fast food is easy with our family being so busy.", "I do not have time to cook. ", and the list goes on and on. After you write down your initial answers, look deeper. Be honest and really think about the question. Your second set of answers will be much different.
b) Why do I want to lose weight? – "I want to look better.", "I want to fit into my old clothes again.", And any other initial answers are good, but once again look deeper. Why do you want to look better? The answers will be far more honest when you look into the undering answers.
c) Why have not I been able to maintain weight loss in the past? – This question may take some time, but its alright. Take the time to really look at the reasons that caused you to fail in the past. Your attitudes, relationships, actions and surroundings. Were your eating plans or fitness programs too hard?
d) What support mechanisms do I have to meet my lifestyle design changes? – It truly takes a village to make a person whole. Our relationships, connections and family can have a direct impact (positive or negative) in your personal revolution for a healthyier you. Create a list of those who will support you. Create a separate list of those who will create challenges to meet your lifestyle design changes.
Lifestyle Design looks into much more than just the physical and nutritional revolution, but also the mental. Without the mind and emotions being in the right place, the other two are just "going through the motors."
Once the re-think of what it really takes to lose weight, looking into nutrition and fitness programs can be integrated. The mind comes first.
The second process is learning about nutrient rich foods and the onslaught of commercials, processed food, genetic manipulation of our fruits and vegetables and antibiotic fed meat sources all battle our desires for better health. Do not think you take a lot of antibiotics? 17,000,000 pounds of antibiotics were consumed by Americans in 2009 in our pork, beef, chicken and fish. That is 70% of the total weight of antibiotics used last year. Antibiotics kill bacteria, all bacteria in our bodies. We need good bacteria or "Probiotics" for our digestive system to process and absorb nutrients out of our food and properly remove waste. Supplements are important, it's not just about vitamins anymore. Taking things like digestive enzymes and probiotics are important to combat the external forces working against us. Set yourself up for success and look for products that are filler free. No silica (the things your find in packages at the bottom of a shoe box), "flowering agents", stearic acid, magnesium stearate and gelatin. They can compromise the effectiveness of a product and you will have to take more of them to work, costing more money in the long-run.
Processed food kills natural "digestive enzymes" built into foods in their raw states. Think of an apple. The apple has all of the components to digest it and absorb its nutrients. BUT, take that same apple, slice it up and bake it in a pie. Cook it at over 118 degrees and it loses its natural enzymes built into it. It has now become a "processed food." No more natural enzymes built into the apple and our bodies have toplete the enzymes we have to digest it. Enzymes are part of our key building blocks of life and are born with a finite amount that need to sustain us for our lifetime.
Third is to begin all of these choices of lifestyle design in moderation. Our bodies have been built over centuries for survival. Our bodies will not allow us to release more than 2-3 pounds per week of fat. More than this, it fights us, thinking it needs to go into starvation mode and hold onto it. Moderation and "baby steps" is the key for long term weight loss and eventually weight management goals. Incorporating a fitness program slowly into your lifestyle changes will help to curve your body into entering starvation mode and slowly modifying eating patterns.
This all starts with the mind, going through your introspective journey from within, moving to the physical world with education, developing a solid progress program (motivated by friends, family and external relationships who lovingly support you), and incorporating fitness as part of your lifestyle design. You will see your transformations over time. Weight loss, nutrition and optimum health through lifestyle design are all within your reach. Just remember, it took time to get to your current self. It will take time to reach the lifestyle you are challenging yourself to reach. It takes 30 days to make a habit and longer to make it stick. Mark Twain said it best, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Take time before starting any weight loss program, fitness program or supplement regimen and "pause and reflect" to ask the tough questions so any choice you make is a conscious one built on solid foundations that are right for you.