FINDING A WAY TO BETTER HEALTH
That's me with my great niece 3 years ago and another picture of me today with my grandson. If you want to talk about motivation to lose weight, I'm holding mine. Looking back, it's hard for me to imagine myself comfortable when I was so big. The truth is I wasn't comfortable, but I couldn't see that it was due to my weight. One hundred pounds of excess weight just crept up on me at the rate of about 5 lbs per year. The problems that come along with obesity such as high cholesterol, back and knee pain, lack of energy, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart burn, fatty liver, kidney and heart disease creep up on you too. As they appear, your Doctor usually writes a prescription or three, tells you to lose weight, shakes your hand if you're lucky and moves on. Year after year I would promise to eat better and get more exercise. Sometimes I would try for a few weeks or months but most of the time I just took my pills and didn't even try.
After losing the weight and keeping it off over the past year and a half, I started to pay more attention to the stories people were telling me about their own struggles.
The most common things I would hear:
1) "I don't eat that much."
2) "I'm going to join a gym."
3) "I know I drink too much soda pop/beer every day."
4) "I'm busy and eat a lot of fast food."
5) "I've tried to lose weight and I don't know what I'm doing wrong."
Here are my 5 common replies:
1) Keep a food diary.
You may be surprised by the amount of food you eat in a day. A simple way to actually find out is to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat or drink including water. Note the time. Be honest and write down the approximate portion size as well. If you drink coffee with milk and a sweetener, the coffee the milk and the sweetener are 3 separate entries. If you add sugar to iced tea write down how many teaspoons. If you make a sandwich write down how many slices and what type of bread. Include separate entries for how many slices of meat , how many tablespoons of peanut butter, mustard, jelly, mayo, catsup, lettuce, peppers, pickles etc. If you ate some potato chips with lunch, had an apple, a glass of pop, more water, be honest with yourself and write it down. Same thing with every meal and every snack. Do it for at least a week. You are training your brain to pay attention to everything you put in your mouth. This is just between you and your diary. No one else has to see it. You may find yourself eating less and making better choices just because you don't want to write down that donut or that second glass of pop. You may surprise yourself and lose a few pounds just by doing this simple thing.
2) Increase your activity.
It's great that you want to be more active, but you don't necessarily need to join a gym. Activity will tone you but it's very hard to lose weight by exercise alone. There are plenty of things you can do in and around your home or work. Start by setting aside just 10 minutes a day. Go for a 10 minute walk. Put on some music, stand up and move to it for 10 minutes. Walk up and down some stairs. Combine running in place, jumping jacks, push ups, sit in a chair, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, repeat for 10 minutes. As you get stronger and healthier, if you still want to joint a gym, do it!
3) Stop fighting yourself.
When you tell me you know you are drinking something or eating something that you think is in the way of your goal, stop doing it! That's an argument you are having with yourself. You are telling me you know one simple thing you could be doing on the road to improving your health and you are consistently choosing not to do it. To lose weight and to keep it off, you have to make good choices. This is going to be a lifestyle change for you. The extra weight did not get there overnight. It's going to take time to get rid of it. You are going to make mistakes along the way. That is part of the learning process. Nobody is perfect. You will find real foods you like that are healthy to replace the things that you know are contributing to your problem. You have to make good choices. Nobody can do that for you.
4) Plan your meals and snacks in advance.
To avoid fast foods that are bad for you may take a little planning. I like to pack some fruit with me in case I get hungry during the work day. Most days I brown bag it with one main dish packed in a container prepared the night before. Since I only eat whole foods that are plant based and I don't use any oil, I had to do some reading to learn how to cook this way. Once I got started it kept getting easier. Now I hardly ever use a recipe and just stick to the basic no animal product and no oil ideal. In today's world I'm finding that almost any restaurant will have healthy choices available. Even the chain restaurants. If you are afraid that you won't be able to resist the fatty, salty, sweet items that you are addicted to, simply don't go in. Have a little faith in yourself, but avoid temptation until you kick the habit of eating high fat and high calorie foods with low nutrient density. The part of your brain that is addicted to these heavily processed foods, has to go through withdrawal. It may take you a week or a month to get there, but you will. These foods have been engineered to feed your addiction. It's hard to give them up. But you can do anything for a week. When you start to feel better, you may set a new goal of 2 weeks, a month, a year; whatever it takes to make yourself feel better. Try it for a week. See what happens.
5) Have your questions answered.
If you don't know what you are doing wrong, congratulations. You have come to the realization that you must be doing SOMETHING wrong! By reading this blog and exploring this website you are taking a step in the right direction. Everyone who has successfully changed their lifestyle to lose weight or to improve their health started by looking for help. There are movies and books available at the website Forks over Knives. There are lots of books that can educate you on a Plant Based Whole Foods lifestyle. I like The Whole Heart Solution by one of our founders, Joel Kahn, MD. Stop him in the aisle at a meeting. Take a selfie.
PBNSG.org is a really great place to start. There is no charge to join and there are a lot of really smart, highly qualified, educated people eager to answer your questions. YOU have to ask them though. We're here to help guide you through the transition to improving your health. Please take advantage of us, join us (no fee), come to lectures (small fee). Listen anonymously or introduce yourself to everyone in the room. We are here just for you. I promise you, when you ask us a question, we will get get back to you quickly and make you feel like you are the only one in the room. Start making good choices. I know you can and we'll help as soon as you're ready.
Dr. Kalmus 01Reluctantvegan@blogspot.com