If you are following along with your workbook in the Break the Cycle Facebook group, we are just starting week 4. And the quote for this week is:
‘If you eat for health, the weight loss takes care of itself.’ Dr. Joel Fuhrman
I find this true when it comes to my clients with serious health concerns. Once I put them on a whole food plant-based diet and remove the sugar, salt, and oil, everything starts to get better.
In the case of one of my clients with a cancer scare, she ate healthfully for 6 weeks and lost 20 pounds effortlessly.
So, as a reminder:
1. Concentrate on a high fiber diet. Focus on lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
2. Eliminate big cancer foods like sugar, dairy, meat (especially barbecued anything), and alcohol.
3. Avoid all highly processed foods containing sugar, salt, oil or other fats.
Always use food to nourish and strengthen your body. Unhealthy food is not entertainment when you are bored and it is not your friend when you are lonely. Turn your health and weight destiny around by watching what you put on your fork every day.
Need help? You can reach out to me anytime by email. Or join the BREAK THE CYCLE Facebook group and message me directly.
This website has a great resource for whole food plant based compliant recipes. You can eat as much as you want of any recipe on this site.
Also, if you don’t already have them, you can go on AMAZON and get my books. BREAK THE CYCLE and the new 16-week BREAK THE CYCLE WORKBOOK are available.
The timing is perfect for this quote. Especially with a clean new year stretching out ahead of us.
If you want to build the future of your dreams, you have to fake it till you make it every single day. You have to be the person you want to become. So, if you want to be a slim and healthy person full of confidence and joy, you have to take steps daily to reach your goals.
So here we are facing a brand-new year. First of all, we want to do some dreaming. We want to imagine our ideal day one year from now.
Write a letter to yourself describing what your life will look like by the end of the year. Really get into it. Create a picture of the healthy active body that you want. (But make it realistic and age appropriate.)
Imagine what activities you’ll be able to take part in. Imagine what clothes your will be wearing. Imagine the positive healthy people you have attracted into your life.
Okay, now that you know what you want in the future. Let’s figure out what you need to do in the present.
- What can I do every day to get the healthy slim body that I want?
- What do slim and healthy people do every day to remain slim and healthy?
You have a full year of actions to do every day to improve your body. So make the actions full of small but powerful changes. Stop thinking in a ‘diet mindset’ with starvation diets and punishing workout routines. You are not a participant on the Biggest Loser.
These small changes in lifestyle work like water on stone. Over time and consistency you will have permanent and sustainable weight loss. You will have the happiness and the confidence your life may be currently lacking.
To create a slim, fit body, you need to establish healthy habits you can do every day. By using a Daily Activities Target sheet. You can make sure you are on track to your goals every day by checking them off.
You will also be able to monitor when your target is unrealistic for you.
For example, you decide that walking an hour per day would get you to your goal faster. But then you start avoiding doing any exercise. You start making excuses to avoid it. An hour just seems too long. It is unsustainable.
Okay, so it’s time to adjust. Take it down to 10 or 15 minutes every day. Before long, with consistency, your walks will get longer naturally. Be kind to yourself but also realistic.
When it comes to food. Make sure you eat your:
· 2 pounds of non-starchy vegetables,
· 1 pound of fresh fruit and
· at least 1 pound of starches every day.
But some people can’t tolerate eating their food without salt or sugar. Without it, they will develop an all or nothing mentality. They will go totally off the rails with their clean eating plan.
So, know yourself. If you can’t tolerate your oatmeal without a teaspoon of brown sugar, then add the sugar. Or you can’t bear to eat your chili or savory dish without salt. Prepare the recipe without salt and add a little salt to the surface of the food at the table. Or if you can not imagine starting your day without your plain black coffee, have your cup of coffee.
Eventually all these healthy dietary changes will improve your health and bodily functions. Then when you are ready, you can remove the sugar, salt and caffeine. But only when you feel confident you can get rid of them.
You may say to yourself…but it is not perfect. Our goal is not perfection but progress. This way of eating even at 80% perfection is so much better for your health and waistline than the way you used to eat. So, understand your own personal non-negotiables. And then work within that framework to give you the best possible results.
So, if your future depends on what you do in the present, incorporate these small changes every day. Your future will be so much brighter. A year goes by in a blink. Don’t you want to face 2024 looking and feeling so much better than now?
Here’s wishing you a healthy and happy 2023.
You can print off the Target Activities Sheet for free on my website. Here is the link: Free Templates
But better still, get my new 16-week BREAK THE CYCLE WORKBOOK. Which, of course, also has the Target Activities Check sheet at the beginning of every week. Here are the links for Amazon.
Wow! Isn’t this the truth. We all have hopes and dreams and can get motivated to do many things. But without concrete daily habits in place, our best intentions to reach a goal are usually not met.
So, how do we get motivated?
Well, you have to do some soul searching and set some big concrete goals. If your aim is to make it to the next Olympics, like Jim Ryun, then set that goal. Or, if you want to write a book, like me, then set that goal.
If you want to reach your ideal weight range, then set that goal. And this will be our focus in this letter.
Losing weight is easy. You can lose weight on any diet. But you want to lose it slowly and steadily. You don’t want to end up looking like a Shar Pei with a bunch of loose skin. You don't want to mess up your metabolism or put undo strain on your organs. And you want to keep it off. So you will want to make serious permanent lifestyle changes.
And how do you make these lifestyle changes?
Every Single Day!
Now, you can not rely on motivation and willpower alone to reach your ideal weight range and maintain it. It is simply not sustainable.
Think of all those New Years resolutions that don’t work out even though desire and motivation is high at first. You just lose steam. You start off doing lots of big gimmicky things that are so far out of your comfort zone. Eventually you will revert back to your old ways.
You need a goal but you also need to create small concrete habits or targets to reach every day.
So in effect, even though you are not doing much like working out for 4 hours a day. You are consistent. You do your bit every day. And so it is no longer a matter of if but a matter of when.
So how do we create a new daily habit?
Well, I have found the easiest way is to use a Daily Target Activities Chart.
You write down the daily activities you need to do to reach your goal. And every day you perform these tasks and check them off when you are done.
You can find these Daily Target Activities Charts for free on this website. The charts already have the basics for keeping your diet on track already written in.
Or in my new book BREAK THE CYCLE WORKBOOK which you can get on AMAZON. These target charts have a lot more room for you to write your tasks. It's also nice to have them all in one place. Right at the start of the week you are working on.
My workbook gives you 16-weeks of goal setting, target charts, and journal entries. Unlike other workbooks, this gives you enough time to make serious lifestyle changes.
Watch the magic happen! Good luck.
So, what is eating well? Eating well is eating enough food to satisfy your hunger. But more importantly to provide your body with adequate nutrition to function optimally.
The foods you need to eat for your health and weight loss objectives are what our species was meant to eat. If we want to live long healthy lives, we need to embrace unprocessed foods full of fiber. These foods are fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
For those trying to gain weight, eating nuts, seeds, and avocados are the healthiest way to keep some body fat. But for most of us, that would be the problem of our dreams.
So, what’s the fastest way to derail your health and gain a lot of weight? Highly processed foods containing salt, oil, sugar, flour, and alcohol. Sure, they can be delicious, but they are highly addictive and have little to no nutritional value.
If you are carrying extra fat on your body, this is a sign of imbalance. Your body is trying to survive the onslaught of toxins that you eat on the Standard American Diet.
This extra fat storage is a safety mechanism to protect the body. Toxins are not just pesticides and heavy metals. Processed foods use a lot of preservatives, colorings, stabilizers and emulsifiers. Our bodies do not recognize these things as food so, to the body, they are toxins.
Think back to when you initially started overeating a diet high in processed food and low in real food. That's when your digestive system went into overdrive. And your cleansing organs started to work harder to keep up with the greater supply of toxic food.
Your poor liver, to keep up with the constant onslaught of toxic food had to find a way of safely storing the toxins. So, the most efficient way to store the extra toxins was to 'bubble wrap' the toxin in a fat cell.
This is so the toxins wouldn’t poison the blood stream and hence the whole body. As a result, more and more fat needed to be stored to protect the body. So, extra fat/weight is the result of the body’s attempt to keep you alive and functioning.
By cutting off the supply of toxic food, it gives your body a chance to catch up on its housekeeping. The body can return to balance. The liver and kidneys don’t have to work so hard. The stomach can heal and become more efficient at emptying. The small intestines become more efficient with absorption and assimilation of nutrients. And the large intestines, on a high fiber diet, become more efficient at elimination.
If you eat a clean nutrient rich diet, your body will be able to stop storing toxins in the fat cells. And then safely release the toxins through elimination.
You will notice that your blood Ph will improve on an alkalinizing diet. Your energy will return. Your aches and pains will disappear. You will have a feeling of wellbeing as your body has a chance to do some serious housecleaning and repair. Finally, your body will be able to release the extra fat and safely get rid of the extra toxins.
So, what foods have the highest caloric density? Processed foods, in particular fats and oils, and foods with little or no fiber.
The foods with the lowest are vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. These foods are high in fiber and water.
By eating only foods high in fiber and water, you are eating a diet that is low in caloric density. This means you can eat A LOT of these foods and still lose weight. This is because they are full of nutrients but low in calories.
By not consuming fats of any kind, you are reducing your daily caloric intake by hundreds of calories.
Remember why we are eating. It’s not for entertainment. It is not to escape our emotions. It is to fuel our bodies in the best possible way so that we can live long and healthy lives.
It is a rare beast indeed who can be obese and have no other health concerns. At my heaviest, I had so many other health issues. But alas I didn’t make the connection between my health issues and what was on my fork.
Not until I started eating this way did those health issues disappear. My acid reflux and stomach issues were the first things to improve. Shortly after, all my aches and pains from tendonitis disappeared. Finally, my thyroid function improved so I didn’t need to take medication. But the last to go completely was the extra weight.
This doesn’t mean that everything has to heal before there is a change on the scale. It means that with a consistent diet your whole body will steadily improve. So not only is weight loss a byproduct of eating well but also glowing health and that's great news.
This quote was a real eye opener for me. I didn’t realize how compelling any foods that are non-compliant can be until I was put to the test. I speak about this in my book BREAK THE CYCLE.
My husband doesn't eat like me. In general, though he eats pretty well. But he has his own treat box which I fill with foods I am not particularly attracted to. That said, there have been times that just knowing that they are there calling me can mess with my head and my resolve. So, I won't buy those treats to avoid temptation.
Once you decide to eat this way, it is so much easier and less stressful to keep those fattening foods out of the house. So, clean out your kitchen and keep it clean. Stock up on lots of unprocessed foods and keep your fridge full.
As a reminder, compliant foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. These are prepared without sugar, flour and salt. All the recipes on my website are compliant. Go here for ideas: www.karenwarwickrhn.com.
I actually read about this acronym in a book about Texas Hold’em poker. It works well for food addiction and staying compliant.
Do not shop or go to a drive thru when you are:
Make a deal with yourself. Before you buy/eat something non-compliant you will go home and eat a nice, big compliant meal. You will be surprised how you are now longer tempted once your belly is full of satisfying starches.
This is particularly relevant with Halloween approaching. In this instance, you have to know yourself REALLY WELL. In some cases, you might be okay to buy Halloween candy and treats as long as you:
But if it is early days in your processed food addiction recovery, do NOT bring any treats into your house.
So, in general, keep your environment clean to help protect your food sobriety. Remember the acronym HALT to assess yourself on why you may want to eat non-compliant foods. And know yourself. Have a plan for special occasions where non-compliant foods are within reach.
This quote is true for all aspects of life. You don’t become an expert at something if you do it once. An athlete who scores the winning goal didn’t magically find himself in front of the net for that one shot. It comes with many hours of dedication to the ‘habit’ of training.
When it comes to your health, you don’t just wake up one morning 50 pounds overweight. You don’t wake up one morning with cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, or diabetes. It is the small daily habits that got you into this state.
Fortunately, it is also small daily habits that can turn your health destiny around.
So, to become a fit healthy person we need to incorporate repeated behaviours that we can do every day. The good news is that these healthy habits are pleasant to do.
Here are some small habits that you can incorporate into your day.
Sleep is the best stress buster and gives your body the chance to detoxify and rejuvenate. If you have ever been on a 12-hour flight, you know the feeling of wishing for a proper bed to sleep in. It is almost a craving. Stretch out on clean cool sheets in a dark and quiet room for eight hours. It is actually a gift that you can give yourself every night. Regenerative sleep is critical for your long-term health.
Get into the habit of preparing lots of unprocessed foods every day. Eat your four pounds of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. This can work miracles with your health and waistline.
Preparing food without sugar, oil and salt is a new skill. It takes time and constant practice to become good at it. At first it will take you a long time to cut and chop and prepare. But don’t get discouraged. With consistent practice you will become so much more efficient.
So, practice making new recipes every week. Find what you like and stick to it. With good clean nutrition it doesn’t take long for you to lose your aches and pains. But it will take a long time to restore your body chemistry to balance so the extra fat will melt away.
For healthy compliant recipes, visit my website at www.karenwarwickrhn.com.
Move Your Body
I was at the hospital yesterday. Fortunately, as a guest. When you see people stuck in the hospital, in their beds or in wheelchairs, it makes you count your blessings. Moving your body everyday should be seen as a gift not a punishment.
The more weight you lose makes you want to move your body more anyway. It is a great way to improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
There are three areas of fitness that are important for longevity. Cardio training, strength training and flexibility training. Try to incorporate all three of these in your daily routine.
Cardio training can be walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling. The aim is to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. To ensure, I get enough cardio, I get on my treadmill first thing in the morning and walk on a program for 20 minutes. During the day, my dog, Ruby, insists on two walks (about 30 minutes each) so my cardio is taken care of. As it is autumn, and squirrel season, I even get some short bursts of running in.
Strength training can be weight training, resistance band work, calisthenics and Pilates. If you don’t have equipment, use your body weight in the form of calisthenics. For me I do 10 minutes of weight training every morning.
Flexibility training can be stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Even though we are reluctant to do it, stretching feels so good. Flexibility and balance are very important as we get older. We want to keep our muscles long and flexible. Then, we are in good alignment and have better recovery time from injury. So, try to incorporate some flexibility training into your day. For me, I have ONE TV that has yoga and Pilate shows that I PVR. There are also lots of yoga ‘classes’ on YouTube. I usually do this in the afternoon when I feel my energy dipping. It feels so darn good to stretch out and reground myself.
Getting out in nature is so healing for the body. But to do this on a daily basis can be challenging especially if you live in a city. But even working in your garden out in the fresh air can help with your mood and attitude.
For me, once I am inside, it’s hard to get me out again so after walking Ruby, I stay outside and do one chore in the yard. There is a never ending and always changing list of things to do in the yard. I concentrate on one task every day taking between 10 and 30 minutes.
I feel great to have accomplished something and the yard looks fantastic. If you don’t have a yard, go to a park and hang out. Fresh air and sunlight are grounding and do a lot for your mood and energy.
Weight gain is the product of an ‘unbalanced’ body and lifestyle. Form habits that support your body every day. Then watch your body come into balance; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Remember, we are what we repeatedly do. Strive for excellence in your life. One small habit at a time.
It is not very exciting, but it is super powerful if you think about it. This quote is not really attributed to anyone in particular. I heard it in a mediocre movie about young entrepreneurs developing a new product. But I made note of it at the time as it can apply to so many areas in life.
But for my purposes, I will focus on how you can use these three powerful words to improve your dietary choices. That way you can lose that extra weight and improve your health.
Simplify your diet: Go for unprocessed foods. Focus on the foods that our species was meant to eat. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Every day eat:
Eliminate sugar, oil and salt:
Get really clear on your goals. Make the goals attainable and break down what you need to do on your daily target sheet. There are 3 things you need to do every day to improve your health and waistline:
Remember that food and eating is part of a healthy lifestyle, but it is not all of it. So set up your daily target sheet chart and check off these boxes every day.
This is not only for money, but also for time.
To save money:
To save time:
Losing weight permanently is not easy, but it is worth it. Use Simplify, Clarify and Economize as your new mantra to get you going.
Isn’t this the truth. Conventional weight loss programs get this twisted. They make you think that you need to do both at once. That’s not true. Especially if a healthy diet and exercise program is far out of your regular daily routine.
By starting a combined diet and exercise program, you develop an all or nothing mentality. You are setting yourself up for failure and possible serious injury. Sure, exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. But what's much more important for health and weight loss is what you are putting in your mouth.
Every morning I get on the treadmill and walk for half an hour. Then I do 10 minutes of calisthenics. It isn’t much and certainly not enough to lose weight. That half hour on the treadmill only burns 100 calories. But this is as much time I am willing to dedicate to conscious exercise every day.
And I do this EVERY morning first thing. I don’t do it to lose weight. Far from it. I do it because it makes me feel good about myself. I do it to maintain my strength and flexibility. Whatever exercise I do after this is a bonus.
So, this is not the most important thing that I do every morning. EVERY morning, I assemble my breakfast salad. That way I know that whatever life throws at me during the day, I am off to an excellent start. I am fueling my body with low calorie nutrient rich foods.
So, the real magic for weight loss happens is in the kitchen. It’s so important to really understand the principles of caloric density. How foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are low in caloric density. If you want to lose weight, you need to start in the kitchen.
Are you overweight, out of shape and perhaps limited in your mobility due to lifestyle excess? Start in the kitchen. Get the food right. Eat a whole food plant-based diet without salt, oil and sugar. Give your body what it needs to rebalance and renew itself and reduce inflammation.
Several people I know get knee replacements. Some operations are due to injury. But most are from the wear and tear of carrying around too much weight on the knees. Joints that are not designed to handle this excess weight.
The Standard American Diet is loaded with highly processed foods. All contain sugar, oil, and salt or, more commonly, a combination of two or three of them. These foods cause pain from inflammation. They also cause low self-esteem, low energy levels and high body weight. Who wants to go to the gym or be active when you feel like that?
So, start with what you are putting in your body and in your kitchen. By eating a whole food plant-based diet, you will:
Soon you will find that you feel so much better, you will want to start moving your body. Exercise will be fun. It will make you feel great because you are doing it because you want to not because you feel you have to.
Having a clean environment is 70% of the battle. So, either re-read Chapter 5 of my book BREAK THE CYCLE or check out the tips below.
To lose weight in the kitchen:
I don’t exercise to lose weight. I exercise so that I am fit enough to do all the things that I need to do and to improve my mood and my sense of well-being. I am not training for a fitness or body building competition. But I am happy to know I can bend down and pick up something I’ve dropped or run around the block if I have to. And I look forward to being active and fit enough to play with my grandchildren and, God willing, my great grandchildren.
Remember, you are exercising for fitness and stress relief. Exercise should be something you enjoy. It is made to improve your mood and your sense of well-being.
Eating a healthy whole foods plant-based diet will help you look and feel great. And especially help you lose the extra weight.
Once you reach your ideal weight, you can maintain it. You have learned how by incorporating your new healthy habits every day. Your new healthy lifestyle is your best insurance for a long healthy, happy and active life.
It’s amazing how we separate ourselves from our bodies. How we don’t listen to the subtle warnings from aches and pains. How we think that we can override those messages. We continue to eat crappy food, not exercise and engage in other risky behaviours.
Our poor bodies take lots abuse from neglect, poor choices and dangerous behaviors. And yet they go on functioning as best they can for our survival.
You have to see each day as an opportunity to take care of your precious body. Without it, you would be gone.
So, remember the pillars of health every day. All are common-sense habits to keep yourself healthy. We know better but we need to do better.
Here’s some more tips to keep your body healthy:
So, take steps to take care of your body. After all, it’s the only place you have to live.
To develop these common-sense tasks into habits, it is useful to use my Daily Target Sheets.
I have also just scratched the surface of these important health promoting habits. And there are other habits I have not included here. If you would like me to go into more detail on a topic or address another important habit, contact me through my contact page.
I was listening to the 2022 Food Revolution Summit and heard a quote that really resonated with me. It was in an interview about the dangers of food addiction. The quote is:
"None is Easier than Some."
I actually think this is true for any addiction. If you are a smoker, it is easier to quit cold turkey than to quit by cutting down. The same is true for someone with alcohol addiction and even drug addiction. But what I'm talking about is processed food addiction.
If you dabble just a bit, your brain will be screaming for more until the supply is gone. If the addictive stuff is in your environment, it will be calling you day and night until you give in.
There’s a saying ‘once a pickle never a cucumber (again).’ This helps me understand what is happening in my brain. Once those dopamine pathways are formed, they never totally go away. And that's why a little can lead to a full relapse.
"None is Easier than Some."
It is much easier to live in a clean environment. To have a home without the temptations of highly processed foods.
It is much easier to abstain from addictive processed food if you don’t even taste it.
Sure, the cravings for a particular addictive food diminish over time with abstinence. Especially if you keep it out of your environment. But once you have one taste of it, those pleasure pathways are wide open again and you are on the path to a relapse. (Remember the ad campaign: 'Bet you can't eat just one!')
A clean environment is critical to your success. That way you won't have to rely on superhuman willpower to get back on track.
You may even have to avoid particular stores or aisles in the supermarket. At least until you feel comfortable seeing that food without partaking.
I was so addicted to chips and chocolate that I had to avoid going to the dollar store for about 6 months. I didn't have the resolve to handle the gauntlet of cheap junk food while waiting for the cashier.
Now I can go to the store without even being tempted. I remind myself that these foods aren't made to nourish us. They are concocted to keep us eating more and buying more. They are made to make money for the company.
The last thing you want to do is trigger your brain with a dopamine rush from these hyper-palatable foods. There is no such thing as moderation for addictive foods. Once you open that bag or package you are on the road to inevitable weight gain and misery.
So, if you find yourself in trouble this week. If you start ‘bargaining with yourself’ to get that addictive food here's how to get back on track.
You will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel and how calm your brain will become.
So, in short, say your mantra, "None is Easier than Some." Eat a big compliant meal. And remember how a little bit of an addictive food can lead to weeks of misery trying to control the addiction.
If you need help creating a clean food environment, you can read about it in my book BREAK THE CYCLE.