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. You can find free printable forms on my website or in my Healthy Weight Loss Workbook.
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.
Or take my step-by-step course: The 30-Day Healthy Weight Loss Challenge. Learn how to make small changes every day for 6 weeks and develop permanent health-promoting habits for life.
I love this quote because if you believe it, and more importantly act on it, it becomes your new reality.
Now it’s up to you to decide what part of your life you want to improve. If it is your health and diet, I can help you with that.
First off, you need to write down and remember where you are starting from. Your physical, mental and emotional health as it is right now.
Why do I want you to do this?
Because in a few weeks you will be looking and feeling so much better. You will forget how crappy you looked and felt at the beginning. And then it is easy to slip back into old patterns that don’t support you.
Secondly, I also have my daily target sheet. It includes check boxes for sleep, fruit, vegetable and starch targets. I also have personal targets for exercise, writing, cooking and cleaning. Even a little box to check for brushing my teeth and moisturizing my face.
Each box represents what I am doing every day to take care of me. And it gives me a great feeling of pride when I lay may head down on the pillow knowing I did my best at taking care of myself.
Your target sheet will be different from mine but the basics are the same. Sleep, compliant meals and some form of exercise like walking. (Walking Ruby is impossible to forget with the whining that goes on until this task is complete.)
I get a lot of satisfaction out of checking my boxes. And I know that every day that I can check off at least 80% of my boxes is a good day.
Life sometimes gets in the way. Unexpected things happen. But I try to put myself first for these few target boxes every day. I know that by doing so, I am developing life long health-promoting habits.
If you want to start using target sheets, you can print off the template for free on this website. Or you can get my HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS workbook. Along with the target sheets it has every thing else you'll need to start your weight loss journey all in one place.
Recently, I watched the movie, King Richard. Unfortunately, the incident at the Oscars has overshadowed what this movie is about.
Richard Williams made a plan for his daughters Venus and Serena and stuck to it. Their successes on the tennis court are the stuff of legends.
He and the girls quote this saying Fail to plan. Plan to fail. many times, during the movie. It shows you what planning can accomplish.
Why am I telling you this?
I am not asking you to pick up a tennis racket. Nor am I asking you to feel despondent because you feel it’s too late for you to accomplish your goals. It is never too late.
I mean I was 59 when I wrote my book and launched it on the 60th birthday and I am just getting started.
I was 58 when I finally figured out how to lose weight in a healthy way. And all by eating big platefuls of nourishing food. I’ve changed my health destiny and I look and feel fabulous.
If you have read my book Break the Cycle, I have given you a blueprint of how to make a goal book for weight loss.
Does this sound like too much work? You can get my Healthy Weight Loss Workbook that has everything you need to set you goals.
So, make a plan. What are your health dreams and goals? You can turn your health destiny around in less than a year.