Can I be honest with you? What you’re doing now to lose weight isn’t working. I know because I used to be just like you: addicted to yo-yo diets that left me with more weight and less self-esteem than I had before. Today, I don’t believe in quick-fix diets. I believe in sustainable food and lifestyle changes that help us improve our health in order to live the best lives that God intended for us.
While there’s no one-size fits all approach to a happier, healthier life, here are six changes that should help:
Discover Your Why -Wanting to lose 15 pounds to fit into your old jeans again is a good start, but it’s not enough. Figure out your why—the real reason, deep-down inside that motivates you to want to live a better life. “I want to lose 15 pounds.” vs “I want to run in the park with my kids.” What statement motivates you more? Which goal gives you something that you didn’t have before? Which action is bigger than yourself? What would you rather focus on? After you discover your why, write it down, post it on your bathroom mirror, or set a reminder on your phone so that you can be reminded every day.
When I was 43, my older brother died from pancreatic cancer when he was only 49. His death rocked my world. I was completely unaware of the relationship between food and health, but I knew that I didn’t want to get sick or be in pain at such a young age. My brother was, and still is, my why.
Consider a Short “Reboot” That is Designed to Kickstart Your Health and Weight Loss! It gives you a starting point for what it feels like to feel good, not be hungry, and be satisfied and fed in so many ways. Benefits are weight loss, gut health, decreasing pain and inflammation, more energy and crushing those cravings!
Doing a program that is free of gluten, dairy and sugar can truly make a difference in the way you feel, and it works quickly. But it’s important to note, gluten free does not mean grain free so you can still eat grains! Sugar free means no added sugar, but you can still eat fruit and other foods that naturally contain sugar. And no diary means no conventional dairy. But you're free to have alternatives like almond milk or rice milk, etc. The reason for this is because these foods are trigger foods and cause both cravings as well as inflammation and they disrupt our gut, cause acid reflux, bloating and constipation and they make it more difficult to lose weight!
This doesn't mean you can't ever have these things. It’s about creating balance AND learning what works for your body. Eating smoothies for breakfast, gourmet salads for lunch and hearty dinners and snacks doesn’t sound bad right?
Feeding our Whole Self is so important! Be sure to take self-care into account, eat the best food you can, listen to your body and enjoy your life. You don’t need to give up everything you enjoy just to feel good, in fact, I find it to be the opposite. Find ways to truly enjoy your food and nourish your Whole Self! Do a Reboot today. You’ll notice a difference in how your body feels and you deserve to do something good for you today!
Eat More Whole Foods - Once you make the decision to change your life you have to figure out what to do next. Consider stopping fast foods, replace the processed food for whole foods, and give up red meats.
It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not some superwoman who eliminated McDonald’s, frozen pizza, and meatballs from my diet all at once. It took time, but I did it, and I truly believe that you can, too.
If you make small changes that fit your lifestyle, and (as cliché as it sounds) focus on one day at a time, you can easily change your diet to include more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good-quality fish, and dairy.
Here are three options:
1. If you eat out regularly and never cook, consider a meal-prep delivery service to help you get started preparing your meals at home.
2. If you already cook, but rarely use fresh fruits and vegetables, visit your local farmers’ market, or join a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA), which connects you to farmers in your area and allows you to buy fresh weekly produce direct from the grower.
3. If committing to a meal or food delivery service seems too much at this stage, make one recipe a week with one or two fresh vegetables that you don’t normally buy or eat.
Learn the Difference between Thirst and Hunger - More times than not, we mistake thirst for hunger, so we eat when we should drink, and often, those drinks are sugary beverages with no nutritional value. If you’ve eaten within the last two hours and still feel hungry, drink a glass or two of water and see how you feel in 15 minutes. Are you still hungry? If so, eat a healthy snack. If you’re not hungry, congratulate yourself on this first step in learning how to listen to your body and better understand what it really needs.
Drink Less Sugar - If you missed my previous post on sugar and the havoc it causes the body, check it out here. While it’s important to consume less sugar all around, you don’t need to give up sugar right away (small, sustainable changes, remember?). But, we need to start somewhere, and drinking less sugar is a great first step.
The obvious sugar culprit is soda, but sugar is also found in fruit juices and fruit smoothies (lots of calories and sugar, little or no nutritional value), sport and energy drinks (Gatorade) and “healthy” waters (Vitamin Water).
If you’re ready to quit—or at least reduce—the sugary drinks, but don’t know how to escape the mid-day work slump, consider switching to black coffee or tea without sugar. Or, better yet, standing up, looking away from the computer for just a few minutes, and drinking a glass or bottle of water.
You may consider getting in the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you and re-filling it during the day. Not only does water keep you hydrated and more awake than sugar-laden beverages, but getting up regularly to re-fill your water bottle is good, it gets your body up and moving as well.
Be Kind to Yourself and Trust in God –We all have slip-ups. So, when you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, turn to Jesus for love, support, and guidance. He doesn’t judge when you don’t eat perfectly. He accepts you as you are and gives you the strength to keep going. With God’s help, make conscious efforts to live a healthier, happier life.
It’s not always easy. Like you, I’m not always motivated and some days I even wonder if the hard work is worth it.
When I have these thoughts, or question myself, I refer back to my why. Why did I ever want this new life to begin with? What’s the real reason I’m making these changes in my diet and lifestyle? My why is always there, and I remind myself of it often. Then, with God’s help, I re-set, I re-focus, and I move forward.
These steps will improve your nutrition and physical activity. It all leads to helping you live your best life. And remember you don’t have to do it alone. Look for a certified health coach who can walk you through.
Christina Grenga is a faith-based Certified Holistic Health Coach who works with modern Christian women who are ready to quit dieting for good, lose weight naturally, and transform their life. She graduated from the world renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Christina uses a Christ-centered approach to guide women to create a balanced, thriving life. She has been featured in MD Monthly, Mind Body Green, and more. You can learn more about Christina at www.grengahealth.com. She also offers a Temple Reboot™ program at https://templereboot.com/optin-page