I don't have it all figured out - far from it, in fact. But these seven little truth bombs are some of my biggest lessons, observations and stuff I wish I knew a decade ago when I first started out on my own adventure into healthier living.
I want to pass them along to you in hopes they can help you figure out some of this stuff quicker than I did, and get where you're going a little bit faster.
It's funny, early on I wouldn't have used the word adventure (and journey... don't get me started, the word makes me cringe). It all seemed so much simpler then. It's as if I assumed I'd be staying in the same neighborhood and ended up halfway across the world somehow.
Because you set out thinking you're just going to the corner, but then from there it's a new view, drawing you in, taking you further.
If you're up for the adventure, it can take you to places you never even knew existed.
For me it all started with a book that helped me see health and healing in an entirely new way.
That book changed my life and I believe I wouldn't have the health or hope I do today if I hadn't been challenged by it.
It only takes one thing - and it can be so small - to inspire us into action and set us on a different (be it better and healthier) path.
This is what made me want to create [RE]NEW - my 4-week "no more diets. no more restrictions." group program.
I wanted it to be something to help you change the way you think about food, your health and what being "healthy" really means anyway. And create a foundation for a genuinely, and effortlessly, healthy lifestyle.
As one recent grad put it "It’s so freeing to feel like I’m living in healthy moderation instead of unrealistic dieting with tons of restrictions. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be done with all that.”
These 7 truth bombs are what [RE]NEW is all about...
What you add in is more important than what you take away.
We all know what happens when you try to not eat the chocolate... All you want to do is EAT THE CHOCOLATE. Am I right? What I've learned is this resistance approach just doesn't work, at least not for long. And it's not very much fun either. What I've found much greater success with is instead of focusing on what I'm trying to avoid, I only think about adding things into my diet - as much of the good stuff as possible (veggies, fruits, nuts, etc.). This works on a few levels. 1.) It simply leaves less room for the stuff I'm trying not to eat. And 2.) It satisfies nutritional needs so I have fewer cravings.
It's a simple shift in perspective but it makes a huge difference.
Food isn't the only thing that feeds us.
There are certain things in life that when I'm wrapped up in them, I completely loose track of time and I won't eat lunch until really late (I want to say I forget to eat, but let's get real... I never forget to eat ;)) Writing this blog is one of them. What is that thing (or things) for you? Is it something you do often or has it been awhile? Or how about this one - you know that feeling when you first fall in love, or have a major crush? No appetite, right? All of this - this is LIFE feeding us on another level. It's what we call "primary food." And we need it just as much, scratch that, MORE than the food we eat.
Greens are so underrated.
Dark leafy green vegetables (think kale, chard, collards, brussel sprouts, etc.) are like nature's multi-vitamin. I see BIG transformations happen when people start getting more into their life - in everything from digestion, to energy, to their mood and overall sense of wellbeing and happiness. It's the most incredible thing. And I totally get it because when I first started paying attention to green things it changed me too.
Like one of my recent [RE]NEW grads, Rita C., put it:
“I have to say, when Megan told me at the beginning of this that I’d end up craving greens I thought, “yeah right.” Two weeks in, she was totally right. It was like my body was reset to crave greens and healthier options, and I was actually enjoying eating it all, too. Mind blown. My tummy was flatter and I felt better and had more energy."
The future of medicine is in the gut.
This is as big as the discovery of viruses and bacteria... and ironically antibiotics, too. It's only been in the last 15-20 years or so that we've clued into the fact that our bodies aren't just made up of us. Did you know we have more microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.) on and in us than we do cells in our body? Ten times as much to be more exact. A couple of pounds worth! When this was first discovered, they thought these organisms were there mainly to help us digest our food, which is still an important part of what they do for us. But that's only scratching the surface. So far it seems they're involved in every other system of the body, too. They help to regulate the immune system, they're involved in brain health, they even help create vitamins that our bodies can absorb and neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This is just the beginning... you'll be hearing a lot more about the gut, so pay attention when you do. This is really exciting stuff and holds so much promise for so many different ailments and diseases.
Your body has your back - listen to it.
This reminds me of that quote: "The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself." Our bodies are constantly talking to us, but usually it's so quiet - you have to really be listening to be able to hear it, like a whisper. It will tell you exactly what it needs, if you can just tune in and listen. Easier said than done in this crazy non-stop, loud world we live in. You can do it - it just takes some practice. It's a skill, or really more like a sense, that's worth tuning because it can optimize your health and help you prevent that whisper from turning into a shout (which you really don't want).
Food is more effective than exercise when it comes to weight loss and body composition.
This is one thing I've noticed over the years as I've had less and less time to workout. Ironically, the less time I've spent in the gym, I feel like the more definition my abs have gotten (not like I have a six pack or anything, but I feel like they're more ab-like than you'd expect for not having done a crunch in 5 years.) I walk and run occasionally, but I couldn't tell you the last time I "worked out." It's led me to conclude that abs are made in the kitchen and that what you eat has a bigger impact on how your stomach looks (and the rest of your body for that matter) than anything you can do in a gym. I'm not saying stop working out. There's definitely health benefits to regular exercise. But if you're fueling it with cheeseburgers it's not gonna get you there (bomb). You gotta start with diet - it's the 80%. Then exercise - the 20% - gets you the rest of the way.
And the biggest bomb of all...
It's not about being healthy, it's what being healthy allows you to do.
The older I get and the more I realize I want to do in this life, this gets even clearer. I make the priorities, put in the effort, eat the foods my body loves, and take care of myself in this way so that I'm able to do alllllllll the things. I do it so when I wake up in the morning I feel energized and not sluggish (OK, this doesn't happen all the time, but I know how to fix it when it does), so my head is clear and I can work on my business to achieve the goals I've set out to achieve, so at the end of the day I still have energy to play with my kiddos, and even more energy to sometimes go back to work for a bit after they've gone to bed. And of course to squeeze some play in there when I can for me too. I know that I'm able to do all these things because I prioritize my health, and because I know my body and what it needs to not just keep up, but to out run myself.
This truth is the one I'm the most thankful for because it's given me a deeper appreciation for life itself.
See, I told you, so much more than food.
I mean it when I say this little adventure and these truths have brought so much more out of my life. I'm a different person - healthier, stronger and more ME because of it/them.
And what's even better than knowing and experiencing all that for myself? Sharing it and watching it happen for you too.
A little [RE]NEWal might be just what you need.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.