One of the biggest take-aways I had from reading The Fourfold Path to Healing was health is a dynamic. It’s not just dieting or exercising, but a balance of variables. So I thought about it and I have created my own health dynamic pie. In my thoughts, inspiration and everyday life I strive for balance. Same with eating and the same with health so I can live a long disease-free life. The biggest reason I do what I do and what I believe my purpose is (to teach others about health and lifestyle change) is because I believe what we do now can change our future. It’s about creating this dynamic now, before the disease and medication comes (or after to try to reverse the effects of what we’ve already done). It’s like being diagnosed with a terminal disease and given our countdown to death. Then we decide to live life. Well I want to live now, and I want to focus on health now!
How to create a dynamic health circle:
Healthy Eating: Be a fat-burner. There’s no argument here. Your body yearns to run off fat, it’s provides great energy with the lows. Plus your fatty brain loves it. Cholesterol and saturated fats your body needs for not only structure but for hormones. Another essential part of healthy eating is hormone balance. Evaluate the types of fat you’re putting in your body: first pressed extra-virgin olive oil, fish oil/cod liver oil, raw butter coming from grass-fed cows, tallow, lard, goat butter, virgin coconut oil, egg yolks, prepared nuts, avocados. Stay away from fats coming from processed vegetables oils as they’re chock full of omega-6 (which we have too much of in today’s diet) and they’re already rancid by the time you put them in your body. Protein, your body needs it. It needs the complete set of essential amino acids. Cycle proteins like grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, turkey, pork, uncured bacon, wild catches of fish, raw cheeses, buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, moose, ostrich, goose, duck, goat, caribou, squirrel, rabbit, reindeer, kangaroo, camel, bear, liver, tripe, tongue, kidney, ox, rocky mountain oysters, bone marrow, and veal. Carbohydrate wise stick to your fruits and vegetables. Play with numbers on these to find what works with not only your digestive system, but what provides optimal energy levels and weight loss. Oh and stay away from grains, starches and sugars. Controlling insulin is key not only to weight loss, but health and longevity.
Exercise: Ah, this is a trickier one. We’re going to discuss stress and cortisol, but believe it or not there is such a thing as too much exercise. I’ve adopted Mark Sisson’s term ‘Chronic Cardio.’ We want to lose weight, we run. Over time this begins to wear and tear on the body and cortisol levels are always floating at a high level. But I do know some people who just love to run, evaluate for yourself, but I personally prefer not to do the endurance thing unless it’s a slow aerobic activity like walking or hiking (biking and swimming could be put here too). Then once a week I’ll throw in some sprint work when I run fast. Add in some kettlebell strength training 3 times a week and you’ve got my routine. Slow aerobic, fast speed work and strength training; boom balance!
Sleep: oh how underestimated sleep is and how many times have I written about it! Back to those hormones, sleep is vital to restoring hormones like growth hormone. Therefore it is key to muscle retention (don’t forget muscle tissue decreases as we age). When you lose weight it is also key that you keep muscle tissue and lose fat, therefore you are actually reducing your body fat. Most conventional diets cause 20-40% muscle loss along with fat, this makes you liable to fall into the skinny fat realm once you reach your goal weight (and actually makes you fatter when you put weight back on because the precious muscle tissue is missing now). Sleep is also important to hunger control. Really? Yep, check out this post on leptin, but it also restores ghrelin so cravings are down during the day. I can tell you from personal experience, days I don’t get enough sleep, not only am I unpleasant to be around but I can put away/want some major food. Practice a routine sleep schedule just like kettlebells or eating.
Stress: stress can kill you. It can also prevent weight loss (it actually promotes weight retention in the belly area- an area notorious for its association with future disease). You can eat healthy and exercise until the cows come home, but if you’re stressed your weight can stay the same. The big take-away here is cortisol. It is essential to the body, just like inflammation, but it’s about balance. Acute, chronic or too much over and over again is a problem. It will create that chronic inflammation that will lead to disaster and demise. Find activities or practice a mindset/lifestyle that allows you to properly manage stress.
Thoughts/Inspiration: one of the biggest things that Body Change offers is inspiration. It’s impossible to change your body and lifestyle if you do not change your thoughts. For the long hull health, it’s not a temporary fix. You’ve got to change how you view health and yourself. Create a mindset and thought pattern that allows you to succeed and thrive for the rest of your life. Otherwise it will be a mere quick fix.