Does it almost seem impossible to find a doctor that can help you reach your health goals?
Have you tried every possible diet to help you lose weight, or try every type of medicine that is available to you? You have tried eastern medicine, western medicine as well as all the trendy diets, but nothing seems to work.
Well, then maybe you need to change your approach.
Become an investigator.
Become a Health Warrior.
Become your own doctor.
People have forgotten that we have the most powerful, and healing tool at our fingertips: our forks.
As my father, Dr. Mark Hyman, a 10 time New York Times best selling author describes our relationship with food, like any long-term relationship, over time, this one that has become toxic.
For the most part, the reason we are sick is because we have perpetually allowed ourselves to put "fuel" into our bodies that is not adequate to flourishing health and thus allows us to slowly diminish our immune system to the point where disease and obesity become a regularity.
For the most part, we are the reason we are sick.
Let me introduce a concept to you if you are not already aware will transform the way you look at food: nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the idea that food is not just something that we need to eat to survive, but it is in fact valuable and precious information. This information plays a vital role in our overall health and wellness, and contributes to whether we suffer from certain diseases and a myriad health ailments.
The information that we receive with every bite of food turns and on and off different and specific expressions in our genes. Solely by our food choices, we can become obese, we can lose 94 pounds (as I did), we can increase our energy, or we can deplete it.
When we eat nutritionally empty food, such as french fries, cheese burgers, ice cream, and other junk foods, we are not sending beneficial information to our genes.
However, we do know (or so we think) one element of information that is in food: Calories.
We are a nation that is fixated on calories.
We count calories as if we were using an abacus, methodically adding and subtracting crucial, invaluable data.
But sadly, not all calories are not created equal.
For example, my favorite book that my father wrote, "Eat Fat Get Thin" illustrates this point eloquently.
As we know, fat contains more calories than processed carbohydrates and refined sugars. Does this mean that good fats are worse for you? Most "experts" in the field of "health and nutrition" would tell you to eat a low-fat diet. But all that really means is that you need to add sugar and carbs to your food in order to make it actually taste good. Which we know is NOT a good idea.
In the absence of processed carbohydrates and refined sugars, healthy fats have the power to shut down cravings, speed up metabolism and has been documented to reverse, and NOT cause heart disease.
Fats have more calories than sugars and carbs, but are they worse for you?
The evidence is undeniable. The caloric density of food is not the end-all-be-all argument for what is good for you, however that is a debate for another day.
This brings me back to my initial point. Become an investigator, become a Health Warrior. Become your own doctor.
In 2017, you can't tell yourself, or anyone, that you DO NOT KNOW how to do something.
You can find about almost anything on Google.
But "becoming your own doctor" seems daunting. You may ask yourself, "How can I be my own doctor? Won't this be too hard?"
The answers are all there in front of you (again, google). And I am here to help you.
First, you need to understand that reaching your optimum health is not going to be an uphill battle. It will actually be a liberating and inspiring experience that will invigorate you to set new goals and reach new heights that you once never thought was possible.
If you follow these 5 steps, you will be in love with your journey of reaching your optimal, and desired health.
1.) Inform your Community of your Journey, and Encourage Them to Join
Going on a "health kick" alone can seem intimidating, and almost even embarrassing.
Pardon me for raising my voice, "CHOOSING TO BE HEALTHY IS NOTHING TO BE EMBARRASSED ABOUT". In fact, you should be applauded, since this is the first step of your liberating journey.
Make an effort to tell your community of family and friends that you are embarking on such a great quest, and you should invite them to join you on your path to health and wellness. It is much easier to accomplish tasks in a community, or in a group, than alone.
People are more likely to be overweight and obese if their friends are overweight than if their parents are overweight. People tend to assimilate to their community's behaviors and tendencies, therefore if you choose to change your lifestyle, there is a higher likelihood of your friends deciding to change their lives too.
2.) K.I.S.S. Method (Keep It Simple Stupid)
When choosing a diet, most people don't know where to begin. There is so much alternative information out there, and do I dare say "Alternative Facts", that confuses the devoted disciple of health.
That is why I tell my clients over and over and over again, follow the K.I.S.S Method.
"KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!"
When you dig deep into the research, diets are not about what we should eat, but rather what we should NOT eat. (However, I am telling you to eat more healthy fats)
With regards to my knowledge of health, I consider myself extraordinarily blessed. I have been following my fathers work for 27 years and I have been a guinea pig of his genius revelations into the health and nutrition field. I have not spent a day in medical school, and I am not a certified nutritionist, but I know more about health and wellness than a lot of people I know in that field, solely due to the fact that I had my father, a pioneer in western medicine, preach to me for as long as I can remember.
The reason why I bring this up is because you may tell me that it is easy for me, and simple for me, but it may not be simple for you with regards to being smart and conscious about your health.
But it is. It is easy.
Without getting too deep into what I would recommend to individuals depending on their specific goals, most people should eat the same things, or NOT eat the same things. But I will deliver it with the K.I.S.S. Method:
- Do not eat grains
- (Some people may be able to tolerate small amounts of whole grains).
- Do not eat dairy.
- (Occasionally you can have some goat cheese, and I subscribe to grass fed butter and ghee).
- Do not eat sugars
- (Carbohydrates should be limited, but you can have a sweet potato here and there).
- Do not eat fish with toxic metals and cattle that is not grass fed.
When you look at this list, there are a LOT of processed and refined foods that you CANNOT eat, but the list of fresh vegetables, whole foods and good meats and fish is endless.
This is not a sentence, this is an opportunity for new doors to open and for your tastebuds, and immune system to thank you!
3.) Cook your Meals and Make a Food Journal
Remember, with nutrigenomics, we now have proof that "Food is Medicine".
If you can cook, great! Let us put your skills to the test.
If you cannot cook, let me ask you a second question. Can you read? If you are reading this, then the answer is YES. So if you can read a recipe, than you can cook.
Going out to eat with your partner or with your friends can be fun, but if you are trying to be healthy and live a specific lifestyle, restaurants can be some of the most stressful and anxious places.
When you are trying to be health conscious, watching others order whatever they want can be disheartening at best. If you have unrelenting will power, then more power to you, but if you are like the rest of us and find it tough to go out to eat with others who seemingly are taunting us with THEIR food choices, than I am right there with you. The struggle is real.
Also when you go out to eat, you do not always know what the chef is putting in the food, and especially in the "healthier menu items". Have you ever went out to eat and thought you were ordering something that was healthy, and within 30 minutes you are in a food coma? I have been there countless of times.
By cooking your own meals, it is more cost effective, it is more fun (maybe not the clean up, but that cannot be the deal breaker that comes in the way of you and your health), and it is much healthier for you.
People think it is more expensive to eat at home than it is to eat out, and that is one of my favorite myths when it comes to getting in the way of health.
I am going to do a blog and a video on the cost effectiveness of buying your own food versus eating out in the coming weeks, but if you don't buy what I am saying, go to your grocery store (even Whole Foods) and get a weeks worth of veggies, and some chicken, steak and fish, and tell me it would be cheaper than going out to eat for a family of 4.
Once you start cooking for yourself and you want to be vigilant about what you eat, I suggest you start making a food journal. There are countless of apps that you can download on your phones to assist you, but an old fashion pen and paper still does the job.
By chronicling your food on a daily basis, it makes you more accountable and it allows you to actually see progress in your eating habits while encouraging you to keep up the good work.
4.) Spend 30 Minutes a Day Exercising
It is important to move everyday. You can walk (at a fast pace), run, play a sport of your choice, or go to the gym and get your cardiac rate up, but any form of exercise, for at least 30 minutes a day, will help you on your path to optimal health.
You can't work your way out of a bad diet. If you eat one Big Mac, it takes running 4 miles a day for 7 days for you to work that off.
If you don't dedicate yourself to eating healthy and whole foods, working out will not do a whole lot. But if you combine a optimally nutritious diet with a daily exercise regime, reaching your goals are exponentially improved.
If your excuse is that you don't have time to work out, or do any form of exercise, than you are just lying.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also known as high-intensity intermittent (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is something that you can do in just minutes a day. It is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise method with short bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. It sounds complicated, but this is something you can do in just minutes a day in your office, at home watching TV, or before you hop in the shower to start your mornings.
If you want to be healthy, you have to take care of your body, in more ways than one.
5.) Give Yourself 30 Minutes a Day to Love Yourself
Once you have told your community of your journey, followed the K.I.S.S. Method, started cooking and logging your meals, and getting your heart rate up through exercise, it is time to give yourself some love and gratitude for embarking on this quest to optimal health.
The conversations we have with ourselves can be chaotic, busy, and negative.
It is important to know that the person who is talking in your head is not you, it is just a reflection of how you are viewing and perceiving the world. Sometimes, the voice in our head can be our worst enemies.
So if you are on this journey of health and wellness, it is important to thank yourself.
I suggest giving yourself 30 minutes each day where you meditate and sit alone, and bask in the love and encouragement that you so greatly deserve.
If you don't meditate, you can do yoga, read a book, or just sit in silence and reflect on your progress (calmly sitting and quieting the mind is progress alone).
When you give yourself time to sit and be, it is amazing how you notice that the mind quiets, the chaos dissipates, and how your solutions will often appear.
Now with these simple five steps, you have a basic and simple road map to take back your health, and change your life.
Do you want to make a change?
The tools are there, awaiting for you to take the plunge.
The time is now.