Before we begin to worry about the sourcing of our creature protein and the organic nature of our produce, there are a few areas that are having major impacts on our health that we often are unwilling to step away from or even acknowledge as being potentially problematic. We are worrying about the quality of gas we are putting into our car. Meanwhile the car is on fire and will be undriveable shortly. The quality of fuel doesn't matter if the vehicle is trashed.
That's like someone (not dealing with an auto-immune disorder) demanding their waiter guarantee their meal is gluten free as well as prepared in a gluten free environment because thats healthy but later that day they have a grande pumpkin spiced latte........... Yeah, about that.
So here are some foundational pieces of low hanging fruit that all of us can change and see benefits from immediately.
- Eating Out
ALCOHOL (You’re not being able to live without it, and yes, you throwing a hissy fit because this challenge does not include alcohol is you saying you cannot live without it, is just one of many indicators that this challenge could change your life)
[We are often made fully aware of the awful effects alcohol has on those who truly struggle with it. That was me a while back. And if that is you now, you and I should have a different, private conversation. For this conversation, we want to discuss the effects alcohol has on normal people (those who do not show signs of alcoholism.]
The lifestyle that accompanies alcohol consumption is the opposite of what we are looking for. Drinking lowers inhibition which obviously causes us to dumb stuff. Now, it’s none of my business what you do in terms of your super awesome drunk Rico Suave moves. But I do care when your drinking leads to your binge eating, blatant disregard for sleep, and awful use of time the next day.
Cut the alcohol out for the next 5 weeks. That’s it. Commit to that now. You’ll see a change in your body for sure. But you’ll probably see a change in your life.
IN SUMMATION: Alcohol is not particularly healthy for us to start with BUT if you were truly consuming one or two drinks a week then the impact on your health would be minimal. However, we are humans and we don’t do moderation. Alcohol is a problem because of the lifestyle it encourages and the life it prevents us from living. Cut it out for the next 5 weeks and watch the magic happen.
SODA (aka, hyper speed to diabetes)
Ok so there was a period of time where it blew my mind that people still drank soda frequently. Whiskey diets made since to me (since that was my method of inebriation back in the day) and soda on occasion can make sense. But I have actually fallen into a bad habit over the last year (I will be sharing that during the challenge). Soda is incredibly addictive and it absolutely creates ridiculously powerful cravings if you drink it with any amount of consistency.
Soda is doing nothing for us. Unlike alcohol, it does not even have a scientific calming effect for us to benefit from. Soda is basically allowing us to mainline sugar (OR artificial sweetener). Unfortunately this is not just a bad thing, it is a life threatening thing. Sugar consumption (of any amount) causes spikes in insulin. This is a good thing. But when we consume lots of sugar we release insulin a lot and often.
Say we don’t continue to drive towards outright insulin resistance (where insulin stops effectively responding because you have consumed so much sugar so frequently it is basically tired of your bullshit), we are still causing devastating inflammation in our system. Your belly might not be all fat. It might be super inflamed tissue. There are many many other issues here, but this is just meant to bea brief summation.
IN SUMMATION: Cut the soda out and you will not only lose weight from no longer consuming that amount of sugar/artifical sweetener, BUT you’ll also make a ton of headway towards eliminating your crazy sugar cravings.
GOING OUT TO EAT (Really this could be called, consuming anything you did not make yourself)
Eating healthy is expensive. False. Your unhealthy, mediocre lifestyle is expensive. If you add up all of the snacks, meals, and drinks we order while not at home (or even at home when it comes to delivery), the expenses far surpasses what it will cost you to eat well.
Eating out is not only costly, but it is also a gateway drug to unhealthy food choices. When we become accustomed to eating out, even if we start with super healthy options, we are actually conditioning ourselves to expect our food to be prepared by others indefinitely. Then, when our commitment is wavering, we will stick to the eating out, but not to the eating well.
And then there is the most common argument, which has some weight, I just do not stress about it. Eating out means you are putting the integrity of your food choices in the hands of a restaurant. If you live life with an auto-immune disorder or a food allergy then you fully understand this. And in an age of becoming obsessed with the minutia of what is healthy, we might be tempted to harass our server about what type of oil is used in the making of our chicken breast. As awesome as you’ll sound in that conversation, it is better to simply prepare your own food.
Restaurants are in the business of making money. That means cheap oils, low quality meats, plenty of processing are all utilized to keep their costs down. Well that means your eating the low quality ingredients and those are what have contributed to our current state over the years.
IN SUMMATION: Do not make a habit of going out to eat when you are claiming to prioritize your health. Especially at the start of your journey. It’s a bit like an alcoholic at the beginning of recovery versus after working the program. I did not go hang out with my buddies at the bar even though I knew I could just order water when I first got sober. It was not until I had developed some discipline, trusted the process, and found myself in a different place that I was able to hang out in a bar setting without having to worry. And, to use this analogy a little more, JUST BECAUSE I CAN HANG OUT IN A BAR WITHOUT DRINKING DOES NOT MEAN I SHOULD.
When we understand the impact our habits are having on us, we are able to then take more seriously our efforts to change. Do not revert back to these out of comfort. Discomfort is where the change occurs.
Going out to eat is the most negotiable. There are absolutely people that live incredibly healthy lives while eating out frequently. But if you have not really shown signs of natural discipline in this area then we need tot get away from the habit and rebuild. So commit to avoiding eating out as much as possible. That way when you end up in a restaurant just once or twice, you know you'll crush the food choices. The more we eat out the more likely we are to falter. Basically, eating out is for emergencies only.
The soda and alcohol are non-negotiable. You don't need it. They are not required of you in any way. So be done with them, even if you have to tell yourself that you are just done for the next few weeks. Whatever it takes. I promise you will love where you end up. And remember, making these changes is much more manageable when you are not doing it alone. We've got quite a few people just like you who would love to have you by there side.
As always, let me know what questions or thoughts you have.