weight

Health behavior change is NOT fun or easy, and it's NOT about your willpower.

I bet you know this already, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. Making health behavior changes is HARD. It can even feel impossible.

 

A poll from 2010 found that only about 16% of adults reported successful health-related improvements. Of that 16%, 20% had improvements in weight loss, 15% started a regular exercise program, 10% improved their diets, and 7% reduced stress levels (1). Given this started with 16%, these are very small numbers!

 

Of those polled that sought to start their new year on a positive note by making changes like these, 78% of them who made health related resolutions noted significant obstacles that prevented them from meeting their goals. These obstacles included willpower, simply making changes, and being under too much stress to change (1).

 

These numbers are from 8 years ago, and in that time chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases have continued to rise in prevalence, signifying our challenges for getting healthy persist.

 

Making lifestyle and health behavior changes does not happen overnight.

 

It’s also not about willpower, even though we tend to blame our lack of it for failing to meet our goals.

 

The cards are stacked against us as we are bombarded with messages from the media to eat this and not that, look like this to be happy and successful, work harder faster and longer because that’s what success is all about… and much much more.

 

THIS mentality is what the problem is. Those that profit have brilliantly crafted a society in which they continue to profit, leaving the rest of us unhealthy, exhausted, and ready to give up.

 

There is another way.

 

Last week I divulged some of my personal health problems, and shared part of my journey with you. I say some and part because to be honest, I’m still working on piecing together the puzzle of my story for myself.

 

As I continue to heal, I’ll share more along the way. Writing about it and sharing it with you is certainly part of my healing process, so thank you for being a part of it, and sharing my journey with me.

 

Identifying the root causes leading to my rock bottom moment in urgent care isn’t easy. In part because there are so many (I mean countless) reasons why things took that nasty, yet faithful turn leading up to that event in 2016.

 

Often we have to hit our lowest low before we wake up and make changes. Change is awful, and it is less scary than feeling awful because at least we have become familiar with (therefore comfortable with) feeling like ass. 

 

We think we’ll change when we are ready. We are never really ready. Something just happens that gives us no choice. I’m thankful for that.

 

If I didn’t hit that bottom, today I might still be in a job that made me miserable. I’d still be starving myself leaving me completely obsessed with food and eating and therefore completely NOT present in all my interactions with others (business, personal, etc.). Those that know me well were even surprised to hear this part of it. Honest truth right now… it makes me sad and regretful that I missed out on so much of my life. Sure I’ve had great times, great experiences, a successful career, BUT I never enjoyed any of it like I could have had I addressed my health problems from the get go instead of letting them progress and take over my life.

 

Maybe I should have gone into acting. I played it all off so well in spite of how horrible I felt ALL THE TIME.

 

Of course I didn’t talk about all of this because if I did I knew I’d have to change my behavior and I wasn’t ready to do that. I never would have been ready so the universe created the perfect storm of situations (or really I likely manifested it all myself and the universe simply provided what I was unconsciously asking for, yes I believe in this stuff).

 

The good news is you don’t have to hit rock bottom. You don’t have to be forced to change.

 

You can take the bull by the horns and decide you’ve had enough. It’s time to be the version of you that you know you can be. The version of you the world deserves to see. We are each granted gifts that we are meant to share with the world. That’s why we are here. Denying your truth by remaining trapped in your uncomfortable comfort zone (funny how our comfort zones are actually our most uncomfortable places, think about it) is denying others the benefits of your true gifts.

 

Start your journey now, before you are forced to. You can make that decision. You have the power to change your life, to feel as good as you know you should, and to beat that rock bottom moment to the punch.

 

I can help guide you on your journey. I'd be honored to share it with you! To get started, schedule your strategy session via the button below. I'm looking forward to talking to you!

 

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link to them!

The Problem With Diet Culture

Photo credit:  Breakingpic

Photo credit: Breakingpic

I spoke with a client this week who was interested in losing weight. She's 5'6" tall and weighs 135 pounds. This puts her in a normal BMI range. BMI stands for body mass index, and it is an attempt to measure body fatness. Of course, if someone is overweight they are at a greater risk for many chronic diseases, so BMI can be used (loosely) to gauge someone's risk.

There are all sorts of issues with using BMI as a metric to assess someone's body fatness. BMI does not take into account muscle, or where the fat is located (around the middle is associated with a higher risk of disease) for example. 

When I asked my client why she wanted to lose weight, she said she felt more comfortable 10 pounds less than she is now. I mentioned that based on BMI, her weight is within a normal range. Her tone changed and I could tell I couldn't push more at the time to have a deeper conversation about body weight and body image expectations.

Our bodies actually have a genetic set point for weight, and beating our bodies into a place they do not belong can have serious health consequences.

This isn't only an issue among women, I've worked with men that have body weight and body image issues as well.

It disheartens me that we have the food industry marketing products, even health food products, to us that are anything but healthy, yet they are promoted as being good for us. The result of consuming them can be nutrient depleting (we eat products instead of food, and products, even health food products, are not a substitute for whole real food). Overtime this can lead to metabolic dysfunction, which in turn leads to changes that affect our natural weight set point (weight gain) through a wide variety of mechanisms (hormone disruption and inflammation are examples). As we battle to manage our weight while eating 'healthy' processed products, we also have the fitness industry which has us convinced that their products and programs will fix the problem. Now we become trapped in a vicious cycle, and two very large industries become wealthier at our expense, leaving us scratching our heads, wondering where we have failed. We begin to feel worthless, and our perceived failure pushes us even farther down the rabbit hole of trying to obtain a level of aesthetics that is not just unrealistic, but also impossible. Physical activity is absolutely necessary for overall health, and its purpose should not be only to counteract poor dietary habits.

You can break the cycle, and it begins by eating whole real foods. To get you started, download my free healthy snack ideas here. 

If you'd like assistance developing a customized food plan, I can help you do that as well.