Weight loss should not be a goal. Shocked by this statement? It's true. When I hear people saying they want to lose 5 pounds or more, I always tell them weight loss should not be their goal. Healthy living to avoid disease and illness should be everyone's goal. Weight loss implies a short term solution to a long term problem. Do you know what causes weight gain? It's not only about what you eat and how much of it.
Weight loss is about moving your body, taking supplements, eating organic, eating plant-based, drinking clean water and avoiding toxins to the best of your ability. Toxins are elements that invade our body and disrupt our natural systems. Did you know that we are born with plastic in our bodies? That is how pervasive plastic is in our society. You may think you are avoiding plastic by buying BPA-free products, but that is not enough.
Touching receipts, using plastic bags and eating microwaved popcorn are just fa few products that contain plastic. The plastic is absorbed into our body. Unfortunately, plastic cannot be avoided and has damaging consequences for our body. Here are just some of the horrifying effects of plastic in the body:
Damages the pancreas, which leads to diabetes
Creates zinc deficiency, which effects the ability of the body to metabolize Vitamin A and B-6. This can lead to indigestion, heart disease and cancer, to name a few.
Damages the thyroid and testosterone function (Source: Functional Medicine University)
Pretty scary, huh? While plastic is just one of many toxins we should try to avoid, the impact of toxins on weight gain is pretty clear. When specific systems are disrupted by toxins, weight gain is one result. Avoiding plastic is really hard to do. But here are a few suggestions:
Use reusable shopping bags and reusable produce bags
Filter water in the refrigerator and buy a reusable water tumbler; stop drinking water in plastic bottles
Have receipts emailed to you
Use glass storage containers
Use bar soap instead of body wash
Use a bamboo toothbrush
Food grown with pesticides interrupts the normal functioning of various systems in our body. When we eat chemicals, our body becomes confused. Our body wants to be healthy and wants to fight for our health. Introducing chemicals into our body, means our body starts to fight the chemicals. Eventually, our body gets tired of fighting and succumbs to illness and disease. Weight gain can be considered a symptom of an illness.
Organic food is one way we can reduce chemicals in our body. The side-effect of eating organic is weight loss. Why? Because organic food has more nutrients compared to non-organic food. When you eat food with a lot of nutrients, you become fuller faster. This means you eat less. More than likely, no one has ever shared with you how to eat to avoid weight gain.
Reducing meat consumption, in addition to eating organic, helps your body get healthy and helps you lose weight. We've grown-up thinking that our meals must focus around meat and vegetables are just side dishes. It should be the opposite way. Eating mostly vegetables will give your body vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins that it needs to be healthy. The mitochondria will benefit from getting more vegetables than meat because it wants to extract the nutrients in vegetables and convert it into energy for your body.
When you make the move towards eating more vegetables than meat, start slowly. Maybe try one day where you are totally meatless. Do this for about a month so that it simply becomes part of your routine. Once a meatless meal once a week is comfortable, add a second day. When you start slow to make a major change in your routine, it is more likely that you are going to stick to the change. If you wind up with a week or two where you weren't able to cut back on meat, don't give up. Life happens! You have to adapt your routine sometimes. Just know that when you can, you'll go back to having one meatless day per week.
Using smaller plates to serve meals will also help you be healthier. Did you know back in the 1960's our plate size was 8 inches in diameter? Today, plates are usually 12-14 inches! We've been taught that a full plate means we are eating enough. But filling a 12-14 inch plate full of food makes us eat more calories than we need - even if we are working out regularly. It will take some time to get used to using smaller plates. Start slow by serving one meal on a smaller plate once a week. Using smaller plates let's you get used to smaller portion sizes. If you need to, go for seconds.
Moving your body is an absolute necessity. I'm not saying you have to join an expensive gym and take really hard exercise classes. Moving your body can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In fact going slowly is more beneficial especially if you haven't been exercising for a long time. Walking is the easiest way to help your body get healthy and lose weight. Moving your body means you'll burn calories and stimulate the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the essential cells in our body necessary for energy production. When your cells are energized, they are working hard for you and weight loss is a side effect.
I hope I've been able to help you understand that holistic living is attainable for everyone. When we focus on just losing weight, it is a short term goal that doesn't help us get healthy. It is not your fault that you have been conditioned that losing weight is how to be healthy. Our society tends to focus on one part of living healthy versus thinking about the whole person. When you are ready to make the transition to holistic living, seek out a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. The National Association of Nutrition Professionals has listings of Board Certified Holistic Nutritionists who can help you on your journey.
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