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Take the ache out of New Years resolutions

Well we’ve turned the darkest corner and the daylight is slowly starting to stretch its edges again. A new year, a new opportunity, a fresh crisp chapter where all the pages are yet unwritten. What would you like to create for this coming year? Would you like more energy so that you can do more of the things you really want to do? More motivation? More peace? Better moods? Vibrant health? Let’s stop punishing ourselves with guilt ridden diets that are cooked on vapours of how we ‘should’ be and what we ‘should’ be doing. After all, we are not going to be judged in heaven over what we ate on earth, how many pounds we lost, and how often we went to the gym. It’s just a choice we make and it’s about time that we started to take the guilt out of it. It is after all just common sense that choosing to live a healthy life results in good energy, good moods and a stronger body. It’s just part of the package and we either decide to avail of that package or not. But let’s take the judgement out of it! Dieting, detox and New Year’s resolutions often come from a place of internal conflict. How we feel we ‘should’ be versus the bitter truth of how we really are. When we go to war with ourselves we tend to strengthen the very thing we are trying to get away from. The more we try to not eat sugar, the bigger the sugar monster grows! We can survive for a while on willpower but living on willpower alone takes a lot of energy and once we relax the focus, the very best of intentions can suddenly come tumbling down again. A better approach is just to become more aware of the choices that we make and then see if these choices are actually what we want, or not. We must begin to think of the entire package that comes with each choice we make. For example, a nice big slice of creamy cake will probably taste delicious for all of 5 minutes. Okay, that’s a positive thing. But what about the hours after we’ve eaten the cake? How positive do we feel then? And what about our long term desires, say for example weight loss? Are we being taken nearer to or farther away from what we really want? When we look at the bigger picture, it becomes a no brainer. The 5 minutes of pleasure is not worth sacrificing what we really want to do and be in our lives. And so we start to make the choices that we really want and what’s more, we start to make them with ease. Honestly try it! The other side of the coin is education and information. If we believe that eating pasta every day is good for us, then we are making a choice based on a false assumption. So again, we don’t get very far. I am not one for going along with the latest craze diet because one thing I have learned is that different foods suit different people. Food intolerance testing along with seeing a good complimentary therapist is one way of working this out, but there are also some very simplistic basics that we can come back to when we need to. Sugar based foods challenge the body in a negative way. If you don’t have a sweet tooth and you’re happy with an occasional sugary treat, then you’re probably able to handle it. However, if you have strong cravings for sugary food, then you are pretty much guaranteed that you are not handling it well. That’s great! It means that you can make a lot of progress by cutting it out. The other no brainer is processed food. It brings nothing good to the table! Processed food starts off as normal food but it is usually either heated to very high temperatures which destroy all the nutrients and/or it is showered with a sometimes endless list of additives, preservatives and colourings. If you’re ever in doubt about whether a food is processed or not, ask yourself two questions. 1) Did this food grow somewhere (in the ground or on a tree)?  2) Is there a long list of ingredients on the back of the packet? Take an apple for example. You hold it in your hand and you know that it grew on a tree. A carton of apple juice on the other hand doesn’t grow on a tree and the longer the list of ingredients on the back of the carton, the more processed it is. On the other hand, wholefoods are foods which can be grown in your garden or bought in the local farmers market. They are healthy foods, real foods, nothing added and nothing taken away. When it comes to meat, again we just engage our common sense. Meat that sits in nicely packaged containers for a long time without losing its colour has been treated with something. This ‘something’ is usually nitrates or nitrites and they have their side effects on the human body. In fact in October of 2015, processed meats such as rashers, sausages, salami, ham and hotdogs were declared a group 1 carcinogen, which means that they definitely (as opposed to probably or maybe) contribute to cancer, most notably cancer of the bowel. The other food group that needs to be considered is grains. Wheat, the most common of all the grains tends to be problematic for a lot of people. This is because the grain has been consistently manipulated in order to produce a high glutinous grain (that achieves good selling figures in the supermarkets). Modern wheat can be quite irritating on the digestive tract and I see it come up very regularly on food intolerance testing. It is also one of the big contributors (along with sugar) to weight gain, so again this needs to be taken into consideration, if your goal is to lose weight. So keeping all this in mind, my advice for the New Year is first to be kind and gentle with yourself and then from this kind and gentle place, decide what it is you would like to create in the coming year, or half year or even for the next few months. Then you need to create a plan, one that is based on the most accurate information that you can find. The next step is to support yourself (which includes picking yourself up gently when you fail and throwing away that stick that you’ve used to beat yourself up with) so that you can enjoy the journey of bringing all your dreams to fruition. Happy 2016!

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