Yes! to constantly working to have better thought patterns! Yes to not accepting that we’re stuck with where we are, because we’re not amoebas – we’re humans, and our brain is literally capable of changing and growing until we die. Or not. It’s up to us. Taking control of our thoughts by focusing and being intentional is exercise for the brain.
Deliberate, studied, conscious thinking keeps our brain young and vital! This is how we grow new neurons and thought patterns, this is how we determine whether positive chemicals or negative chemicals flow through our brain.
So what are our thoughts about food? My aim for these last few Posts is to convince you that our thoughts are more important than a particular food plan when it comes to our weight and our health.
Counting calories, tracking food, weighing, measuring, diet meals, diet desserts, diet pills, diet plans… their long term success rate is an abysmal 1-5%. This stat shows that the desire to lose weight isn’t a strong enough force to change our habits permanently, and temporary changes are useless.
Unfortunately, the HABIT and PATTERN of thinking of our body as the end result of how much we diet and exercise is fairly fixed in most of our brains.
It’s so untrue. Let’s change that!
Our body’s not a Math Equation, it’s a Chemistry Set. Start THINKING about our body that way, start looking at food as chemicals that send signals and have consequences as to how we function and feel and perform, and we can change our body, forever. Losing weight, getting fit, becoming healthy, that happens when we care about every bite that goes into our mouth because we understand that food’s consequences.
My last Post was on stressing about our food, and how counter-productive stress is to our weight and health. So I’m not suggesting hours of research, or logging everything we eat on to FitDay.
I’m talking about sitting with the thought – the fact – that our food becomes us. Not just our weight, but our mood, our skin, our hair, our energy, and every cell in our body.
Our thought patterns and habits dictate what we eat. When we believe that certain foods give us energy or heal our body or give us pretty skin, it makes us more likely to seek it out and eat it.
When we believe that certain foods cause cancer, heart disease, migraines, fatigue, diabetes, and allergies, it’s easier to avoid them.
Put “consequence facts” in your mind that allow you to make good choices:
– White flour raises blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides; it’s also been sprayed with chlorine gas. The EPA sites this gas as a dangerous irritant that can be lethal. It also has gluten, which damages the gut and the brain.
– Sugar is cancer cells favorite food. The same with High Fructose Corn syrup. They’re both very, very easy for cancer cells to metabolize.
– Garlic reduces plaque build up in the arteries.
– Sugar is pathogenic bacteria, virus, and fungi’s favorite food. So sugar feeds the bugs that make us sick.
– Avocados have fats which are great for our skin and vitamins which are good for our eyes.
– Sugar and processed grains cause high blood sugar which causes “glycation”, which damages our skin by causing age spots and wrinkles. Alcohol – even wine! – causes glycation.
– Leafy greens are loaded with nutrients that make our skin and arteries healthy. Beets have ingredients that help our liver do all it’s many jobs. Cruciferous vegetables prevent cancer.
– Sugar suppresses the ability of white blood cells to kill pathogens. Sugar and our immune system are highly connected.
– Saturated fat and cholesterol make up our glands, our hormones, and 60% of our brain.
– Proteins make up our muscles, hair, skin, nails, ligaments, and organs. Proteins become the connections between the fatty parts of our brain that allow messages to jump from one neuron to neuron to another. They also build our chemical messengers, neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, GABA, etc.
When we eat sugar and flour and hydrogenated fats and toxic chemicals, we damage our heart, our brain, our liver, our kidneys, our skin, etc etc etc. Damage. It’s slow, it’s subtle, it might be mistaken for “aging”, or a bad mood, or fatigue, but it’s damage, and it’s inevitable.
Damage is also revealed in an inability to lose weight. Our bodies should be masters at burning fat for fuel, and using nutrients to rebuild our cells. When illness, chronic fatigue, and resistant weight loss happens, there’s our proof that Damage is Done.
Thank God it’s possible to reverse the damage by changing our habits. Here’s an Action Plan:
– Set aside time every week for planning, as in write down your schedule. Your work, your kids schedule, your errands, your workouts, everything, including Food. Schedule your grocery store, keep a running list all week, make time to chop and prep, power cook a few meals and put them in the freezer.
Does planning sound stressful? Studies show that organizing and scheduling REDUCE stress. Living by the Seat of the Pants increases stress.
– Don’t buy your trigger foods. This is a no-brainer! Keep foods that tempt you far, far away. Convenience of trigger foods makes resisting really tough, so don’t let them be convenient. Worried your family will object to no chips or cookies in the house? Junk food is Poison food. No one in our families needs that crap. No one. All those above listed facts on sugar and grains and their links to cancer and immune function, they apply to children too.
There’s a great study on Flight Attendants who smoke, and the desire they feel for their cigarettes while they’re on their flights. The study revealed that it didn’t matter how long the duration of the flight was, whether it was short or long, their desire for their cigarette rose as they got closer and closer to the end of the flight. Smoking was about to go from “Not Allowed”, to Convenient, and the craving appeared.
– If shopping is your albatross, take advantage of shopping on line, or having your groceries delivered, or buying the precut vegetables or prepared meats at most grocery stores now. At least have a list ready!
– Commit to 5 minutes a day of reading information that trains the brain to think of Food as Medicine or Food as Poison. Please. To beat the drum again: wishing for weight loss isn’t enough to inspire permanent habit changes. Believing our food can make us healthy and vibrant or sick and old, can.
One of my favorite sites, based solely on studies but written for succinct, easy reads: Green Med Info.
Need help with your habits and thoughts? Get in touch with me! I have skill set of tricks to change behavior. Imagine yourself a year from now; you could be a whole new you, you could be the same, or you could be worse. Make the choice, take the action.