Finding balance through diet and lifestyle

June 8, 2018

This post also avaiable in: pt-brPT

 

Nowadays it is so hard to filter through so much information, that we sometimes feel helpless at making the right decisions. I want to help guide you towards finding what fits best for you and your routine. But first, let’s start with some practical and valuable information!

One of the reasons I decided to study nutrition was because I was tired of endlessly searching for correct information, making the differentiation between good and bad sources, and ultimately falling for the wrong beliefs.

As I moved through the course, it made more and more sense to me that what I really wanted was to be able to help guide people in the right direction, all the while being true to themselves and to their routines.

So to kickstart this new journey, I’ve put together a list of things everyone should know.

This list of 5 things is what drives aging process and how you feel about life:

1 – Blood pressure

2 – Exercise

3 – Healthy diet that is easy to Love (and to follow)

4 – Stress control

5 – Curtail addictions

Blood pressure – if high, you want to reduce it with diet and not pills!

When it comes to cardiac disease, we tend to believe that the amount of fats we eat impact cholesterol, which then create blockages in the arteries and leads to heart attacks. In reality, it’s the stiffening of the arteries (caused by inflammation in the body) that causes small cracks which are then covered by cholesterol. The great danger lies when this plaque ruptures, causing a heart attack.

What are the main causes of high blood pressure? Diabetes (caused by poor diet) and cigarettes. Both of these causes fall in the addiction category: cigarettes for obvious reasons, and diabetes because it is a consequence of insulin resistance, caused by excess consumption of sugars.

A healthy blood pressure is suggested to be at 115/75.

How to lower blood pressure?

In a snippet: remove sugar and refined carbohydrates from diet and substitute the bad fats (animal proteins like steak, and saturated fats like vegetable oils) with the good healthy fats (nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil etc). The more healthy fats and whole vegetables you add to your diet, the less space sugars and bad carbs will have. And frankly, over time you will not crave them anymore.

It is also worth noting that inflammation in the body is a major cause for diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, allergies, respiratory diseases … And the biggest cause of inflammation is directly linked to diet.

 

Exercise – Move!

No one is telling you to become a gym rat, or to run marathons. Simply set aside 30 minutes of your day to get moving. Whether it is a brisk walk, a quick run, or a few yoga positions, all that matters is that you wake up your body even if it means choosing the stairs over the elevator. If you have specific goals, then of course the gym and outdoor sports will become your best friend.

It is now commonly understood that losing weight and body composition results come 80% from nutrition and 20% from exercise. You can surely loose weight by never exercising, but it will take longer of course and you won’t create any muscles in the meantime.

This isn’t to say that your motivation for exercising should only be for weight loss, but it should become part of your life, just as you wake up and brush your teeth. It could be seen as your daily ritual, where you can use that time for yourself, to let your mind run free, or to listen to your favorite podcast.

**Little motivation**

Did you know that building muscle through exercise becomes a metabolic furnace that burns 3 to 10 times more calories than fat? Did you know that the best remedy against osteoporosis is not drinking milk or calcium, but is resistance training?

Just remember – exercise is good for the mind and good for the soul. Exercise is free, so move your body!

 

Diet – or best called “Eating Habits”

Creating new eating habits is not only about telling you which foods we need to add or restrict. It’s about finding the foods you love that happen to be good for you.

Do conventional diets work? No. People go on diets all the time and fail, and we tend to believe that it is because they are not trying hard enough, but that’s not the case. The problem is that most people today are looking for quick fixes, and more often than not, they are unsustainable. Quick fixes do work at times, but they are only crutches to get you where you need to go.

Believe me, I’ve been there too many times.

One of the hardest things in life is getting rid of bad habits, but the best way of doing so is to create a (new) good habit to replace it. And when it comes to food and beverage habits, those are the most important ones to address in order to reduce stress in the body.

The question is, what is going to work for you FOREVER?

Also, a common belief is that overeating causes us to be fat, but in reality, it’s the fat that you gain that causes you to over eat. It is not as much as how much we eat, but what we eat. And nowadays we are dealing with hidden sugars in almost everything we run into.

Simply put, we urgently need to address insulin spikes due to sugary drinks and simple carbohydrates.

 

Stress – sleeping better is one of the most powerful stress remedies

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for mental and physical performance. Without sleep, the body cannot repair the previous day’s cellular wear and tear.

If you lack of sleep, your body will produce excess cortisol, taxing the body with additional stress, and inhibiting the body to reach a deep sleep. And when you don’t sleep appropriately, your body starts craving caffeine and sugar, that when ingested, stimulate cortisol stimulation even more.

As you can see, it is a vicious cycle.

However, if you give the body a chance to get quality sleep, it will increase the secretion of growth Hormone. Growth hormone is the vitality hormone. It makes you feel sexy, young, and cool by triggering cellular repair and regeneration. Again, only adequate sleep can provide you with the liberation of this hormone.

Sleep reeducation is key. For example, light setting in the evening can be a game changer. As the sun sets, you naturally get sleepy as it turns on the secretion of melatonin. Unfortunately, the reality today is that we tend to look at screens and keep bright lights on until the moment we get to bed.

I will go more in depth about sleep in another post.

 

Addictions – it’s all about how you approach the problem

Addictions are serious and can be extremely hard to overcome. In my opinion, pressuring someone to give up on something is usually not going to get them very far.

When you point fingers at someone and relentlessly tell them something is not good for them, they usually know it’s true. And that makes them feel worse about themselves. What do they do next? They pickup that same habit to relax themselves. It’s a terrible vicious cycle.

Instead, take an approach that faces reality, that appreciates how cool they are, how sacred they are, and help them realize that they are loved by people that desperately want them to stop so they can spend more time with them. That usually works for addictive mentalities.

Remember, you don’t want to be left with the “If Only” scenario.

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This post also avaiable in: pt-brPT

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