It’s another new year where healthy resolutions are made… and then… broken.
The gym feels less inspiring as we head into the middle to late February, “eat cheats” become frequent and as March closes in and certain cookies are the hot item for sale, complaints of pounds become a reality because swimsuit season is around the corner.
I’ve heard of so many diets since my early twenties and have probably tried most of them along with the latest fad workouts including 90’s Taebo and 2000’s Zumba, which Zumba dance just doesn’t work with my level of coordination, but hey, I tried.
The question is, “Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?”
To be healthier? Skinnier? More fit? Look good in a swimsuit?
Who is right when it comes to dieting and workouts?
As the struggle of an emotional eater and wine drinker, which dominates under stress, it wasn’t until I went into self discovery mode seeking connections between mental health and herbs that I was introduced to a new type of healthy lifestyle and for the first time, losing weight wasn’t even in my core value and it came off naturally, close to twenty pounds of it.
Controlling mental health, such as depression, through eating means educating on how to have a healthy brain. How do you have a healthy brain? You educate yourself about 80/20 eating, the benefits of it, activity, social interactions, and spirituality and how these things have been linked to a happier, healthier lifestyle and mindset.
80/20 eating is feeding the body 80% of whole foods that are natural, unprocessed, and preferably organic. It’s shopping on the outside aisle of the grocery store around the fruits and veggies. It’s reaching for grass fed meat, cheeses and eggs.
20% of the eating allows for healthy, organic processed options, paying close attention to the additive ingredients. As a food advocate, Vani Hari, also known as The Food Babe, suggests in her teachings: if you don’t know what an ingredient is in a product and why it’s there, don’t eat it. It’s simply about researching or using Google to learn how certain ingredients can affect your health.
For those of us on a tight budget, including myself, the idea of 80/20 might feel like it poses a challenge financially. There are dollar boxes of macaroni and cheese along with other cheap processed products that feel more realistic in feeding you, a small family or bigger family on a tight budget. However, once you find the stores around you that serve 80/20 products, at the best price, you will find a routine on which stores to shop and your buying habits will market coupons of these products at your door. Another reason I love The Food Babe, she gives an easy shopping list and guide emailed free when you sign up to her website. A stress free way for beginners. One simple way to cut on cost is checking out the high pesticide list for veggies and fruits. Buy organic for high pesticide products, such as blueberries, while slipping to non-organic with ones like avocado or banana that are protected in peel. You can also invest in a naturally organic fruit and veggie wash to clean non-organic food. A big bottle of wash is diluted with water and lasts months. Lastly, buy fruit and vegetables in season, they are cheaper then, and you can prep and freeze them to use during their non-seasonal times.
Once I began cutting back on foods that I knew could hurt my brain and health, contributing to but not limited to: depression, bipolar, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, asthma, cancers, heart and liver problems…. (The list sadly goes on), weight began to fall off unintentionally and naturally. I was able to minimize and delete medications that I had been on for years such as blood pressure and asthma. During a time in my life with extreme stress I became the most mentally and physically healthy in my life. I slipped back once, for about a month due to severe cortisol levels in the brain but understanding why the change was happening, I was able to get back on track. It’s about actively educating and willing to be a healthier version of you.
If you are living an 80/20 brain boosting lifestyle diligently, then there is no dieting. It is about eating what works, finding exercise movements that fuel your passions, spirituality that feeds your soul and discovering and educating yourself on self growth. Ready to begin? I highly recommend trying Dr. Amen and wife, Tana Amen’s book, The Brain Warrior’s Way for beginning. After almost a year and a half, of reading and educating, I stumbled across this diamond of theirs that I found summed up all my research in one place.
The 80/20 lifestyle becomes a positive way on how to focus, love yourself, feel good and respect your body image.
Cheers to being a healthier you! 💚