As we head into another swimsuit season (at least here in Southwest Florida), it’s time to confront all the crazy weight-loss ideas that have been littering the checkout aisles and Facebook news feeds for weeks.
I used to be shocked and appalled at the crazy things people do to lose weight, like cabbage-only or starvation. Now, I just accept it for what it is: people doing desperate things to cope with their feelings of inadequacy.
Think about it. Dig past the behavior to the motivation: we want to feel acceptable to others, but we feel inadequate because we don’t look like those people in the testosterone ads on YouTube or the old BowFlex ads on TV. We know that warm summer weather is coming, and with it, less clothing to cover us up – nowhere to hide our not-so-sculpted bodies. People who are not as healthy as they could be and are ashamed of how their bodies look sometimes do crazy things with food to try to lose as much as weight as possible as quickly as possible.
Instead of trying to mask the symptoms, let’s deal with the root problem. If you’re overweight, chances are you either:
- ate too much of the wrong kinds of food
- and/or you maintained a sedentary lifestyle.
Both are easy to fix and fixing them will get you the desired result: a fit, healthy, toned, attractive body.
Now, that said, if your self-worth is conditioned upon how you feel you look in a swimsuit, I’m going to encourage you to talk to someone about it. It’s beyond the scope of this article to help with that, but I can address the root issues that cause your body to look and feel unhealthy.
A Little Movement Goes A Long Way
On Monday, we published the first in a new series of “Move Right Monday” videos focusing on a simple squat movement.
The squat is one of the most basic human movements/postures and everyone should be able to do it. It’s how people worked, socialized, and gave birth for millennia and we’ve gotten away from it to our own hurt.
Performing that movement correctly a few minutes per day will tone and shape your almost all the muscle groups from your ankles to your shoulders, but it will be particularly good for toning your core muscle groups, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
There are six more videos in this new batch, and they will be coming out each Monday, so be sure to look for those.
Today, I want to deal with the other root issue behind most people’s swimsuit anxiety.
A Simple Fix For The Spare Tire
If you’ve got some extra padding around your midsection (some people call it the “spare tire”), there is a cure for that, and it’s not a pill or a “crash diet.” It’s a simple lifestyle adjustment.
If you are wiling to make this simple adjustment, you will
- Lose weight and keep it off.
- Trim down the bulging and bloating.
- Enjoy more energy and less fatigue.
- Suffer less joint pain and fewer headaches.
- Slash your prescription medication use.
- Burn calories faster.
- Think more clearly.
- Enjoy life more and longer.
You need to remove a couple of foods from your diet and add a couple new ones. It really is that simple.
Foods To Remove
Your grocery store is packed from wall to wall with food options, and not all of them are good. You have a choice. Most people approach the grocery store like babies, finding the pretty objects around the living room and shoving them into their mouths. All the items are packaged to be as appealing as possible. You need to choose to be intentional about the things you eat.
If you knew what the processed foods around the grocery store were going to do to your body on a cellular level over the next ten years, you would call your Congressman and demand a new law to ban them from public consumption.
But most people don’t know these things and can’t figure out why they suffer later. “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6).
I don’t want to make you go cold turkey on all of your favorite foods all at once, so I won’t list every dangerous food here. I’ve written about this before, so you can connect the dots through previous articles if you really feel like you’re ready to take the next step.
After 50 years of unrelenting false marketing, the medical community is starting to recognize that fat is not the villain everyone should be avoiding — it’s sugar. Sugar is the root of obesity, heart disease, chronic pain and inflammation, and a host of other diseases that have always been attributed to fat. Actually, fat is a macronutrient that your body needs on the same level as protein, calcium, magnesium, and ascorbic acid. Sugar, on the other hand, is a toxin that breaks down healthy cells and promotes disease. It jerks your energy around and can wreak havoc on your emotions.
By now, you’ve probably realized that sugar is not limited to those pure white granules you pour in your coffee. Once you realize that even ketchup and spaghetti sauce contain high amounts of sugar, you’re stuck in the Matrix forever. You’ll never view any food the same.
Do you know what doesn’t have sugar? Raw vegetables. Even fruit has a certain amount of sugar in it (fructose), which brings me to my next forbidden food.
One of the great things about apples is that, ever though they are relatively high in sugar, they package it in a time-release capsule called “fiber.” To get to the sugar, your body has to break down the fiber, which expends energy and releases the sugar cells gradually. It’s a perfect system. When you take the juice away from the fiber structure of the apple and drink it straight, that sugar goes right through your digestive system to your blood stream, where it spikes your energy and your insulin levels. Then you come crashing down and your liver is left to figure out where to store all this extra insulin. Naturally, it goes right to your fat stores, where it builds up over time.
Just say no to fruit juice.
Back in 1980, researchers at Searle Pharmaceuticals had a problem: they had spent a small fortune developing a chemical sweetener to replace sugar, but all the lab rats they had tested it on were sick, obese, and sometimes dying with massive tumors all over their bodies. The FDA wouldn’t even touch it. It was a disaster.
When Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, his transition team – which included Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld – selected a new FDA director, one who had no previous experience with food additives. At Rumsfeld’s behest, the new director fast-tracked the chemical for approval. The chemical was called aspartame, and it was released to the market as “NutraSweet.”
Since then, countless studies have been kept quiet, labeled “opposition research” and dismissed as “conspiracy theories.” Some of those studies have linked aspartame to weight gain and diseases of the liver, eyes, and nervous system. Some people really prefer the taste of diet drinks and “sugar-free” foods. I understand. That doesn’t change what it’s doing to your body. Some people like the taste of cigarette smoke, too. It doesn’t change the long-term effects.
Eventually, I’m going to get to a place on the list where we tackle the destructive properties of pizza, but I’m sure you’re not ready for that yet. Instead, I’ll just put this out there. There is a reason many religions forbid eating pig meat (there are also several non-dietary reasons, but I’ll leave that here), but you don’t have to be religious to steer clear of it.
Pigs are what they eat: if you feed them garbage, excrement, maggots, decaying vegetables, and rotting meat (and most farmers do), the garbage sits in their digestive tract and seeps into their blood stream. Their meat absorbs toxins, and since they do not sweat, there is nowhere for the toxins to flush out over time. They are so toxic that poisonous rattlesnake bites will not kill them. They carry diseases, including trichinosis. That’s just a good start.
Consider that most lunch meats (particularly hot dogs) are made of more than the “edible” meat reserved for pork chops and filets. The other meats include the guts, cartilage, hooves, and other unused body parts. It’s like eating trash from the pigpen, including everything the pig has eaten, wallowed in, and discharged.
So, if you love salami, bologna, pepperoni, sausage, capicola, or just traditional ham, I understand, but for your own wellness I’m going to encourage you to move to lean pasture-raised turkey, non-farmed salmon, and maybe a little organic, grass-finished beef. (Last week, I mentioned that your meat intake for the week should be two or three servings about the size of a deck of cards.)
More Information (If You Dare)
I could go much farther than that, but we’ll stop there for now. If you want to torture yourself and go cold turkey on even some healthy foods, I recommend this recent article from Dr. Josh Axe.
Instead, I want to bring balance to the Force.
So often, when I’m teaching along these lines, people jump to the conclusion that I’m going to take away all their favorite foods and force them to eat rice cakes and lawn trimmings. Personally, I think it’s hilarious, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead, I want to encourage you to embrace a wellness lifestyle that will not only prolong your life and make it more enjoyable, but will taste amazing and bring you real pleasure (once you wean your body off its sugar addiction).
Chad’s Life-changing Discovery
I love telling the story of my friend, Chad, whose wife decided years ago that they should embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. Chad was a McDonald’s-and-Pizza-Hut kind of guy, and not a big vegetable eater, so it felt to him like a death sentence.
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he told me about the day his wife set a platter of cut raw veggies in front of him, and as he mindlessly munched, he tasted something amazing. Looking down, he discovered that he was eating a cold, crisp slice of green pepper. The taste exploded around his mouth. All he could say to his wife was, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing!” (Of course, he insists to this day that when you’re as hungry as he was, shoe leather tastes good, but I know the truth – he liked it).
Get Your Brain Back
Sugar and chemical flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate create a prison of overstimulation in your brain that blocks out the enjoyment of natural foods. Once you break free of that prison and the blinders come off, you discover that the foods God created around us are delicious and enjoyable. I challenge you to re-discover (or discover for the first time) the pleasures of cold, crisp raw vegetables. You’ll be shocked.
Get Your Swimsuit Body Back
When you give your body the fuel it was designed to run on, it takes the shape it was designed to take. Obviously, some appropriate movements will tone and refine that shape, but your body will burn the fuel efficiently and won’t have to store the leftover insulin in places that make you feel unattractive.
Again, please remember that wellness and freedom of movement need to be your motivation, not matching up to a photo in a magazine. Everyone knows those photos are doctored and manipulated, anyway.
What’s Left To Eat? Only The Good Stuff!
Next week, I want to take this conversation one step further and introduce you to a style of eating that has fostered wellness and longevity in generations of people around the world. It’s more than just avoiding certain foods. In fact, it goes beyond food and includes how you prepare it, eat it, and live with it. It’s a lifestyle, and I think as you learn more about it, the freedom and pleasure it produces will appeal to you.
In fact, I just heard a presentation recently that explained that the ancient Egyptian diet was heavy on vegetables and very light on meat. They treated meat as a condiment to add flavor to the vegetables, but never as a main course. The statement that was so interesting to me was that a vegetable-based diet is always preferable to a meat-based diet in a warm climate like Egypt. Florida gets that way sometimes. Something to think about.
More on that next week. I can’t wait.
A “Thank You” And A “Please Help”
In the meantime, I want to say “thank you” again to everyone who attended our Fundamental Foods And Friends Dinner last Thursday night with Francie Bussing from Plant Based Radiance here in Naples. I also want to thank all our friends who joined us live online, but I’m sorry you missed out on the food. It was quite an experience. We are working on a dinner in April that is going to blow your mind, and next week’s article will help set us up for it, so I don’t want to spoil it just yet. I really hope you’ll join us, either in person (if you’re in Naples) or live online.
In the meantime, would you help me get the word out about wellness? Take 8 seconds to share this article on your favorite social media channel. You might surprised at who you know that is looking for just this information right now. Probably in the swimsuit section at Dillard’s.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas