Starting fresh often seems like a wonderful idea. We all have habits and behaviors that don't necessarily serve us and that could use some overhauling now and again, but with as many distractions as there are in our lives, it's often difficult to stay "fresh" every time we try a reboot. Lasting lifestyle changes must involve a road map of sorts to bring you closer to your objectives with mile markers along the way. Daunting objectives are much more difficult to stick to than bite size pieces that you might be able to complete in one day. Below are a few proven strategies to help you shrug off bad habits for your long term health.
- Replace one sugary snack that you eat after lunch with a high fat snack (like coconut oil coated pili nuts) that will keep cravings away until dinner.
- Wait at least 20 minutes after you wake up before you check you phone. Don't start your day in a reactive state.
- Write down, or at least be conscious of, the time you stop consuming calories at night and see if you can make it 12 hours before breakfast.
- Call one distant friend this week you haven't talked to in a while.
2. Put some skin in the game. Having some accountability with a close friend or relative is about the best way to stay on track with an objective. Make it social; this is one of the positive ways you can use your social media accounts work well for you. Even if not many people see it, the stigma of putting your goals out there give you that extra nudge to keep at them day after day. To take it a step further, put some money on it. Find a friend or family member who's also pursing a goal and use a site like stickK where you can bet on yourself to meet your goal. Don't know anyone personally who might be interested? The site will pair you with someone online. You can decide the amount you want to put down, so, for example, you could decide to bet $100 that by January 31st, you will have eliminated all refined carbohydrates from your diet. If you meet that goal, you get your money back.
3.Cravings can be tamed. There is a growing body of research that many of our cravings come from the constitution of our gut bacteria, so don't think that those cravings for junk foods are an inevitable part of living in a modern society. These microscopic organisms in our guts are so influential that they can even high-jack our vagus nerve and tell our brain to consume more food that maybe damaging for us but better for them. The good news is that we can take advantage of this and "cultivate" a healthy gut biom that will ultimately lead to decreased sugar and junk food cravings. While there is a lot to be said about bio-individuality on this topic, one simple change you can make is to select a healthier option right after a workout or an extended fast. When your body is in a more depleted state, it is more sensitive to "rewiring" when it comes to cravings. By eating a sugary baked good or "recovery" shake immediately after a workout, you're teaching your body to crave those foods. Conversely, if you replace that with a small salad with hard boiled eggs, a small piece of quality meat, or a handful of nuts (just make sure they're not coated with unhealthy vegetable or canola oils), you'll teach your brain to crave these foods instead.
4. Not all cooking oils are created equal. If you make no other change to your diet, consider removing all vegetable and seed oils from your diet. In Dr. Cate Shanahan's comprehensive book, Deep Nutrition, she goes into great detail about the extraordinary amount of damage these seeds oils do, even down to the DNA level. Basically, these seed oils are the product of our modern food industry that is more obsessed with "nutritionism" than feeding the population real, whole foods. The result is an oil that our bodies can't even recognize as foods. These oils cause an immense amount of oxidative stress and can't be metabolized away like a moderate amount of sugar can. Oils become part of our bodies (for example, all of our cells walls are made of phospholipids, essentially fatty molecules) whereas sugars, though over consumption has its own issues, can be metabolized and broken down into waste products. Check all of your nutrition labels and clear out your pantry of cheap, highly oxidative oils and your body and 90 year-old self will thank you. Learn more about good and bad oils here.
- Remove vegetable, canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed, corn, refined palm, and soybean oils
- Emphasize cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, grass-feed beef tallow, lard, butter, unrefined coconut oil, duck fat, and walnut oil.
- Rest assured that all Pili Hunters' products only use natural fats that have been around for centuries.
No matter your objective this year, you'll have to face some amount of sacrifice. Sacrifice means giving up something now for something you want more later, so aim small to see success early on, tell your supportive friends about your journey, clean up your gut and take control of your cravings, and foster a zero tolerance attitude towards toxic oils and you will be sure to see results.