What Is Healthy Life By Design?

Healthy Life By Design Recently I had someone ask, “What is your program all about?” So let me explain.  Our “Healthy Life by Design,” an improving your health and weight loss program is not a diet in the usual sense of the word.  It is instead a (lifestyle), a planned way of eating for the rest of your life. Our program is based on a well-balanced regimen of interesting, satisfying, nutrient-rich and easy-to-find food.  Food that is also easy to prepare.  It is not severely restrictive in caloric intake or limited in variety, but rather, it is based upon the idea that eating is and always should be one of life’s greatest pleasures.  You should be able to love food and life quite happily on our program, while still meeting your weight loss and improved health goals. The bounty of wonderful food available to us is a mixed blessing.  When you think about the sheer number of vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, oils, dairy products, nuts and various seeds available to us; It is truly unbelievable.  When you are trying to eat as healthy as possible, the diversity available can make us very confused. One of our goals, to enjoy the great variety of food out there, is to make eating as uncomplicated for you as possible. Of course… it is essential that you set boundaries for what you do and do not eat.  But this does not mean you have to deprive yourself; it just means that you have to opt for quality and wholesomeness. For example, we prefer you have steel cut oats that is low in sugar instead of cereal with almost no fiber, but is heavily sweetened. A lean turkey burger or grass fed beef burger instead of one made from fat-marbled ground beef will always be a better choice. Choosing real fruit juice and sparkling water instead of a sugar loaded fruit drink is a better idea. For some of you this may be a new way of thinking.  I certainly am aware that we have become accustomed to a particular intense flavor of one type of food; often times, substitutes seem to pale in comparison. But when you choose high quality substitutes, your taste preference for those substitutes can change in just a matter of weeks. We are not going to ask you to switch to foods that are bland and flavorless, but to choose foods that really taste great and are good for you. There is nothing boring about a turkey burger spread with spicy mustard, smothered in onions that have been caramelized in a touch of olive oil and served on a chewy whole-grain bun.  There is nothing dull about bubbly water splashed with tangy sweet grapefruit juice and mango nectar or, how about trying one of the many crunchy, nutty, high-fiber cereals now being produced. These types of foods are the ones that are going to help you change your eating habits forever.  They are readily out there or you can make them yourself. Either way, they’re going to make a big difference in your life. There are some foods that you will have to reduce down or give up. Our program is going to help you eliminate foods that have empty calories, as well as many that are filled with unhealthy fats, sugar and a variety of artificial ingredients. When you view some of our recipes – you will see the variety of foods that we are going to ask you to eat instead, they will make it considerably easier to let go of a lot of the junk food. Although following our program for a healthier diet and weight loss is uncomplicated, people are not.  We are all at the mercy of our deeply ingrained habits, up and down emotional patterns, social pressures and in-born desire for pleasure.  Essentially, we all have our own human nature to contend with and that has turned the relatively straight forward process of losing weight into a surprisingly complex program.   When we are faced with complex problems in most areas of our life, we think nothing of devoting much of our time to resolving them. After all, common wisdom says that if you approach a challenge by taking it step-by step, success typically will come.  However, weight loss is rarely approached in that same logical fashion.  Most people want immediate gratification and most of the weight loss programs you will see advertised try to deliver just that. Typically, you are asked to jump in and aggressively cut your calories so that you drop pounds right away. A few weeks later, they let you ease up, you eat more; then, a few weeks after that, you can slack off a little again until it is easier and easier to relax the rules. You eventually find yourself eating and living the way you did before starting the diet.  The result, you gain back all of the weight you lost and typically, even more.  That’s called… frustrating! If there is any doubt that making drastic changes to behavior in the short-term is no way to approach a multi-faceted problem; you only have to look at the diet failure rates in our country. So, instead of buying into the “quick fix” approach, we recommend making changes one small step at a time so that success can be realized. Some individuals who have tried our approach are increasing the amount of their physical activity and they are not skipping meals.  They are assessing their lives and they are working on changing the reasons why they turn to food for comfort.  These same individuals learn how to get in better touch with their hunger and finally, they embrace a new, more moderate and nutritious way of eating. Doing all of these things and doing them in a gradual way is what enables these same people to reach and maintain healthy body weight and improve their overall health. In reality, it’s the reverse of a quick-fix approach and it really works! As a chiropractic physician, I have had a lot of training in how the human body operates. But my real education has come from being a student of human psychology and seeing the success and failures of diet programs.  Ever since I finished Graduate School in 1981, I have been fascinated by how some people are able to lose weight and keep if off and how some people can not seem to make the weight loss permanent.  This fascination has led me to seek the answer to that question as part of my life’s work. It’s no great mystery how you lose weight- that’s just a matter of improving a person’s physiology.  The more puzzling question is why after managing to shed at least some or perhaps even a lot of weight so many people change course and go back to their old ways.  Even more intriguing is that when they were thinner most of them say, “I have never felt better in my life!” So what makes these people revert back to their old ways? After working one-on-one with many clients and talking to thousands of patients throughout the years, I feel I can say with some authority that the aggressive mental approach to weight loss or health improvement is also the fastest way to failure.  Why you may ask?  Because most of us just don’t respond well to sudden changes. Yet, your body and your mind both have a powerful ability to adapt, when change comes at you in small increments. When a professional athlete trains, they do not go from jogging 1-2 miles to running 26 miles overnight. Nor do they go from lifting 20 pounds to immediately lifting 100 pounds. Instead, they work up to the peak of their capabilities, giving their bodies a chance to become accustomed to the new demands being placed on them. This step-by-step strategy makes sense when it comes to weight loss too. Lasting change just takes time! What is really important to understand is not only does our body work this way; but, our mind does as well. If you’ve always relied on food for emotional well-being, you will have to get used to the idea of turning to other things to help you through tough times. Even more importantly, you need to find out why you need food to make you feel better. What in your life is making you unhappy or leaving a void that only ice cream and doughnuts will fill? If you are eating because you are stressed angry, bored or lonely, you’ve got to find out what’s at the root of all these feelings and change it. That in and of itself may take some time; but, it’s one of the most critical components for lasting weight loss and improved health. You have to find a healthy replacement for the “comfort eating” and embrace it long term. Essentially, we all must; Eat food, not too much, mostly plants!

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