So many of us would love to change our current circumstances. Whether it’s a relationship, career, or health, we have really good intentions but we fail to make a move for one reason or another. We know that we are in situations that are no longer beneficial or healthy for us, but we compensate and carry on, although exhaustingly. Many years go by and we look back and wish that we had done something a long time ago (then that, too, becomes an excuse). We are all guilty, no one is exempt. Over the past few years of working with clients and gathering information, I realize that there are many causes behind that “stuck-ness” that we have unintentionally agreed to live with. Here are three of the big ones:
- We make “stuck” feel better: Although we know there are many things in our lives that are no longer serving us or are negative to our health and spirit, we seem to keep doing them anyway. The best way to get caught in the trap is by sugar coating it with instant, yet temporary, gratification like shopping, alcohol, romance novels, binging, and daily to-do lists. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t enjoy life’s pleasures – absolutely we should! But when we begin to be controlled by them and use them to bridge our unhappiness throughout the day, that’s when we get stuck.
- We believe that being a “good person” will eventually bring fulfillment: Most people in this world are good. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes when we have toxic co-workers, crazy ex-spouses, and people that don’t know how to drive when it rains, but most people truly mean well and are willing to lend a hand when needed… which is great! However, how long have you been donating to your favorite charity, going to church on Sundays, working hard to support your family, taking care of your parents, being honest, making an effort to volunteer, driving your kids all over town…? The list of “nice” things we do all day is ENDLESS! So why is it that regardless of all our genuine intents to be a decent person in society that we feel like a hamster on a wheel? We continually think to ourselves that something will give… someday… and THEN everything will be “easy”. Being a good person is ALWAYS fantastic, it should go without saying. However, it keeps us stuck in the daily, predictable routine when we believe that that is what will someday bring us ultimate joy, happiness and success we’ve been searching for.
- It’s emotional: Imagine yourself SUPER excited to finally start making some changes in your life. Then, in typical fashion, that voice… you know, the same voice that is in your head immediately upon waking up in the morning? It’s the one that tells you to hit snooze 14 times… or to eat 7 candy bars at 2:30 in the afternoon. Well, that voice begins talking REALLY loud when you decide you want to start working on internal growth. Does any of this sound familiar?
- Guilt: Your family will suffer if you take time for yourself.
- Fear: You won’t make it on your own.
- Jealousy: Other people are lucky, you have a black cloud over your head.
- Doubt: People will start talking about you like you’re crazy, so don’t bother, stay where you are and be “safe”.
- Victim: Remember all those horrible things that happened to you as a child? You can’t possibly move forward after all that!
- And my personal favorite: You don’t know enough… you never went to college. Success is for people with degrees.
The good news is that we can beat this. We’re not moving mountains here, we just need to take the first step. It all starts with having the awareness around what keeps us stuck in the first place. It’s unbelievable the shift that occurs when we have more clarity and see things from a higher perspective.
The inability to lose weight is a very hot topic within my practice, and a very sensitive one as well. Nothing is more irritating than going from diet plan to diet plan only to end up five pounds heavier than when you started. In an attempt to decrease frustrations, I’ve put together a summary of six of the most significant, overlooked reasons why losing weight has become one of the most challenging (and annoying) processes that many people have been faced to deal with.
1. Elevated insulin
Insulin is a pretty major hormone, and a fat-storing one to boot. When it is elevated due to the modern lifestyle, fat-burning hormones are subsequently down. A few of the players involved in high levels of insulin are excess carbs/sugar, alcohol, caffeine, medications, stress and lack of protein & fat, to name a few.
2. Chronic stress
Having consistent, high levels of stress causes hormones to become imbalanced. Contrary to popular belief, the inability to lose weight is not a calorie problem, it’s a hormone problem. Long term stress effects hormones, causing the body to store fat.
Sorry guys, if your goal is losing weight, alcohol is out of the question! Not for good, but long enough to retrain your body to burn fat. Drinking alcohol completely prevents the body from burning fat, and not to mention, adds an extra load to the already over-burned liver.
4. Calorie restriction
Not eating enough throughout the day increases your appetite and will eventually lead to cravings. What does our body crave when we get too hungry? Sugar! And the cycle continues.
5. Skipping breakfast
Breakfast is the seed of the day; skipping it sets up a glucose roller coaster. We get ravenously hungry, load up on carbs, crash, and do it all over again. Following this pattern allows for us to overeat and store fat. The longer we stay on this path, the harder it is to change.
6. Lack of sleep
Quality sleep and hormone balance go hand & hand. The hormones that allow us to have a good night’s rest are some of the same that regulate appetite and support weight loss. In addition, what does a person typically do if they cannot sleep? Eat!
There are a lot of food products out there that seem to pop up repeatedly in our daily diets. We eat them on a regular basis because we are told that they are healthy alternatives, can assist in weight loss or that they are a convenient and easy way to get nutrients. The 5 foods below are those that I see consumed the most and have been on the healthy list for many, many years…. but really shouldn’t be.
1. Lean Cuisines: We eat them for weight loss.
These products are keeping us fat! I counted 52 ingredients on one of the boxes – two of them being HFCS and trans fat! Reducing calories contributes to weight GAIN in the long run and the excess chemicals found in these frozen meals add to the toxic load on our liver, which reduces our ability to lose weight.
Alternative: For lunch, bring in leftovers or, when planning out the week, take a few hours on Sunday to cook meats, boil eggs and cut veggies. Preparing our own food will greatly reduce our chemical exposure and in turn, reduce the load on our liver.
2. Granola Bars: We eat them because they’re quick & nutritious.
Once again, here’s a chemical overload! I found approximately 39 ingredients in the Quaker Chewy variety. It’s also high in carbohydrates (sugar). This is a processed food and metabolizing all those ingredients puts a strain on our systems. There is no nutritional value in this product – empty calories.
Alternative: Nuts… of any kind. They are a whole food, just as convenient and contain healthy fats and proteins.
3. Cold Breakfast Cereals: We eat them for nutrients and convenvience.
A multi-billion dollar industry and what we really end up with is wheat that gets put through a process called “extrusion”. High heat turns the wheat into puffs and essentially destroys the nutrients, denatures the fatty acids and turns the proteins into neurotoxins. They are advertised as healthy because of the synthetic vitamins that are added at the end of processing. Most cereals are made of over 50% sugar.
Alternative: Although real protein for breakfast is always best… if you’re looking for a cereal, try steal-cut oats. It has one ingredient!
4. Orange Juice: A breakfast staple and full of vitamin C.
The conventional orange is sprayed heavily with pesticides that are very toxic to the nervous system. Since the whole orange gets put into the machine, what we’re left with is a pretty toxic drink.
Alternative: Skip the orange juice if you’re trying to lose weight. If you can’t live without it… squeeze your own from organic oranges.
5. Commercial, Organic Milk: It’s healthy and helps keep bones strong.
All commercial milk, regardless of whether it’s organic or not, is burnt. There is nothing left in the milk after pasteurization and homogenization – including the natural enzymes that facilitate digestion. It’s not a mystery why more and more people (including children) are lactose intolerant – we can’t digest this stuff!
Alternative: Raw milk contains all the nutrients and enzymes our bodies need, however, because the milk industry is so dirty, raw milk is illegal in many states. Check out www.realmilk.com to find where you can find raw milk or the closest thing to it. Unless you know a farmer, options are unfortunately slim.