by Adele Fawcett, ROHP
My life would be perfect if only…I won the lottery, I could swap bodies with a much younger version of me, I lost 50lbs, I had more energy, I found more time…
The Negative Thought Pattern:
My life would be perfect if only I lost 50lbs… but I haven’t lost 50 lbs, so that is why my life isn’t perfect and I’m not happy. Well I guess I’m not happy, I need to lose 50lbs and then I’ll be happy…losing 50lbs is a lot of work, uh that is depressing…no wonder I’m not happy…
Have you ever found yourself stuck in this kind of a thought pattern? Steals your energy, your motivation and brings you down, doesn’t it? While it is important to identify what isn’t working in your life to bring you health and happiness, it is even more important to avoid falling in to the trap of letting this kind of thinking become an excuse for inaction.
‘If only’ statements can easily create negative thought patterns which can keep you blinded about where you are now, the progress you’ve already made and the aspects of your life you have to be grateful for. Excuses let you off the hook for taking action because it places the emphasis on wanting what you don’t have and why you can’t get there.
It is easy to fall into the habit of looking at where you are now and where you would like to be and calling the space in between a wasted effort. This kind of negative thinking can apply to all areas of your life, but seems to be especially prevalent in our attitudes towards our bodies and health.
Identifying obstacles to health and happiness and then setting goals to bring about positive changes in your life is useful. Getting trapped in negative thought patterns that allow you to make excuses for why you are stuck or can’t have what you want won’t keep you motivated to achieve your goals.
Help yourself create the life you want. Be honest with your feelings about yourself, your health, your body and the work it takes to bring about positive change. Learn to recognize your negative thought patterns and the excuses they generate. Start thinking positively by recognizing something about your life/self/situation you are grateful for.
Use this positive thinking to stay motivated. This is especially valuable when it comes to your health and managing your weight. Learn as much as you can about how your body works and what it needs to thrive. Then you can use your knowledge to make beneficial dietary and lifestyle choices to stick with your journey to better health.
Last issue’s column busted some weightloss and calorie myths. One of the most important principles to remember is that the number of calories present in a food does not tell you the nutritional integrity, the quality or the health creating potential of foods. When you learn how the body works, and the ‘ingredients’ you need to thrive, this principle really becomes something to live by.
The human body is intelligent. Your body is equipped with instructions on how to repair, rebuild to produce and manage energy vital to living that are coded right into your cells, along with the ability to carry out those instructions efficiently. A healthy body is one in which this process is happening efficiently, where your metabolism manages your weight, and you feel well, with energy to spare!
In order for these vital processes to take place, very specific compounds and nutrients must be available for the body to use. The more stress you have to handle (physical, emotional, mental stress and even illness), the more important these compounds and nutrients are to maintaining the body’s vital processes. This is where eating nourishing foods, not calories, becomes essential.
Your body needs substances from nature including vitamins, minerals, proteins, fatty acids, water, fibre, carbohydrates and other compounds, which we can call nutrients. All of the vital processes necessary to sustaining life, and creating optimal health, require these nutrients.
We should get these nutrients from eating foods. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of convenient, packaged, pre-made foods that make up a large portion of our diets are not supplying the nutrients your body looks for.
In fact, many of them are not only devoid of essential nutrients; they can act as nutrient-robbers and can even be toxic or unrecognizable to the body as food.
Processed foods are foods made from parts of plants, most often grains, whose nutrients are lost when they are processed from the whole form to an ingredient used to make ‘convenience’ foods. Other ingredients, often synthetic or denatured, are added to improve texture, flavour, colour, and to extend their shelf life.
The more processed the food the less nutritional value it has.
Foods in their whole form provide optimal nutritional support. Beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils and grains provide the nutrients which support health and wellbeing.
Organic, lean quality meats, poultry, fish, eggs and milk products can also be incorporated into a healthy diet and do provide essential nutrients. A good quality, well formulated multi- vitamin and mineral supplement program that provides nutrients in the forms similar to those found in foods can also be a useful way to ensure you are not missing anything vital.
Here is a recap. Learn to identify self-defeating negative thought patterns, practice being grateful and make an effort to stay positive.
Follow a nutrient-packed whole foods diet high in simple unprocessed foods, organic lean quality meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, fibre, good and essential fats from nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils, vegetables at every meal, colourful fruit and plenty of clean, pure water. Learn as much as you can about your body and how to keep yourself healthy.
Adele Fawcett, BA hon, ROHP, is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner and registered orthomolecular health practitioner at the Valley Nutrition Centre in Greater Sudbury.