The “Miracle Diet” Trap

healthyHow many of you have ever been on a diet? (I know I have). Now how many of you have “cheated” on your diet? (Yes, again). What about going off a diet and then falling into the exact same eating and exercising habits as before? (You got me). And when that happened did the weight that you lost, magically come back, quick? (Oh yea).

So we’ve all been through this. The “yo-yo” diet. You’re on a diet. You’re committed. You lose weight. Then you go off the diet and gain the weight right back because you didn’t change any of your eating habits. Yet, 6 months later, you go right back to another diet, lose some weight, go off the diet, and gain that weight right back. What’s the deal? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Our minds and bodies are being tortured by the ups and downs that most people who diet find themselves in.

Fad-dietsI’m sick of seeing people struggle with countless weight loss plans, eating foods they don’t like, and starving or overeating just to fit into a certain type of plan that promises huge results. There is no miracle pill/diet/oil/supplement/anything else that people are trying to sell you that will help you lose weight and keep it off. Being healthy is not just about the number on the scale, it’s about your body composition, how clear and active your mind is, how alive you feel. And I promise you won’t get all of that from a pill or by eating some random piece of lettuce everyday.

We are a nation obsessed with diets. Over 7 million women and 1 million men struggle with eating disorders. That equals the population of Switzerland! Up to 50% of women (50%!) are on a diet in the U.S. at any given time. While up to 90% of teenagers are on a diet. (I know that’s when I was even though I definitely didn’t need to be.) Americans spend more money on dieting, diet products and weight loss surgery than any other country. Americans spend $1.5 billion on weight loss products every year. Imagine if we spent that money on quality food instead!

Dr. Mehmet Oz came under fire today by the U.S. Congress for making mis-leading claims about various weight-loss supplements, namely green-tea extract. For many of you, it seems absolutely crazy that the lovely Dr. Oz would make misleading claims – however he did! But, he’s not the only one. Doctors are constantly under pressure to dole out the latest “miracle pill” because that’s what the public wants. We live in a society that has begun to depend upon pills that help us sleep, poop, have sex, eat, etc. Why do we need to depend on pills to help us function normally? 

Being healthy is about living a certain lifestyle. It’s about listening to your body. Eating fresh foods. Exercising. Keeping the mind active. In regard to diets, most likely if you eat in moderation you can enjoy being at your optimum weight. Now, for those with gluten sensitivity or allergies, obviously you need to stay away from those certain foods that trigger a response. But, in the end, what I’m talking about isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle.

DietsLiving a lifestyle that combines the freshest food and daily movement will lead you to be the best “you” ever. You will feel better than any diet that you were ever on, because guess what, you never stop a lifestyle change. You live it! Every day! For the rest of your life! It may be difficult at first to swap your daily hamburger or sub sandwich for lunch with a fresh salad and lots of vegetables. But I promise, after eating that for a few weeks, your body will perform better.

People who make lifestyle changes are committed to being their healthiest self. It’s not about losing weight or looking good in a bikini (even though I can see why that’s important) it’s about feeling your best, because when you feel good, you never want to feel bad again. Just try eating some french fries a few weeks into your lifestyle change and see how you feel. (You probably won’t need that magic pill for pooping!)

So start listening to your body. Forget the “miracle pills” and the “miracle diets.” Actually remove the word “diet” out of your vocabulary COMPLETELY! Start a lifestyle change.

Need help? Contact me. I’ll be happy to give you small changes that you can implement that will lead you to your best self. And no, it’s not a miracle. It takes work and dedication to your health to succeed. But, the feeling that you’ll get during your lifestyle changes will make you never want to deal with dieting ever again.

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Enjoying Fresh Spring Produce!

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier with the amount of fresh produce making its way onto my plate lately. The cold winter of the Northeast made way for a shaky spring, but now we’re reaping the benefits. Just as summer is approaching, we’re seeing an array of vegetables from every lettuce you could imagine to an assortment of radishes, peas, and cauliflower.

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Fresh Spring Lettuce

If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden, you know all about the radishes and lettuces. I’m having lots of fun eating my radishes raw, cooking them with some butter, and adding them to pretty much every salad, sandwich, and taco I’ve made in the past few weeks. From Easter Egg radishes to Cherry Belles and even French Breakfast, I can’t get enough of them. Oh, and don’t even think about throwing away those radish tops – they’re delicious thrown in salads!

Eating locally and in season guarantees the best tasting produce. It’s also what our body naturally craves – right now. There’s a reason that lettuce grows right before the hot days of summer hit – we need to freshen and lighten up after all that hibernating we’ve been doing all winter! Listen to what your body is craving and enjoy the vegetables of the season. Spring weather offers so many great healing and detoxifying foods for your liver and blood including garlic, onion, and dandelion greens. It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate your body for the hot months ahead.

Less miles = fresher food. And in the spring, summer and fall months we should be enjoying the freshest food possible since we do live in the “Garden State!”

Now that you know how good it is for you, it’s time to make your way to the local farmer’s market. Shopping at the farmer’s market will introduce you to the taste of food – the real taste of food. You’ll be eating food that was picked literally yesterday (or maybe the day before), which when compared to supermarkets that offer food that was picked a week or more ago, way before it was ripe, is a tremendous taste improvement. When you’re there, be sure to ask the farmer about their practices. Many small farmers may use organic practices, but are unable to afford the certification by the USDA. You can also give yourself a pat on the back for being environmentally conscious when you purchase the spring kale from your local organic farmer rather than the kale at the supermarket that was grown across the country.

Now that you’re salivating, here’s a list of produce that’s in season in Zone 7 (aka New Jersey). Head out to your local farmer’s market and enjoy the produce!

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Just Picked Produce!

Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb

Alliums: onions, Garlic Scapes (MY FAVORITE!), Spring Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Scallions

Vegetables: Peas, Kohlrabi, Squash Blossoms, Hot Peppers

Greens: Kale, Collards, Spinach, Chard

Salad Greens: Arugula, Spring Mix

Root Vegetables: Radishes, Beets, Young Potatoes, Carrots

Herbs:Rosemary, Thyme, Mint, Sage (the list goes on and on!)

 

Not sure where your local farmer’s market is? Check out Local Harvest where you can enter your zip code and be directed to your nearest farmer for produce, eggs, milk, and meat.