Sunday, March 26, 2017

That Space Food Can't Be Healthy

Do you ever have people looking at your packets of fuelings who say "I could never do that, I need real food"? Do astronauts eat real food? Do soldiers eat real food? Yes, they do. And our fuelings are also "real food". They are also "functional foods" which mean they are foods that serve a purpose, just as MRE's for soldiers and dehydrated packets of food for astronauts serve a purpose. Believe me, we would not send our soldiers into battle without real food, nor would we send our astronauts into space without real food. Our food was simply designed with a purpose, dehydrated in some cases, and put into packets for portion-control and to work to create the optimal physiologic conditions to encourage our bodies to use it's long-term energy storage for fuel. We are in training too, in training to live healthy lives. Simple as that.

A friend and client recently confided to me that she was being "razzed" at work about her "packet food". It got me thinking, and doing some research as well. It is likely that some of the same people who pooh-pooh our program as not using "real food" buy milk and bread from the grocery store, and consider that "real food". And, it is! But it is also "functional food", Milk has added vitamin D in it, to serve a purpose. Enriched flour (which cannot even be described as functional food) has been "enriched with vitamins" because in the process of stripping it of its hull (where all the nutrients reside) and bleaching it, it has very little, if any, nutritional value beyond the macronutrient carbohydrate which now has been turned into a high-glycemic time-bomb. So, they have to "add" all the nutrients back IN to it just to get some semblance of nutrition in it.

My husband calls our fuelings "purpose-driven food". They are meant to be used for a PURPOSE, and that purpose is for phase 2 and 3 of our program, which are "REACH A HEALTHY WEIGHT" and "TRANSITION TO HEALTHY EATING" while still getting EVERYTHING we need in order to satisfy both our daily MICRONUTRIENT NEEDS (vitamins/minerals-including iron), and our daily MACRONUTRIENT NEEDS (including fiber and protein) while still creating a caloric deficit substantial enough that ANYONE who is on it will lose weight safely and effectively. This is why our program is recommended by over 20,000 physicians, nationwide. These TWO phases of our SIX-PHASE PROGRAM are the only phases that are “product-dependent”. Our FOURTH phase, “LIVING THE HABITS OF HEALTH (which includes being weight-stable, in other words “maintenance”) can incorporate any HEALTHY food-philosophy we want! If we want to be "whole-foods Paleo" we can be. If we want to be "whole-food, plant strong" we can be. In fact, the co-founder of our program himself (who is a physician) is an advocate of eating whole-food, plant-strong in maintenance! Step 2 and 3 are simply temporary STEPS in our journey.

The misnomer is "Oh, I could NEVER eat like THAT for the rest of my life"! Well, we aren't asking anyone to become EXPERTS in weight LOSS, we want people to move on to become experts in HEALTH. While our phases beyond 2 and 3 don’t HAVE to continue to use our fuelings, many of us coaches do continue to utilize the "packets" in our maintenance programs as a CHOICE of convenience and health. WHY? Well, first of all because they are darn good. Secondly, if I'm going to have a BROWNIE I'm not going to eat a sugar-and-fat-filled bomb that is going to radically increase my blood sugar and make me feel awful in a couple of hours when my blood sugars CRASH, I don’t eat that way anymore. However, I WILL eat something that LOOKS and TASTES like a brownie, but is low-glycemic, has no artificial colors, is packed with probiotics, and has 11 grams of protein and only 15 carbs per serving...and oh yes, I'll get 35% of my RDA for iron while I'm at it! That just makes sense to me, that’s just how I roll! But some people will move on to styles and philosophies of eating that THEY value long-term, and that is how it is meant to be. It is a choice.

Finally, can you imagine someone deciding they DIDN'T want to be an astronaut or a soldier because of the FOOD they would necessarily need to eat to attain their dream of being an astronaut or soldier? I can see exactly how that conversation would go in the recruiting office or at NASA:

Prospective soldier to military recruiter: "I really want to serve my country in valor, bravery and honor as a soldier. But what is the food like? Because I won't eat packet-food either in training or on the field."

Prospective astronaut to NASA interviewer: "I've always dreamed of exploring space and walking on the moon. But what is the food like? I won't eat packet-food either in training or in space."

Yeah, it sounds kind of silly to me, I don't think they would be further considered for those positions if that was their opinion, but I have a feeling those conversations would NOT occur, because they want to be soldiers and astronauts, and "what is the food like" doesn't even enter into their decision whatsoever. 

So, let the scoffers scoff, let the nay-sayers nay-say. It isn't probably even about me or my program, it is about them and their opinions, which don't really involve me at all. It is not my responsibility to convince the world that what I am doing it something they should do. My only judge and jury is MYSELF, and the facts. The results speak for themselves. The labwork I get after attaining a healthy weight speak for themselves. My heart health and happiness speak for itself. I will continue to go about my business of creating health in my life and helping others do the same no matter what a handful of other people might think of it. As for me, I want to live an optimally healthy life, so I'm in training for THAT, and, right now, this is MY food.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The "It Won't REALLY Matter If I..." Trap

Ever heard yourself TELL yourself "It won't REALLY matter if I..." as you are about to choose to have a little something-something that is off-program? Whether it's the left over chicken nugget from your child's dinner plate, or a little extra almond milk in your cereal, or that extra handful of pistachios, it DOES matter.

I don't know much, but here is what I DO know, and can tell you by experience. I have never seen ONE PERSON in my 6 years of coaching NOT succeed when they made the decision to follow the program as outlined in the Quick Start Guide EXACTLY, day in and day out.

On the contrary, I have seen MANY people who have opted to substitute their judgment, even daily, for that of the program and NOT succeed in their health goals.

It may seem innocent enough, and it may be such a habit that we aren't even aware we are doing it. We've stopped measuring (or have never measured) the half and half we use in our morning coffee. We stop counting (or have never counted) condiments. We eyeball our lean for our Lean and Green, and do the same thing for our vegetables. After all, WE know what 5-7 ounces of lean protein looks like, don't we? WE know what 1.5 cups of vegetables looks like, don't we?

And so starts the slow slide into forgetfulness, into mindlessness, into old habits, because pretty soon it isn't just once or twice a week we are deviating from the program it is once or twice a day. And although those deviations, on the surface, seem so minor to us, they can add up to COMPLETE FRUSTRATION because we have actually convinced ourselves we ARE following the program.

But are we? Are we really?

I've seen it time and time again, where someone will hit a plateau (and it's happened to me too!) and have no idea why their weight loss stopped? When this happens to me I do a three-day food log and meticulously log every single thing I put in my mouth (time, amount), and I track my water (time, amount) also. You'd be surprised at what I have uncovered about myself and my program when I've done this exercise. In fact, even the PROCESS of logging everything for 3 days usually gets me PAST a stall or a plateau, because if I'm going to write it down I'm going to make sure it was ON PLAN! If I'm going to write "6 ounces of chicken breast cooked in Pam" then I very well better have MEASURED it!

I challenge everyone to do a 3-day food log, but be sure to review the Quick Start Guide first, with brand-new eyes, then make YOUR 3-day food log MATCH the Quick Start Guide.

The danger of having a "good enough" mindset instead of a precise mindset when it comes to the program is that we slowly slide into complacency, and our results will follow.

If you'd like to try this exercise with me (I'm doing it for the next 3 days also) I encourage you to do it! If you want me to review your food logs to see how they match up against the Quick Start Guide, I am happy to do that, just e-mail me your log after 3 days and I'll analyze it, trouble-shoot it for any areas I see that might be holding you back without you even knowing it!

Here is a quick review of what your day should look like:
5 Medifast or Optavia Fuelings
1 weighed and measured Lean and Green, choosing only the protein and vegetables included in the Quick Start Guide List, and including the required amount (if any) of measured Healthy Fats corresponding to the lean protein you chose
No more than 3 condiments per day, also only of condiments listed in either the Quick Start Guide OR the Expanded Condiment/Healthy Fat List (if you don't have this list, e-mail me with "Expanded List" in the subject line and I'll get it to you asap)
90 ounces or more of water

Your 6 fuelings (5 +1) should be spaced 2-3 hours apart (no sooner than 2 hours, no later than 3 hours) throughout your day, with your first fueling consumed WITHIN the first hour of waking up.

Your caffeine should be limited to 300 mg per day, which is about 20 ounces of brewed coffee or black tea, or 3-4 cans of caffeinated diet cola beverages.

Your exercise (if you exercise) should be no more than 45 minutes per day, of moderate intensity

One optional snack (from the list in the Quick Start Guide) per day, if hunger is an issue. Never have an optional snack simply because you "feel like it", only utilize it on extra-hungry days if you have them. Remember that this program was designed for men and women alike, my personal opinion as that while men sometimes could use the extra calories, women don't tend to need them and in fact adding them may increase their hunger slightly or noticeable in the next few days.

Learn to recognize that voice inside that simply wants what it wants, and prompts you to reach for that extra something. Or, the voice can also convince you that measuring just doesn't really matter. Or that the extra condiments can slide today, because emotionally you really need them (or it doesn't really matter).

Follow the program, strive to make every day a 100% day, and when it isn't examine it to determine WHY it isn't and make corrections for the next day, and move FORWARD to your health goals! If you falter, don't beat yourself up, but also don't stay STUCK. Make your next decision an on program decision and carry on.

Remember this program was scientifically designed by people much much smarter than me! It was clinically proven safe AND EFFECTIVE provided it is followed. Do not modify, do not modify, do not modify. A modified plan will give modified results, and NOT the ones you were after.

Who is with me?