Learning who you are, becoming that person, and living in that comfort requires exploration. True exploration cannot be done without good tools. You wouldn’t hike Mount Everest without studying the climb, gathering tools, conditioning your body, and enlisting the help of others. You wouldn’t invest all of your money without asking for advice from a financial expert.
You need good tools to find and explore who you are. Julia Child, the famous chef who brought French cooking to Americans, worked with simple ingredients — but they weren’t powdered or dehydrated. As she famously said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Obviously there are many facets of your lives that tools will be necessary (at least in the beginning) to get you started (think mind, body, spirit). Today, let’s talk about the body.
So many people — men in their 20s to women in their 70s — are struggling with body image, stubborn weight loss, taxed adrenal glands, hormone imbalances, mood disruptions, and a general feeling of not being healthy. As someone who is frequently asked about these things due to a lifetime of managing stomach upset, I felt it would be better to cover a broad range of tools that I use personally to keep my weight down and to enjoy my physical health.
Here are some of my absolute favorite and most highly-recommended resources for losing weight, feeling better, improving mood, and boosting confidence in the kitchen.
- 30 Pounds in 30 Days Workshop
Let’s start with one of the best ways to get back on track with healthful eating patterns and losing weight: Talk to a professional. At Chiropractic Associates of Bedford, Dr. Bruck has over 20 years of successfully helping people with weight loss, nutrition and cleansing. This is her most-requested class. Dr. Bruck can explain the time of day to eat certain macronutrients for your body type and can help you identify which foods may be a problem for you.
Take it from someone who has experience surfing the internet for hours or reading books on nutrition: There is nothing but conflicting information out there. If you have an in-person interaction, you can ask your personalized questions and get answers.
- Chiropractic or Massage for Physical Pain
It’s hard to focus on eating well or exercising when your body is just in disarray. Whether due to poor sleep, injury, excess inflammation, or just a sleuth of complex issues all tied together, a little self-love can go a long way to restoring your health. Chiropractic medicine and massage are both capable of putting your body back into a relaxed state so that the body can repair itself naturally.
- Natural MD Radio
A wise police officer once said, “Anyone who talks in absolutes doesn’t know what they are talking about.” Too often, a doctor or professional that we have come to trust shows us where the black and white lines are. Don’t eat meat. Eat less cheese. Fat is bad. Fat is good. Only yoga. Drink more water. Despite this well-intentioned advice, a lot of people do not thrive on the same regimens. That’s why I love Dr. Aviva Romm’s Natural MD Radio podcast. She spent years as a midwife and herbalist, then went to Yale to pursue her dreams of becoming an MD. Today, she sees clients, has a published book, and has a podcast where she talks about all things women-and-children health. She doesn’t preach any singular type of diet or exercise program, but encourages you to experiment until you find what truly works for you. She also interviews quite a few guests on her shows that help you identify other areas of your life that you may be struggling in, like finances.
- Meal Planning Tools
Without a doubt, meal planning is one of the most important things I have ever done to improve my health. I no longer need to snack, I’m satisfied at all my meals, and my grocery budget is stable. But even meal planning can have its pitfalls. I’m no genius or creative in the kitchen. I fall back on chicken, zucchini, and some squashes for meals (I’m not a fan of salads) when left to my own devices. That’s a pretty depressing schedule to look at every week.
This all changed, though, when I turned to a meal-planning service. Enter RealPlans. I’ve chosen a “keto” (low carb) diet plan, as my body has had some issues with bacteria and yeast overgrowth. There are other plans to choose from. With my subscription, I get to meal plan weekly, import my own recipes, choose from the online selection of recipes they have, and even move things around/delete things I don’t want.
If you just want someone to decide your meals for you (within the diet you choose), eMeals is also a fantastic service with a cheaper price tag. Thanks to a meal-planning subscription, I cook a wide-variety of fish, meat, vegetables, and even grain-free pizza. My health is more well-rounded than ever, and I always feel satisfied. I don’t think the meal planning subscription company you choose matters as much as committing to really trying it and watching it do wonders for your weekly meals.
- A Trustworthy Doctor
After a childhood filled with visiting different PCPs, orthopedic specialists, visiting Boston doctors, and being told I’m a hypochondriac, I finally found a doctor that I trust. Londonderry Gastroenterology has helped me greatly. But more than finding the right guy for the job, I had a big job to do: I had to trust myself. I had to know my body. The truth is — you know what your body is going through. You just might not know how to fix it or what to call it. Your job is to communicate your experience with a doctor. Guess what? Your doctor hasn’t ridden around in your skin; he/she has no idea what it’s like to be you. So own your experience.
I walked into a gastroenterologist’s office at a hospital four years ago. I told him I thought I had some yeast or bacteria overgrowth in my intestines. He shook his head and told me it was incredibly rare and not likely. Four years later, I have the tests to prove that I was right all along. If I didn’t trust myself, I wouldn’t have kept searching. Has it been expensive? Yeah. Has it been hard work? Absolutely. Has it been worth all the trouble? Without a doubt.
- A Diet that Works for You
Diet is the buzzword. Especially as we approach the end of the year (cue holiday binges), and then ring in the new year (hello shiny new gym membership), we’re always looking for the next best diet trick that will help us tip the scale in our favor. Or our belt buckle. Whatever. Paleo, keto, gluten free, dairy free, blood type diet, blue zones, Mediterranean, liquid cleanse…
Stop listening to the noise and hone in for a second. If you eat a piece of dark chocolate because all the Paleo dieters say it’s a healthy snack, and then you get itchy all over and/or your sinuses act up, stop eating chocolate. It is not healthy for YOU. Since I was 13, I have tried the following diets just about every mainstream diet you can in an attempt to feel better physically and mentally. I can tell you with certainty that the only way you can tell if a diet is actually working for you as a general baseline for your health is if you do it without cheating for a number of weeks.
I didn’t know how sensitive I was to all grains (including quinoa) until I completely took them out of my diet and did-not-cheat-at-all for two weeks. That was the greatest experiment I ever did for my health. I also didn’t realize how badly my body needed some carbs until I experienced some glucose deficiency symptoms.
- An Exercise that Actually Works for You
There are yoga conferences all over the country. CrossFit labs are popping up in cities. BeachBody DVDs find their way into the living room. People are tracking their steps as they walk around the office.
Here’s a little secret that people don’t often tell you: If you don’t like an exercise, stop doing it. What’s the point of doing an exercise you hate? Your body doesn’t like it, your mind doesn’t like it, and you’re probably not reaping most of the benefits. A fellow blogger transformed his health with his girlfriend by incorporating more natural movements into their lifestyles. Personally, I’ve started to study Krav Maga and lift weights to improve my mood. No amount of yoga, meditation, or Pilates can do what Krav Maga and weightlifting have done for me. But it’s important to remember that what works for me would stress someone else out. I enjoy running, but pHave you tried something that has really helped your health? Share in the comments below!
-Catie Hall, Identity Graduate