Your 5 Guiltiest Secrets

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Nx86xdrewssexybody-3Written by: Janet Early

#1: You Like Food

Secret’s out – you’re human.

Everyone enjoys the taste of food – in fact, you’re biologically engineered that way. Your sense of taste, while it’s a source of pleasure, is a natural survival tactic that helps you stay motivated to supply your body with the energy it needs to function each day.

For instance, foods high in fat trigger your taste buds. Way back in the day when we had to hunt and gather, we’d be attracted to foods that satiated us most effectively and therefore prolonged our lives.

Similarly, you really like sugars. Simple carbohydrates break down easily within the body, like instant energy shots. The earliest humans consumed a lot of fruit, because they benefitted from the energy it supplied.

Furthermore, sugar aids in fat storage. During a time when meals were scarce, hanging on to fat was a good thing.

Fast-forward to 2015 and food scarcity is no longer such a problem. The restaurant, fast-food and grocery industry is BOOMING. But, while the availability of food has changed, your primal tastes have not.

When those prehistoric cravings strike and your mouth waters at the sight of a big, double-decker juicy McDreamy cheeseburger, you are being human in the most basic sense of the word.

Luckily for you, modern homosapiens, science and nutrition have evolved to help you out. You can enjoy food and satisfy your primal instincts without the baggage that’s attached to the contemporary standard diet.

Tips To Retrain Your Tastebuds:

1. Take Gradual Steps To Reduce Sugar Intake – For example, if you usually take two sugars in your coffee, next time try only one, then the next time try none.

2. Eat More Veggies – If you eat more of the good stuff, there’s less room for the bad. Vegetables with more natural sugars – like carrots or beets – can help ease your transition to a healthier diet.

3. Make Healthy Meal Swaps – For starters, you can skip the sugar-ridden ketchup. Instead, add a few fresh tomatoes to go with your burger.

4. Start Your Day With Whole Omega-3 Fats – Healthy fats (like avocados and salmon) will stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings, helping you to stay on track throughout the day.

#2: You Don’t Like Your Job

Are you near a group of people? Look side to side at five of them. Of those five, four of them dislike their jobs.

According to Everest College’s third annual Work Stress Survey, 83% of Americans are badly stressed out at work. The key reasons? Higher workloads and lower pay.

How To Improve A Stressful Job:

1. Focus On The Positives

There’s gotta be something you like about your work, whether it’s friendly co-workers, opportunities for learning or a decent 401K. Focus on the positive and increase its presence in your work life.

For example, if there’s a project you worked on and really enjoyed, ask your boss to work on similar projects in the future.

2. Highlight Your Skills

There’s something you can do that other people in your office aren’t as capable at. Realize what that is and use it as much as you can. Once your boss realizes the value you persistently bring to the job, you’ll be rewarded for it.

3. Grow Your Worth

Sign up for professional development programs available through your employer. Maybe there’s some niche at your company that you don’t yet know about that is perfect for you.

4. Get Organized

Organizing your office or workspace does wonders on your mood. Set aside some time to just de-clutter and finally go through that inbox. A cleaner environment will both liberate and empower you.

5. Join A Social Group

Does your office have groups for people interested in volunteering or exercise or books? Explore whatever social groups your company offers and pursue one that matches your own passions. Once you find a group of like-minded peers, feelings of isolation in the office will melt away.

6. Pursue Other Opportunities

If this job is really not for you, nothing’s forcing you to stay – not even money. Explore other opportunities that match your passions and skills. Don’t make an impulsive decision, but definitely don’t stay with something you hate. Life is way too short!

#3: You Stay Up Late

Blue light rays be damned! 8-10 recommended hours – not tonight! You are set on binge-watching Netflix or Instagram-scrolling in bed tonight.

You’re not the only one, either. 40% of Americans fail to get even 7 hours of sleep per night, while the recommended minimum is 8 hours. Furthermore, 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. struggle with chronic sleep disorders.

Why is sleep so important?

You hear all these rumors about “miracle drugs” and “simple cures.” But sleep is the actual “miracle” for your health.

According to the American Psychological Association, “more sleep would make Americans happier, healthier and safer.

Problems Linked To Sleep Deficiency:

  • Raised insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain
  • Increased risk for stroke and heart disease
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Diminished bone mineral density and increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Impaired driving ability
  • Increased risk of injury

 

The clincher: A 2010 joint sleep study conducted by the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that men who sleep fewer than 6 hours a night are 4x more likely to die from all causes than those who get sufficient, regular sleep. Ladies, how are your men sleeping at night?

How To Get More Sleep At Night – As Recommended By The National Sleep Foundation:

1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule – Go to bed and wake up at consistent times in order to regulate your body’s natural clock.

2. Practice A Relaxing Bedtime Ritual – Do something to promote calmness and reduce anxiety, such as meditation, reading or drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed.

3. Exercise Regularly – Daily movement increases the speed at which you fall asleep each night. Just make sure to exercise before late afternoon – anything later can actually interfere with sleep.

4. Cool Down Your Bedroom – Humans sleep best in an environment that’s between 60 and 67 degrees.

5. Use Your Bed For Sleep And Sex Only – If you often curl up with a laptop or smartphone, your bed becomes a symbol of stimulation rather than relaxation.

#4: You Hate Kale

You don’t have to love lettuce and asparagus in order to be healthy. It’s about finding what’s right for you – straight up, if you don’t enjoy the food you’re eating, you’re not going to stick to it.

But healthy food does not have to remain bland!

How To Infuse Healthy Food With Taste:

1. Sea Salt

When you ditch the highly processed nonsense for whole foods, your sodium intake drops significantly (in a healthy way!). Adding nutrient-dense salt sources will pump up the flavor of your meal and trigger pleasant taste bud responses.

Choose Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt. These guys boost adrenal, immune and thyroid function without any of the harmful additives found in generic table salt.

2. Acid And Sour

Meals in tune with the unfortunate Standard American Diet are chock-full of manufactured flavorings and preservatives. When you switch to a whole food regimen that avoids these toxic ingredients, it seriously revs up the taste of any natural ingredients you add.

This is especially true for acidic or sour flavors. Great sources: lemons, limes, fermented veggies and apple cider vinegar.

3. Sweets From Nature

Nature provides you with lots of natural delicious-tasting noms. To satisfy your sweet tooth, drizzle a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup over a dish. Or flavor up your tea or coffee with a teaspoon of plant-based Stevia (be sure it’s pure stevia; extracts can often cause complications similar to refined sugar).

4. Herbs And Spices

Herbs and spices can transform a meal from bland to outstanding! Enjoy your meals accompanied by beneficial ingredients such as cinnamon, turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper, chili pepper powder or garlic

5. Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are an ideal substitution for salty, soy-based sauces. Try making a stir-fry with this little adjustment and never turn back.

#5: You Enjoy Adult Beverages

Oh… Well, you’re screwed.

NOT – I’m totally kidding. Many people struggle with the question: “To lead a healthy lifestyle, do I need to give up alcohol completely?”

Let’s break it down.

It’s unfortunately true that alcohol has little to no nutritional value and contributes to the following problems:

  • Reduced coordination and brain cognition
  • Arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure
  • Liver damage such as steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis or cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increased risk of certain cancers
  • Blood sugar fluctuations
  • Weight gain

 

That said, the occasional celebratory champagne or night out with friends can be an effective way to bond and blow off steam (as long as it doesn’t become habitual or a crutch!). Such experiences actually decrease stress and promote a sense of belonging.

This year, I gave up alcohol for three months while trying the Autoimmune Paleo Diet to combat some food sensitivity and related health issues. As a 23-year old, I can tell you, my social life suffered.

This is not to say that you need to drink to be social – not at all! In fact, I know many people my age who choose not to drink at all and find alternative ways to socialize and have fun on the weekends.

The point is, if you enjoy an adult beverage here and there, there is no need to feel guilty. In fact, guilt is more problematic to your health journey – and leads to issues like binge-eating and poor sleep – than an occasional drink.

This answer may be sounding cliché by now, but it’s true: the key is moderation.

Final Notes

It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about being movie-star thin; it’s about making one step today to become a healthier you.

Health programs with too many rules can make getting “healthy” seem impossible. But it’s really not! Getting healthy is perfectly attainable for every single person. You just have to find what works best for you.

To do so, try different things. Want that Happy Hour drink today? Okay, then make sure to get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep tonight.

Point blank – if you hate the plan you’re on, you won’t stick to it. But if the plan is workable, the results will speak for themselves.

The improvements in your body composition and energy levels will motivate you more than anything else will. You just have to start.

Most importantly, as long as you’re trying, you never ever should feel guilty. You got this, friend and you are well supported, because remember – we’re all in this together.

Additional Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/scary-sleep-deprivation-effects_n_2807026.html

http://stupideasypaleo.com/2014/07/26/3-easy-ways-to-make-food-taste-good-ask-steph/

http://www.discus.org/economics/

http://www.businessinsider.com/evolutionary-reason-we-love-sugar-2014-4

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/11/17/how-to-love-your-job-even-if-you-dont-like-it/

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Janet Early

Janet Early

Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
Janet Early
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