Wouldn't You Love to Stop Counting?

Wouldn't you love to stop counting calories? Points? Fat grams? 

I was recently looking for an old photo on my backup hard drive and came across this spreadsheet from 2007.

At that time, before I even got into endurance training, I obsessively logged every single calorie I ate and burned in CalorieKing.com. My trainer at that time told me that weight loss was simple and all I had to do was "burn more calories that I took in." 

Before learning these valuable lessons I am going to share with you; I used to beat myself up every time I didn't do that and attributed that to my struggle with my weight. 

Looking at this now I can see that:

1. I was already at a healthy weight and didn't need to lose any more pounds. But I thought I did because the BMI index in Shape magazine told me I was still obese.

2. I wasn't eating enough calories.

3. The calories that I was eating weren't from nutrient-rich foods.

4. I didn't need to workout that much or that often. 

5. The data here doesn't account for other lifestyle factors that have a huge impact on weight, like toxic buildup.

Signs of Toxic Overload

How can you tell if your body has become overloaded with toxins?

There are several signs, like: 

  • Weight gain
  • Food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances
  • Anxiety, depression, mood swings
  • Belly bloat, IBS, or constipation
  • Low energy, stamina
  • Poor sleep and insomnia
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Candida (yeast)

Where Do Toxins Come From

All of those symptoms create an environment in your body for weight changes, and they come from things like:

  • Chemicals found in cosmetics
  • Chemicals the air that you breathe
  • Pharmaceutical and recreational drugs
  • Heavy metals
  • Hormones and chemicals found in water
  • Hormones used in the production of meat, fish, and chicken
  • Plastics and chemicals that grow, produce and food 
  • Processed foods with sugar and other additives
  • Stress ← IS A TOXIN

Sugar and stress are the two of the most common toxins that people are exposed to. 

Too much sugar in your bloodstream leads to digestive issues, hypoglycemia (blood sugar imbalance), fatigue, and more. You may not realize just how much sugar you are consuming daily, as sugar is a hidden ingredient in many processed foods. 

Stress, like sugar, has many hidden sources as well. You may not consider things like your daily commute, or the person who sits in the cubicle next to you that bugs you every day as a source of stress, but it has a physiological effect on your body because #smalldosesaddup.

Also, did you know that digestion is the biggest daily stressor on your body? So eating foods that your body is intolerant of unnecessarily adds stress and builds your toxic load.

Avoiding Toxicity

Toxic exposure increases your risk of illness and reduces the functioning of your immune system - no matter how healthy you believe you are. Toxicity leads to sickness, weight gain, insomnia, dark circles under your eyes, poor digestion, irritability, and more.

You might be wondering, "Then how can I avoid toxins?"

The sad truth is that toxins are present everywhere and unless you live in a bubble, are unavoidable. You can’t eliminate toxins from your life, but you can stay away from certain foods and environmental factors. 

Avoiding foods produced with herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones, and sugar, gluten, and processed foods will help you manage your toxic load.

Some foods will help you to reduce stress, which will lower your chances of emotional and binge eating are:

  • Dark Chocolate: real cacao, not processed cocoa - a natural mood Booster!
  • Bananas contains dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood. They’re also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which helps to soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood. Just be careful to limit them if you have insulin or leptin resistance.
  • Protein helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
  • Turmeric has neuro-protective properties and may enhance mood and possibly help with depression.
  • Berries: Antioxidants promote dopamine levels, a chemical critical to your mood. The darker, the better! 

Simple Tips To Eat Better

Besides food, there are other simple ways that I do, and I teach my clients to do to improve their health:

  • Control your portions, so you don't overeat.
  • Chew your food at least 15 times. Apart from the enzymatic benefits, this allows you to savor each bite. If chewing slowly is challenging, try eating with chopsticks. 
  • The slower paced you are in life, the more relaxed you are, and the less stressed your body would be.
  • When you eat to nourish, you become nourished. 
  • Sit down to eat and create a peaceful space where you can savor what is on your plate.
  • Eat when you are hungry. Do not eat because you are upset, bored or emotional.

If you are an emotional eater try journaling, meditating, going for a walk, calling a friend, or listening to music before you look for food to fill the void.

One of the best things that you can to improve your health is to take time for yourself.  

Take a step back and evaluate where you want to spend your time. Give up and delegate what you can. Find a time management strategy that works for you.

Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal, find peace, and create reserves of energy so you can better serve yourself and your loved ones. Scheduling time for yourself is not selfish! It sounds simple, but that doesn't mean that it's easy to do. 

Here are some suggestions you might find helpful to help you love yourself more:

1. Meditation is a great spiritual and self-loving practice that helps reduce stress, increase self-awareness, helps you to focus on the present, and reduce negative emotions. Those of us with  "eating because of stress" issues may find this helpful.

2. Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results. Positive people anticipate happiness, success, and good health. It leads to better a mindful and physical well-being which helps you in all aspects of your life.

3. Positive self-talk (not the same as positive thinking!) is vital to health goals and any other goals you hope to accomplish. It breaks the negative messages and introduces optimistic thoughts, improves your performance of any task, reduces levels of stress leading to better health, improved coping skills and even boosts your confidence!

Love is a verb - an action. And actions speak louder than words. What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you do not love yourself, it is reflected in every other area of your life and makes change hard to achieve and retain. Self-love is a prerequisite to peace and abundance.

When you love yourself, you eat healthier and take care of your body,  you find natural ways to reduce stress instead of emotional eating, you practice meditation, self-love techniques, and are mindful of the food on your plate.

Cooking for yourself and clean eating are among the most primal acts of self-love. What you put in your bodies alters aspects of your physical and psychological self.

Your level of health has a direct correlation with your level of happiness in life. Your body and mind are connected and how you take care of yourself impacts your stress levels. 

I know first-hand how hard it can be to prioritize yourself in your hectic schedule. So to get you started, I created the self-guided 7-day Self-Love Challenge. You are going to love this challenge because you will learn how to love and make time for yourself in just seven simple days. 

It’s my hope that you will begin to focus on self-love and begin to prioritize your needs. It’s only when you prioritize yourself can you be your best for everyone else.

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.