Don’t go Cold Turkey!
When has it ever worked? It never works. And it’s depressing. It leaves you feeling blue. The very thought of denying your body the pleasure of a chocolate, a crisp, a slice of cake, a wedge of pizza; none of those things make for a happy life, or a balanced one. No matter what the clean eating paleo brigade has to say! So this time – be kind to yourself. Make it do-able, fun and uplifting. Treat it like a game. Then, perhaps it might finally work!
The One Thing at a Time Diet isn’t actually a diet.
Because I don’t believe in them. Too many years at Slimming World (great though it was when I lost a stone and a bit… we won’t mention the fact that I’d wolf down 7 Muller Light yoghurts in a row – and all the potato starch and chemical-laden ingredients besides keeping said puddings sugar free). Oops. I already did. But there’s my point. As a diet it failed spectacularly.
When we focus solely on the food and drink, labeling it good and bad – or a ‘sin‘, we may as well never get started. Eventually the pounds went back on. Because it’s the root cause we need to deal with. And when it comes to the culinary world, we’re talking mind over platter. It’s the mental constructs of the hardwired brain we need to change. Not so much the fuel we give our bodies, but the very thoughts we have about the pork pie versus the banana!
As much as I am a spiritual self-help junkie…
There is one area that I hold my hand up to struggling to master; the notion that (and I know it is true, because I understand the quantum physics of it) our thoughts effect the food we eat and what that food then does to our bodies. It really is as simple as thinking good thoughts about the Krispy Kreme donut as we chew it, and then it HAS to make itself useful to our body. It is, in fact, LOA law. And if you think I’m talking gobbledygook, check out this link to The Big Apple Experiment. But still, evidence aside, my thoughts about my diet and its impact on my health are as deep-seated as they come, ground into my psyche after years of hearing the messages from glossy magazines, society, parents and teachers. My beliefs may have changed. I understand the Law of Attraction, and I – mostly -successfully put it into practice in all areas of my life… except for that last stubborn roadblock; changing my mind about food.
Which is why I knew I had to take this step by step.
Slowly, slowly catch a monkey was THE only way for me. I had to increase the perceived ‘good’ stuff in my diet and exercise routine (or complete lack thereof!). This would lead me to feeling more healthy, less inclined to O.D on the perceived ‘bad’ stuff, and eventually, from a new set point of sparkle and vitality, I just knew I’d be able to re-programme my thoughts on all things sweet, saturated fat and calorie laden. So that is exactly what I did. One step at a time.
And this is how I did it.
I decided to include something new and ‘healthy’ into my regime one week at a time. I didn’t write it down, measure or pinpoint exactly when I’d stop adding new things to the mix. I just wanted to make it all become a habit, a way of life. As natural as cleaning my teeth. In truth, I’d started a long time ago. I never used to drink much more than a glass of water a day, and then one day I got really interested in a book called ‘The Water Cure’. I never looked back. Now I drink 2 1/2 litres – in summer more – of water a day, every day. And I honestly can’t imagine how I ever lived without that amount of H20! So I knew that if I could master my commitment to water, I could master any new health boosting habit.
Week 1 – Coconut oil.
I had read about its amazing benefits to the body for quite a while, so decided it was high time I treated mine to some! I am an avid porridge eater. It’s how I start every day. And so I simply added a tablespoon of coconut oil to my breakfast, letting it gently melt as I heated it on the stove. Such an easy thing to get started with, it tastes exotic and delicious. I also ditched the chemical face creams for… you guessed it, coconut oil, morning and night. NB: always carry out a skin patch test as just occasionally coconut oil can cause an allergic reaction, avoid use around the delicate eye area, and you WILL need to blot your skin afterwards with tissue paper, especially before applying make up. It’s super greasy. But good greasy!
Wow. The results were amazing. My skin positively glows! And I mean to the point that people stop me in the street to tell me how awesome it looks. So if it’s doing that to the outside, it is definitely doing magic on the inside. And it is WAY cheaper than using top cosmetics which wouldn’t produce half the results in my opinion.
Staying Power? Definitely! This is a simple, effective and fairly low cost daily health boost to add to your life.
Week 2 – An apple a day.
‘Is that IT?’, I hear you cry. Yes. It is. Remember: this is all about changing daily habits so that these little super foods/drinks/tips/exercises become an enjoyable way of life. And even something as simple as an apple a day will work wonders on your overall health. I’m not telling you to have the apple instead of the cake, either. No, you can eat cake by the truck load if it makes you happy. But I AM suggesting you incorporate the apple into your daily life. Morning, noon or night: you decide. Your rules.
Staying power? This one really is a piece of cake. What you will find is pretty soon your appetite for ’emotional over-eating’ will start to change as your body prefers the naturally sweetened stuff.
Week 3 – The water thing.
That’s my suggestion to you. I am already doing it. In fact I’ve been doing it for 7 years and I have never felt better. So make 2 1/2 litres of water a day your goal too. And that’s not water infused with fruit or anything else. For that changes the structure and healing power. It is simply pure water. Don’t beat up on yourself if you don’t quite achieve it at first… or spend a lot of time on the loo. If you haven’t read the link above to ‘The Water Cure’, do it now! Water (in my opinion) is the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to so many of our health issues. AND did you know that most cases of obesity are in fact simply down to water retention? You’ll find all the science stuff supporting that and so much more in Dr Batmanghelidj’s amazing series of water books. Water is free, flowing and has always been there, gently nudging us to drink more of it. I think one of the biggest clues is that we don’t have fizzy drink oceans, pop seas, squash lakes or coffee rivers. Last time I checked they were definitely made of water.
Staying power? I’m not going to lie, this takes some getting used to. But, you will know you have mastered it when your body actually thirsts for water. And then there is no going back. You’ll wonder how you could have lived your life any other way! Just watch the pounds melt away too. It wasn’t excess fat you were carrying all this time, but excess water from your body going into ‘panic’ mode and holding on to the reserves because you weren’t giving it enough H20!
Week 4 – Movement.
That’s all. Just get up and move more. I’m not going to prescribe a jog in the wind and rain, that you sign up to a gym and waste your money for a year because you only go for the first month, or that you take up Ashtanga yoga. Just move a little. I realised I was spending way too much time at my desk writing. And since my youngest was now at school, my days of running around behind him needed to be replaced by something remotely physical. So I bought a mini trampoline. Because like Tigger, I love to bounce (make of that what you will!), I have a gorgeous sea view from my bedroom window, and that, combined with said bouncing and high energy music, make for a great bit of movement. When I first got my trampoline, I’ll admit it: the novelty of a 30 minute ‘workout’ every day soon wore off. It was too much of a commitment straight off. Too Cold Turkey. So, as pointless as it may sound, I started with 5 minutes. And that was it. My promise to myself on week 4 was that I would get on that trampoline, without even needing to change into gym wear, and I’d become a kangaroo as my favourite Madonna tracks blurted out, for all of 5 minutes. I would keep doing this until it felt so much a part of my identity, and I would REALLY look forward to it. Then in three weeks, naturally, I really wanted to increase this to double the time. It took no time at all for me to be hungry for fifteen minutes. And then from fifteen minutes, the jump to thirty minutes was the next logical step, and one that I truly wanted to make. So that’s my thing. 30 minutes a day. It’s low impact on the joints and I now break into more of a jog than random bounding. But you can get into it any way that you want. It’s so much fun, quicker than heading out to the gym, it never rains and doesn’t require the commitment of a partner in crime. It’s really meditative too!
Staying power?: Build it up like I did and you will soon be looking for opportunities to have 30 minutes ‘me’ time.
Week 5 – Pink Himalayan Salt
The medical world has put a fake curse on salt. But proper mineral salt is as essential to our daily lives as the air we breathe. Far from raising our blood pressure like refined table salt can, real mineral salt (such as the Pink Himalayan variety) actually contains every trace mineral the body requires. So an intake of this every day is one of the best forms of health insurance you can EVER make. The trick is not to overdo it. The amount you include in your diet should be in ratio to the amount of water you are drinking. Which is why I really cannot recommend the Dr.Batmanghelidj books enough (one of his other titles is ‘Water and Salt, Your Healers from Within’ and there you will find the magic formula for the right amount for your weight).
Staying power?: Well, there’s no getting away from it… when I first tasted a ‘sole‘ – water mixed with Pink Himalayan Salt- I wanted to gag. Pure and simple. Which isn’t selling the idea to you at all. But I’d rather be honest! However, I drank it slowly, sipping bit by bit and within a week I would wake up and literally crave it. Now I couldn’t contemplate the idea of starting my day without it. It is quite simply magic in a glass. You can feel the way it rehydrates your body and I honestly believe its healing powers are second to none. It’s cheap, the salt can be purchased finely ground so you don’t need to go at it with your pestle and mortar. And you will notice a huge spring in your step in a very short space of time.
Week 6 – Apple cider vinegar
This stuff is incredible. Health-wise it is a super food in so many ways! And so once again, I thought I’d add it to my magical mix. For more details on apple cider vinegar’s tricks, click here. I decided to make this my bedtime ‘tipple’ and added 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a half glass of water. After drinking so much plain water, far from tasting vinegary, it’s like a pleasant refreshing apple squash! I find it best to sip it with a straw though as it can cause sensitivity to the teeth and gums otherwise.
Staying power?: It’s easy peasy to keep this one going in my book. A large bottle of apple cider vinegar lasts for ages and it is relatively cheap to buy. Just as you remember (hopefully… I know I am getting better!) to take your make up off at night, so you can also remember to sip this in front of the TV. All of these habits won’t take long to become rituals if you just give them the opportunity.
These are just my ideas.
You have to do what works for you. Or not. Because this is so NOT a diet. It’s about curating the kind of life you want to live. You might decide to add a handful of dried fruit and nuts into your diet every day once week and keep that going. You might decide to invest in a smoothie maker and ensure you get your 5 a day in one fell swoop another week. You might decide to treat yourself to a daily massage – luck you. You might feel compelled to start the ancient art of oil pulling – that’s one I’m yet to attempt, but it does intrigue me! You might decide to meditate for 5 minutes at the start of each day and gradually build up to 15. There are no rights or wrongs. It can be as fun as you like.
But have the results REALLY worked?
Well the answer to that is a resounding YES. They absolutely have. By changing my overall perception of my health and ‘upping’ the perceived ‘good’ stuff – and I refer to it as perceived because as you know, I don’t believe in food labeling; the good versus the evil sugary naughties – I am a) feeling healthier than ever before, b) craving less of the perceived ‘bad’ stuff and c) actually thinking and feeling very differently about cakes, chocolate, crisps and chips as I eat them. I savour them, enjoy them and am truly able to think about them in a positive way as I chew and digest… and long after. I imagine the benefits they bring to my body, and really know with crystal clarity, that has to be so. Which for me was always the end goal. More than fitting into the size 10s comfortably, or seeing leaner thighs – both being a fab cherry on top of the cake! – it was all about changing my attitude to food, seeing it as my right of passage to eat the second helping of cheesecake if I so desired. Minus the guilt. Served with a dollop of self love.
Food is pleasure. Food is love. Food is life. We really can have our cake and eat it. But it’s a conscious choice and we need to re-train ourselves. So start your own One Thing at a Time Diet today. Life is NOW!
I’d love to know how you get on…