Monday, December 17, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome: Are you afraid to change what you eat?

First off, I have to say that I hate the word "diet." It conjures up a life of deprivation and lack, hunger and big hollow eyes staring through the window of the pastry shop. We need to drop the word diet from our vocabulary.

For most people the need to change how they eat is one of the most frightening prospects they can face. Some won't even read this blog post because it frightens them so much.

Talk to many people about dietary changes or the need to change their diet and they will immediately give you a list of reasons why they can't change what they eat.

  • Oh, I wouldn't couldn't possibly make two dinners and my family would never eat healthy food.  - OK so you should die so that your family can eat their junk and slowly commit suicide by processed food too? Seriously, this doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's possibly to make slow but steady changes that will move both you and your family happily to healthier eating. A dietitian can be just the person to help you do this.
  • I just want to be normal. I want to be able to eat the foods I love. First you have to realize that the picture of normal is a person with multiple health issues, on multiple medications, who is overweight, under exercised and chronically inflamed. Wait! Weren't those the very things you wanted to change?
  • Eating healthy food is too expensive. HMMM So a bypass or needles, test strips and insulin are cheaper? Have you seen your insurance deductible lately?
  • I already eat healthy. This may well be true but something is driving your inflammation and finding out if it is what you eat will move you in the right direction to fixing it. If you are afraid to assess how healthy your diet is, you are probably eating some things that are fueling your inflammatory response.
  • I'm just going to exercise and lose the weight. I don't want to discourage you from exercising but I'll also share one of my favorite sayings. "You can't outrun what you can eat." In otherwords, long lasting weight loss and health benefits are unlikely with exercise alone. (see the three legged stool below)
  • Wow! I can't believe the weather this month.... That was the subject being changed by someone not even willing to go there.
For every one of the above statements there are a bunch more I could share but I'm not going to because those are all limiting ideas and if you want to use what you eat as an ally in the battle against Metabolic Syndrome you need to stay positive and think expansives. This is a journey very much like your journey to wellness was a journey. You have contol of what you change and how quickly you change.

You also want to remember that foods that are driving your Metabolic Syndrome but that you also love are not leaving the planet this minute. They will be there waiting so it's ok to put them on hold indefinitely. It might surprise you how little pull they have once you are nutritionally saited and in a well rested state.

Wait stop! What was that about a well rested state? Yes, you need to be getting enough sleep. In all honesty, if you are not waking without an alarm clock, or at least waking easily with one,  you probably aren't ready to any huge diet changes. Your fatigue will drive you to overeat and make you less than successful. What if you can't sleep?  More on that later.

Rest, healthy eating, and sane exercise are like a three legged stool. Take away one and it's going to be tougher to overcome your metabolic syndrome.

My challenge to you today is to think about how rested you feel. Do you either wake easily to your alarm clock without any fatigue or wake before it goes off? Do you tend to "need" a cup of tea or coffee to get through the afternoon or worse yet run on a stream of the stuff? Do you feel the need to graze all day or eat sweet gooie treats or bread, potatoes or other simple carbs several times a day? Do you become a snack monster in the evening, with cravings you can't satisfy. Do you have cravings in which you want to eat but really don't know what you want to eat - something is just missing?

Any of the above could point to poor rest habits. Go to the search function of the blog. Plug in the word sleep and read any of the previous blog posts and the articles they link to for more information.

Oh - and me? At my most inflamed I did suffer from sleeplessness after waking. Now? I woke up this morning at 3:54 am feeling rested - no alarm clock. It's made a huge difference in wanting to eat between meals, cravings and all the things I wrote about above. 


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