I've been thinking a lot about the word "natural" lately. It has a very important place in a healthy lifestyle, but with today's marketing-rich society, we tend to move very easily away from that which is completely and totally natural. We forget about "the way things were" and the fact that those things were often easier, simpler than they are today. We focus instead on the latest this or that, which claims to make those same things easier but actually ends up complicating the situation over and over. Shall we discuss?
1) Eat, naturally.
Your body needs sustenance to survive. Whenever a client asks me why they aren't losing weight... It usually goes something like this: "I'm watching what I eat and I eat good but I can't lose the weight and what's wrong what's going on WHY CAN'T I LOSE?!?!" ...I always ask them if they're actually eating enough. We have a natural inclination toward less is best, thanks to all those pretty skinny models in all of our favorite fashion magazines. And thanks to the diet industry that makes us all feel like we should just stop eating forever 'cuz it's so confusing. But when it comes to eating, if we eat too little, our bodies think they need to store whatever they are getting. That's as basic as it gets. I know, this you've heard a million times before. But have you ever actually tracked how much you might be taking in each day? I encourage you to check out MyFitnessPal. Your calorie counts might surprise you. And you might find yourself newly inspired to skip the overprocessed "crap" we sometimes call food.
2) Eat naturally.
Freshly cooked potatoes will always and forever be better for you than a bag of potato chips. Peanut butter will always be better for you than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Freshly baked chicken breasts will always be better for you than fried chicken from Kentucky (otherwise known as a bucket of grease from KFC). So eat as close to the source as you can. Eat clean, pure and wholesome foods—even if you can't afford to buy the organic version. Remember: Fast food didn't always exist and our grocery stores weren't always this packed—and we still managed to survive. Just barely, though, given our long list of diseases we've been dealing with.
3) For best results, go natural at the gym.
From protein bars to meal replacement shakes, diet pills that promise fat loss and supplements that swear to provide increased muscle definition...whatever happened to sweating your butt off (literally speaking)?! There is no miracle cure. Cavemen (and women) were ripped because they had to work for their meals. They had to work to survive. They didn't have what we have today, and they still got the results some of us only dream of achieving naturally. But I'm telling you, if you really focus on what you're doing, your dream of being happy and healthy in a body that shows it isn't completely unrealistic. You just have to be willing to sweat a little—and to actually work for it. Poppin' pills is not the solution, despite what any trainer tells you. (Seriously, if your trainer is encouraging you to take protein supplements left and right, ask for proof of certification. You'll probably find that he's not actually certified by any significant organization, most of which teach you never to ever push supplements.) So ditch the chemically enhanced protein shakes and power bars. Pick bananas and smoothies made with the most natural ingredients. Your body will thank you.
4) Do what feels natural.
This can be applied to a number of different scenarios, but I'd like to apply it to your workouts. If ever you join a class or try a move that just doesn't feel right to you? Question it, specifically if you're working with a trainer. They need to know you're feeling funky because if it doesn't feel natural, it just might be something your body can do. And that's perfectly fine. There are a zillion different ways to work out, one of which is bound to fit you perfectly. So don't feel like you have to take the latest class because everyone else is, or do the latest move simply because your trainer is telling you to. And certainly don't feel like you have to work out every...single...day of the week simply because your friends are. Or run with them at their pace if it's too fast. Our bodies are all different. What works for one might not work for another. (PS: If sitting on the couch and eating Cheetos feels natural to you...get over it, Lazy Bones. You can do better.)
5) Give birth naturally.
Oh, sorry. This one might only apply to me at the moment. We completed Week 2 of our Labor/Delivery classes at the hospital and my mind is all abuzz with birthing options. Lemme throw this out there: Epidurals scare me. No way do I want that big needle near my spine. I don't care if it worked just fine for you! Epidurals didn't exist even a few years ago, so I can go without. Right? I'm not trying to be a birthing hero or anything, I just feel like my body will know what it's doing when the time comes. So I should be able to tag along for the ride, right? Yeah, it's gonna hurt like a beeeeyotch. My mom survived. I can, too. Right? RIGHT? So right now, my plan is to go the natural route. In some sick, twisted way I truly want to feel the pain. I want to feel what so many other women before me have felt, ultimately saying it was the hardest and best thing they've ever done. I want to say that, too.
Question: How does "natural" fit into your lifestyle?
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