A few weeks back I shared the first 10 Body Incredible foundation principles, and today I’d like to round off that list. I believe that even partially implementing these principles will have you on the way to looking, feeling and functioning at your very best before you can say “hand me the grass-fed organic beef”.
Which basically means that when you put these two posts together (which I’ll soon be doing on a special page for your reference) and you have the basis of everything I believe and teach when it comes to ideal nutrition. A Body Incredible cheat sheet, if you will – and most certainly the first port of call for those occasions when people screw up their noses and wonder why you’re eating such weird and wonderful food and refusing to pound the treadmill for hours upon hours.
So without further ado, numbers 11 through 20 of the Body Incredible Foundation Principles.
11. It’s smarter to pay your grocer than your doctor
Organic foods, quality supplements, gym memberships or personal training, books, memberships and consultations to further your education – none of these things come cheap, do they? But wouldn’t you rather pay your (organic) grocer and butcher now, and invest money in quality supplements, then live a miserable and below-par life and end up forking out the same money anyway on doctor visits? Being healthy costs money, but I believe being unhealthy ultimately will cost you far, far more – and you know I’m not just talking finances.
12. Eating Grains: A Fast Track To Poor health
Sorry to burst your comfort food bubble, but grains? They’re not your friend. And I’m not just talking about the highly processed white fluffy types, but even those oh-so-‘healthy’ whole-grains. While conventional wisdom would disagree with me here, I’ve seen enough cases of grain elimination resulting in rapidly improving health and rapidly diminishing waistlines that these days I won’t even consider them as part of a daily food plan. I believe the reason we (or at least, the very vast majority of us) do so poorly on grains is that they are a relatively new part of our diets, being that they’ve only been farmed for approximately 10,000 years. From an evolutionary point of view this is a very short period of time – especially as far as your digestive system is concerned. This is one reason why daily grain intake leads to frequent bloating, stomach upsets, weight issues, and ultimately to increased inflammation and food intolerance. If you do choose to eat grains, they absolutely must be sprouted.
13. The Smartest Carbs for health and weight loss
Cutting out grains such as all forms of cereal, corn, bread, rice, pasta, noodles, baked goods and even super-starchy vegetables (white potato being the obvious offender) does NOT have to mean you need to follow a no or even low-carb diet. Many people forget that vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of carbohydrate, and – what’s more – they’re chock full of nutrients rather than little else than farming pesticides and bloat-inducing phytates. When it comes to carbohydrate, choose seasonal green vegetables in large quantities, enjoy low GI fruits such as berries and stone fruits in small amounts, and incorporate a range of other coloured fruits and veg from time to time.
14. There’s No One Right Way
This one might seem a little contrary to everything else taught here, but it has to be said. If there’s one thing I’ve had driven home to me time and again over the past 11 years helping people, it’s that there is no one way to ideal health. In the same vein, there’s no one right way when it comes to nutrition, to exercise, or indeed to any aspect of our lives and how we achieve success. I’ve heard it said that what works for one person may do nothing for another, and could even harm a third. It’s important to remember this before you get too caught up in the success of a friend on any strict program, and it’s just one reason why you should consider working with on expert on individualised nutrition and hormone assessment. It’s just as important to remind yourself of this truth if you find you’ve hit a plateau and think you’re doing “all the right things”. Even if you are doing a bunch of great things, they’re only good for as long as they’re working for you!
15. Everybody Needs Fish Oil
Even if you eat the very best fresh food organic diet, there are a few basic supplements that you absolutely do need to take daily. For 99% of people, the 4 big guns are zinc, magnesium, a good B-vitamin complex, a multi, and a quality blend of fish oil. If you were living on the land in days of yore you’d naturally eat between 35 and 40 grams of omega 3 essential fatty acids daily. Omega 3’s are essential because your body cannot make them (you have to consume them), and they contribute to every aspect of good health. You can google Omega 3 and either general health or weight loss as well as any ailment or illness you can think of, and you’ll be up to your neck in research in no time. To learn more about Omega 3, check out my previous article on the topic.
16. The Cardio Myth
This has gotta be the biggest load of hoo-ha that is still perpetuated by the health and fitness industry. Cardio – endurance or purely aerobic-based cardio – will NOT help you to lose weight for longer than the approximately 6 weeks it takes your body to adapt to the new stimulus. What’s more, some research even indicates that repetitive cardio such as spin classes actually causes your body to increase fat stores! Personally I’m all for getting your heart rate up, but when it comes to results that are health, fitness and fat loss orientated stick to weight training and the occasional blast of high-intensity interval training.
17. Stress Really Can Make You Fat
You’ve heard the one about stress making you fat, right? Sounds a bit too easy to buy into though, doesn’t it? I mean c’mon – “it’s not my fault I’m fat; I’m just stressed” – it’s a bit of a cop-out. Except, of course, for the very inescapable fact that it’s true. The way it works is that every time you’re placed under undue stress on an ongoing basis (those last 4 words being key) your body releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is one of your ‘get-up-and-go’ hormones; its job being to energise you in the morning and also in times of unexpected but short-term stress – such as running for your life and either escaping or, well, not. These days daily stressors such as too much work coupled with financial and relationship pressure lead to the constant release of cortisol, and being that it’s a survival hormone one of its primary jobs is to increase fat storage. There ain’t no fighting that physiology with low-cal or (worse) more cardio!
18. Toxins Are A Primary Reason Why You Can’t Lose Weight
My mentor and the man I most admire in this industry, Charles Poliquin, has a belief that a primary reason for today’s obesity epidemic is the toxic world we live on. When you consider the plethora of toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis (environmental, chemical, nutritional just to name a few) it’s not hard to agree that he’s on the right track. Especially when you understand that your body deals with toxins by storing them in your fat cells. Out of harms way for sure when it comes to protecting your heart, brain, and other vital organs, but not so helpful if looking hot on the beach is your goal. It’s for this reason that I firmly believe you should control your pesticide and toxin intake where you can, and one of the most powerful ways to do this is by choosing organic foods and environmentally friendly household and beauty products.
19. An Attitude Of Gratitude: The Missing Link To Success
Let me quite clear. There is virtually no way you will ever achieve your goals if you don’t take time to be grateful for what you already have, what you’ve achieved so far, and even for things that you are yet to enjoy. “You get what you think about most of the time” (Brian Tracey). Another way I recently heard it said (credit to Charles Poliquin) is “what you appreciate, appreciates”. I was brought up to say grace before every meal; to give thanks for the food about to be received, and whilst there’s sometimes more ritual than intent behind those words, if you think about it, it really is a beautiful way to start a meal. But why take time only to be grateful for your food (if you even do that)? My suggestion is to take just 5-10 minutes every morning or evening to think about or record the things you’re grateful for from the day before. You can most definitely be grateful for things that are still underway or yet to happen. Do it for 30 days and I promise you’ll be a convert – if nothing else it’s an incredibly powerful way to frame your thoughts for the hours ahead of you, but what I think you’ll notice is a slow increase in all the things you have to be grateful for.
20. Community counts!
Whew! 20 health principles is a lot, and making the effort to incorporate even 1-2 of these concepts into your life each day can be hard work at first. So why do it alone? Community counts, and it really does help to surround yourself with people who are like-minded in their approach to health and want to see you succeed. This doesn’t mean avoid contact with all people who have different views to you! But it sure is a good reason to visit this blog regularly and even to get involved with myself and with other readers through the comments section and (upcoming) members section. Having a ‘team’ – even if it’s one you may have never met – will make getting to your goals so much easier. And don’t be afraid to share those goals! My goals for this blog are not only to educate, inspire and support you through your journey, but also to keep me accountable to my own health goals and to future learning, and to open new visitors up to the truth(s) about good nutrition and healthy living. Every time you read a post here you support me in those goals; every time you share a post you support me as well as yourself and your friends, and every time you comment or otherwise get involved you’re also making yourself accountable to me and to other Body Incredible readers. Body Incredible is a community created expressly for those purposes. But you know what? I may have had the idea; I may be the one who posts most of the time, but without you I’d just be another lost and lonely blogger. This is your community, so make sure you use it!
That’s a long post, so thanks for sticking around for all of it. But now – over to you. I’d like to publish this post (joined with the first 10 principles) as a ‘start here’ sort of page on this blog, and need to make sure I haven’t missed anything. What would you add to this list?