I have to admit I have been on a ton of diets in my life and unsuccessful with every single one of them. You name it; I have tried it …and failed.
In the past, my dieting was always with the purpose of improving my looks. I just kept searching for the next popular diet that would for sure get me a more beautiful body.
I now look back with regret at the amount of wasted time and energy I spent dissatisfied with all my body’s imperfections and flaws.
Me finding and going on the next miracle diet was way too often a conversation in my household. Until one evening something, or should I say someone, changed my thinking…
My 13-year-old daughter was setting the dinner table. I noticed she was only putting on 5 plates. “There’s six of us eating, honey.” I said.
“Not tonight,” she responded. “I’m going to skip dinner tonight because I am going on a diet.”
“Sweetheart,” I said, “You are 5 feet 3 inches tall and weigh 95 pounds. What are you thinking? You little girl, do not need to go on any kind of diet…your body is just perfect how it is!”
She flippantly responded, “I don’t see what’s the big deal, Mom. You are always talking about trying out the latest diet! So, I decided to be like you and try one too.”
I gasped! Oh my God…what had I been doing?
This brief interaction with my daughter made me realize that my egotistical dissatisfaction with my shape was setting the stage for my childrens’ possible poor body images as well.
So, that evening after all six of us finished dinner I rose from my chair, and said I had an announcement to make. My husband and our four children looked up in shock (I had never gotten up after dinner to make an announcement).
“I want you all to know that starting now, I am never going on another diet again!” The room was quiet as I went on. “In fact, as far as I am concerned from this moment on in this household the word ‘diet’ is now to be considered a four-letter word! My son giggled and one of his sisters kicked him under the table.”
That clarifying experience changed my mind about diets.
Then, about the time I gave up being obsessed with my body image; I started to get concerned about my brain image.
I was becoming painfully aware that the women on my mother’s side of the family were dealing with the devasting effects of cognitive issues. My mom, her mom and two of my mom’s sisters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I suspected my genetics put my brain at risk as well.
That set-in motion a journey for me to educate myself, and later teach others about brain health.
Articles that use to pique my interest like; lose 10 pounds in 10 days, annoyed me. Long term health and fitness information was my new frame of reference. I was no longer looking through the lens of beautiful body miracles, but rather a beautiful brain.
You might say that after all these years I was finally coming to my SENSES.
I found a myriad of research that pointed out the critical importance of making healthy lifestyle choices to support and even prevent cognitive decline. Choices like quality sleep and plenty of exercise. And one particular lifestyle area that came up again and again was that of nutrition.
There is a tremendous amount of discussion in the neurological field these days that shows the gut and brain connection. If fact the gut is often now referred to as the second brain.
What we put in our guts affects our brains!
One day as I was digging deeper into the critical impact of nutrition on our brain health, I came across an article written by David Katz, MD, MPH ; the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. He is also an associate professor of public health and the author of roughly 200 scientific articles.
Wow, I thought, this Katz guy really must know some stuff!
Here are some of his words that brought home for me on the power of nutrition: ‘Diet is the single most important predictor variable of health outcomes in the modern world.2 and
Diet quality is the single leading predictor of longevity and vitality. “
Did you catch it ….that four-letter word… d*et?
But I had sworn off of all diets!
And yet, there I was actually typing ‘brain diet’ into my internet search?
A plethora of diet books appeared…Mind diet, Brain diet, Brain Boost diet, the Grain Brain, Think Better Diet, Keto diet, Mediterranean diet, ….on and on….
And as fate would have it, a health newsletter arrived in my inbox the next day. Here’s how it began: “Let’s settle this debate once and for all…. what is the best diet for brain health?”
Oh no! Was I back to where I began….looking for another miracle diet and thinking the right diet could fix my brain?
Not this time I decided! If I was going to go back to battling with food; I was going to have a new battle plan! This time I needed to try another way.
Have you too had dieting experiences that left a bad taste in your mouth? If so, I want to encourage you not to give up on creating more healthy eating habits.
And, If you are like me, you want to eat better. You promise you do. But you can’t bear to face going on another diet right now.
Then might I share some tips that moved me in the right direction.
Less Can be More
More of these:
Healthy foods prepared in healthy ways
Natural and Fresh foods
A variety of Vegetables
Lots of leafy greens
Herbs and spices
Nuts, beans, seeds, legumes
Less of these:
Unhealthy foods prepared in unhealthy ways
Highly processed food
Foods with added sugars
Foods with artificial flavors /sweeteners
Sodas and other Sugary drinks
Oh, and I almost forgot …. drink more water!
Whether your goal is improving your sleep, getting more movement in your day or eating healthier; remember:
Start where you are at, begin with small steps, and create healthy habits.
The goal is not a fast, easy, quick fix but long-lasting change.
Our beautiful brains are worth it!
*And make sure and check out Patty's yummy recipes!
(If you try any new foods; pay attention for your body’s possible negative responses– And if you are under a doctor’s care make sure and check before making changes to your diet.)