How do you see your life one year from now? What are your focuses for this year?
If you are like most people, you have health & wellness goals for 2014. Perhaps you want to lose that pesky spare tire. Maybe you want to fix a chronic issue (fatigue, depression, pains/arthritis, etc) once and for all. Maybe you need to lose that last 1 - 5% body fat to achieve the optimum physique you need for elite-level athletic competition.
No matter where your goals lie on this spectrum, the same important truth applies: The first steps are always the most important. If you nail this phase of your action plan, your chances for long-term success increase exponentially!
So, how can you ensure your first steps are correct?
Avoid A Common Pitfall
This is great, in some respects, because people are taking action. However, many of them will fail for the same reason that most New Year's Resolutions (and general dieting efforts) fail: lack of preparation and a system to track results accurately.
So, that is why we are putting together a multiple-part guide to achieving your 2014 wellness goals using a natural, holistic approach. Follow along and give yourself the highest possible chance of success! We start by reviewing the crucial preparatory steps:
Step 1: Determine If You Have "Leaky Gut"
The bad news: due to the prevalence of processed, sweetened and grain-heavy foods in most peoples' diets, it is likely that you have leaky gut to some extent.
The good news: You can use an objective test to measure how much "gut damage" you need to repair. The condition is reversible without the use of surgery or pharmaceuticals. Once you get your test results back , we can work with you to remove the problematic foods and replace them with foods / probiotics that will foster an expedited healing process.
Step 2: Check Your Food Sensitivities and Vitamin Deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies cause your body’s systems to operate in non-optimal fashion.
Both of these issues can usually be rectified by adding foods to (and removing foods from) your diet! We offer Food Sensitivity Testing and the Micronutrient Vitamin Deficiency Test here at Natural Health Atlanta (both tests covered by most major insurance plans).
Scary Common Scenario: Imagine dedicating yourself to a great new nutritional program and completing 2 weeks with 100% compliance. However, for some reason you feel fatigued, are experiencing headaches, and when you step on the scale (first mistake, see step 3 below), you see that you have not lost any significant weight.
How easy does it become to quit in frustration?
Imagine the amount of stress that accompanies this frustration. A feeling of helplessness hits you, and its tough to keep yourself from writing this off as another "failed experiment".
The Real Truth: This "false failure" could be the result of your unique sensitivities and deficiencies. If you check your food sensitivities and vitamin deficiencies up front, you can modify your diet to avoid the most problematic foods, and start to replenish your deficiencies with whole foods and supplements (where necessary). You may have a food sensitivity to something as non-threatening as chicken. Phasing chicken out of your diet would have a drastic impact on your results, but without the testing, you would never know!
No diet will fit perfectly for every person. The Food Sensitivity Test and the Vitamin Deficiency Test will help you create a "personalized" nutrition plan and maximize the benefits from your dieting efforts.
Step 3: Measure Your Progress Correctly: No Scales Please!
Using a scale is one of the least-reliable ways to measure your progress towards a weight-loss goal. This may seem counter-intuitive, but trying to measure changes in your body composition by using one metric is all but useless.
Most commonly, people would like to burn body fat while building lean muscle mass. If you lose 10 lbs. of body fat and gain 10 lbs. of lean muscle, that's awesome right? Well, to your scale, you have done NOTHING. This issue leads to frustration, which leads to quitting. We will create another post in the next few days to provide a full treatment on the "scale problem".
For the time being, let's look at the BEST way to track your progress throughout the year: BodPod. BodPod is the most accurate, comfortable, convenient way to measure your body's composition. You basically step into a "Pod" for a few minutes, and you get a detailed report on your body fat %, your lean muscle mass, and other important metrics. This process is very affordable and accessible to Atlanta residents, as local company BodyMetrics offers the test at their location near Howell Mill Road / I-75. Not only do you get an accurate body composition profile, but they also keep track of your results over time. Their reports make for AWESOME refrigerator magnet material. Appointments are required.
In the next installment of the guide, we will discuss actionable steps to get you the "biggest bang for your buck" through a systematic approach to nutrition and fitness.