Just finished watching the documentary Fed Up and it was mind-boggling, disturbing, sad and powerful. As I was watching, I was writing down so many thoughts I had about it. It had me fired up in more ways than I could have possibly imagined. I mean it was all information that I knew already except some of the statistics; and they were staggering!
I have sort of procrastinated on finishing this blog post up and then I watched a Ted Talks on vulnerability by Brene Brown AND so here we are. Nuff said.
So, here is what I believe and what I did.
I will start with this statement. I am so happy that I weighed over 200 pounds once upon a time!
Bet you didn’t see that coming! You might think it’s crazy to hear me say that but I look at it in a positive light which brings me to my next statement. I’m a walking statistic that you CAN change your life.
I want to tell you a little bit about my story so you can understand why it is that I’m so passionate about this topic and why I started my nutrition and cycling coaching business, Pura Vida Performance.
As some of you know, I was overweight and have battled with my weight ever since I can remember. I used to look in the mirror and say terrible things to myself so it wasn’t just about the weight. It was the negative self-talk that goes hand in hand with being overweight and having low self-esteem.
In 2005 there was BIG shift for me. I borrowed a mountain bike, went for a ride with my roommate Michelle and fell in love with it. It was kind of amazing that I felt that way since I couldn’t make it up a very small hill! I literally had to walk get off my bike and walk and boy did I feel ashamed and disappointed in myself. How did I get here?
So I thought to myself, okay, hang on a second, why can I not make it up this hill? There were three obvious reasons that immediately came to mind: (1) I was a smoker; (2) I was out of shape; and (3) I was overweight. So I thought right, this IS going to change. And let me tell you this, biking changed my life for forever!
That day on that mountain bike with my roommate was the turning point for me and my journey back to a healthy me. I quit smoking almost cold turkey. I decided to take a downhill mountain bike clinic where I met a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Funny how that happens!
I took the bull by the horns, contacted that nutritionist and proceeded to go on 6 months of detoxes. The pendulum swung wayyyyyyy the other way and I later had to find balance which is another story for another time.
Okay, now back to the documentary. I have a few pretty bold and very true statements that came to mind as I was watching.
1. Diets don’t work people. There is no magic pill or shake or restricting diet that is going to take the weight away. You have to ask yourself this when you invest in any of them - is this sustainable for the rest of my life? Are you going to take a pill or cut out fat or carbs or whatever for the rest of your life? The answer for the vast majority of us is a hells NO! You can certainly try. I did. I’d lose weight, and then gain it back plus some multiple times over until I was over 200 pounds.
2. It’s not about the weight; it’s about the food. That was one of my favourite quotes in Fed Up and I couldn’t agree more. I remember when I was in public school, I wanted so badly to join different diet groups but money and travel were in my way. We didn’t have internet back then. I totally just dated myself didn’t I?! :) So I did what a lot of people did. I ate less and exercised more. That meant low fat, no fat, reduced fat, low calories, less sodium and all that shit you see on pre-packaged food confusing the hell out of people today. They are doing all the “right” things and exercising and the weight ain’t budging! Well guess what? Junk processed food is still junk ass processed food. SO, it’s not about the weight; it’s about the food. The quality and quantity of the food we are putting into our mouths.
3. Don’t believe everything you read on the front of the package to guide you to losing weight or making healthier choices. There are GIGANTIC billion dollar companies behind these products with very smart marketers. Not only do they have smart marketers telling you what you want to hear with those magic words, they have scientists working on what’s inside those pre-packaged foods to get you just the right taste and texture. YEP! There are people sitting in labs to bring YOU the right crunch/softness/creaminess and the right amount of salt, sugar and all the other chemical crap they put in their to make it taste good but more importantly to feed the addiction they methodically created inside you. The biggest one of all, SUGAR!
4. Just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Hate to burst your bubble all you naturally skinny folk but this couldn’t be truer. AND to all you overweight people reading this and looking at skinny people eating all the things you eat but don’t gain a pound, just because a person is skinny and eating all the things that you eat, does NOT mean that they are healthy on the inside by any stretch of the imagination! They are just the same as you. It just turns out that you show it on the outside.
5. Sugar is a “legal” drug and this is why your food cravings rule you! Coming off of sugar for me was tough…really TOUGH! I’d be surprised if there is a person out there that would say it wasn’t. It’s everywhere and in everything. They disguise it using names you cannot pronounce OR ones that sound healthy. To give you an idea of how powerful sugar is I want to share with you a study they showed in Fed Up. They had 43 cocaine-addicted laboratory rats and gave them the choice of cocaine OR sugar water over a 14-day period and guess what they chose. 93 percent or 40 out of 43 chose sugar.
Sugar is a drug just like all the other addictive drugs out there and somehow the food industry thinks this is okay. There is an ever increasing amount of diabetes and is now being seen in children. People think that fat makes you fat however refined sugar and sweeteners like aspartame do the same thing. Sugar spikes blood-glucose levels and then to bring them down the pancreas secretes insulin. BUT if you are constantly overloading your body with more sugar than it can use then it triggers an insulin response which in turns triggers your body to store fat. AND to make matters worse, people who choose diet this and low fat that are actually not doing themselves any favours. Let’s take diet coke for example. Instead of sugar they use aspartame to sweeten. Aspartame tricks your body into thinking it’s receiving sugar and guess what happens. The same thing as if you chose the regular coke.
NOW, want to know what I did to lose the weight? Here is what I focussed on.
(A) Nutrition. I was at the point where I had realized that I didn’t know what or how to eat. I was completely confused SO it was time! It all started with hiring a holistic nutritionist. It was with her that I learned what it was like to detox from sugar and caffeine. Shortly after, I had an A-HA moment and took it a step further. I decided to go to the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and become a holistic nutritionist. It was like going to a seminar that I REALLY wanted to see each week. I was like a sponge! I took what I learned and applied it to my own life and now I get to share it with people like you. :)
(B) Cycling. My LOVE! Almost immediately after that one mountain bike ride with my roommate, I signed up to learn how to downhill mountain bike. Yep, that’s right! I was a DH mountain biker in Whistler, BC hucking off dirt jumps, doing drops and totally “chicking” some of the guys out there. Then one day, I crashed and broke and banged myself up pretty good so I decided to keep my wheels on the ground and started doing a lot of cross-country mountain biking as well as weekly races. Hills were my nemesis so that’s where road riding came in. Seriously? I made fun of road riders! ANNNNNNND a roadie I became. At the time, there weren’t very many girls to ride with SO I rode with the boys. You name it I saw it out there. I learned A LOT of things, that I now teach, the hard way which is why I love my job so much and what made me a great rider!
(C) Positivity. I set out to do some personal digging (aka work) and learned how to see the good in the bad, be positive, meditate and visualize. The whole body, mind, spirit component certainly had me out of my comfort zone. I was a small town farm girl after all! If someone had mentioned meditate they would have said what’s that or ohhhhh those hocus pocus kind of people. I’m so grateful to now offer each of those modalities to my clients.
Nutrition, cycling, positivity and even more importantly my determination are how I got to where I am today. It really is about exercise, the quality and quantity of food we put into our bodies and the thoughts that we feed ourselves about ourselves. I am dedicating my life’s work to educate, support and empower people who need and want my help in becoming healthier.
You just have to have a smidge of belief that you can, the courage and the will to do it AND the right people who cross your path to guide, educate and support you on your journey.
AND there is one more ingredient. For those of you who know me well you know I’m the first person who’s not going to beat around the bush and call a spade a spade so here we go. It takes A LOT of hard work and a lot of strength, discipline and willpower ESPECIALLY when you are surrounded by the problem everywhere you turn. BUT when you surround yourself with people on your same path or have gone down the path you are going, it makes it so much easier!
My work comes from such a heartfelt place. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I am on one amazing journey helping people transform their lives!
Thanks for reading. :)
Questions or Comments?