Sometimes people resist starting new health programs of various kinds out of a fear that they will need to give up something that they really love. This could include sleeping in, binging on processed foods, fast food, alcohol, caffeine, animal products, sugar, comfort of any kind, emotional eating, leaving a high stress job and a thousand other little vices.
First, I want to share, as far as I am concerned, you never have to give up anything to work with me. When clients come to me for help, I am clear on this. It doesn’t matter if they are coming for help with blood sugar, weight loss, skin issues, joint pain, fertility or anything else. They are the boss. You have been given personal sovereignty over your own choices and you remain in control.
That said, some goals do require us to make changes. These necessary changes can look different from person to person and from one circumstance to the next. I am really good at helping people navigate these changes…even the hard ones…and making it feel easier than ever before to grow in sustainable ways that produce big results.
Often, clients who work with me like to start with the confession about what they don’t want to give up. This is usually because they love it but also know it’s hurting them…not just hurting their physical health, but their life (focus, relationships, finances, view of self, etc.). All of this is connected and has far-reaching implications.
Let’s dive deeper. Think for a moment… allow me to reframe this a bit for you to help us gain perspective.
What would you need to give up, to gain SO much more?
Let’s say you’re having some financial challenges and you only have $1000 to your name. Would you give that up? Your answer should be, “it depends on what it’s for.” What if in exchange for that $1000, I was going to give you a brand new car? No matter what type of car, if it’s brand new, it would be worth at least 10 times your “investment”.
Here are a few specific health-related examples:
- Processed foods are associated with increased risk of cancer1, faster aging2, weight gain3, fatigue/low energy4, increased risk of diabetes and asthma5 and more
- Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with liver issues and depleted magnesium levels (which leads to heart and muscles problems)6, dysbiosis (yielding digestive issues- gas, bloating, constipation)7, hormone imbalances in both men and women8, high blood pressure9, copper deficiency (which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease)10 and others
- Not getting enough quality and quantity of sleep is associated with poor recovery and performance in athletes11, increased risk for depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder12, lowered immune response/increased risk of infections13 and all causes of mortality14 (that means if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to die sooner…dropping the mic on this one…hopefully you’ll understand that it’s important!)
- Chronic high stress hinders digestion and causes dysbiosis15, lowers immunity, making you more susceptible to infections, disease and inflammation16, increased sugar cravings17, depletes nutrients more quickly leading to a myriad of symptoms and ailments18, increased risk of anxiety19, triggers or aggravates many diseases20, increases risk of being overweight or obese21 and the list goes on…
- Eating too much sugar increases stress responses in the body22, increased risk of cancer23, especially pancreatic cancer24, increases your likelihood to crave sugar as it’s as addictive as cocaine25, higher risk of weight gain3, speeds the aging process26 and so much more than you have likely felt before (energy crashes, dental issues, etc.)
- Lack of exercise is associated with most chronic disease conditions27, increased risk of diabetes and insulin resistance28, increases risk of constipation29, increases risk for high cholesterol30, decreases speed of wound healing in older adults31 and tons of others
- Dehydration leads to urinary issues, digestive issues, circulatory challenges and brain issues32, increased risk of painful menstrual cramping33, increased risk of blood sugar issues34 and more
***The symptoms listed are the tip of the iceberg…for the sake of brevity, the fallout listed is not exhaustive.
It’s not the purpose of this post so I won’t go deep into it here, but it’s important to note that all of these physical challenges also have lots of non-physical implications. For example, your brain is made up mostly of water and fat…so if you’re dehydrated, you may also have trouble focusing, loss of memory and feel challenged to communicate clearly in interpersonal conversations with your coworkers, spouse, kids, parents etc. This one issue can impact your entire life. Of course, this isn’t to say that the answer to your marriage problems or parenting challenges is to drink more water…but I’d be remiss if I didn’t act like it does indeed play a role, sometimes directly and other times indirectly, in every move you make (or struggle to make).
Think for a moment…take a deep breath and relax. What is standing in the way of getting the health, energy, weight, sleep, and vitality that you can only imagine? What would need to be eliminated or upgraded in your life? Perhaps for you something obvious pops right into your mind…maybe you have gotten into a habit of sedating your stressed emotions with late night ice cream binges or fast food. Or maybe it’s something more subtle such as overeating, especially when stressed…even though you may overeat only on healthy whole foods, you still don’t feel well when you over eat…but you are afraid to give it up…after all, these vices DO provide a short term good feeling (through a dopamine release). But the aftermath leaves you wondering why you even did it…the resulting feeling never feels worth it after the fact.
Let’s go back to the original question, “Do I have to give up XYZ in order to regain my health?”
The honest answer is this. You may have to reduce or eliminate certain things from your diet or life, perhaps temporarily or long term. However, let’s continually go back to the better question…
What are you really giving up if you gain the whole world?
Said another way…
Your journaling assignment is to spend some time thinking about:
- What do I want when it comes to my health? (get specific and go for what you REALLY want)
- What have I been afraid to “give up”?
- Reframe the answer from the question above so that it’s written in a positive way focused more on what you would GAIN. For example, “Giving up donuts and soda is a small price to pay in exchange for so much more energy to run around with the kids, have an off the charts libido and sleep like a baby at night. This will improve my relationships, my finances and the overall quality of my life.”
- What are my actions steps…do I need to commit to a workout buddy, call New Hope Health, clean out the kitchen cabinets, set my alarm, reactivate my gym membership, etc.). Do these things now!
I am not here to say that it’s always going to be easy but…You are worth the effort. You are worth the battle. You are worth investing in. Victory is your birthright!
You are not alone. If you need help navigating some of these deep waters, don’t hesitate to call the clinic for more information about joining the New Hope Health family so we can help you feel amazing!
1. Fiolet T, Srour B, Sellem L, et al. allow me to reframe this a bit for you to help us gain perspective. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: Results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. BMJ. 2018. doi:10.1136/bmj.k322
2. Sharma C, Kaur A, Thind SS, Singh B, Raina S. Advanced glycation End-products (AGEs): an emerging concern for processed food industries. J Food Sci Technol. 2015. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1851-y
3. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brychta R, et al. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Cell Metab. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008
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6. Vatsalya V, Gala KS, Mishra M, et al. Lower serum magnesium concentrations are associated with specific heavy drinking markers, pro-inflammatory response and early-stage alcohol-associated liver injury. Alcohol Alcohol. 2021. doi:10.1093/ALCALC/AGAA001
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10. Shibazaki S, Uchiyama S, Tsuda K, Taniuchi N. Copper deficiency caused by excessive alcohol consumption. BMJ Case Rep. 2017. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-220921
11. Vitale KC, Owens R, Hopkins SR, Malhotra A. Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations. Int J Sports Med. 2019. doi:10.1055/a-0905-3103
12. Tong L, Ye Y, Yan Q. The moderating roles of bedtime activities and anxiety/depression in the relationship between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and sleep problems in children. BMC Psychiatry. 2018. doi:10.1186/s12888-018-1879-4
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17. Yau YHC, Potenza MN. Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva Endocrinol. 2013.
18. Lopresti AL. The Effects of Psychological and Environmental Stress on Micronutrient Concentrations in the Body: A Review of the Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2020. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz082
19. Patriquin MA, Mathew SJ. The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress. Chronic Stress. 2017. doi:10.1177/2470547017703993
20. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017. doi:10.17179/excli2017-480
21. van der Valk ES, Savas M, van Rossum EFC. Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals? Curr Obes Rep. 2018. doi:10.1007/s13679-018-0306-y
22. Jacques A, Chaaya N, Beecher K, Ali SA, Belmer A, Bartlett S. The impact of sugar consumption on stress driven, emotional and addictive behaviors. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.05.021
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25. Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. PLoS One. 2007. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698
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29. Meshkinpour H, Selod S, Movahedi H, Nami N, James N, Wilson A. Effects of regular exercise in management of chronic idiopathic constipation. Dig Dis Sci. 1998. doi:10.1023/A:1026609610466
30. Wang Y, Xu D. Effects of aerobic exercise on lipids and lipoproteins. Lipids Health Dis. 2017. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0515-5
31. Emery CF, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Frid DJ. Exercise accelerates wound healing among healthy older adults: A preliminary investigation. Journals Gerontol – Ser A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005. doi:10.1093/gerona/60.11.1432
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Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.