As you probably know, it was my birthday recently. Over the past 6 to 7 years, I have set a theme for each new year of my life, chosen an area of my life that I think I should work on. So when I turned 34 last year, my slogan was “in her 34th year, she was beautiful”. I bore that in mind when I went shopping, deciding not to buy anything that didn’t have the “wow” factor, I bought only what enhanced other things I already had and focused on buying beautiful accessories that accentuated other pieces of my wardrobe.
Anyhow, before my birthday 2 weeks ago, I had determined that “in her 35th year, she will be healthy”. So that informed my choice of a birthday present from me to me! I had first heard of Cameron Diaz’ Body Book when Oprah interviewed her on OWN, then I went on to research it. I saw that most reviews mentioned the level of detail the book went into and how scientific it was. So in keeping with the theme of improving my health, taking care of the body that I have been entrusted with and living a vibrant life, I bought me “the Body Book” as my birthday present.
I started reading it a few days ago, and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. I am enjoying it, seeing things from a clearer perspective and most importantly, I am taking action! Some nuggets from what I have read thus far:
Cameron Diaz says “Today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, your nutrition is worth your attention and your time, because nutrition is health, and health is everything.”
“No matter where you are starting from, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to love your hunger: to eat for nutrition and give your body and every little cell that it contains exactly what it needs to help you thrive.”
“And meal by meal, it’s what’s on our plates that will define our health.” I remember that at a recent event by the iWOW Network, we had a member of the FuZion Fitness team talk to us about nutrition. He said with an average of 27 meals a week, you really should be paying attention to what you are eating. That your body is like an accountant, it keeps record of everything you give it and then dishes it back to you, whether by being healthy and vibrant or in the form of obesity, diabetes… It was really sobering for me.
“The responsibility to be healthy is in your hands- no one else is going to do it for you. So ask yourself: do you want to live in a body that allows you do the things you want to do, a body that’s in full health and capability that you can be proud to call your own! It’s your choice.”
“…you can eat real food that is good for you and also tastes great.”
“Until we take the time to learn how we function as human animals, we will continue to make ourselves sick.”
She talks about how because of obesity related diseases, life expectancy of children of this generation is shorter than their parents for the first time in human history. (Sobering too).
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said, over 2500 years ago- “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
“If you want to feel more capable, more powerful and empowered, then you must take responsibility for learning about nutrition.”
Loving your hunger- I love how she talks about this. She says hunger is a sign that your body needs to be replenished. So rather than ignore hunger, you love it by feeding it and by feeding it with what it recognizes as food. She gives an example of your car, say the petrol light is flashing and warning you that you are low on gas. Do you just ignore it? You may postpone attending to it but at your own peril- that’s what it’s like to ignore your hunger. Then having decided to attend to your petrol problem, do you go and fill your tank with tomato juice? It’s liquid after all! No, you feed your car what it needs; petrol or diesel. Same thing you should do to your body. She talks about a lot of the processed foods that we eat and how our body doesn’t recognize them as food, she talks about fibre, nutrients- micro and macro here.
She explains there are about 2000 times a year that you get hungry, (assuming 6 times a day that you feel hungry/peckish, break that down into 3 meals and 3 snacks). It means you have 2000 opportunities to help or harm yourself every year! Wow!
Still on hunger, she explains that hunger shouldn’t be ignored. Like the red light in your car. The longer you leave it, the more it intensifies until you will eat just about anything and eat a lot of it, just because you didn’t listen to your hunger at its first warning,
“Hunger is your body urging you to take care of yourself, to give it energy so that you can live your life”
She compares eating breakfast to leaving the house without charging your phone… You have to develop an awareness of how your power level fluctuates throughout the day, and recharge when you need to.
Cameron went all scientific on us in this book. She talks about macronutrients being carbohydrates, protein and fat. Two types of micronutrients- vitamins and mineral and water which is neither a micro or macro nutrient but is considered a nutrient. So “together the three macronutrients plus vitamins and minerals plus water add up to the six nutrients essential to our survival.”
“The energy rankings we use for food are called calories. That’s right, calories. Calories aren’t a measure of how ‘fattening’ a food is, they are a measure of how much energy is packed into that food.” Good point by Cameron, I had really come to look at calories as “bad”, this adjusts it for me. You do need calories to survive, the question is, are you consuming empty calories or power-packed calories? This distinction means you can eat a day’s worth of calories in one sitting but your body still hasn’t gotten the nutrients it needs
“Water transports nutrients to your cells. It whisks away waste products. Without water, you couldn’t turn those carbs, proteins and fats into usable energy that powers every breath.” Hence the advise to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day
She says “It’s time to relearn our basic biology”…
I am loving this book! I am just in Chapter 11 of 29 chapters. I will probably share a lot more as I read. As with all decisions, goals and plans, unless you take action, they are useless because knowledge is not power, it is applied knowledge that is power! So what have I done (in all fairness, I began this journey in about mid-September, so towards the end of my 34th year) is, I have a smoothie every day, I figure I can’t eat 4 carrots, a pineapple, ginger, and 2 or 3 bananas in one day, but if I blend them all together I can do it over a day by drinking my smoothie twice a day when I feel like snacking (and I feel like snacking quite often). I am still on sweet smoothies, haven’t graduated to green smoothies yet. I also started walking an hour 3 to 4 times a week. I like to walk outside and pray as I walk, so I call them prayer-walks and that makes them more motivating. I have lost 3 kg slowly but sustainably and more than the weight loss (because weight loss never really motivated me in the past, I have always loved myself, I am not one of those who will hate her body and then decide to do something about it. I have always loved that my body is healthy, it has carried my child, it supports me and so if it was a little over weight, all I still felt was love towards it). However, now I see that I can also support it. I thought about it like this, in my old age, I will like to give my children the luxury of freedom and choices. I don’t want them saying “who will have Mummy” because Mummy is sick and then causing a strain on their marriages. I also don’t want them saying “oh, we would like to buy a bigger home/go on that vacation/send grandchild to Harvard but because Mummy is ill, and we have to pay hospital bills, let’s settle for less”. I mean, you cannot plan it all, but as much as is within my power, I choose to give myself the gift of health, and to give it to the kids too, do you know they say, most “hereditary” diseases are 10% genes and 90% lifestyle? Imagine that!
I see hubby and I in our home in the Bahamas in our 70’s, I see us having beautiful barbecues with the grandkids, the kids and their spouses. I see hubby teaching his 14-year-old grandson how to drive (against his daddy’s wishes, LOL), I see us swimming, taking prayer walks every day. Still speaking and teaching. Our investments allowing us do what we love and living very well. The foundation of what I see, is health! That’s the only way to enjoy all that.
So, in 2015 and beyond, I choose to give myself the gift of health! I urge you, because I love you (for reading my blog and for being you) to consider doing the same! Will you? Stay awesome!