Welcome to the Balance By Beth Blog. I'm Beth, a holistic Health Coach and self-love advocate. It is nice to meet you! I am so excited to share my health and wellness journey with you. I say journey because I truly believe that health is a journey not a destination. I have spent the majority of my life struggling with food addiction, body image, yo-yo dieting (weight cycling), experimenting with fad diets, and hating what I saw when I looked in the mirror. But that has all drastically changed. I am here to tell you that I was able to find happiness and, in turn, self-love through developing sustainable habits and lifestyle changes to live a much happier, healthier, and well balanced life.
Increased whole foods, less processed foods, a regular workout routine, and practicing self-care has not only increased my energy levels and reduced my stress, but it allows me to maintain a healthy weight. The key word here is maintain. Yes, I have been at a healthy weight for long periods of time, but I have always been a chronic fluctuator. Once winter and the holiday season would roll around that scale would go up 10-12 lbs year after year! Every New Year I would be the first person signing up for group challenges and "starting over" and I would always be upset and feel extremely guilty that I let all of my hard work during the year go to waste. Many people think it is normal to gain weight every winter from indulging in comfort food and eating family style at one too many holiday parties. Everyone is different and has their own opinions, but for me, an extra 10-12 lbs on my small 5'3" frame meant I totally went out of control. It meant two words - food addiction.
Food addiction is real and sugar got the best of me. Do you ever wonder why after eating just one cookie you want and feel like you NEED 3 more? That is because sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine. Consuming sugar activates the tongue's taste receptors and sends a signal to your brain stem and the cerebral cortex asking "should I do that again?" as reward pathways are lit up and a massive amount of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) is released. So after you're finished eating all those cookies, your brain is rewarding you for a job well done when in actuality you've created a vicious cycle of intense cravings. So how do we fix this?
A well balanced diet and lifestyle can decrease (and in many cases terminate) food addiction and sugar cravings. Developing healthy and sustainable eating habits is not going on a diet, it's a lifestyle. I don't give up foods that I enjoy and love, I just find healthier versions of them to satisfy cravings. And to be completely transparent, I rarely have unhealthy cravings since I have changed my habits. Okay, okay, maybe dark chocolate and dairy free ice cream from time to time, but guess what? I listen to my body and have chocolate or ice cream when I want to and I just make sure not to go overboard on the sugar. I used to crave pizza, chicken parm, white pasta, Chinese food, sweets, the list goes on... I always knew these foods were "bad for you", but I never fully understood why. Everything in moderation, right? Wrong. I now understand why it is so important to live as what Dr. Fuhrman calls a "Nutritarian."
"A Nutritarian is a person who realizes that your diet has to be one of nutritional quality. You don't effectively lose weight by cutting your calories, it's the quality of the calories that count, not just the amount. A diet with low amounts of micronutrients leads to food cravings and an overwhelming desire to eat excessively and to have food addictions," Dr. Fuhrman explains. So the majority of my life I was doing it all wrong! I would typically increase my workouts and cut calories, while eating my old version of "very clean" (high protein, low carb). I was barely eating any vegetables other than broccoli and asparagus and I was surely not eating enough. I was not incorporating enough of the RIGHT type of calories, the most wholesome type of calories. Once I would hit my short term goal, I would spiral out of control since I was depriving myself of all the foods I loved. This would lead to gaining the weight back quickly, once I decided to reintroduce refined carbs to my diet.
I now "crave" my favorite salad from Sweetgreen, my delicious homemade oatmeal banana pancakes, and my refreshing very berry smoothie. Oh, and I can't forget about my overnight oats! Will you catch me eating a slice of pizza from time to time, a cheeseburger at a family BBQ, or a lobster roll up in Maine this summer? Absolutely! Remember, I am not on a diet and I am human just like you and I probably love food just as much as you. But my goal has switched from "live to eat" to "eat to live." It can be life changing if you let it! While some people don't understand my lifestyle choices, I choose to remind myself daily that I am working on being the best version of myself - the most positive, kind, grateful, inspirational, healthy, and balanced version of myself.
I am so happy to share my personal story, my health and wellness journey, and tips, recipes, and strategies as a Balance By Beth Health Coach and through the BBB blog. Please reach out to me directly with any comments, questions, or suggestions on what you'd like to see me post about.
Stay Balanced xo,