Have you ever felt like there should be an easier way to get closer to your health goals? Have you ever wondered, "Should it really be this hard? Shouldn't it be easier to do?"
I remember back when I was 40 pounds overweight. I was literally trying every single thing that I could to try to lose it because I honestly believe that if you put in more effort you should be able to reap more reward. I tried everything from fad diets to things like Weight Watchers where you're counting a lot of points. I tried low carb, high protein diets. I did cleanses. I really tried everything. I just felt like my body was holding onto this excess weight. For some reason it just wasn't ... I wasn't getting any smaller.
I was also exercising for up to two hours a day. Even on my days off from doing hockey training I used to go to the gym anyway and try to do some hardcore exercises because I thought that I needed to stick to my goals. I honestly believe that you will be rewarded if you put in the effort.
I also felt like there was just one day when I came to this realization, you know what? I don't think I want to count and measure and weigh myself for the rest of my life. I just want to be able to not think about it. I think that's ultimately what pretty much every woman wants. You don't want to think about it anymore. You just want to eat food, enjoy yourself, fit into your pants, and not worry about the calorie intake or your protein carb ratio. All of these different things.
I remember looking at other slim women around me. It seemed like they're just able to intuitively listen to their body. I had one friend who, she's like, "You know what, Katheryn? I'm really craving an orange." I was like, "Orange? I thought that cravings were only things that you had for junk food. I didn't realize that you could crave healthy food, too."
She was a type of girl who could eat pizza and not gain weight, but she was also the type of person who had cravings for oranges. For me, I was the type of person who would eat pizza and gain weight, but I never had any type of cravings for healthy foods. I started getting curious about how naturally slim people are able to connect so much with their bodies because I felt like I had spent so many years creating all of these rules for myself that I didn't even really know what my body wanted anymore.
Do you feel that way too? Do you ever feel like your body is saying one thing but you have all these preconditioned thoughts and you're kind of talking against yourself? Maybe you feel like you're kind of tired, but you're like, "No, I got to go to the gym. I got to work out. I got to meet my health goals."
If that's how you feel then you might actually not be helping yourself in the long run. It could be that your body is telling you exactly what it needs to be in balance but you're the one who's getting in the way of making that happen just because you have all of these rules in your head.
How do we get over all of these rules? How do we just go back to understanding what our body needs? Well, I wound up taking a trip to Tokyo, Japan. Oh my goodness. My thought process when it came to food was totally, totally changed when I saw everybody there because we spend so much time in the west learning about protein, carbs, calories, all these different things that we need to do, and there's so much information. There's a wealth of diet science information but nobody really understands how to implement all of this knowledge.
When I was in Japan I felt like everything I had learned in the west was challenged.
I was seeing all these slim women walking around. They're literally eating pretty much anything. You don't see them walking around in Spandex coming out of their hard workout class drinking two liter bottles of water. That's just not something you really see here.
I remember feeling really confused because I'm like, "Okay, if they're eating pretty much anything and they're not doing all of these things that I feel like I'm told to do by the media then what is different?" Of course the first things I thought of were maybe it's just their genetics. Maybe they're just naturally slim and I just have to deal with never being that way.
The more I looked into it, the more I saw how there's really a method involved in body care.
The first thing I came across was food energetics.
This is a thing that I really want to tell you today. It's pretty much the bane of my obsession. Food energetics is the study of cycles in nature.
For example, if you look in nature you see that everything operates in cycles. We have the cycle of the year. This is when the earth is rotating around the sun one time. Within that year we have four different seasons. How that affects us is that we have different types of foods available to us at different times of the year. It's meant to help us acclimate to our climate.
We also have the cycle of the moon. The moon is going around the earth. That completes one cycle, which as we know it is called the month. As women, we have our menstrual cycles. That's something that happens [inaudible 00:05:31] cycle of the month as well. There's some theories about the moon that if the moon can have a huge effect on the ocean tides, meaning that the moon has the ability to move huge bodies of water in and out of the ocean tides, then how is it affecting the fluids in our body?
The more you look at the cycles you start realizing that we also have these cycles in our body, too. Another one would be the cycle of the day. The sun rises and we're awake because the sunlight is changing our body chemistry. We're able to stay away for the entire day. Vice versa, when the sun's not around, we're able to sleep for the entire period of the night.
Our bodies are directly affected by nature. If you also look at our bodies you'll find some other cycles. Not only do we have menstrual cycles, we also have sleep cycles. We also have our digestive cycle. We also have our blood circulation. The thing is what you want to be thinking of is how can I help my body flow through these cycles with ease? Because if you're able to make sure that there's no stagnation in these cycles, your body weight and also your energy levels, the condition of your skin, everything is going to be functioning smoothly.
One thing that I really love about food energetics is that we're able to select foods based on the time of day and also the time of year to help our bodies with this flow. What helped me lose 40 pounds, and also a lot of my clients lose anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds, is starting to focus on how these foods affect our body as opposed to thinking about energy in versus energy out. That's what I want you to think of.
I also want to share with you some things that I found in Asia that are totally different from what we think about in the west.
These are things that are constantly, constantly preached but you don't really hear about it in the west. I'm going to share with you. Let me see here. I think about four or five different things.
The first one is temperature.
It's so important to keep your body warm. You want to make sure that you're having good circulation in your body. If you've ever gone to a Chinese restaurant I'm pretty sure you've never ordered a raw salad. They just don't exist. Everything is cooked. Everything has some type of warming spices or seasonings like garlic, for example, that's supposed to encourage your blood circulation.
This is something that people in the east and many different cultures are aware of. You see a lot of foods in eastern cultures are ... Tend to be cooked instead of being raw. That's because we really want to keep our bodies warm.
Another thing is seasonal food.
This is something I feel really gets overlooked in the west, too. I mean, we're so concerned about diet science. Thinking about protein, carbs, calories. All these things, that we don't seem to really care about where the food is coming from. It could be the middle of the winter and you could be in a snowstorm and still eating acai super foods from the Amazon.
The question you need to ask yourself is is that the right kind of energy that my body needs? Is that the right kind of nutrition? Because, sure, it's packed with a lot of nutrients, but is that what my body needs to thrive in the environment that I am currently if it doesn't grow where I am? Seasonal foods is super, super important.
Another thing that you'll notice is that there's tons of varieties of foods in eastern cultures.
In the west maybe you just have a sandwich with a juice, whereas over in Asia you'll have a bunch of different types of foods available to you but in smaller portions. You're still eating the same volume of food, but you're eating a lot more variety. That could mean a variety of things from animal products to vegetables.
It also means different types of flavor. You have sweet, salty. You have what they call umami, which, is a seaweed flavor. You also have some pungent foods. Just a whole variety of foods that you can be eating. It gives you a lot more satisfaction by the end of the meal.
Another thing that people in Asia focus on is moisture and hydration.
You see in places like America, for example, they say, "Oh, hydration is so important. Make sure you're drinking your water." They're just glugging all of this water all day long. It is super important to stay hydrated, but in the east people don't drink a lot of water. Instead, they eat foods themselves that have a high water content or that have been cooked in water.
For example, one really simple one would be rice instead of bread. Rice has been cooked in water. It's, like, infused with water and moisture. It's much, much easier for the body to process than something like bread, which is very dry. All of the moisture has been baked out of the bread.
Some other things would be having soups. You're much more likely to see people in Asia have some type of soup with their meal than you are in the U.S. A lot of the foods that they eat in Asia tend to have much more water content, so they're not drinking so much water in between.
Another reason why they don't drink so much water in general is because you don't want to be interrupting your digestive process. Sometimes having water can interfere with the digestive acids in your body. A lot of times if you're going to eat some place for lunch or for dinner in Asia you're not really going to get a glass of water with your meal. Instead, you might receive some herbal tea or something warm at the end of the meal. That tends to work as a digestive helper.
These are some things that are super, super interesting about the difference in how we approach our diets. I really feel that if you want to become the person who's intuitive and you're really in tune with what your body needs then starting with nature is really the best way that you can get back to understanding the basics. What is it that our body needs to function? What should we be thinking about?
Instead of thinking about energy in versus energy out, you want to think, "Okay, what am I eating right now that's going to balance my condition? How is what I'm eating now connected to this whole idea of the cycles and this flow? Is it contributing well to those cycles and to that flow?" That is essentially how you can start balancing your body and healing your body.