The New Year has rolled around again and we all know that it is the time we are supposed to stop and reflect on our lives. We look at all of our achievements of the past year. Maybe you finished a course? Maybe you broke that bad habit that had been plaguing you? Maybe you got to where you want to be with the relationships in your life?
As well as this, though—and this is the part none of us finds particularly pleasant—we work out what we need to do to better ourselves in the coming year. What is it that has been dragging us down, and how can we eliminate this from our lives to continue on the road of self-improvement? How can we make use of the next 12 months to become even better versions of our current selves?
While there are many areas of our lives that we can focus on when aiming to better ourselves, one of the most common of these is our health. We are all aware of its importance, but during the Festive Season, among all the fruit mince pies, candy canes and eggnog, it tends to be put on the backburner, until the bathroom scales abruptly remind us that we can only ignore it for so long.
The media seizes this window that appears on a yearly basis, and if you turn on the TV or radio at any time between Christmas and New Year, you are almost guaranteed to hear an ad for the latest diet pill or exercise equipment that will be the answer to all your woes. And people fall for it. It appeals to them because popping a pill is a quick-fix—a far easier option than seriously re-evaluating their lives and thoroughly weeding out what has been stopping them from making progress and improving their lives.
It is for this reason that year after year, so many of us fail to see any improvement. We begin the year with enthusiasm, determined to make this our best yet, but somewhere between January and December, we lose momentum and return to our old selves, without successfully making the changes to our lives that we know we need to.
Let’s make a promise.
Let’s make a resolution here and now: 2016 WILL BE the year that we take action. It WILL BE the year that we can look back on and see the improvements we have made, rather than stagnating or even regressing as we have in previous years.
It WILL BE the year we put into place some permanent changes—changes that will be with us for life, and not just for January and maybe February.
Forget the fad diets or miracle pills!
For 2016, let’s focus on making a few permanent changes to our lives that are realistic—changes that we will be able to stick to; changes that, with a little bit of determination and will power, will become part of our everyday lives by the time 2017 rolls around, and help us be that better, fitter, more energetic version of ourselves that we have always wanted to be!
#1: How to overcome the unhealthy diet.
Nutrition is everything when it comes to health. If you run a car with bad quality oil, pretty soon the engine will begin to show signs of wear and tear, and begin to break down. So it is with our bodies. Everything that enters our mouths literally becomes who we are.
Every single cell of every single organ of our bodies is made from the food we eat. The quality of that food determines the health of those cells.
Just take a look at any Western country, and compare it with countries where the populations eat a largely unprocessed, plant-based diet. It’s no coincidence that Japan ranks number 1 in the world for life expectancy, while the US is a shocking number 34.[i]
Be mindful of this throughout the year. Assess your food intake on a regular basis—perhaps every week or every month. If you fall off the wagon, don’t wait until next year to get back on—look at where you have fallen short, and get right back to it the very next day!
It might help to keep a food diary. Sometimes those little indulgences during the week here and there can be less occasional than we think they are in our minds. Seeing this on paper can make us accountable for what we put in our mouths.
I want you to grab a notepad and write down everything you eat. Include all the healthy food choices you make—the fruits and vegetables; the nuts, grains and seeds.
As well as doing this, though, write down anything you eat that is processed. This means everything containing sugar, or anything made from meat, dairy and eggs, and any pastries or candy. Basically, write down anything that is not a wholesome food, as close to its natural state as possible. I really do mean everything.
Do this for one whole week.
After completing this task, you will have an acute awareness of all the junk you are putting into your body, which at the time seems minor and insignificant. You will be more aware of it as well, because you have to write it down and you may find yourself not buying it or eating it because you just don’t want to take out that darn notepad again!
Writing down all your food choices, both good and bad, may yield some unexpected results. You will either be pleasantly surprised that you eat more healthy food than you thought, or it may help you to realise that all those little snacks here and there that you don’t think really matter do add up over the course of a week.
Perhaps the simplest way of reaching our food goals can be achieved when we peruse the aisles of the grocery store. As simple as it may seem, don’t buy anything that you shouldn’t be eating! You may have a craving for ice cream or chocolate at nine O’clock on a Thursday night, but if there is none in your cupboards or fridge, you are far less likely to cave into the temptation!
Don’t underestimate the power of the mind (more on that later!). Every time you are contemplating eating some junk food, visualise the damage that food will be doing to your insides, and I guarantee you will be far less likely to let it pass your lips!
It can be difficult to permanently change a lifetime of habits in a matter of weeks, or even months. It is important to remember not to feel like a failure if you do succumb to the odd temptation. Think of all the times you have said, ‘no!’, and feel proud of what you have achieved. Make a promise to yourself that while you may have caved in this time, next time you will be stronger.
Think long term, too, if you fall in a moment of weakness. Think of why you are changing your lifestyle, and the benefits this will have down the road…and I promise you, those benefits will FAR outweigh the short-lived pleasure that chocolate bar or burger brings.
If you find the idea of giving up all your guilty pleasures at once just too much, focus on eliminating one or two of them at a time from your life. Add another food to the list each month, so that 2016 becomes a transitional year, and by its end, you have given up 12 foods that you shouldn’t be eating anyway, without feeling too overwhelmed by the task.
Remember, too, that just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste bland. There are so many recipes available readily on the internet these days for healthy yet delicious vegan dishes, including desserts! If you give up processed chocolate, for example, perhaps find a recipe for raw chocolate, which, in moderation, is wonderful for your health and full of antioxidants. Allow yourself the occasional indulgence of this treat, knowing it is actually good for you! Healthy does not mean tasteless, bland or boring!
In fact, the longer you refrain from eating sugary, processed foods, the more your taste buds change, and begin to appreciate subtle flavours. You may find that although you may be daydreaming about biting into that sweet treat, if you actually do, you will quickly realise that it tastes far better in your daydream than in reality!
It is commonly thought that it takes 21 days for a behaviour to become a habit. It has been said that it actually takes longer according to new research. What ever the case, with some willpower and dedication, you will be able to overhaul your diet and begin fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
#2: Are you doing enough number twos in the day?
After the food we have consumed has done its job of fueling our cells, any waste that is left over must be quickly eliminated from our bodies, to keep us in top health. When this doesn’t happen, disease and sickness can occur.
The problem is, when it doesn’t happen is precisely when we need it to happen the most! Unhealthy foods, which, ironically, are the foods we want out of our body as quickly as possible—are generally low in fibre, and are difficult to pass. Have you felt bloated and blocked up, and found it difficult to eliminate in the days following that hearty Christmas dinner? Now you know why!
Food waste, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Our body must also eliminate what’s known as metabolic waste—the by-products of our body operating. As they function, each of our organs creates waste which needs to be eliminated on a daily basis.
In a perfect world, this would happen easily, as the body is created with a number of ways to dispose of its waste. But when we overload our body, primarily through consuming more junk food than the body can process and eliminate, then the waste starts to back up and our body starts to store it. This is usually made worse by a lack of exercise, which slows down the elimination channels. Again, ironically, the days after eating that big Christmas dinner, when we most need to get the elimination channels functioning, are usually when we give the exercise a miss, thereby exacerbating the problem!
So what can we do about this? Make a resolution in 2015 to give our body some time to detoxify—it only takes a few days a few times a year and we can easily help our body to rid itself of built-up waste.
The best way to do this is with a colon detox. A two-part colon detox that is ideal for this purpose. For part one use some of the best laxative herbs which are highly effective without becoming addictive like so many others on the market. These get the elimination channels working well, and keep you regular. Herbs such as cascara sagrada, buck thorn bark or turkey rhubarb.
Part two of this detox contains some powerful ingredients to pull out the compacted junk that has been sitting in your colon, sometimes for many years—sometimes even for decades. Psyllium and Bentonite Clay surround the toxins that sit in the colon and pull them off the colon walls, so they can finally be eliminated. These two can be mixed half and half then take 1 tsp of the final solution to 1 cup of water 4 – 5 times a day. Be sure to get an extra cup of water in after each dose. If you feel plugged, then take more of the first part above.
A close friend lived in the USA while she was a toddler, at which point her family relocated to Australia. When she was in her ’30s, she did the colon detox, and to her surprise, passed an American coin! This coin had been sitting in her colon for around 3 decades until the colon detox pulled it out!
Ensuring you are regular is one of the best ways to improve your health. An unhealthy colon is often the source of disease and sickness, so detoxing this organ should be one of the starting points of any lifestyle change.
#3: Could you use an extra few years of life?
Circulation is what keeps us living.
When we move—and exercise is probably the best way to do this—we get our lungs working, and the blood pumping around our body. The more blood circulates around, the more oxygen our cells receive, and the better they function.
Today’s modern sedentary lifestyle, and the lack of circulation it results in, is one reason there are so many diseases around. You don’t have to run a marathon to increase your circulation, though.
In particular, take advantage of any opportunity for incidental exercise: take the stairs instead of the lift; get off the bus one stop early; go for a walk during your lunch break. You will be amazed by how many opportunities we have to get in a little bit more exercise each day, if only we take advantage of them.
You could wear a pedometer and set yourself a daily goal. Or you could invest in a Fitbit or other similar device to track your movement. While these gadgets are by no means necessary, if you are the competitive type, they can help you to set personal goals, and then work on beating these.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are moving on a daily basis. If you want to take it further and begin a dedicated exercise regime, the most important thing is to keep it fun. You could try an exercise class such as Zumba, or perhaps take up a new sport. You could find a friend to join you for a daily jog. Whatever it is, though, if it’s not fun, you won’t keep doing it, and if you don’t keep doing it, you won’t keep your new year’s resolution.
Whichever way you choose to get moving, make sure you are constantly challenging yourself. Keep trying to go that little bit further.
The truth is, it is our minds more than our bodies that prevent us from reaching our potential. Just when you think you can’t take another step, take one more. Just when you think you think you can’t take another breath, breathe in and keep going that little bit further.
Just like when it comes to making changes to your eating habits, think long term. Think about why you are making the effort to get moving, and the positive impact it will have on your life a year from now.
Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! It may be hard, particularly at first, to find the motivation and momentum. If it helps, get a friend to come with you so you are both accountable. Whatever you do though, keep going. If you have a lazy week, or if things pop up in your life that prevent you from achieving your exercise goals, don’t throw in the towel—get back up and moving as soon as you can! That way, when 2017 arrives, you will be fitter and healthier than ever!
#4: The Secret Behind Longevity
When it comes to health, the mind is a powerful tool.
In healing disease, any doctor or nurse will tell you that attitude is one of the most important factors, regardless of the sickness. Some even believe that cancers are caused as a result of negative emotions.[ii]
So this year, set yourself a goal to rid yourself of any negative emotional baggage that has been weighing you down. Deal with it and put it behind you.
Ditch any negative people you may associate with who drag you down with them. Make a conscious effort to repeat a few positive affirmations (if you can’t think of your own, there are plenty on the internet) or thoughts each day to keep your mind and emotions in top shape.
If it helps, write them down and stick them around the house—next to the mirror, on your bedroom walls, behind the toilet door—anywhere you are likely to see them and repeat them on a regular basis.
Remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary. There is no such word, because you CAN! You CAN do it, and you WILL!
The main thing to remember is to be REALISTIC:
- Don’t set resolutions that are doomed to failure; take baby steps to reach your goal.
- For nutrition, pick one or two kinds of junk food that you have a weakness for, and resolve not to buy them anymore, then pick some healthy foods to replace them with.
- For elimination, do a detox with Cascara Sagrada or some Turkey Rhubarb. This allows feacal matter to be broken up and expelled while working your colon muscle.
- Do any one of the detoxes offered as well, to cleanse your other organs.
Make sure you get moving a little each day to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping, and don’t be afraid to start small and work up. By doing a little each day, think of where you will be at the end of the year! Work up to at least a half hour everyday of exercise.
Lastly, keep life FUN and be POSITIVE! Learn some jokes, watch some comedies, or catch up with old friends. Remember, a little at a time. If you fall off the wagon, get back on it as soon as possible, and by the start of 2017, you will be well on the way to a more energetic, healthier and disease-free you. Now that’s a resolution worth keeping!
[i] “Global Health Observatory Data Repository: Life expectancy – Data by country” (CSV). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Statistics 2015, World Health Organization, WHO. 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-21. the technical health information is based on data accurate with respect to the year indicated (2013)
About the Author
Stephen Mocko is a natural herbalist and healer, as well as the founder of Eureka Wellness, a health and wellness center in Melbourne, Australia, which highlights the importance of a raw diet with juicing, exercise, and clean water and air, as well as herbal supplementations. Stephen has developed a two part colon detox as mentioned above with his expert knowledge of herbs.