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Are you getting enough?

In our private Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group this week, we’ve had some interesting discussions around the subject of sleep. One of our Members shared this interesting article from the news, reporting on scientists that have made new discoveries in how our circadian rhythms (which help to regulate sleep and hormone function and more) are linked to the movement of the sun – in humans and other species too.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the article, and this further article that is linked, which explains how we are suffering from society-wide sleep deprivation, which is contributing massively to all sorts of ill health, including cancer, and is costing the nation over £30bn per year in lost productivity.

We discuss the value of sleep regularly in our Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group, and ensuring you are getting adequate sleep is covered in Core Principle 10. Sleep is pretty much the best antidote to chronic stress, and in our Members Webinars we discuss the importance of getting enough good quality sleep. Your bedroom should be dark, cool, ventilated, calm and quiet. No electronic devices, no checking Facebook on your smartphone at three in the morning, and no night lights.

It is important to be asleep at night, in the dark, not awake, working or looking at your screen! Research is uncovering mechanisms that show how DNA repairhappens at night, while we sleep in the dark, and this may explain the link between working night shifts and higher mortality.

Gains

It seems pretty certain that sleep is important for many reasons – from stress reduction to combating cancer. There is growing evidence to suggest that depriving yourself of sleep through adult life is likely to leave that adult life, well, shortened.

In addition, another MND Member this week shared this fascinating blog post about a study that took a small group of overweight nonsmokers, and put them on a calorie restricted diet for two weeks, half the group getting adequate sleep, and half the group on reduced sleep. In short, the results showed that both groups lost weight, but most of the weight the sleep-deprived group lost was muscle mass and body water, whereas most of the weight the adequate-sleep group lost, was body fat. So, the lesson learned – if you are trying to lose fat weight, get Read more

The many reasons why we seem to be losing the fight against rising obesity

As I have written before, the classic weight loss advice to ‘eat less, move more’ has fallen from popularity in recent years. Frankly, those of us in this industry still promoting ‘eat less, move more’ as relevant advice in the face of the rising obesity epidemic are seen as rather outdated, rather old-school. As I have also written before, I do believe that the advice should be updated to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ which rather improves on, and corrects, the original expression.

But still, it’s far more current to besmirch all that old school talk as being fattist, as lacking understanding, as being outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch. It’s considered politically incorrect these days to suggest that obesity is on the rise because people eat too much and don’t exercise enough, and indeed it’s now becoming popular to say that any so-called health professional preaching such ancient wisdom is poorly educated and lacking in sympathy and understanding for the victims of the root causes of rising obesity.

To suggest that obese people ‘just eat less and move more’ is now seen as being about as constructive and helpful as telling a depressed person to ‘just get over it and cheer up a bit’. It’s now fashionable and politically correct to see obesity as an eating disorder, and to say that anyone preaching ‘eat less, move more’ is guilty of the most heinous of 21st century crimes – fat shaming.

In our complex modern world, with obesity growing at an alarming rate (or is that just changes to the system of classification?) there are many factors we can blame for rising obesity.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

All of these factors are relevant, they all play a role, they are all true, all valid, ALL OF THEM account for why some people are overweight, and all of them matter. I am not disagreeing with any one of the thigns on that list, or a dozen more, such as the role of environmental pollution, the rise in the number of TV channels, the role of anti-obesity attitudes in our society, the availability and nutritional content of school lunches, the increase in sugar content in foods, and so on and so on.

But here’s the thing. Read more

What’s your reason why? And is it strong enough…

Why do you want to be healthy?
Why should you eat well, exercise, get an early night, drink more water, drink less booze, eat your veggies, cut down on the hedonistic lifestyle, manage your stress, join a yoga class, go running and lift a few weights?
Why would you do all that?
What’s your motivation?
What’s your reason why?

Maybe you want ‘the body beautiful’ – whatever that means to you.
Maybe you want to get your hands on someone else’s body beautiful!
Maybe you want to be bursting with energy.
Perhaps you are striving to resist the signs of ageing.
Maybe you have a family history of ill health and you are making every effort not to follow that line.
Perhaps you want to improve your performance in your chosen sport.
Maybe you want to avoid ill health, the decline of serious illness that comes later in life.

There are plenty of reasons to engage in a healthy lifestyle – do you know what yours is?

Thinking time…

That last question…

Do you know what yours is?

Did you have to think about it, or did the answer Read more

Really, it’s not rocket science…

Mother Nature’s Diet is based on the exceedingly simple, but thoroughly researched, 12 Core Principles.

I say ‘exceedingly simple’ because I believe that to be true. I believe that losing weight, having plenty of energy, avoiding ill health and feeling great truly is exceedingly simple, and after 20 years of being overweight and out of shape, drinking and smoking, being unfit and suffering health problems, now I have ‘found my way’ I am amazed how simple it all is.

However, that is only my own personal perspective. And it seems, among the thousands of people that I meet every year, that most people would not agree with me. Most people seem to really struggle, as indeed I did for 20 years, before I figured out what to do. So the question then becomes, what changed for me, from my two decades of struggling, to suddenly turning a corner and finding things so much simpler?

(Note, I say ‘simple’ but not ‘easy’. Healthy living is simple, but not always easy.)

No guidance

You see, when I changed, it took me several years, and a lot of trial-and-error,because I didn’t have a handy guide like the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet to point me in the right direction. I had to read all the contradictory diet ideas, try everything out, see through all the glitzy snakeoil sales pitches and fad diet marketing tricks, to find what really worked, so it took me some time.

Beyond the ‘how to’ I also changed my mindset. It wasn’t some glorious shining epiphany moment, it wasn’t a ‘eureka’ moment, I didn’t ‘see the light’ one day and suddenly ditch breakfast cereals and start eating broccoli. More, it was a series of slow dawning realisations, occurring mostly but not exclusively between the age of 30 and 40, as I slowly realised that if I carried on the way I was, I would almost certainly suffer obesity and type-2 diabetes through my 40s; I would likely have high blood pressure and be a prime candidate for heart disease in my 50s; and quite likely die young of cancer in my 60s, as many in my family have done before me.

So my mindset changed, I reaffirmed that I had so much to live for in my life, I ‘woke up’ to see clearly that no one else is out there looking after my health, it’s down to me. I realised that there is no government minister or department charged with helping me to look and feel my best and resist ill health and the signs of ageing. My GP doesn’t make house calls to ask how I feel today. The NHS, the food manufacturers, the drug companies, the local farmer, none of these people wake up in the morning tasked with ‘making sure Karl doesn’t develop heart disease’ as one of their goals for the day. No, I realised that only one person can do something about making sure I don’t develop heart disease a decade from now – me. And it starts with taking proactive steps today, tomorrow, and every day.

“An apple a day…keeps the doctor away”

If you never put any money away, never save any, then you are not going to be surprised 15 years from now if you have no savings. Right?

If you never get your car serviced, never do any car maintenance yourself, and never pay any attention to warning lights that light up on the dashboard, so no oil change, no air in the tryes, no radiator top up, then you won’t be too surprised a few years down the line when your car breaks down.

Well your health is the same. If you do no maintenance, then why act surprised when things break down? If you don’t eat an apple a day, and yo don’t get some exercise, and you don’t do any of the things we know we should do for good health, it seems obvious that at some point, things are going to break down, and go wrong. We know the saying isn’t “Three donuts a day, keeps the doctor away.” We know that. Yet folks out there eat donuts every day instead of apples. We know we should exercise every day, we know we should stop smoking, drink less alcohol, drink more water, eat our veggies, and we know that fish is good for us. But how many folks don’t follow these simple tips?

Take charge…or perish

No one else is out to look after your good health, you have to take personal responsibility and look after yourself.

Apathy is a killer.

After my mindset changed, and I took personal responsibility for my own future, then I made quick progress, losing over seven stones of unwanted fat (101 pounds, or 46 kilos of body fat), getting super fit and healthy, coming off my medications and quitting smoking and drinking completely.

And I figured out the 12 Core Principles that I now share with you, to help you get there quicker, and easier, than I did.

Core Principle 1 – cut back on all those starchy carbs, most folks eat far too much of that stuff and they don’t lead high-energy lives that burn all that sugary fuel.

Core Principle 2 – quit the refined sugar, it’s a modern-day dietary disaster.

Core Principle 3 – reduce your reliance on processed foods, switch to fresh, ideally local, whole foods, better for you, better for the planet, better for animal welfare, better for farmers, better for everyone.

Core Principle 4 – stop smoking and drink less!

Core Principle 5 – get out for some fresh air every day.

Core Principle 6 – drink plenty of water, be sure you are well hydrated.

Core Principle 7 – just eat fresh whole foods. Vegetables, fish, eggs, meat, fruits, nuts, seeds and really not much else.

Core Principle 8 – focus on quality, not quantity. Buy organic, buy sustainably farmed.

Core Principle 9 – get some exercise, every single day!

Core Principle 10 – chill out, work a little less, laugh a little more, reduce stress and sleep more.

Core Principle 11 – spend more time out in nature, enjoy the countryside, make it a habit.

Core Principle 12 – get the above right 90% (or more) of the time and then chill out over the last 10%. Your long term results will not be determined by the 5% or 10% of the time you skip a workout or eat the pizza and ice cream. Your long term results come from the 90% to 95% of days that you DO workout and you do eat the veggies and fish. Get it right at least 90% of the time, and stick to it, consistent simple healthy living will win the day.

Really, it’s not Rocket Science…

So my question to you is this: what’s stopping you?

If you just refuse to take your own health seriously, and you can’t follow such simple steps to take care of yourself…why not? What needs to change about your mindset?

My invitation to you is this – take your health seriously, before something serious takes your health.

To you and your future!

Karl

If you could put a price on it, what is your good health worth?

I think it’s true to say that most people don’t realise the true value of good health, until it’s gone.

I meet people every day who won’t spend the extra money to buy organic, they definitely won’t spend the extra required to buy grass-fed meat or organic, free-range poultry. I meet people every day who say gym membership is too expensive, running shoes and lycra clothing are too costly, and they don’t have time to work out because they are too busy working, because their demanding career comes first.

When it comes to making the best health decisions, price is often an objection.

Yet I also meet a lot of people who have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and I have never yet met one person with a terminal cancer or in recovery after a heart attack, who still thinks gym fees are too expensive, or still says buying organic isn’t worth the cost. I’ve never met anyone who has been given a terminal diagnosis, who wouldn’t give you all the money they have to live a few years longer.

It’s true, most people don’t value their good health until it’s gone.

Causes and factors

Of course, the whole subject of what causes cancer or what causes heart disease is generally a bit more complicated than ‘well you didn’t buy organic veg, so now you have terminal cancer’, or ‘you didn’t work out in the gym, so now you are cruising for your second heart attack’. Certainly, in reality it’s a lot more complicated than that.

In the real world, what causes these ill health conditions is usually a combined effect of many such factors and causes, stacked up over a period of time. Of course, a certain percentage of cancers are unavoidable, genetic defects. A certain percentage of heart conditions are congenital defects, there’s little we can do about them. But the truth is that the vast majority of diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases and cancers, are affected, and made more likely, to one degree or another, by our diet and lifestyle choices.

There are many known Read more