30 January 2017.
January is often the month of indulgent hedonistic behaviour, and frankly, I don’t think this is a bad thing. For many of us, the end of the year and lead up to Christmas is beyond hectic, and to allow yourself a little leniency on the diet and exercise front is probably deserved. Still, there gets a point at the end of January when you start to look forward to feeling clear of the heaviness which accompanies the excesses on the holiday season.
So on this note, with the last day of January looming closer, I am putting together my plans and suggestions for a Naturopathic version of Feb-Fast for myself and those who are interested in taking the challenge!
The reason, obviously, that we all like doing these diets in February is that it is the shortest month. Four scant weeks in which to hold ourselves firm to the path of denial. And I am inclined to believe that it is a good challenge to set yourself. If you are unable to stop a pattern of behaviour which you believe you should, then you may need to address your addiction or response to discipline.
In previous years, I have either given up alcohol or sugar. This year, I might combine the two. The reason is mainly that frankly both of them are unnecessary, and both of them are frankly sugar based. So really, what I clearing out is sugar and anything which converts to sugar, which in this case includes alcohol and most refined carbohydrates.
The reason that I am choosing this style of diet is remove my body’s access to using sugar for energy, and instead teach it to use stored fat for energy. Whenever we eat sugar or carbs, the body will use this for energy and store what is not used up as fat. The problem is that this fat never really gets used up, so the storage component grows bigger and bigger (yes, that’s right: fatter and fatter…). So, to change this, I need to remove the easily accessible energy source (sugar).
For some people, this may sound draconian, but if you actually look at the modern diet and the amount of sugar in a normal diet, compared to the 30grams of sugar that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that we eat, the disparity becomes obvious.
So how to make Feb-Fast work? There is a few helpful steps, and you can select any which will work for you:
1. Sign up for Feb-Fast online. This helps raise awareness, and if you seek sponsorship, then helps raise funds to support greater health for the community. It also makes your decision into a public statement which can be more likely to keep you on track. Go onto social media and be upfront with your statement, and let your friends be supportive of your decision.
2. Get friends involved. Decide to cut something out of your diet and make this change with a buddy who will help keep you on track, by checking in with each other every day.
3. Take body measurements NOW, and check them every week until the end of February. Measure your thighs, hips, waist, chest and upper arms, as if you are decreasing diet intake and potential increasing exercise, this is going to change… You can weigh yourself also, but measurements often show the real story.
4. Mark a calendar or chart, and cross off every day that you have successfully stuck to your plan. What you are doing it great, and you should be proud, so note each day of success!
5. Keep a diary, and note things like: energy, mood, skin, cravings, and other physical symptoms. The first week or so may be full of notes about being cranky and headachy, but after this, you are really likely to feel great, so it’s important to clearly see the change, so you remember it later.
So, whatever you decide to give up, or change, or improve, write yourself a plan, understand your intention, and be excited with every day that you stick to it. You are doing yourself a favour and will feel great for it at the end of the month! I will include more notes along the way about what I am allowed to eat, and look forward seeing how I feel from these changes.
Revive Your Health Naturopathic