blog Jun 08, 2015

Last Saturday marked an important day for Canada. It was the beginning of a movement to stop overweight and obesity-related health issues and to end the dieting madness in Canada. The Canadian movement kicked off right here in Kelowna led by myself and joined by Mark Macdonald, celebrity nutrition expert and New York Times best-selling author of "Body Confidence" and his latest book "Why Kids Make You Fat and How to Get Your Body Back". Macdonald has partnered with health professionals around the world in an effort to spread the news of eating in 3s to balance blood sugar and lose weight without dieting. Between May and October, Macdonald is scheduled to speak in 50 cities across the United States and Canada, with only four venues in Canada.

Please do not think by any stretch of the imagination that the ratio of U.S. cities to Canadian cities is any indication Canadians are that much less overweight or any less at risk, that is simply not the case. Although it is true that the U.S. does have a higher number of people at risk, Canada is really not that far behind. Obesity rates across North America are currently at the highest levels ever in recorded history and by extension, this is the first generation where our children are predicted to live shorter lives than us, their parents, due to weigh-related illnesses. It's a very scary, very real statistic that I feel we can no longer ignore. 

There are many reasons people gain weight. Three that have affected most people at one time or another in their lives are; nutrition, stress and sleep. Some people were simply raised with poor eating habits - missing breakfast, very few home-cooked meals, regular consumption of processed, packaged or fast foods, etc. - resulting in a continuous consumption of foods high in fat, sugar, salt and low in nutritional value. The perfect storm for weight gain and increased body fat percentage in both children and adults. 

For others, the inability to effectively manage stress is their downfall. Stress comes in many forms, some positive, some negative and is a very real part of our lives. Occasional times of stress are part of life and our bodies are equipped to handle it. It's when stress becomes chronic, that our bodies are not equipped to handle it well. Chronic stress causes the body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that ultimately results in the body retaining belly fat. 

Sleep or the lack thereof, is also a major factor in either weight loss or weight gain. Without enough sleep, food cannot be metabolized properly in the body. We are not only what we eat, we are also only what our bodies can metabolize so if our bodies are not metabolizing the food we are putting in, the weight begins to creep up.

People who eat poorly, live high-stress lives and/or don't sleep well, find themselves with a much greater risk of developing weight-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers, etc., than those who eat balanced, nutrient-dense foods, find ways to minimize or eliminate chronic stress and get enough sleep. Because the latter does take a little effort and people are living busy lives, with near instant access to so many things worldwide, we often expect instant results when it comes to shedding those extra pounds and restoring our health as well. This unrealistic expectation has resulted in a society of chronic dieters, always looking for that quick fix. And since the concept of a diet is inherently flawed, (perfection is the standard of measure and long term results are attainable for less than one percent), it's no wonder chronic dieters buy a new diet book every 90 days hoping they finally found the one that works with their lives, for the rest of their lives. Enter PFCs in 3s.  

Last Saturday, Macdonald was asked by a participant what makes eating a balance of a protein, fat and carb (PFCs) every three hours (3s) to stabilize blood sugar better/different from a diet. Macdonald acknowledged that people can lose weight on a diet but the weight usually comes back. The difference between a diet and eating to balance blood sugar is simply the answers to two questions people should be asking themselves before beginning any weight loss program; 1. Is it based on science of the body? 2. Can I do this for the rest of my life? If you can answer yes to both of those you are off to a great start. He took it a step further saying everyone needs to have; 1. A one percent mindset. Making small changes consistently will get you there. 2. A plan or reason. Be clear on your goals. 3. Real life strategies. Find things that will fit in your life, for your life.

Studies show that people of all ages learn first and foremost from watching and following an example, rather than listening to instructions. The “do as I say, not as I do” attitude simply does not cut it. That's important because no matter your level of health, or where you are in your weight loss and fitness journey, there's always room for improvement. And when you commit to making your health a priority, and get results, those you love will join in too.  

Watch for “8 Weeks is All It Takes – Core Challenge” an eight-week series airing on Shaw TV following four Kelowna residents as they lose weight and improve health. Support and encourage participants by joining 8 Weeks is All It Takes on Facebook.

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