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Daily Archives: March 25, 2013

Exercise and Nutrition Symposium: The Paleo Diet and Finding your Motivation

We have a different kind of post for you today, one that doesn’t actually involve a recipe. (Gasp!) Shocking, we know- but don’t worry, there will be another recipe up very soon ūüôā

Today, we want to share with you some details about an exercise and nutrition symposium that we attended this past weekend.  There were some very interesting speakers that brought up several good points, and we thought it would be nice to recap it to the best of our ability for you, since we believe that this is stuff that everyone can benefit from learning.

There were many speakers there, but we are going to focus on two of them, because we don’t want to make this so long that you have to read for hours, and since they were our two favourites, we want to be able to give you at least a little more detail instead of just the general topic of what they were presenting.

So first off, a speaker by the name of Graeme Thomas gave a talk called “Why Didn’t Cave Men Use Dish Soap? Understanding the Paleo Diet for the 21 Century”. ¬†We were interested in this topic, since the Paleo Diet has been receiving a lot of publicity as of late and so we wanted to here what he had to say. ¬†He didn’t end up talking solely about the paleo diet, though, which we really liked, because he provided a lot of great insight into how people should choose the diet that’s right for them.

First off: A few interesting points on the paleo diet. ¬†For those of you who may not know, the basic idea of the paleo diet is to mimic the diets of our ancestors from paleolithic times. ¬†Followers of this diet believe that this is a more genetically-correct way of eating. ¬†Essentially, the diet cuts out all grains, legumes, and dairy, and mainly consists of vegetables, meats, and nuts. ¬†What Graeme pointed out, though, is that many so-called “Paleo” foods, are actually not what our ancient ancestors would have eaten! ¬†He explained that humans are “opportunistic omnivores”, which means that we will eat what is available to us. ¬†If there are lots of fruits and vegetables around, we will eat them, but if there aren’t we won’t! ¬†Same goes for other foods like meats, grains, etc. ¬†He also explained that humans are lazy. ¬†What he meant was that it took a lot of effort to go out and kill a buffalo (for example) to eat, so if there was something easier (like pulling a plant out of the ground) humans were more likely to eat that. ¬†They would also wait until they were hungry enough before they would go hunting, so they went long periods of time where they didn’t eat much. ¬†This is what has allowed the human race to survive, because it was a way of conserving energy!

So what does this mean for the paleo diet? ¬†Well, for one thing, the paleo diet does not allow for grains, but there is actually lots of evidence that humans have refined grains (such as wild rice) for consumption for hundreds of thousands of years! ¬†On a similar note, foods such as broccoli (which is acceptable in the paleo diet) are actually much more recent “inventions”, and did not exist during paleolithic times. ¬†Like we said- if it was there, we ate it, if it wasn’t, we didn’t!

But before anyone gets upset, we are not saying that the paleo diet is bad, or dumb, or that you shouldn’t follow it. ¬†And that’s what his main message was that he was trying to get across-¬†you¬†have to follow the diet that’s right for¬†you. ¬†Of course, not too many of you are going to be running out and getting your genes tested to find out what foods you should avoid. ¬†Unfortunately, finding the best way of eating for yourself is a trial-and-error process, but there are some things you can consider to get you on the right track. ¬†For example, if you have a family history of diabetes or high blood sugar, consuming a diet lower in carbohydrates may be something you should try, or if you have a family history of high blood pressure heart disease, a very high-fat diet may not be the best option for you.

Essentially, you need to do what works for you. ¬†If you’ve found success with the paleo diet and you¬†enjoy eating that way (key word there!!) then more power to you! ¬†If you love eating grains, dairy and legumes, and you have no problems with it, then that’s fine too ūüôā ¬†There is no “perfect diet”. ¬†And we think that’s pretty great ūüėÄ

The other speaker was Melissa Maloney, who works for Goodlife Fitness, and her topic was “Diet and Excercise- How Bad do you Want it?”

She was very inspiring, and had some great tips for people who are finding it difficult fitting exercise and healthy eating into their daily lives. ¬†Her main message was that no matter how busy you are, there is time for exercise and time for planning healthy meals. ¬†It’s just a matter of making it priority. ¬†She offered several steps on how to make these things priority, but there were two that really stuck with us. ¬†The first one was¬†find your why.

Why do you want to start working out? ¬†At first you may think¬†I want to lose twenty pounds, that’s why!, but this is not a good why. ¬†She explained by giving us this scenario: ¬†You want to lose twenty pounds, so you start exercising and eating right. ¬†You don’t lose a single pound, but you feel better, you look better, and you’re happier. ¬†Are you upset that you didn’t lose twenty pounds? Of course not!

So you have to find your¬†real¬†why. ¬†A better “why” could be that you want to be fit so you can play with your kids, and so that you can be around longer to watch them grow up. ¬†Or that you want to feel more confident about yourself and have more energy. ¬†The idea is that your reason for getting healthier needs to move past being just a number on the scale, a size you want to fit, or a way you want to look for your upcoming vacation. ¬†It needs to be something that’ll get you up in the morning, something that has meaning for you.

The second point was to find your¬†how. ¬†Many people find it difficult to motivate themselves to exercise. ¬†She explained that to overcome this, you have to pinpoint your “critical moments”. ¬†These are the times when you’re at your weakest. ¬†For example, if you know that if you go home¬†before¬†going to the gym you won’t end up going at all, you need to recognize that and plan for it. ¬†Have your gym stuff packed and bring it with you so that you don’t¬†need to go home first. ¬†That is just one example, but the most important thing to remember is to find those moments and plan for them. ¬†If you have strategies in place to help you overcome them, you will be on your way!

So we’re going to end it there, because this post is already a million years long, but as always we’d appreciate any comments and feedback to let us know what you think!