Thursday, November 13, 2014

My latest CHALLENGE - stepping out of my comfort zone!

Many of you who know me know that I'm always up for a new challenge, but this one definitely took a few months for me to commit to. My friend Rita Catolino (from WAY back) has made a name for herself in the fitness industry, but unlike many fitness buffs, I relate to her approach because she uses 'real' food and follows a very Naturopathic-friendly (no gluten, limited grains & dairy) approach to what she recommends (not to mention her killer approach to fitness). SO after lots of back and forth I committed to doing her '4 weeks to Fab' program. WHY? Because I love to learn, I love to stay motivated, I love to fine-tune my nutrition skills and YES I love the mental/physical challenge of tackling something new. Although most people doing a program like this are after weightloss, for me it's about gaining strength and more knowledge in a topic that I love - NUTRITION!
As a Naturopath I have great respect for nutrition and what it can do - it heals, it restores, it creates a foundation for a healthy body. The fitness industry takes a slightly different approach to nutrition in that they are highly detailed in the macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) and how they work best with your body to achieve a specific goal. I think that combining these different approaches can help people with metabolic and weight issues (which are at the core of 80% of chronic health complaints!).
I'm excited to be sucking in the knowledge that Rita is throwing my way. I'm also excited to learn new skills that I can then share with you. I believe that to be a great practitioner means to try new things, continue to learn and to take a 'hands on' approach with these new tools.
From a lifestyle perspective, one of the biggest issues I see in my patients is that they are too 'busy' to incorporate exercise, or to cook all their meals from scratch, or to plan their food for the day. I certainly had the same concerns tackling this 4 week challenge - how would I manage my practice, cater to my 3 kids, cook for the family, exercise and plan my own special meals during the busiest time of the year? Perseverance and determination:) I had to let my family and close friends know what I was doing (for accountability), and I definitely had to have my husband on board with our menu planning for the next month (I wasn't about to cook a different meal for everyone, but had to allow some flexibility for the kids - I top up their carbs in most meals, but the foundation of the meal is similar - proteins, fats etc). YES it takes lots of planning and thought, but that's the point - we all need to think about our nutrition and make it a priority, and stepping outside of your comfort zone forces you to consider new foods, new recipes and new strategies for getting through the day!
So, what have I learned so far? Well, I'm on day 10 so far, and have experienced the common aches and pains that some people feel as they change up their regular habits. Even though my diet is very clean and healthy day to day, the 'composition' of the diet is very different right now - I'm consuming a lot more protein (and at regular intervals), I'm consuming virtually no grains (except the odd serving of steel cut oats), and have given up all sugars/desserts (those that know me know I love my ice cream:)
Basically all my food is currently viewed as fuel and is based around my activity level (workouts) and bodies needs at various times of the day. My gut is certainly going through an adjustment period, and I have a new-found respect for digestive enzymes and probiotics! It has given me a new appreciation for how some of my patients feel when I put them on a new program, and the fact that all changes take time and the proper support (and complete trust in the Naturopath/Coach)! For those that are interested, I will share what my day looks like to give you an idea of what I'm eating (stay tuned), and I will all try to post some updates (and fantastic new recipes)
on the changes that I'm experiencing.
Here is a link to Rita's program for those that want more information:
Rita Catolino 4 Weeks to Fab

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
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