Spring Cleaning
by Ludovic Curtet

Have you noticed how spacious the gym has felt lately? Fewer people showing up for themselves. Spring has sprung, but unfortunately, all the good intentions of changing our lifestyles and habits begotten on January 1st have withered along the way. Left behind are the usual suspects; the ones you’ve seen around ever since you’ve joined LVAC, maybe even from prior gyms around town. Unapologetically, they seem to own the joint! (they re-rack their weights as well…)

Armed with a plethora of knowledge from magazine clippings and a fortune’s worth of supplements you may have also decided to make a change in your exercise and eating habits but to no avail or extremely low return on your investment. What gives? What works and what doesn’t? Those are the perennial questions I have been asked for the past 12 years; my answers to which having yet to differ.

When interrogated, or quizzed about nutrition and movement (for some reason, health related trivia has become a sport and somewhat of an ego booster, especially if one can baffle another with their newly discovered scientific data), most people are on the right path, but that path is still riddled with loopholes when it comes to the choices they actually have as well as the ones they actually allow themselves to make. So let me make this claim again: you will not learn anything new in this article, however, my aim is to show you that as human beings, we tend to think that the more knowledgeable we are of a subject matter, the more we think we have already applied it! (to err is human after all)

Clean up your belief system:

What you are doing isn’t producing results, ergo, what you know is either erroneous, or you are not applying that knowledge.

Have you noticed that ever since America has become health conscious somewhere in the 1970’s, our general state of health has been on a steady decline? We think we’ve isolated the culprits responsible for the slew of what have now been coined western diseases, but ironically, they tend to trade ownership of the throne every so often, starting with meat in the 1960’s, to fat in the 70’s; all in favor of the heavy carbohydrate diets. The abdication occurred in the late 90’s with the introduction of the high-protein/high fat diets. Every diet had its diehard followers, all armed with heavily marketed beliefs and arguments stemming from equivocal scientific studies and facts. The only constant in that equation, has been the dieters and their buying powers, the variables being the culprits (the subject from which will be designed and marketed a plethora of products, publications, and programs) and the claims associated with their presence of absence, supported by ever-so confused scientists eager to develop a pill to kill this fatty disease we all seem to be catching. Health buffs utilize supplements for all three macronutrients, which are blamed for your inability to modify your lifestyle and morphology (Whey Protein, Fats from conjugated linoleic acid to Omega 3 Fatty Acids, to dextrose and other corn-derived carbohydrates). Supplement makers believe you will buy whatever they can convince you to be needing, given the newest research. If it is not the food, it must be the eater…

You new spring belief: I am the cure. The fat-killing pill bears my name.

Clean up your cupboards:

Do you snack? Snack foods are an invention of the food industry in order to sell you products -preferably small enough, so that you can eat them often. We are encouraged to “snack all day” or “snack our way into shape” while children have high blood pressure and type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, and high levels of cholesterol, mostly due to those snack foods. They are easy to take along, require no preparation, but actually promote disease and an odd form of malnutrition (there are thousands of cases of scurvy being treated in well-fed children), but somehow, their taste and convenience still far outweigh their health-annihilating factor. What does it say about the state of the American lifestyle? Convenience over health? Allow me to rephrase: We’d rather snack on something deadly than dedicate time and effort to prepare healthy, life-promoting meals for ourselves and loved ones.
Do yourself a favor and drop the 11 pieces of almonds with and apple and a glass of lemon juice, processed dairy ersatz disguised as yogurt, the deli meats, the super-awesomely healthy ready-made meals, high-protein this, the low-carb that, and the no-fat nonsense. All those bars and other processed foods with health claims on their packaging. If a food needs to be labeled as “healthy”, chances are that it isn’t. I’ve never seen a 99% fat-free sticker on a sweet potato or broccoli crowns because it would be stating the obvious. I’ve never seen a commercial for a sweet potato either. It’s just not very sexy, nor is it FUN. Food should be fun according to marketers. Forget about healthy. Why are most snack-foods covered in health claims and pictures of nature? Why are they all made-up of dozens of different ingredients, most of which we don’t know how to pronounce? Why are we so blatantly dismissing or willfully ignorant? Why am I always asked the same questions about the benefits of different items but never about whole foods? Our taste buds change every ten days, we may want to effectuate periodic checks! Understand that I am not advocating the abolition of snack foods, but if your goal is to make a change in your appearance and health, you are going to have to clear your pantry off this types of foods -at least temporarily until you reach your goal, and by then, you will probably not want to reintroduce these enzyme-depleting substances into your daily sustenance. Nutrition is supposed to add enzymes to the body so that it can metabolize the ingested nutrients and use other enzymes to build, repair and maintain our body’s 50-100 trillion cells. Processed foods , devoid of enzymes, cause the body to utilize its stored enzymes for metabolism, thus promoting a decline in overall health in the body. Is this information concerning, or do we just have to supplement with enzymes and make this an non-issue? Do you put 91 octane in your luxury car but mechanically engineering substances in your body? As previously stated, the choice is yours, but the results will always be congruent with the nature of the actions.

Your New Spring Belief: I Strive to nourish my body.

Clean up your eating schedule:

What you want is food; the real deal. How do you recognize it? It contains only one ingredient and like us, it oxidizes and spoils! When do you want it? Four to five times a day, in some cases as many as eight! How do you want it? Every meal is to be of the same size and composition. It comes down to planning and preparation. Fail to plan and you are planning to fail. Do you know where you next meal is and what it is made of? The people you want to function like and resemble all do, I guarantee you. There is no secret. The secret is consistency. You are born with that particular attribute. All it takes is the simple decision to turn on its mechanism and it’s all coasting from there. If a busy C.E.O from a multi-national corporation or an orthopaedic surgeon with three children can do it, so can you. But are you willing? I must warn you: be prepared for the scrutiny of your peers when you show up at work with your cooler and pre-packed meals. There is nothing more threatening to a person than another person doing the right thing for themselves.

Your New Spring Belief: My lifestyle changes now.