The 12 Stations of Health

FbProfileStation 1: Reset you metabolism – Many people can’t imagine living without certain foods like soda pop or the cream in their morning coffee. This is due to a process known as taste adaptation. Certain eating behaviors become so ingrained that we become convinced that we need these foods to live. This two week program challenges your bad habits and breaks your addictions. Without first convincing yourself that you are able to change, we can’t even get out of the starting gate. This two week program typically results in rapid weight loss and is an excellent way to get back on track if you ever slip up.

Station 2: 1 pound of vegetables a day – In station 2, you must eat one pound of vegetables daily, and at least half of this should be in raw form.   This can typically be accomplished by eating one very large salad every day. Of note, corn and potatoes are not vegetables – a detailed list of acceptable choices will be provided. Aside from the pound of vegetables, there are no other restrictions during this phase other than only eating when hungry and only eating until satisfied. By eating at least one pound a day will you ensure that your body is well nourished and will not develop “false cravings” in which you convince yourself that you are hungry for sweets or starches when in actuality you are deficient in some of the micronutrients found in vegetables.

Station 3: Replace sweetened foods with fruit – Fruit is nature’s dessert. In station 3, you will decrease the amount of sweets that you eat to once per week or less. All sweets are detrimental, whether they are made with real sugar or artificial sweeteners. The organic products that are sweetened with “cane juice” should be avoided as well. As you make this transition, you can use fruit as a replacement for your sweet cravings. In fact, when you crave sweets, it’s likely that you’re actually craving some of the micronutrients found in fruit, rather than sugar so fruit is much more likely to satisfy your cravings than that chocolaty dessert.

Station 4: Move your body – During this station, you will increase your physical activity during the day in the form of low impact movements like walking and climbing stairs. This will be accomplished through the use of a pedometer or similar device to increase your daily movement by 50%. This can easily be accomplished by parking farther away, only taking the stairs and walking during breaks and after meals.

Station 5: Limit the junk – Station 5 is perhaps the most critical station if you hope to achieve durable weight loss. Junk food is defined as any food with calories that does not contain nutrition. This broad definition encompasses most of what is for sale in the standard grocery store. Most breads, bagels, breakfast cereals, potato chips, granola bars and other foods that are derived from grains offer very little in the way of nutrients but contain lots of calories. Limit junk food to once per week for the optimum benefit of this station. Since you are now eating at least a pound of vegetables and lots of fruit, you have a solid foundation of the foods that can replace junk food.

Station 6: – Minimize Starchy Vegetables and Grains – For those seeking weight loss, starchy vegetables and whole grains should be eaten sparingly, especially wheat. Although grains (with the exception of wheat) offer many health benefits and can usually be eaten liberally (but not unlimited) if you are trying to maintain your weight, they should be limited to one serving per day if you are trying to lose weight. In addition to whole grains, starchy vegetables like beets, potatoes, squash, turnips and yams should also be limited.

weightloss-successStation 7: Exercise – Although exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, it offers little benefit to most people trying to lose weight. High Intensity Interval Training (a technique that requires you to expend short, intense bursts of energy followed by rest) and weight lifting do offer some benefits, but even intense regimens still will not make up for lapses in your diet. Moderate cardiovascular exercise is helpful for relieving stress and minimizing emotional eating but is an ineffective tool for weight loss. In this station, you’ll choose an exercise regimen that makes sense based on your lifestyle and needs to continue to shed the pounds.

Station 8: Plant proteins –When Americans think protein, they think about meats, poultry, fish and dairy products, but ignore the healthiest of all proteins, plant based proteins. During this station, you will limit your intake of animal protein to one serving per day and will add beans, tofu, legumes and lentils to your diet. Grass fed beef and free range chickens are typically much better choices than those raised on an industrial farm.

Station 9: Raw nuts not roasted – Nuts are an excellent source of protein and contain many healthy micronutrients. Most of the nuts available are roasted, occasionally in dangerous oils that contain trans-fats. Raw nuts are readily available in most grocery stores and are free of the fattening and sometimes dangerous oils found in roasted nuts. Make the change from roasted to raw nuts – you will find that they are much more satisfying and that it’s easy to limit them to 1-2 servings per day.

Station 10: Minimize added and cooking oils –Oils are the highest calorie foods known, containing over 200 calories per ounce. Although olive oil has received a lot of positive attention, its healthfulness has been overstated. Although oils are not nearly as disruptive to your metabolism as carbohydrates are, they still will sabotage your long term weight loss and health goals. This station requires virtual elimination of added oils and uses only minimal oils during cooking.

Station 11: Minimize Dairy – Although there are many health advantages to dairy products, they frequently cause abdominal bloating and digestion problems. They also are very high in saturated fats. Eliminating dairy products from your diet is ideal, however, 2-3 servings per week of an organic dairy product is acceptable. Cheese is the most difficult food to avoid but also the most important due to its high saturated fat content.

Station 12: Minimize Salt intake – There is evidence that high salt intake can lead to obesity. Additionally, there is strong correlation between early death and salt intake, particularly in the obese. Avoiding high salt foods and limiting the amount of salt will improve your overall health significantly.

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