diet mentality

The Diet Mentality (and it’s side effects)

I’m about to start a new 21 day eating program and, to be honest, it’s bringing up a bit of resistance. Today’s post digs into that topic of the diet mentality, along with a gentle reminder of why diets don’t work.

Let’s dive in.

By this stage you know that I’m no fan of dieting. So it’s with mixed emotions that, for the next 21 days, I’ll be following a rather strict eating plan.

Here’s why:

For the past few years I’ve been struggling with some aspects of my health. Despite my “good” eating, exercise and sleep habits, I still often feel like I’ve been hit by a semi-trailer.

Much of this has to do with my gut health, or lack thereof. Technically speaking, there’s an imbalance in my microbiome and I quite possibly have intestinal permeability.

While that may sound a little concerning, it’s totally fixable. In layman’s terms, this condition is known as “leaky gut” — a rather evocative description that you may have heard of it around the internet.

In addition to my weak digestive system, there seems to be something going on with my thyroid or adrenal glands. TBD.

Long story short, I’m following a medically advised eating program that eliminates foods that might trigger a negative response in my body. It’s not at all bad: lots of veggies, meat and yummy fats, which you know are right up my ally. But there are a few key ingredients that will be sorely missed, including:

  1. Wine & champagne.
  2. Cheese & yogurt.
  3. Bread & grains.
  4. Chocolate & coffee.

Objectively I feel ok about eating this way, but emotionally something has been coming up and I feel a little bit of resistance, a little bit of…meh.

I’ve been wondering why I have this hesitation, considering that:

  1. This eating plan is for a finite amount of time and for a very specific purpose. No one is saying I can’t ever have a grilled cheese sandwich ever again.
  1. I know that I’ll feel better when I have a break from these foods, because I know how my body reacts to this sort of thing.

So the answer has to be my history of dieting.

You may know that for many years I struggled with eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia & orthorexia (that last one is being obsessed with only eating the healthiest food). Sprinkled amongst these more serious conditions were regular rides on the fad-diet rollercoaster.

While I’ve finally been able to get off that ride, there is a residual fear of food restriction.

This is why I need to reframe the next 21 days, and view this eating plan as the next step in becoming my healthiest self (something that traditional diets do NOT do).

I’m going to focus on everything that I can have, which is really an abundance of delicious food, and I’m going to remind myself that this is simply a three week process of healing. With that mindset I know that willpower won’t be necessary, deprivation won’t be felt, and at the end of this process I’ll feel so much better than when I started.

I wanted to bring up this topic with you, incase you have a similar case of diet mentality, and if the idea of starting a new “healthy eating plan” feels a little overwhelming. If so, I totally understand and I hope that you can also find a great way to “reframe” the situation.

And, if you do still dabble with diets and excessively restrict your calories, please remember this:

Diets make you gain weight…

Diets help you lose weight quickly because they restrict calories. At first this works, but after a few days or weeks your brain notices that you’re not getting enough food and it starts to panic. This triggers your hunger hormones (leptin & ghrelin) to team up and protect you from starvation. Their solution is to lower your metabolic thermostat so that you burn less energy, which causes you to store the few meagre calories that you ARE eating as protective body fat. This consequence can be short term or long term.

Diets ruin your stomach…

Restricting certain healthy foods, or eating science-lab food, alters how your stomach and digestive system function. There’s a natural, chemical process to this eating and digesting thing. Mess with this process too much and you’ll end up spending date night telling your significant other about your leaky gut.

Diets mess with your mind…

Many women that I speak with have some kind of struggle with food; whether that’s worrying about weight gain, or feeling concerned that they’ll be judged (or judge themselves) for eating certain foods. Diets exacerbate this mentality, causing you to swallow a hefty dose of guilt and shame with every bite you eat.

Diets kill your willpower…

You only have a certain amount of willpower each day; it’s highest in the morning and decreases as the afternoon wears on. Every decision you make throughout the day taps into your willpower reserve; from food to fitness, or deciding keep your cool during a particularly frustrating conversation, choices zap willpower. Diets zap that willpower doubly fast, which makes you irritable, exhausted and with a hand in the cookie jar after dinner.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

I hope this gentle reminder helps you ditch the diets and get back in the driver’s seat of your own health.

Please let me know what you think of today’s conversation, by leaving a comment below.

With love,

Probiotics and prebiotics jennifer dene

What On Earth Are Probiotics And Prebiotics?

I can’t remember the last time that I was sick.

Sometimes, when I’m tired and busy, I kind of wish that I could be (gently) struck down with a cold. Just for a day or two, so that I can eat chicken noodle soup and watch hours of Downton Abbey re-runs.

(The downside of living in sunny SoCal is that it’s hard to justify spending a day on the couch with a bowl of popcorn…I’m praying for a Saturday thunderstorm.)

But my immune system hasn’t always been strong. As a child I spent countless hours in the doctor’s office or emergency room with chest infections, and you could pretty much count on a bout of tonsillitis each year.

This meant dozens of courses of antibiotics, which did quite the number on the health of my gut.

So while I rarely get sick, I still occasionally find myself with a bloated belly or a sluggish digestive system. Fortunately this has improved out of sight over the past 18 months, thanks to a few new habits:

  1. I cook (or ferment) 80% of my vegetables — the raw stuff is a little hard for me to digest.
  2. I try to chew my food really well, and stay hydrated. Learn more about “How To Stop Constipation.”
  3. And I take probiotics and prebiotics each day, through a supplement or food.

Point #3 is is what I want to talk with you about today. In this video you’ll learn:

  • What are probiotics and prebiotics, and why you need them
  • And how do you make sure that you’re getting enough of each every day

Having a healthy gut and well functioning digestive system makes a HUGE difference to how you look and feel. So I’ve created a quick-to-read cheat sheet with 8 tips for boosting your metabolism and improving your digestion.

In this mini-guide I also explain what to look for when purchasing a probiotic supplement. This is really important as you could be wasting your money on a supplement that doesn’t work.

You can grab that free download by clicking here.

And now on to the video where we chat all things bacteria. Sound good?!

To Recap, Here’s What We Covered:

  • Probiotics are healthy bacteria that keep your digestive system in tip-top shape, you can get them from supplements and fermented foods.
  • Prebiotics are what the probiotics need to eat to survive and multiply.
  • I used the analogy of the probiotic being like the video game Pacman* and the prebiotic being the little white dots that he eats.

*In case you’re not familiar, Pacman is a maze-based video game from the 80s, where a face (Pacman) eats some dots and escapes from a ghost. My brother hosts a wildly popular video game show in Australia called Good Game Pocket… I don’t know if he’s proud of me for using that analogy or mortified about the way I summarized the game. #SorryNichboy

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

Are you currently taking a probiotic? How about a prebiotic? Do you have any questions about adding these supplements, or fermented foods in general, into your diet? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Don’t Forget Your Free Download

A slowing metabolism not only causes weight gain, it can also be the culprit behind irritability, low blood sugar, depression, allergies, joint pain, skin conditions, insomnia, IBS, and inflammation… Basically the kind of symptoms you’d rather avoid.

If you’re done with feeling grumpy and lethargic, (and want a no-willpower way to kick those sugar cravings), this is the guide for you.

By simply adding these 8 tips into your current routine you will boost your metabolism, increase your energy and, hopefully, start to notice a flatter tummy.

Click here to download the guide

With love,

JDW Signature

Relieve Constipation | Jennifer Dene Wellness

Feeling Constipated? These 5 Tips Will Help.

I’ll be frank, today’s conversation may feel totally awkward, especially since we’ve only just met.

But talking about your bathroom habits should be right up there with discussing your healthy diet and daily exercise routine. Regular bowel movements are a sign of good health, and are nothing to be embarrassed about.

Yet for many of us, toilet talk is one of the most embarrassing discussions to have.

On my new-client intake form I ask about digestive health, and there is one particular question that 80% of my female clients jump past as quickly as possible.

The question: “Do you experience regular constipation, diarrhea or gas?”

The most common answer from female clients: “No, nope, not me.”

Whereas my male clients… well, you can imagine the detail!

I totally get it. For the longest time I was SO embarrassed to talk to my husband about anything that went down in the bathroom that we had to create a code word for that daily constitutional.

We call it “The Mouse”. Best not to overthink it.

Of course that kind of daintiness can only go on for so long before it gets old. I’m not embarrassed anymore, and I hope that you’re not either.

So let’s throw this topic on the table and have a good ol’ chat-a-roo about our toilet habits, and in particular how to relieve constipation.

In today’s video I’m sharing five simple tips that will help to keep you regularly regular.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, scoot to the end of the page and grab the recipe for the fiber bowl — a concoction that will seriously change your life.

To Recap, Here’s What We Discussed:

Tip #1 = Stay Hydrated

Tip #2 = Chew Your Food

Tip #3 = Move Your Body

Tip #4 = Eat Fiber (soluble AND insoluble)

Tip #5 = Squat On The Pot

And Here’s Your Fiber Bowl Recipe:

This one is a game changer! Have it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and immediately follow with a very large glass of water. Once your system gets used to the fiber-hit you can increase the quantities a little bit.

~ 1 tablespoon psyllium husks (available Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Amazon etc)

~ 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

~ 1/2 tablespoon slippery elm bark powder (I usually order mine online)

~ Ground cinnamon to taste

~ 1/2 cup coconut water

~ 1/2 cup filtered water OR 1 cup filtered water only

Mix everything together and drink immediately.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

What helps you to keep your digestive system happy and humming along? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

With Love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Want recipes and workouts that will keep things moving? Download your free week of the Healthy Living Made Easy Program