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Finding Your Why                                       by Lori Zabka

I was recently on a work trip, being driven to the hotel by a sweet man in his 70's named Slava.   Almost instantly, we started chatting about health,  fitness and food - food is the tie that binds us all, right?  He showed me photos from his youth, when he was in his 20’s and quite an athlete!  He detailed the healthy foods he enjoyed and how he still works out every day.  He said his gym bag was in the trunk, and he had already done his workout that day.  


Then Slava told me something that I will never forget.  “Listen, young lady," he said, "I work out so that I can die healthy!”  I sat,  stunned,  realizing the brilliance of his statement.  I told him that he was a very smart man and asked if I could write about him.  He liked that … and spelled his name out clearly so that I would get it right.  :-)  


I loved Slava’s statement.  I appreciated the wisdom in his words.  Slava had found his “why.”  Finding our “why” is one of the most important first steps when we are setting out on any journey, especially one of health and wellness.  We have to dig deep and ask ourselves: "Why" am I going to attempt to change my lifestyle and habits, when doing so is not always easy? 


We form habits, and then we stay with those habits because they become safe and familiar, and we are already in them.  Climbing out of a well is much harder than falling into one!  Unless we identify what is driving us to a place of desired change - why we want to go there in the first place - we will quickly get distracted when the journey becomes difficult. And it will.


Slava realized that he didn’t want to follow the path that others do as they age.  He didn’t want disease, demise, and death.  He wanted health, vitality, and life. Finally, Slava said,  “When it’s time, I don’t want to die sick; I just want to die!”  


When a client comes to me for help in reaching her goal, I ask her why she chose to reach out at this particular time.  What brought her to the point where she wants to hire a professional?  I usually do a lot of listening to uncover what's at the heart of her desire for change.  Everyone has different goals and reasons for wanting to attain them. No one is right or wrong; our reasons are personally meaningful to each of us.  


Once your “why” has been established, the hard work begins. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could make 180 degree changes in our lives overnight, simply by deciding to do so?  For the most part, that is not how we are wired.  Taking a trash bag into the kitchen and tossing out the “bad” things is admirable, but that act does nothing to change our patterns of behavior. Breaking out of our comfort zone is a process; one that requires a plan and setting an intention. Where eating habits are concerned,  patience, time, and intention  - your "why" -are key.

True wellness stems from freedom, pleasure, celebration, gratitude, and joy. The wellness world has become too complicated. The basics still hold true: Eat more plants; move your body and sweat; get plenty of water, rest, laughter, and love; forgive yourself and others—whole body stuff here! There are hacks to trick you into following a healthy lifestyle, but simplicity is the space in which we feel safe enough to start.


So let me ask you - what is your "why?"


One of the biggest obstacles that get in the way of my clients’ goals is excessive sugar intake. Across the board, this is the biggest issue and one that is very difficult to rise above. Besides adding empty calories and adding our fluff to our fat cells, sugar has more sinister and far-reaching effects. Sugar creates chronic inflammation in our bodies, and inflammation is a HUGE road block/barrier to our health goals.  Whether or not we feel the typical symptoms of inflammation, it’s likely that our bodies are battling it daily.   


Chronic inflammation brings weight loss to a halt, creates brain fog, hormonal imbalances, pain, inability to sleep, depression, fatigue, and leads to disease. The first line of defense against this beast is reducing your sugar intake. Sugar is a hard habit to break.  In truth, sugar is more addictive than cocaine and heroin, so ditching it takes effort.  It CAN be done ... we just have to start small. 

Life by Lori Z Photo Kitchen Sriracha Me

Kale chips, a splash of California sun and a Billboard hit are all part of the recipe of Lori Zabka’s life’s work. Founder of wellness company, “Life by Lori Z,” her full-time passion is helping other busy women find their own voices and live their healthiest lives.

"I lay wise parameters, but ultimately, I aim to awaken my clients to their own intuition. We are all designed with the innate ability to counsel ourselves wisely. But sometimes, along the way, our inner voice is silenced. My passion is helping women find their voice, dust it off, and use it!  Weight loss and a smooth waistline are just side effects of a body, mind, & spirit that have found the courage to speak up again."


Find your voice!

FB: @Life by Lori Z

Insta: @life_by_loriz

Image by Rohan Makhecha

Action #2

Protein First

What is it that sends you sprinting to the pantry for a quick hit of the white stuff?  This is first and foremost, because without knowing what sets you off, you will be fighting an endless battle.  Think about your pitfalls, and then create a plan to overcome them.  Write out your action plan; tape it to doors and mirrors—seriously.  The struggle is real, but the solution is nearby. 

Image by Thomas Lipke

Action #2

Ditch The Soda

Sodas are just a no-brainer.  They are loaded with sugar and will catapult you to the never-ending blood sugar roller coaster.  This one is simple:  Get rid of it. That also goes for Coke Zero, which leads us to our next step:

Image by Nick Fewings

Action #2

Read Your Labels

Read labels so you are aware of how much sugar is in each serving.  Sugar is sneaky and surprising.  Making yourself aware of what is in the foods you choose - or say no to - can go a long way towards forming new habits

Image by Wolfgang Hasselmann

Action #2

Don't Go Hungry

Don’t skip meals or eat too little calories.  Eat your 3 squares a day, each complete with greens, healthy fat, fiber, and protein.  When you give your body what it needs to do the work of living your amazing life, your cravings for sugar will decrease.  Nourish your fabulous self. 

Image by Thought Catalog

Action #1

Identify Your Triggers

What is it that sends you sprinting to the pantry for a quick hit of the white stuff?  This is first and foremost, because without knowing what sets you off, you will be fighting an endless battle.  Think about your pitfalls, and then create a plan to overcome them.  Write out your action plan; tape it to doors and mirrors—seriously.  The struggle is real, but the solution is nearby. 

Image by eric combeau

Action #2

Avoid Artifical Sweeteners

We wrongly assume that artificial sweeteners are a better choice because they have less (or zero) calories.  Please don’t buy into this!  Artificial sweeteners, besides being like poison to our bodies, actually cause our bodies to crave sugar.  Choose honey or stevia instead.  


Action #2

Don't Go Cold Turkey

Doing too much, too fast can cause a nasty backlash.  Start by adding more healthy fat, fiber, and protein into your overall diet.  Then, cut sugary portions in half by mixing them with non-sugary ones.  Try  mixing plain greek yogurt in with your usual yogurt. Doing so will make the blood sugar spike less dramatic, causing you to crave less sugar.


Action #2

Find A Wingman

Stay accountable to someone.  We are not meant to go it alone!  The love and support of our tribes are essential to making any positive new change stick.  Ask for help, find a friend to tag along on your journey.  You just might inspire them along the way.

Image by Alicia Steels

Action #2

Eat Protein First

Eating protein for breakfast will help to create or maintain a more even blood sugar curve, so you will be less likely to crave sugar for your next snack or meal.

Image by freestocks

Action #2

Fiber In Every Meal

Get plenty of fiber in each meal:  Fiber not only helps promote regularity by flushing things out of our bodies, it helps to slow down the absorption of sugar.  The result is that we stay fuller longer and don’t crave sugar as much or as often.


Action #2

Break A Sweat

If we are addicted to sugar, there is an excess amount of insulin in our bodies, which makes us store fat and crave even more sugar.  The fastest way to get rid of insulin?  Exercise!  Use your muscles!  They will gobble up that excess sugar and help you break a nice, detoxifying sweat, too.  Win-win!


Action #2

Mix It In

Add protein powder to pancake mixes.  Toss chia seeds and protein powder into your dessert pudding.  Add nuts and seeds into cookie batter, and reduce the sugar in the batter by 1/3.

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