As a registered nurse and wellness coach, I have listened to a lot of people talk about their struggles with wellness. Through this I have learned that for most these struggles are not a matter of laziness, but a matter of being confused as to what exactly “healthy” means and where to start on that path, and/or a loss of faith in oneself to change.

To begin with I want to say that it does not matter how many times in the past you have failed. You are still capable of change. Once you believe that you have the power the only one who can stop you is yourself. Getting on the right track involves understanding the body and respecting its needs. The human body is extremely complicated and mysterious; the more science we apply to it, the more we realize what we don’t know. It’s fascinating.

Food scientists have tried for decades to create cheap, fast, and easy foods fortified with each individual nutrient that we need, but it never seems to be quite as good as the real thing. Margarine, for example, which is imitation butter, was once hailed as a “health food” because it was believed to lower the risk for obesity and heart disease. We now know that the trans fats that result from hydrogenating vegetable oil in a factory are dangerously inflammatory and are actually a contributor to heart disease.

We cannot always know on the front end what long-term repercussions will occur when our sustenance centers upon genetically modified crops, artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives, industrial seed oils, and produce wrought with pesticides, but studies have found strong evidence to
suggest that we avoid them.


  • Eat as close to nature as you can get. Buy whole foods and prepare them yourself.
  • Read ingredient labels (you will be amazed) and try to buy food with very few
    ingredients. Better yet, buy foods with no label.
  • Get as many vegetables as possible into each meal. A recent study from The University of Sydney found that our appetites are more related to our nutrient status than our caloric intake. They were looking at protein specifically, but the rule still applies. The more nutrition you can get into your diet, the more satisfied you feel on fewer calories naturally.
  • Buy meat that has been raised on pasture rather than a feedlot. Grass-fed meat has about twice as many omega-3s than conventional meat, is richer in vitamins, and
    is lower in the inflammationpromoting omega-6s.
  • Use natural oils, such as olive oil, rather than vegetable or canola oil. Again, this will reduce omega-6 intake and help you load up on omega-3s.

I said this was simple, but not necessarily easy. As far as having confidence in oneself, I can understand why this is a sore spot for so many people. Repeated attempts at losing weight or establishing a healthier lifestyle have failed and left them feeling hopeless. I know this feeling myself. It’s extremely discouraging and extremely detrimental to any future success. For me, the confidence comes not from my own strength and power, but from God. I also have sisters who inspire and encourage me, which is vital to any endeavor. Not to mention it makes it more fun.

Life and all of its challenges should not be tackled alone. Work on your spiritual health and find a friend or someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable. I wish you all the best with your new wellness goals in the new year, and I assure you that you do have the ability to achieve them.

Catherine Portera is a Registered Nurse and Wellness Coach. For more information visit her website at

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