Truly Owning Your Health. Most of us want say we want to be healthy. But somehow, time passes and we’ve haven’t taken any action or started but didn’t stick to it. We are experts at the art of excuses when it comes to self-care.
Have you ever said or thought the following?
- I don’t have time.
- I’ll start on Monday, or April, on New Year’s Day, or once this “fill in the blank” is over.
- I can’t afford it.
- I’m too busy with work, kids, etc.
- I have to take care of my kids, my spouse or pet ferret first.
- It’s too hard.
- I’m too tired, stressed, depressed, and so on.
The best time to start is right now. Really. This very minute is the absolute best time to commit to and start taking action.
Your first step doesn’t have to set any records or be overly dramatic. No special announcements need to be made.
The only requirement is for you to say, “I’m ready” and mean it.
Poof, it’s that easy. From that moment of “I’m ready” things are going to start changing. Your mind and spirit are open. You can choose to set your course.
So, what’s next?
A plan. I’ve found the best way to get results or make changes that become a permanent part of your lifestyle is to make a plan. A plan that is specific and actionable. Choose shifts within your plan that are clear and concrete.
Step 1: I’m Ready
Once you have made the Shift to “I’m ready” you have completed the most important step. Your mindset. This is your new daily mantra, “I’m ready!” Repeat as often as necessary throughout your day. Your brain might need to hear/feel this once per day or perhaps a dozen times. Keep at it. It will sink it. Positive mindset is essential to long-term, enduring change.
Step 2: Break it Down
There are three general areas that will make it easier for you to design a holistic approach to improving your health. I’ll briefly explain each one and give you some general examples of each that are specific and measurable.
Diet: First up is what you are eating. Ever heard you are what you eat? Guess what? It’s true. Start with what you are put into your mouth.
Eat naturally. Easier said than done, right? Imagine what your grandparents were eating. Start there. I bet they weren’t opening up cans and popping stuff into the microwave.
Pick foods that are as unprocessed and whole as possible. Try some vegetables, whole eggs (yes with the yolks intact), fresh seafood or meat, real fats (butter, coconut oil, lard) or some fresh local fruit. Make an easy shift today.
Actions Shifts for Today:
- Eat vegetables, be adventuresome and try a new one.
- Make a meal with fresh whole food ingredients.
- Choose fruit over cake.
- Pay attention to how you are eating. Taste and chew your food. Take time to enjoy your meal in a relaxed state. Allow your body time to release satiety signals to let you know when you are full. When you are distracted, in a hurry, or stressed while eating, your satiety hormones get all messed up.
- Put away the phone, tablet or book to eat undistracted.
Sleep: Sleep is critical to good health. Sleep is key to maintaining health and mental wellness. The amount and quality of your sleep impacts every system in your body. It’s not merely a time of inactivity but a time of repair and restoration. Billions of molecular activities take place at a cellular level. See, you aren’t wasting good time “just” sleeping.
Good sleep hygiene is a metabolism booster as well as a great hack to get your satiety signals working correctly. Often those afternoon caffeine and sugar cravings are directly related to lack of sleep. Our chief appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin, for example, orchestrate the stop and go of our eating patterns. Ghrelin tells us we need to eat, and leptin says we’ve had enough. But these hormones get knocked off balance when we are tired. Tired bodies start looking for afternoon energy and this is why we often end up face first into a candy bar or slurping a sugary caffeine beverage.
Give your body what it truly needs and bank some pillow time. And no, five hours is probably not enough. Shoot for seven to eight as a minimum.
Actions Shifts for Today:
- Go to sleep 30 minutes earlier.
- Relax and get ready for sleep with 5 minutes of easy stretching.
- Drink some herbal tea before bedtime.
- Unplug and take a screen time break at least one to two hours before going to bed.
Exercise! Get moving. Daily movement and physical activity cannot be overlooked as part of your wellness plan. We are made to be physical beings. This often gets forgotten in today’s high tech culture. Traditionally, exercise and movement were a natural part of our day. We walked, we planted and harvested food, and we made stuff like clothes or washed clothing by hand. There were ample opportunities for natural activity. Fast forward to our current daily schedule where we now make time for exercise. We pay for gym memberships that are often neglected; we schedule in a class here and there, or feel we are active when we attend two classes per month. Or we spend flip the other direction and overdo it endless cardio on the treadmill or training for crazy marathons. Either way, we are not creating health.
What’s the solution? Good question. It depends on what how you spend your day but a safe bet is to get moving everyday. We all need an appropriate level of exercise that best supports our current state of health. Obviously not doing anything is not good but pushing an overtaxed, fatigued body is not the best solution either.
What’s so great about exercise anyway? Regular exercise has been shown to have benefits clinically. Studies have shown decreases in depression, improved blood sugar regulation, lower inflammation, increased bone and muscle tone, better sleep quality, stress reduction, increased energy and productivity, balanced metabolism, balanced hormones and better heart health. Pretty compelling benefits for sure.
The trick is finding your sweet spot and a form of movement that you enjoy. Commit and get moving.
Actions Shifts for Today:
- Go for a walk. Make it a brisk one and you get a gold star.
- Try doing the 7-Minute Workout. Who can’t find 7 minutes to spare? I love short-burst interval exercises that you can do anywhere…so no more excuses. I personally use this free app for my 7-minute workout.
- Dance for fun for 8 minutes.
- Instead of meeting a friend or co-worker for a meal, try a walking date instead.
- Go for a hike.
Step 3: Get a Coach.
Want to save time, energy and money and get real lasting results? Hire, kidnap (just kidding) or find a coach. Don’t settle for just anyone. Find a coach that you resonate with and feel a connection with. Someone you feel comfortable with and trust. A good fit is important. You should feel excited not dread when you meet with her/him. Feel free to shop a around until you find a good fit.
Finding a coach is an invaluable resource. You can do quite a bit on your own but if you truly want to be efficient and most effective, than finding the right coach is priceless. Believe me, I tried way too many approaches on my own, but wow, I could have save so much time and money had I started with a trained coach from the start.
An educated, experienced coach can assess and develop a customized lifestyle plan that will provide you with doable steps that identify the underlying conditions that are at the root of most common health complaints. Your results will go far beyond symptom removal, prepare for an improvement in vitality, energy, mood, and mental functioning. This is my passion, to help as many people as possible take back their health and fully reach their potential for wellness and joy.