Lifestyle Medicine

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Prevention is truly the best medicine. Taking our health seriously and making steps toward wellness before there is a real reason to worry is the smartest way to go. To indulge and ignore is risky, to be proactive and educated can save your health and maybe your life. Your lifestyle can be your best medicine.

Lifestyle medicine means making choices that lessen your risk of illness and disease. The basics of using lifestyle intervention may include nutrition, stress reduction, toxin awareness, and physical activity. The process of incorporating positive choices in all of these areas give you the best chance at preventing many of the chronic diseases that are common in our culture today.

Evaluating and adjusting risky behavior is your first line of defense. To make good decisions you must have the right information, but you also need to be sure about where your facts are coming from. Don’t just reach for what you have been told are healthy foods, research the sources of that food being labeled healthy. Amp up your general wellness competence by making decisions based in scientific research, not big business sponsored mass marketing messages.  We need to address the gap between what we know and what we think we know.

A perfect example of this is the need for education and lifestyle management related to Osteoporosis. Did you know…

Osteoporosis_Facts (1)

So the question “What do I do now?” tends to be posed after a person is diagnosed with Osteoporosis, when we could be living a lifestyle which manages our risk and lessens our chances of developing this dangerous condition way before we are at risk of becoming one of it’s casualties.

When assessing your options to create and support a healthy lifestyle, here are three lifestyle choices to consider that may significantly impact your chances of developing Osteoporosis later in life:

1.   Calcium Intake

Are you getting enough calcium in your daily diet? Some healthy sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, orange juice. It’s not just about drinking milk and consuming dairy although healthy servings of milk can also reduce your risk.  (mayoclinic.org)

2.   Exercise

Beginning to exercise when you are young and continuing your active lifestyle as you age can be the best way to build strong bones. Combining strength training and weight bearing physical activity is the best way to avoid Osteoporosis. (mayoclinic.org)

3.   Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Excessive drinking has been linked to increased risk of bone loss and smoking doubles your chance of bone loss. (webmd.com)

For a long time I thought drinking carbonated beverages caused bone loss, but in doing research for this post I have found evidence that does not support that assumption. Since I’m not completely convinced I removed it from my list and will have to look into it further. So, in addition to making positive change, begin to second guess what you have always assumed about diseases such as this. And please, check my sources and find credible ones of your own because not every medical myth you hear has complete truth to it. Begin to evaluate your life choices, but don’t be hasty until you think them through. For example, many people think that coffee causes osteoporosis. But does it? “Because coffee and caffeine consumption slightly decreases the absorption of calcium by about 4 – 6 mg per cup, coffee has been blamed for causing osteoporosis. In a hypothetical world, this reduction in calcium would lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Fortunately, in the real world, adding one tablespoon of milk to each cup of coffee consumed would offset any calcium loss caused by the caffeine, preventing an effect on bone quality. By ensuring adequate calcium intake and drinking coffee in moderation, studies show that there will be no increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis.” (www.isagenixhealth.net)

Be smart enough to know which life choices are truly smart and which ones are cultural lore.

So, what else do you think you know for sure? Are you trusting credible sources when gathering your knowledge on wellness? Are you sure?

thanks to where_ever_I_am on morgue file.com for the lovely photo above 

thanks to The American Recall Center for the Osteoporosis graphic above 

Challenge Yourself

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I challenge you to ask yourself some tough questions. 

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” -Fred DeVito

Sit with yourself and have a conversation. Take your life’s temperature, see what you find. As we approach the new year, consider how you want this one to be different. Just changing a few small things can make a big impact. If you really want things to be different then make it happen. Here’s a few ideas to get you started, but you may want to add a few of your own.

What do you think about more… your wealth or your health?

Health, cared for and adored, can lead to wealth, but abundant wealth on it’s own seldom leads to health. Which do you spend more time thinking about? Which occupies more space in your thoughts? Which do you feel is more important? Are you happy with your answer?

Can you find more time to enjoy healthy activities in the great outdoors? 

Fresh air and movement. That’s what you need. The stale air of the gym and riding a bike that never gets anywhere is not my ideal way to get in my exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to take a spin class, but I much prefer to get outside and go for a walk or ride my street bike. Spending time outdoors can be refreshing, meditative and rejuvenating. How can you devote more time to getting yourself out there? Just decide you want to and you will.

Are you constantly trying to morph into something or someone else or are you taking the time to enjoy the body and mind that you have right now?

If you are reading this that tells me a few things. You are alive. You know how to read. You have access to a computer and the internet. You have free time and you use it wisely.  🙂

Does it really matter whether or not your measurements match up to societies definition of beauty? Isn’t it more important to be healthy? I challenge you to let go of your finish line and enjoy more present moments. Live happily and satisfied in the body you own right now. That body needs to be healthy, but it doesn’t need to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount to make you happy. Focus on your health, and happiness will find you.

You may not know exactly where you’re going, just keep going…  Life never stops or slows down, but you can. We work so hard to create space where we feel comfortable, now find a way to enjoy it. Forward movement is good, just don’t forget to take a breath, look around and enjoy the view. Challenge yourself to make a few changes today so you can enjoy more of tomorrow. The moment you stop accepting challenges is the moment you stop moving forward.

Talking To Myself

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.                                 -Helen Keller

The more hard times we face, the stronger and more brave we will become?  Not necessarily.  When I experience happiness it makes me crave more happiness.  When I struggle through pain and endure hardship I lust after joy.  Either way, I long to settle into a pleasant existence.  Some people around me seem to settle into sadness like a cozy pair of slippers while others dig and dig for delight until they are exhausted.  The journey to Serenity is different for each person and the destination just as distinct.  It’s up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to be happy.  Maybe it takes more effort to be happy, but I see the endeavor as worthwhile.  The payoff is big and the lesson I pass on to my daughters is valuable.

There are several parts of my personality that I am dedicated to working on during this journey to find more happiness for myself.  Even the more difficult changes are worth tackling if I ever want to truly reap the benefits of this process and one of the most difficult things for me to overcome may be my negative self-talk.  I work hard at rolling a big boulder of positivity up a very steep hill only to hear a voice in my head shouting cynicism in an effort to slow my progress and make me drop the boulder and get crushed in it’s path back down the hill.  I’m tired of losing momentum because of the angry committee in my head that spews negativity.  It seems that maintaining my happiness may be as hard as maintaining the positive self talk.  If I let even one negative thought sneak in, it slows my momentum.  But this life presents us with adversity and it’s not always so easy to stay positive.

My hope for myself at this point is that my hunger for happiness will help drive my ability to learn how to quiet the negative self talk and let me turn the naysaying into affirmations!

It’s only nice to say SHUT UP to yourself.

Do Unto Others

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
-Winston Churchill-

I’ve been focusing most of my energy on myself lately in an effort to find more happiness, but the truth is that all of my happiness will not come from such confined focus.  When you put yourself out there, you risk getting hurt.  It’s hard to trust others with your own happiness.  But, surround yourself with people who are happy and capable of giving goodness and there will be more happiness in the air.

Next week I’ll be running a gently used baby clothes drive at my daughter’s nursery school.  The clothes will be going to local families in need.  In the past, they have held a food drive this time of year, but the director of the program that will be receiving the items asked if I would turn it into a clothes drive as it seems food is not as much of a problem these days as new moms finding clothing for their young children.  Their wish is my command and a clothing drive is underway.  I will hopefully be carting boxes and bags full of coats, hats and clothes that will then be given to families that need them.  I’m looking forward to being the one who sees this task through and I’m grateful to all the families willing to sort through their belongings and donate to a worthy cause.

As I am going through the process of both literally and figuratively de-cluttering my house and myself, I am learning a great deal about the difference between want and need. I’ve filled bags with unneeded clothes and belongings. I’ve spent the last 4 days cleansing my body with The Isagenix System. I’m taking a long, hard look at what I have in my life so I can mentally sort out what makes me happy, and what doesn’t. You can’t expect change if you don’t make changes. I’m optimistic about my results, excited for the upcoming community service and filled with zealous when I think about what will come next in my journey. What a wonderful path I am on.

Unblocking the Path

Do we each have a predetermined destiny?  How much control do we have over making changes to our own life’s path?  We are who we are, that’s true, but each of us has the power to change, or not change, our current position.

Epigenetics is a complex area of study focusing on genes and the way they predetermine our health.  (Well, that’s my very basic understanding).  There is also a cultural epigenetics of psychopathy that is focused on mental disorders that gives light to how culture can influence a person’s developmental trajectory.  I would assume that all the effort going into both medical fields is to ultimately make positive changes in people’s lives.  All of this research just may allow people to trade in a few cards from the hand they are dealt.  We CAN alter the repeating patterns of the cycles that rule our lives.  If you have the motivation, the science is there to support the changes necessary to be happy.

I watch myself approach life situations the same way over and over and get disappointed in the same negative results.  Since becoming more mindful of my actions, my life is now being shown to me in 3-D, and the negative actions of others now seem to jump off the screen.  An intense position allowing me an unclouded view of those around me.  Even the simplest interactions with people get scrutinized beyond recognition in my effort to pinpoint the specific changes I need to make to become a better version of myself.  Unfortunately for me, some of the people closest to me have limited patience for the pace in which I’m making changes. In the end, this invokes the pauperization I often feel and ignites the fire under my impending course redirection.  My experiment in Family Epigenetics.  I’m ending this cycle of unhappy.

Sometimes the negativity you claim to see in another is actually a mirror into your own psyche.  Maybe looking into the face of your own child, or parent, exacerbates the hidden insecurities we hide deep within ourselves and claim to have conquered when really they represent the biggest mountain left to climb.  Maybe the mountain you don’t have the courage to even acknowledge.

I refuse to exist with a mountain blocking my path to happiness.  My epigenetic battle has just begun.

Letting It Go

When I get up in the morning I know certain things need to get done, but I just can’t seem to get into a routine. Everything eventually gets accomplished and my daughters and I seem to leave the house with clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. My day turns into a series of hurried moments followed by hushed lulls in the action. I see most of the moments of chaos coming, yet I can’t always find a way to stay calm in the middle of all of it. I know it’s times like these that deplete me, but I also know there are things that need to get done. Avoiding these happenings is not an option. Changing how I handle myself is the only way to go.

I started to realize how many times I am in this type of situation these days….

Could this be the key? Is this what needs adjusting to make me happier? It’s possible. Definitely worth some attention. I have to concentrate on being mindful during these moments of chaos and stress and learn how to get through them without losing my cool. I have to clear these hurdles with my patience intact. I admit it, I need to learn to let things go.

Let things go….words that make me cringe. Such an easy fix. But how?

I need to disengage, loosen up and unbind, but not surrender. I need to let things float past me without judgement and continue on my way. Relinquish control and accept things for what they are. All of this is completely against not only my good judgement most of the time, but also my personality. But the truth is that holding on to all of this minutia is not serving me well. It’s not making me happy. To move forward on this journey I have to be willing to make changes. Some that I have never considered before. So, in the spirit of taking a giant leap toward my happy place, I am pledging to let things go. I’m going to loosen my grip and go with the flow. I think just making the decision to do this will serve me well and be the wind at my back.

myhappypromise

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