Lifestyle Medicine

guy on rock

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 

Little Sufferings

Sun in hand

Being healthy can be stressful.

Making an effort to get rid of the stress in my life is really stressing me out.

There are days I think making all these changes to become my best self may be the actual thing making it all harder. It’s easy to sink back into old habits that were keeping me stagnant.

But then I take a breath and reflect on how much good all these changes have brought to me, and how much better the future looks because of all these shifts. The little sufferings along the way teach me valuable lessons and help me grow. And that’s all they are, little.

I believe my future is as bright as my attitude about today. I’m grateful for the past and I’m ready for the future.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”. -Peter F Drucker

Gratitude to Dedulo Photos on morguefile.com for the beautiful photo above

Self-Care in a Toxic World

Image

Self-care is often mistaken for self-ish or self-centered, but I didn’t say self-indulgence now did I?  To me, self-care does not mean getting a weekly manicure or massage, but is more about finding the balance between the things that serve you and the things that cause you stress in your life.  Making sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet, getting enough exercise, keeping creative outlets in your life, and finding ways to relax, such as meditation and yoga, are some of the essential parts to building a life of wellness and self-care.  These parts of life are essential to your well-being and not over indulgent.  And, when we begin to care for ourselves and see health and wellness as fundamental, I believe we also begin to deepen our ability to care for others.  Being able to care deeply and in a meaningful way for others makes life better and when life is better, everything is better.

No matter how much better we feel, our world is still filled with toxins.  Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we use and the food we eat.  Toxins are also scattered among our days in the form of negativity, gossip, and the thoughts in our own heads.  Deciding to put more focus on self-care involves being able to shed the toxins that keep us from being happy and healthy.  It’s hard to bring in the good when there is too much room being taken up by the bad.  Taking a hard look at what toxins exist inside your body and your life will help you begin to shed those toxins and avoid bringing them back into your life.

I recently hosted our first Wellness Wednesday which is a new community event created to bring like-minded people together to have conversations about wellness.  These gatherings will each focus on a different topic related to wellness and inspire people to incorporate more wellness into their daily lives.  I will personally speak about different topics that inspire and move me into action and encourage others to share their stories and journeys to wellness as well.

Our first Wellness Wednesday was an inspiring beginning to what will be an ongoing, moving gathering for those interested in enhancing their journey down a path toward wellness.  Making time for yourself is essential along this journey and gathering knowledge and meeting like-minded people along the way will help push you forward and gain momentum.  We’ve already seen several positive things come from that first meeting and I look forward with enthusiasm to continuing the journey!

Our next Wellness Wednesday will focus on HABITS: The Good, The Bad, and The Really Great!  Is it possible to be happy and make lasting changes during The Mindful Revolution we are surrounded by these days?  Yes!!  If we keep the conversation going and learn from each other, it is!

photo courtesy of fitwalk on morguefile.com

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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