31 Days of Health. Day 2: Exercise

Wouldn’t it be great to feel energized, think clearly, feel less stressed and be flexible? These benefits are guaranteed when you make exercise a priority. Regular exercise reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, is related to better cognition and reduced risk for dementia, and is associated with improved cholesterol levels, bowel movements, a healthy weight, and a positive mood!

Your task for today is to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes. Use your gym membership. Go for a walk or a jog outside. Search “workout” on YouTube. Use the fitness equipment in your home. Or, turn on your favorite playlist and dance your heart out! Do something that makes you happy and feel good when you’re done.

Recently, I have fallen in love with boxing, by Christa DiPaulo. She has a fantastic energy that I totally relate to, and you can find her leading several workouts with Popsugar on YouTube. To me, boxing is just fun. I don’t even feel like I’m working hard, yet by the end of the workout I’m dripping sweat, and I love what it does for my physical appearance! Jeanette Jenkins is another trainer with awesome workouts and an amazing vibe. Some days I practice yoga which is phenomenal for strength and flexibility. Cardio is definitely my thing. It wipes out my stress, I feel strong, and my body feels light.

After a lot of research during 2018, I decided, it is much more worth it to do whatever exercise makes you happy. All I care about is that you move. Your body needs movement. It gets weak and stiff otherwise. I say poo-poo to any advice against running or cardio, or what time of day you “should” exercise…. Just move! Any exercise for any length of time is better than no exercise at all. You’ll figure it all out as you go along.

We all have 24 hours in a day – okay, I’ll be realistic, we have at least 16 hours in a day if 8 of them are spent resting. Okay, I’ll be even more realistic: we have at least 8 hours to ourselves if we sleep for 8 hours and spend another 8 working. You can – and should – set aside 30 minutes to an hour within those 8 hours. If you don’t make time now, then eventually you will be forced to find the time when a crisis hits, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack or stroke.

If you’re younger than 30, or if you are blessed with a fantastic metabolism where the food you eat is not reflective in your weight, you may brush this off as not pertinent to you. I suggest you reconsider. Continued poor health behaviors do catch up with you. And even skinny people develop type 2 diabetes.

Taking medications or providing extra, unaccepted TLC for your body is not a requirement of aging or crisis management. Make exercise part of your lifestyle now and experience an enhanced zest for life, reduced risk for disease, happiness, and the ability to do more for longer! You have unlimited capabilities in this short time on earth, and exercise will help you to realize those marvelous strengths.

Have fun, and I’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

Eight Ways a Food Journal Will Get You Closer to Your Health Goals

Taking note of the foods and beverages we consume is a helpful way to visualize what our diet is truly like. There have been many times I’ve asked clients to write down every single thing they eat and drink for the health concerns we were addressing, and it was often very eye opening for them. Sometimes, they chose not to eat something because they knew they would have to write it down. The journal starts its magic right away!

If you are ready to lose weight, improve your cholesterol or blood pressure, or want to figure out why every day around 3:00 PM you feel fatigued, one of your first steps is writing everything down. Here’s what you need to do to make a journal your go-to reference in problem solving:

  1. Every single thing that enters your belly gets written down. If you pass by a dish of popcorn and throw a handful in your mouth, write it down. If you washed it down with just a gulp of soda, write that down. If you put mayonnaise on a sandwich, that counts!
  2. Details, details, details. Sandwich bread to you may be your classic white, whereas to another person it might be sprouted grain. Both contain different types and quantities of nutrients, and ingredients. It is important to include the details of the type of food you are ingesting.
  3. Measure! This is another very important detail.  What is “a glass of” juice, or “a cup of” coffee? This step will probably be the most difficult, but it is super important to become familiar with portion and serving sizes. Do NOT skip this step if you are serious about making healthy changes to your diet. Yes, it will be a difficult step, but you will not have to do this for the long-term, promise.
  4. Note the time. Indicating when you eat can give clues to why you may be experiencing issues with weight loss, not feeling so great at a certain time of day, or can be linked to moods or behaviors that are standing in your way to success.
  5. What mood were you in? Our moods can seriously affect what we eat. Maybe you blindly binge on salt and vinegar chips when your nerves are tense, or when PMS makes its obnoxious monthly visit all you crave is chocolate and cheeseburgers.

A helpful food and beverage journal contains at least three days, and is ideal at no more than seven. Start now! Grab a pen and paper or your go-to notebook. If you prefer the digital type there are many apps available for this. A simple search for “food journal” should pop up with more than enough suggestions. If you’re reading this near the end of the day, that’s okay! Settle into a quiet place and do your best to recall your day. Make no more excuses, the only time to start is now.

After you have a completed journal, this is how you’ll use it:

  1. REVIEW. Getting all these facts down on paper will paint the picture you need to see what you can do to make healthy changes. It might be that you skip lunch many times each week, or you eat a lot of deep fried foods, or you eat anything in sight as a result of boredom.
  2. PLAN. Let’s say you do skip lunch every day. Question yourself why you do this. Are you so consumed in work you forget, or worse – are unable to? Do you have no appetite? Whatever is causing this to happen, do some brainstorming and implement a plan you can accomplish.
  3. ACT. Nothing changes until you do. Your plan has to go into action right away, not next week. If you continue to hesitate with following through on your plan, it might be time to make a different plan. No matter what, when you’re taking on a huge task to change your health, it is important to have a support team. This can include your closest friends or family, doctor, or other health specialists. There is no need for you to do this on your own. The world is a better place when we help each other out!