Health & Happiness
IS WITHIN YOUR REACH
'It's not what is on the outside that matters, it's what's on the inside that counts.' How many times have you heard that? Or maybe said it to someone else? Usually when we say it we are referring to how someone looks on the outside versus what their personality or character is like on the inside. But this phrase can be applied in another way.
I remember walking/running my first half-marathon, the Biggest Loser in Killington, VT about 5 years ago. I trained for that event by speed walking the hilly back roads around my house, gradually increasing distance, stamina and speed. Going into the race I felt pretty good. The event was designed for walkers and runners and you could signup in either category.
At registration a saw a lot of people older than me and a lot of people that were bigger than me. I thought they must be walkers and I could surely beat them in this event. Well, don't judge a book by it's cover! For the entire event, I was neck and neck with a man who was almost twice my age! I would pass him on the uphill, and he would pass me on the downhill. At the start line there were two women that I thought must be walking, but they took off running and I never saw them again!
So, just as the outside appearance of a person does not necessarily reflect one's physical capability, the outside appearance of a person does not necessarily reflect one's physical (and mental) well being. The most physically fit looking person could be suffering from health issues originating from the inside. It's not what is on the outside that matters, it's what's on the inside that counts.'
Yes. . .it's what's on the inside that matters. What we feed our bodies matter. Let's look at gut health. Trillions of microscopic organisms—or microbes—call our body home. This is the microbiome. Some of these microbes are beneficial to our health, but others are detrimental. The balance between the two is key when it comes to maintaining our “gut health.” Everything we do—what we eat, the air we breathe, substances we put on our body, the antibiotics and supplements we take—affects our microbiome in a unique way. If this microbiome is not healthy we may feel depressed, lack energy, have food sensitivities, alergies, headaches, and weight gain.
Researchers are just now learning just how important the human microbiome is. The microscopic organisms that exist on and throughout our bodies literally number in the trillions and can affect our health and well-being. Because 70% of our immune cells originate in our gut, one could say our gut microbiome plays an especially important role in overall wellness. Even our mood can be influenced by our gut microbiome. 90% of our neurotransmitters including GABA, Dopamine, and serotonin are produced in the gut.
What does your book look like? Are you paying attention to the contents of your book? I love this graphic from Plexus that illustrates the importance of gut heath and some of the things that you can do to improve it.
I just started biking on a regular basis with my husband about a month ago. It's a lot of fun and I'm loving the exercise. But has anyone else shifted gears in the WRONG DIRECTION while pedaling UPHILL?? UGH!!
This got me thinking about how so many times when we are moving forward in the right direction headed towards our goals (which can be a challenge as it is), then something happens and BAM. . .it becomes so much HARDER. Maybe it's an injury or illness. Maybe it's a lack of time or money. Sometimes we slow way down and sometimes we just stop pedaling all together. We need to act fast to get back on track!
Several years ago I was training for my first half marathon. I was up to running 9 miles without stopping with about three weeks still to go until the event. That same year, we had moved into our new house and the yard needed seeded. My husband and I spent a full day putting down grass seed and spreading hay to cover it. The hay was full of mold. I was sick for almost two weeks and did not run at all during that time. I gave up on the race. . .I probably could have pulled it off, even if I had to walk part of it, but I just felt defeated and depressed. Looking back, I wish I would have pressed on. . .I regret not doing the race.
Some goals are worth pedaling for, especially your health & wellness goals. So keep it up even if you make a mistake or if unforeseen circumstances catch you off guard. YOU CAN RECOVER!! YOU CAN OVERCOME! YOU CAN REACH YOUR GOALS!
When you think of breakfast what comes to mind? Is it pancakes with maple syrup? Eggs, bacon and toast? Or maybe a bowl of Cheerios, From Loops or Life Cereal?
Before we talk about traditional breakfast foods and why we should avoid them, let's look at the word 'breakfast.' Breakfast is simply a compound word that means exactly what the parts say: a break from fasting. Assuming that you didn't snack after dinner and you got a good night sleep of 8 hours, your body was in a fasting state for 10 to 14 hours. That's half a day! Now it needs food to get moving.
So what are we feeding our bodies for breakfast? We've been told and taught all our lives what breakfast is. It is cereal, juice, bacon, eggs, toast, muffins, waffles and pancakes. This is simply traditional American breakfast foods. Why would we think any of this is bad for us?
The cereals, breads, bagels, pancake mixes that we purchase at the store are classified as ultra-processed foods. They contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, emulsifiers and other additives to make it taste good and last longer on the shelf. While eggs and bacon are ok on occasion, there is cholesterol, fat and excessive salt to consider with this breakfast option.
Since breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, why do we feed our bodies this ultra-processed food to get going in the morning? Well, for one, it is easy. Easy to grab a bagel and coffee on the way to work. Easy to pour our child a bowl of cereal in the morning before school. We sacrifice our health for convenience but we don't know we are making bad choices because we have been taught that these foods are 'normal' and 'good' breakfast options. Just look at the marketing on the boxes. . ."Fortified with 10 essential vitamins & minerals." "Kid tested, Mom approved."
Boxed cereal has got to be one of the worst foods for you, yet an entire aisle is devoted to it in the grocery store. It is laden with starch, sugar, preservatives, and dyes. Sugar is highly addictive. . .even more so than nicotine. By eating cereals in the morning, and starch laden foods like bagels, muffins and donuts, we are programming our bodies to want more sugar throughout the day!
What if we changed what breakfast looked like? How would our body feel if we ate a big SALAD in the morning instead of a Pop Tart? 🤔 Would we have more energy through the day if we replaced the OJ with fresh veggie juice? Replaced the ultra-processed cereal with plain organic oatmeal?
Something to think about. . . .
Flipping a light switch is easy. Put your hand on the switch, move it up to turn the light on or move it down to turn the light off. Once the light is on, it is on. You do not have to stand there with your hand on the switch to make sure it doesn't accidentally go off again. You really don't have to think about it anymore.
In order to make a meaningful and lasting change to your health and wellness, you need to flip the switch in your brain. Now this may sound like 'setting your mind to something' but it is a bit more.
I can't tell you the number of times I have set my mind to something only to have it unset a few days, weeks or months later. The mind can easily be swayed. I don't know about you but I can talk myself out of something a whole lot easier than I can tell myself to keep going.
Flipping the switch in your brain is different. It is making a change and then not having to think about it or work at it. The change becomes natural as if it has always been that way.
Several years ago I was unhappy with my weight and fitness level. I had started and stopped so many different diets and exercise plans. Then one day I was able to flip the switch. It was a different kind of feeling, a better feeling about the way I was going to reach my fitness goals. It was so easy to change my eating habits and increase my activity level. I switched to an alkaline diet and started training for a 5k. Within one month I had lost 10 pounds and was able to run (actually jog) 2 miles!
During this time my mind was content. I was not talking myself out of a morning run or being tempted by snacks. Overnight, this change that I had made, become a normal way of life. . .as if it had always been that way. It is so much easier to reach your health and wellness goals when you do not feel as though it requires excessive effort to get there.
Can you flip the switch in your brain? Isn't your health worth a change that becomes as normal and natural as turning on the lights?