I was at the gym getting my weights set up and a lady asked me if I lifted weights. I said, “Yes I do, I love lifting because it makes me strong for life and keeps me healthy.” She said, “I want to get arms like you” ( I thought... what's the next question?). “What supplements do you take?” Aaaah yes... of course. This question always irritates me. Why? Because healthy is MORE than just lifting or eating or being one thing!
The MOST important thing to understand…There is no quick fix to get or to stay healthy, or prevent chronic illness, or get muscles. There is no one exercise that will make you a six pack, or lean out your inner thighs. There is no magic pill that will take off pounds in a couple weeks and no supplement that will make your arms strong.
But what there is, is CHOICE.
Instead, choose to give up the notion of a 'quick fix'. You must commit to a lifestyle of actively moving and choosing to eat foods that are nourishing and healthy EVERY day. Each step of life is a decision and we should feel absolutely grateful to be able to make the choice. You can choose to do things that will give you more energy and vitality and improve your chances at preventing or controlling disease, or you can choose to do things that deplete your energy and life. As we say in Functional Medicine; genes are loaded in the gun, but lifestyle behaviors are what will pull the trigger for illness.
Here are 10 choices I make often throughout the day to keep me strong, and filled with vitality and energy. As my wise husband once said, "You either do it, or you don't, you make the choice."
1. Do the work. Find movement that is enjoyable and then dedicate time to it. You can do 10 minutes a few times a day. Walk. Dance. Stand. Lift. MOVE.
2. Eat food. We MUST eat to make and keep muscle. The fad of not eating is OVER. Skinny is not ‘in’. It is unhealthy.
3. Eat real food. Stay away from processed anything.
4. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and herbs and spices because they give us energy and they offer plenty of extra benefits to sustain our health (phytonutrients).
5. Eat the proper portion of food. A good rule to determine portion size, is to use your own hand. Your hand was designed specifically for you and it counts your portions correctly. For instance, ladies, the flat palm of your hand from the bottom of where your fingers begin to the pad where your wrist begins is a portion of protein for you. Men, you get both hands! Look at someone else's hand and then their height and bone structure and you will see, their hand is designed for their stature- just like yours is. It's very easy to do and here’s a great resource from my friends at Precision Nutrition about portions http://www.precisionnutrition.com/calorie-control-guide-infographic .
6. Eat a portion of protein, a portion of vegetables or legumes or any type of plant-based food with EVERY meal. Along with that, eat a portion of complex carbohydrates (rice, sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa etc.) and a portion of fat with every meal (6 almonds, olive oil, avocado etc. ) and you will feel satiated; that means you will feel satisfied with the food that you eat. We should strive for 9-13 servings of plant-based, multi-colored food (phytonutrients) from nature every day! A serving of plant-based food is ½ cup of cooked or 1 cup raw vegetable or fruit (Institute for Functional Medicine, 2015).
7. Drink water. Flavor it with fruit or vegetables like cucumbers or carrots or even onion (why not explore?). It’s a double bonus- we get the benefit of phytonutrients and stay hydrated.
8. Don't buy junk food. Keep it out of the house, the car, the desk, and it won’t be eaten at times of boredom, hunger, munchies etc…
9. Become aware of the body’s sensations related to food. Are you bored? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Angry? Sad? When was the last time you ate? What was it? Did you feel satiated after? Did you digest it well? Where did you eat it? How did that environment make you feel? These clues help you tap in to your awareness associated with eating. Awareness is a huge key to health.
10. Begin to consider that food offers us more than we think at this moment. For instance, the Institute for Functional Medicine sees food as;
· Food is connection. Who we eat food with and where we eat it can help or hinder digestion.
· Food is medicine. The foods we eat offer our bodies’ different components of health, like vitamins, minerals, and nutrients: things that make our bodies heal, prevent disease like cancer or diabetes, gives us energy and makes us feel great! Processed or fake food can be the cause of symptoms like, sluggishness, mood swings, aching in joints, indigestion, acne, hair loss, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, congestion, depression and weight gain.
· Food is energy. It is calories.
· Food is information. Our bodies always seek information. Food tells the cells how to function and wholesome foods will send the best information.
No matter what- each of us will make the choice to eat what we eat, and will do what we'll do. It is my hope that awareness and education will propel us into choices that help us Feel Better, so we Live Better. And this will lead to an improved lifestyle and the prevention or slowing of disease.
For more blogs about health and wellness through body, mind and spirit, check us out at www.bluemonarchhealth.com.