Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I received a letter this week from a little girl and it about broke my heart. She was 13 years old, and her Mom passed away from breast cancer around March 15 th of 2013. She asked me in her letter a question I was not prepared to answer. Her question was, Do I think that Mom died because she would not eat healthy, not take her vitamins and because she was always stressed out?
First of all most adults will not ask a question like this, or most likely ever think of the reason why, as adults are usually thinking about the "now what" scenario. The letter went on to say that she used to always tell her Mom to slow down and relax, and how she would run her a bath to have her soak after a long day at work, but her Mom was always too busy. She said she had started cooking to make things easier at home, as I am sure there was no father in the picture, and the cooking was to help her Mom out. She said her neighbor would take her grocery shopping when she went, and she said she always tried to get healthy food as her Mom was so tired and stressed out. She would cook, but Mom wanted her coffee and sweets and never really seem to eat anything that was good.
It took me a while to respond to the little girl whose name was Mya. When I finally had my thoughts together, I sent her the following response.
I am so sorry for your loss and I hope you are able to understand some of the things that I am bringing to you in this letter. First of all, you sound like a wonderful daughter, and so mature for your age. You are a caring and supportive young lady, and I am sure your Mother lived a lot longer due to your outpouring of love that you gave her every single day. To answer your question yes, diet and stress are large factors that can cause disease to spread and manifest in the body, but they are not the only reasons. Many times it is in the blood lines and is genetic through out family blood lines. Sometimes it can be environmental where once again we may not have a chance to prevent it. I think the answer is yes, taking better care of ourselves is always number one in priorities and yes, a positive attitude and being able to relax and deal with stress are also very important. I would like to wish you the best in your future, and my thoughts and prayers are coming to you as we speak.
For years I have been asked the question, and it has been asked of me from all corners and from all demographics of our country. The question being why I feel we as a nation are so sick, so early in age when our ancestors never got sick until they were older. My answer has become a standard answer that today seems even more correct, diet!
Just as we try to do the best we can in every category of our life, searching for the newest, biggest, best products with all the bells an whistles, we are individuals that today are very outspoken about wanting the best. We like being the first to do something, or to be in the "IN CROWD" with everything hot, new and the most talked about. Somewhere we have overlooked how to apply, and be consistent applying these principals to our health, our daily life and even our long term health goals.
Most people when asked this same question will say stress is the reason we are so sick, and although stress can be a killer, our state of health, and the malnutrition of our bodies causing this unhealthy state many of us live in every day I feel is the main reason. If we were supplying our bodies all the tools it needed in the form of balanced healthy foods, supplements, aiding the digestive system and supporting the immune system, we would have a finer tuned machine that would deal with stress head on, and successfully. But because our over fed, bloated, unbalanced, unrested and nutritionally unbalanced bodies are in such a state of dis- ease, we do not have the capability we could have if our bodies were better taken care of, and in better states of health.
Years ago the standard of life and life expectancy was much lower. We got smarter for a time, ate better and our life expectancy grew, and we lived longer lives. I am seeing a reversal to times when the expectancy is much less than it is today because although we have the tools, knowledge and protocol in place to live a longer, healthier life, we choose not to do our homework. We have an attitude that these things will never happen to me, and that I am in great shape and never sick, and many of us feel untouchable. Although our hardened external shell may keep us protected and fearless, I am sure way down deep we know we need a change but maybe are fearful of doing it incorrectly, or afraid to ask for help and support, and we would rather just roll the dice than ask questions.
Sooner or later all of us are going to need to make changes in our daily routines, I only hope that you will chose to make the changes while they are just a good measure of present and future health, rather than a necessity to survive because you waited way too long.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Today we seem to be more in a hurry than ever before, and no matter how fast we move we tend to still be running behind, or late. I see these commercials and advertisements for all of the time saving devices available, I have bought some of them, but I am yet to see the saved time, or where does it go if I am saving it up, and how do I use it when I want to?
Technology has allowed us to do so many things at the speed of light, and afforded us amazing things to make our lives better, but when you think about all these changes it can seriously be over whelming. So why are we still so stressed out, running behind with all of the availability of saved organized time and our day to day routines having such extreme and effective organizational tools?
I also wonder at what costs are these changes coming to us? Seriously, with smart phones we have all but given up on one on one face to face contact, and everyone I know can barely remember their own phone number or anyone they call on a daily basis. We rarely call for conversation because texting has allowed us to do things by typing in a sentence rather than having the courtesy to call. Texting has become a form of conversation that allows you to do one more thing quickly, easily and without having to think things through. When I was younger when I was running late you would call and apologize for your tardiness,but today you send a text, running late, be there soon, and we just expect everyone to accept it as being respectful.
Children today rarely go outside, their waistlines, like those of their parents are widening every year. Computers, X box, play station, movies at your fingertips, skype, smart phones have made child hood something that is controlled from the child's bedroom and rarely is outdoor activity a choice. Responsibility and respect seems to have disappeared, and although the kids have the resources to learn more effectively, we are putting children out in the world would could not survive without a smart phone, computer or calculator. I witness rudeness that would have, when I was a child kept me from seeing my next birthday, and parents do and say virtually nothing, so consequences are rarely established.
Fast paced lifestyles are the norm today, and slowing down to appreciate life, or stopping to smell the flowers is something of the past. We rarely think about today because as fast as we are moving we are always in a future mind set. Most people act like they have one foot nailed to the floor and they are really just spinning out of control. When you are going at this pace when do you allow yourself a time to actually chill out and enjoy all your hard work?
I will admit that I am a user of technology, but I have learned, maybe the hard way myself that there is life and social activities, friends, animals and activities to enjoy in our life that do not depend on electronic devices for them to be enjoyed.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Today we are all facing stress from places and things in our daily life we may not even associate with stress. Our bodies are in perpetual overdrive just to get us from morning until night so we can shut down, do some repair work and then do it all over again. Most of us feel stress as something that comes from dead lines at work, or balancing the check book and trying to make ends meet at the end of the month. Some of us relate bumper to bumper traffic while traveling and even the chores and day to day tasks we do to be stressful, especially when we are running behind, procrastinating and while being disorganized.
All of these things, and many more are triggers for stress, and all of them can cause our bodies to become run down, exhausted and lead us to run at less than optimal levels. The fact is, we are always going to have stress coming at us full speed ahead, and this will rarely change no matter who you are or where you live. How we deal with this stress and disarm it's harmful effects is the key to success.
Many of us do not relate food with stress, but if you eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) there is a good chance you are running your body's nutrition on less than quality fuel. We have become a nation where sugar, processed and white bleached foods are the things we prefer. It is not uncommon for people to actually crave them,and feel a withdrawl when we do not get them, and although we are told to eat healthier, we don't. Daily in the media we are instructed to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, to avoid fast and deep fried foods, cut back on caffeine and alcohol, these foods have become the foods of choice for a large portion of America. The funny thing is we know better and we understand the ramifications of an unhealthy diet, and we know the health consequences that are almost a given when we eat this way. With all of this information we are still holding on to our unhealthy eating convictions and I see no mass exodus to a healthier way of eating anywhere in sight. This way of eating is a huge factor in the stress on our body, and continuing to eat this way can weaken our system and cause even more daily and long term stress.
Stress is a daily part of life and I do not see it going away anytime soon. I do see us having to make lifestyle adjustments to deal and live within the stressful way of life. I am sorry to say when it comes to stress, and our dealing with it, the ultimate decision to have noticeable change is up to the person in the midst of the stress. I am sorry to say it may take running into the wall face first a few times for some people to get the motivation to make any changes at all.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I would dare to say that most of us would like to change one or more things about ourselves. Be it our weight, our job, financial status or maybe just stop or correct some of the bad habits or vices we have. I think we have the desire and the want to succeed, but our follow through seems to be the part of us that causes all the problems.
I hear people every day say I cannot understand how someone could be that over weight, or how they drink so much or why can't they stop smoking. They will go on a tirade about someone else's perfectly legal way of living their life, and because they are casting stones at others, it allows them to not be looked at. Because inside they know they should be looking at their own problems as well as things that need attention or that need to be fixed in their life. I feel it is easier for people to cast judgement rather than accept that they may have a laundry list of things that they need help with.
If you are one that thinks that the smoker, drinker or overweight person does Not want a change, you may be very mistaken. Sometimes, more than not, people have little corrective information, or are searching for a quick and easy way to make a change. These quick, fad choices or changes are usually followed by failure, depressive feelings and ultimately with the person giving up and being even more emotionally distraught. It is not that they are not trying, many of them, not all are, but they are choosing the not so effective ways of getting it done. But I will say the want to change always hangs on tight, as does the frustration of not being successful. It can truly be an emotional rollercoaster..
When I talk with people or do counsels, my most successful stories are when the individuals are truly ready for change. This is most of the battle for all of us, when we want to and need to change and knowing that this time there must be a change. When this mental connection is made, most people are unstoppable at attaining their goals.
My suggestion is always to keep a few ducks in a row.
1- Set goals in an attainable and realistic fashion.
2- Start your journey only when you are ready to start, follow through and finish your journey.
3- Ask as many questions about what you are trying to achieve, and ask informed people only.
4- Be prepared for side stepping the path, never beat up on your self, and get back on course as soon as you can.
5- Set smaller goals so you can celebrate each and every step on your healthy journey.
6- Try to keep changes in place after your goals are completed, and make them life changes.
Last tip, find time to fit in social time with friends and family, take time to relax and find your center and comfort zones. Always be good to you and pull yourself off the back burner and prioritize what is important to YOU. Being the "go to" person for everyone in your life makes you an individual worth a million dollars, fitting time in to think about yourself and get healthy to be at your best makes you priceless.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
When we look at the big picture of things that are important in life, and for our health, we sometimes overlook the smaller things because they are, smaller. We all know about eating a well balanced diet, avoiding too many processed foods and fast food, exercising and managing stress, but there are some little things that may have as much or even more of an impact.
When I think about a healthier life, and the process involved, I try to think about things that have a great impact, but does not cost us an arm and a leg. I think many of us gravitate to the things with bells and whistles, and also to the difficult and complex solutions thinking that change should and must be difficult.
I agree with all the changes for great health I mentioned earlier, but the following things I feel bring a lot to the table. Having a pet can do more for our grounding as well as bringing a new sense of responsibility that keeps us on top of things every day. Pets can also be remarkable companions if you are alone, or even if you are in a large extended family, a pet can reduce stress, bring blood pressure into healthier ranges and bring out the devoted soft part in your heart you may have put on a shelf long ago.
Water, the easiest, most difficult beverage to have people consume on a regular basis. I do not get it but even when dehydration and frequent urinary tract infections are up front and center, water still seems to be a difficult thing to swallow. Just drinking your 8-10 glasses of water daily can dramatically change your life. Healthier skin, liver, kidney, digestive and elimination system and urinary tract health are just some of the areas benefited by daily water consumption. Drinking water is easy to do but hard to get into the habit if you have avoided it for a long time. Getting on a one to one relationship with water, and becoming a water drinker will always be something your body will always appreciate.
Sleep is my third important thing on my need to focus on list. If sleep, or lack of it has become an issue for you, remember before running to the drug store for a quick fix, check out the amazing healthy natural alternatives and lifestyle supplements that can dramatically help you to get a great nights sleep. Once you are back on your sleep wake cycle be ready for feeling amazing, maybe for the first time in a long time. Sleep is one of the most overlooked things we do, or do not do every day. Many of us think it is something we should do rather than something that is essential for health.
My wish is that we all slow down long enough to see that change is important, especially when you are aiming for better health. Changes do not need to be huge and monumental, because sometimes baby steps can lead to changes so large that it may make your head spin in a healthy direction...
Monday, May 6, 2013
Our desire to get healthy, look better and feel better has grown leaps and bounds over the past few decades, but our follow through, and motivation for the actual change has diminished by possibly the same amount. I know that almost every person I speak to wants to lose weight, have more energy, hold on to their youth and look younger, but when the laundry list of needed changes to correct the unhealthy life style makes its way into the conversation, ears close and minds begin to wander.
I think we all want to feel better than we do now, as so many of us struggle to just get through our days, and we will and do use every possible quick fix available to cover up symptoms to do it. Drug stores, print ads and television commercials have armed us with amazing, their words, choices and alternatives to get us through the crazy days most of us live. We have become almost brainwashed that the covering up of the annoying symptoms of just about everything we deal with is a fix, not a cure or a balancing of the system. Pain relief, symptomatic relief, feel better almost instantly are catch phrases that lure the struggling unhealthy and desperate folks to the drug stores in search of these quick fixes. Although way down deep we know that making permanent life changes will lead to a healthier lifestyle, something keeps us from going to the next step.
Life is more stressful today, and our ability to deal with it has become almost faulty, as if we just do not have the strength to handle it. I think today we have more knowledge, alternatives and compliments available then we ever have in the past, but our focus, concentration and lack of priorities are the things that keep us in this unhealthy state of living. I know we have the needed energy and motivation because we use it in so many other sectors of our lives. I know people that will sleep out in tents for 3 days to be first to get the newest smart phone, video game or laptop, but cannot seem to organize their diet, supplements or their exercise program. As far as I am concerned, the" want to" to make a change mind set is not as strong as they think it is, if it was it would be achieved, or they would be on the path Today!
Friday, May 3, 2013
Strength is measured in many ways, and sometimes on your life journey you may discover that you are stronger than you ever knew you were. Dealing with life today on any level takes strength. From your daily work schedule, to doing the day to day tasks that are required of all of us, as well as the extra things we take on that force us into an overload situation. Sometimes I personally am amazed how much I am able to balance in a single day, but then again my personality has always been that way, so it seems to be comfortable for me. On the other hand I can pretty well guess that my body, and my brain would disagree.
Lately I see more and more people in these over load situations using all of their mental and physical energy reserves to deal with all of their daily requirements. Many of these same people are dealing with the added stress of everyone around them, leaving them run down and out of fuel. I then see these same people hitting a wall when something happens to them that changes their life dramatically, and although they have always been a rock for everyone around them, they crash and burn and sometimes lose their own fights.
After many years I have decided that true balance in life is the key, and even if you are the "go to" person, or savior of everyone around you, there does come a time when you must try something uncomfortable and be a little selfish and just say no.
Today all of us over 40 have a much higher chance of having health problems, and life threatening diseases are now much more common place. This leads to a new way of thinking, one that includes a thought process we might have always thought we did not need to worry about until we were at an older stage of our life. Today, these health problems are happening to us at a much younger age, we now have to think about them decades earlier just to have a chance of being healthier and more prepared for holding onto our health.
The bottom line today is focus clearly on your health. Get check ups more frequently, think about what you are eating, and make a conscious effort to work on the basics into your life. Exercise, water, sleep, social interaction, and removing negativity are all steps to a longer healthier life, and must prioritize them and make them important.