In my opinion, it's always the right time to look at ways to improve health and immune function. And the way 2020 has been going, I believe health is something everyone should be investing a little time and effort into. And with so much information out there it really can leave a person feeling a little overwhelmed and confused. With that in mind, I thought we'd do a little Q & A session with some of the things that have come up often with my clients as well as a few of the basics tips anyone can use to get started down the road to better health.
Q: I don't feel hungry in the morning, how important is it to eat breakfast?
A: Breakfast literally means 'break-the-fast'. After sleeping all night without eating or drinking, the body has used up the fuel from your last meal the previous day. Upon waking up in the morning, blood sugar is typically a little on the low side. After about an hour or so, blood sugar drops. As the brain requires something to turn into the glucose it requires to keep going, when we fail to provide the fuel (skip breakfast), our body needs to find an alternate source and subsequently takes what is needed from our muscle. As well, studies show that people who fuel well with protein and whole foods and healthy fats at breakfast have more energy, better focus and attention, are more productive at work and are less likely to make bad food choices for the rest of the day. More good choices per day = a healthier body.
Q: I drink decaf that counts as water, right?
A: Water counts as water. Period. Drinking things filled with sugar/fake sugars, caffeine, flavourings, colours, preservatives, etc., only serves to put in more things your body will have to work to filter out. Our bodies are over two-thirds water. Every function our bodies do, happens in and because of water. Water flushes out fat, toxins, helps maintain regularity, promotes better focus and attention, increases energy, prevents muscle cramping, promotes joint flexibility, clearer skin, assists in organ and brain function. Ladies aim for two to three litres per day, gents, three to four. And when you're drinking enough water, you likely won't be thirsty for those others very often anyway.
Q: Why can't I just eat less and lose the weight, it worked before?
A: Yes, you can lose weight this way. At first. Which is typical of a diet. Results out of the gate, but unable to maintain those results long term. Losing weight is not about eating less. In fact most of my clients end up eating more than they were before. But when you focus on health and fuel your body with what it needs, the weight comes off and stays off. This is exactly the reason when I meet with someone for the first time, I always tell them that whatever they decide to do for their health they need to ask themselves four questions; 1. Is what I'm about to do backed by science? 2. Does it make sense to me? 3. Can I see myself doing it long term? 4. Would I let a child do it with me? That last question really helps people weed out their perception of “safe”. And safe means healthy.
Q: I go for a walk on my lunch hour, does that count as exercise?
A: Yes. Anything active and/or physical you do over and above what you normally do in a day counts as exercise. When you find ways to fit some extra activity into your day on a regular basis, you'll start to notice results in short order. Park farther away and walk. When you arrive home, walk around the block before heading inside. Take the stairs. Bike to work. Make more trips bringing in the groceries. Take the kids to the beach and get in the water with them. You get the idea. Movement, fresh air, sunshine, all great to support immune function.
Q: I've been so stressed lately, could that be why I'm not sleeping well?
A: Absolutely. There are two kids of stress, acute and chronic. Acute stress is short-lived, often motivates the person action and is resolved relatively quickly. Like having a deadline at work moved up an extra day. You feel angst, a little “under the gun” and the stress of wanting things to go well, motivates you and the team to dig in and get it done. As soon as the project is complete, stress is gone. Chronic stress on the other hand may start out the same way, but rather than being able to reach an end relatively soon, you can't even see the end. Chronic stress, irregardless of how it starts, has a huge negative impact on our overall health, physically and mentally. Chronic stress affects our sleep, moods, energy levels, focus, attention, disrupts digestion and the body's ability to metabolize food, causes the body to release cortisol, store fat, and gain weight, increase insulin levels, increase blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk for heart disease, compromises immune function, and exacerbates almost any condition a person may already have. Finding time in your day, everyday, where you can relax, focus on something other than the source of stress, allows your body to let go of that heightened state and come back down. It's like carrying something heavy. You can carry it a lot farther when you stop and put it down once in a while. Try to carry it the whole way in one go and you will hurt yourself.
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