HealthDude Detoxification & Rehabilitation
…Detoxifying Your Body is for EVERYONE! – As you read on don’t think that detox is not for you, many people solely attribute detoxification of the body with addicts and alcoholics however it is actually for everyone. Detoxing your body is a cleansing of all that contaminates the body, this includes chemicals we ingest with the processed foods we eat on a daily basis. Our diets are directly related to our health, so if poor eating habits, fast-food addiction, and a sedentary lifestyle are currently apart of your life than many of the protocols below can be essential to you in reaching your health and nutritional goals. Please reference the HealthDude Juicing, Smoothie, Exercise, & Healthy Living Protocols.
Detoxify yourself to even greater levels of health…
Detoxification may be defined as a form of medical therapy where a person overcoming physical and mental drug dependency is assisted thru a team of counselors. Furthermore, it should include the biochemistry definition: “the metabolic process by which toxins are changed into less toxic or more readily excretal substances.”
Then you have HealthDude’s definition: “Providing high quality healing nutrients that assist the metabolic excretions of harmful toxins while reducing withdrawals symptoms and administered by truth, love and Devine guidance.”
For people who want to achieve the maximum benefit of health, a proven detoxification protocol is recommended. A nutritional detoxification is to nourish the liver in order to create a super sponge effect where the now supercharged liver pulls all toxins out from their hiding spot and reduces to less harmful residue which is than excrete out of the body. The liver being the largest organ of the body, filter over a liter of blood each minute and performs over 500 different chemical functions. Individuals who could particularly benefit from normal liver detoxification include those who use or are exposed to chemicals, toxins, and other potentially harmful substances, along with people who live in a polluted environment. By adding a detoxifying agent, these toxins are neutralized and excreted therefore enhancing our body’s ability to build muscle and breakdown fat. Here is the video blog on more details on the nutritional detoxification protocol.
How To Choose A Drug Rehabilitation Facitliy?
It’s Easier than you think… Just find one that has a detox nutrition program that they really care about, you can feel whether they are genuine or not….
As a consultant in the industry, I noticed that to have a successful drug Rehab Clinic there are some crucial factors that make or break an organization. Some of those factors are: A strong leadership, honesty, trust, well organized, experienced counselors, and a solid treatment program. However, one of the most overlooked factor is nutrition. Nutrition, that supports the physical medium of recovery has been demonstrated again and again that clients that receive a good nutrition program feel better during detox and are up to 80% less likely to relapse. That makes perfect sense, if your nutrition is optimal then you are less likely to be irritable and less likely to cravings and that ultimately affects your ability to make good sound decisions – which is the crucial element in recovery.
Here are some examples of nutrition protocols that are easy to implement, cost effective and absolutely essential in improving your client’s outcome. If you are a facility that needs assistance in nutrition programs and/or business management inquiries please visit our consulting page – click here!
…Look, Learn, and Implement Now! – Here are some examples of detoxifying nutrition protocols that are easy to implement, cost effective and absolutely essential in improving your client’s outcome by delivering good health rapidly.
Detox Rehabilitation Methods – Modify to fit your life, your body, your health…
>> Juicing Protocol
The introduction of “Juicing” to a friend or a client is always a labor of love. What is juicing? Juicing is the extraction of juice from fruits and vegetables so that it can be consumed as a liquid loaded with micro nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and much more. Many times people get so curious that they did not just want to talk about it but actually partake and see it in action. That is what lead to creating demonstrations for rehab facilities and clients alike. It seems like no matter what stage in life a person is everyone benefits and of course it is all natural. Unlike a multivitamin, that may be able to hold 20 or 30 different vitamins and minerals in it, juice on the other hand can have thousands of different healthy nutrients composed of amino acids, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and more. Many clients will say “I can get fresh juice from the store without the mess of making juice”. I can see their point of view because juicing does take preparation and it does take cleanup. So I ask these same clients when juice is the most potent. Many say 1 or 2 days that it is still fresh. I say fresh juice is good for 20 minutes. Fresh juice starts to lose its antioxidants immediately when contacted with the air so drink it right after you make it!
When you read more and more articles in recovery magazines about the powerful role of nutrition in having a healthy recovery it really does make sense. Good balanced nutrition calms the brain, reduces drug cravings, and supports the physical medium of recovery which ultimately leads to less reaction to triggers that could break your sobriety. A good rehab center should have healthy non-processed food options every day and nutrition education classes weekly to be a complete recovery center.
An extra bonus in juicing is in a group recovery setting – Wow the response is amazing – Recovering addicts wake up and actually feel good instantly – like a cloud was lifted off their lives!
Here are some examples of juice that promote great health…
The Basic Recipe: (3 veggies and 1 fruit for one person)
Please note that different fruits and vegetables are used as remedies for different purposes. These can change depending on your taste and nutritional goals.
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Apple
- 1 Celery Stalk
- 1 Handful of Spinach
- 1 Beet
The Advanced Recipe:
The advanced is the real goal of juicing. Juicing gets things working again in the body. One of the big benefit is that it super charges the liver and assists in cleaning out the intestines – especially of those that have a poor diet. Multiple trips to the bathroom after juicing is signal that the client needs to work on their daily diet.
Single Person 20oz:
- 1 Beet – Blood Pressure / Cholesterol anthocyanin antioxidants
- 1 Celery Stalk – vitamins
- 2 Spears Kale – alkaline
- 1/2 Cucumber – alkaline, endocrine system
- 1/3 lb grapes – antioxidant, flavor
- 1 Green Apple (granny smith) – vitamins, flavor
- 2-3 Carrots – endocrine, eyes
- 1/4 head Red Cabbage – immune system, little spice
- 1 orange bell pepper – silicone, immune, endocrine system
- 1/4 pineapple with skin – immune
- 1/2 in ginger – spicy, refreshing, cleansing
- 1-2 kiwi – vitamins, flavor
>> Smoothie Protocol
Are smoothies bad for you?
Smoothies are defined by dictionary.com as “a thick beverage of fruit pureed in a blender with ice and milk, yogurt, or juice.” However, when I think of a smoothie I think of a healing force created by a synergistic blend of nutrients in tasty treat sensation.
So are they bad for you? – That’s silly. Of course smoothies are good for you. All my smoothie ideas are designed for; swiftness of preparation, optimal nutrition, and astounding taste.
Swiftness in preparation is “the key” for my clients – many of them will not follow my smoothie prescription unless it is easy to make. Would you believe me if I told you that all it takes is “5” minutes to make and ready to your enjoyment? Easy – just put my recommended ingredients in a blender, cover top, and power up your blender!
The importance of ingredients is the most essential: An amazing smoothie should contain protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and an assorted variety of nutrients. Protein is for building lean tissues and new cells. Usually I use a scoop of protein powder for this. Example; whey, plant, rice, pea, egg, and soy carbohydrates I usually use a combination of almond milk and berries. This adds the liquid, antioxidants, fiber, and the sweetness to the mixture. Antioxidants such as those from blue berries are vital for keeping us young and less prone to disease. When we get oxidized as a result unhealthy food that’s when we start getting sick. So protect yourself with consuming berries. Add I cup of mixed berries into your smoothie. Mangoes are also a nice addition. Besides making your smoothie sweet, Mangoes are loaded enzymes which help the body heal and helps in digesting your food.
Next, add a healthy fat to blender mix. A good fat is the fat that promotes health in the body such increases metabolism, softens the skin, enhances mood and cognitive abilities, and balances hormones and blood sugars. Oh yes this does exist – Try adding a tablespoon of high grade fish oil aka “Omega3”. Other fats may include flaxseed, coconut, avocados, and yogurt. Yogurt even has protein and loaded with good bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics help absorb nutrients, excrete toxins, and stops harmful bacteria from colonization inside your body.
Benefits of Omega 3
- A healthy Heart
- A better Immune System
- Healthy Joints
- Improves the Kidneys
- Enhances your mood and well-being
- Strength and stamina improves
- Improves cholesterol levels
Continue by adding a scoop of some kind of powdered whole food greens. This is usually found in health food stores and the basic concepts is that it is a bunch of fruit and vegetables shredded into a powder which provide up to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables in a single scoop. Now if you want a thick or colder smoothie just add ice.
You may also add cinnamon on top of your finished creation which adds another delicious flavor as well as it adds a few more benefits such as anti-viral and sugar balancing properties. As I mentioned earlier the third key component is “astounding taste” and combining the following items will lead to that.
- 10 ounces of Almond Milk
- 1 or 2 cups of berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc)
- 1 cup of Mangoes
- 1 scoop of plant protein
- 1 scoop of powdered greens
- 1 tablespoon of fish oil
- 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt
- 1 cup of ice
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top
…Here’s to your health, Healthdude!
>> Exercise Protocol
Exercise is great tool for health. Cardiovascular exercise can actually reduce insulin levels and keep you in check. If you eat a bad diet, you can destroy the benefits of exercise. You should also lift weights. To understand the importance of exercise please read the section “How to increase your metabolism” for more in depth on exercise and of course following the instruction of your trainer.
Exercise is alos an amazing tool for feeling better. If done properly and in moderation it can add another positive mental attitude to your recovery and boosting your self-confidence. As you may know there are two different components to an exercise regimen consisting of cardiovascular and muscle building activity. In cardiovascular exercise, which really means “pertaining to, or affecting the heart and blood vessels, raises blood circulation in your body that benefits the removal of toxins, enhances your metabolism, makes heart stronger and burns off fat. The most importantly part is the release of endorphins in the body. These hormone-like molecules known to produce what the runners call the “Runners High” are natural opiate molecules that increase the pain threshold but many like the affects which calm the body and the mind making one feel more at peace.
The second component “muscle building” which is the process of building lean muscle tissue also is important to add to your exercise routine. Whether it is lifting weights or using your own body as a weight, the building of new muscle releasing many hormones that promote well-being in the body. One of the most important hormones that’s activated is growth hormone. Growth hormone is the master hormone aka “The fountain of youth”. It is a key messenger of the brain that activates hormones and process that repair and healing the body. Besides promoting leanness of the body, growth hormone is also responsible for setting off hormones that are responsible for deeper sleep. These are just some of the examples of benefits. In conclusion, if you want a full and complete recovery you must incorporate cardiovascular and muscle building forms of exercise to your regiment. These activities keep you feeling amazing and keep your mind focused on your healthy recovery.
Slow metabolism has been associated with genetic variability, age, low physical activity, and inadequate nutrition. The first two factors are slightly modifiable through medically supervised longevity programs such as bio-identical hormone replacement but the easiest factors to modify are physical activity and nutrition status. A lack of activity slows down our metabolism because the body is not challenged therefore certain evolutionary mechanism tends to save energy and there is reduced access to quick energy sources. In order to counter this, we have to perform cardiovascular activities to increase our body demand for energy. We also have to build muscles in order to more efficiently use that energy. For example, to increase fat metabolism, we have to work out more. This will increase the demand for oxygen and enzymes in order to facilitate release of fat from adipose tissue. The last factor inadequate nutrition is now considered the most important factor.
Scientists and health professionals around the world believe the weight loss is 80% based on diet and 20% exercise. This is a new revelation in wellness. A good nutrition program can get you to the next level in wellness in a fraction of the time when compared to physical activity alone. It is not just about cutting calories, but also what kind of foods you eat and in what ratio you consume your fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. As noted earlier, we recommend 30% of calories from fat, 40% from carbohydrates, and 30% from proteins.
Additionally, meals high in fiber will also stimulate a faster metabolism and assist in controlling blood sugar levels. All your organs will benefit from a more efficient body. For example, the liver will be able to process toxins which more efficiently and improve the cholesterol profile by increasing the HDL or good cholesterol and lower the LDL or bad cholesterol.
Did you know that 50 – 75% of Americans are dehydrated? Water is an important substance that naturally detoxifies the body of harmful substances by carrying wastes out of cells. It facilitates the absorption of nutrients by bringing them into cells. It enhances our metabolism by activating enzymes and other metabolic functions. It also helps with cellular communication by maintaining a balanced system of sending and receiving signals instantaneously via the water network. Water also has a support role for our immune system. One medical doctor used large quantities of water to heal his patients with ulcers, allergies, and other ailments. Nutritionist and other health professionals recommend drinking 8 glasses of water day. Wow! That is a whole lot of water. Who do you know that drinks eight glasses of water a day? Now with a new breakthrough called clustered water, we can get four times the absorption and efficiency without all the cups of water. This super water has a unique hexagonal structure, which enables it to deeper penetrate cells and return the body to youthful levels. For example, when we are children, we contain about 90% water and as we age our water content shifts to about 60% water. We are born with hexagonal structured water and as we age, damage from toxicity reduces the energy potential of our water. Take your workout to the next level; order your clustered water today and go from 8 glasses of water to 24oz of water consumption per day.
For many years people sought myth of the “Fountain of Youth” in order to increase their vitality and to reverse their aging appearance. The fountain of youth remedies included concoctions, elixirs, and certain animal parts to try and reverse the aging process. Surprisingly, there actually exists a type fountain of youth or Alkaline Water. Alkaline water and its benefits seem surface as a headline decade after decade; a water with very unique healing properties. Alkaline has been gossiped about by movie stars, athletes, as well as the very sick whom have made a miraculously recovery from life threatening afflictions. The scientists call it “HEXAGONAL STRUCTURED WATER” however the health enthusiast like you simply refer to it as “Alkaline water.” No matter what you call it everyone agrees that this is a naturally occurring miracle.
…Supplements, Supplements, Supplements! -Take your favorite nutrition supplements with alkaline water and it will increase absorption exponentially, a much more efficient way to utilize nutrition! Caution: Don’t use withTime-Release supplements and medications. Wait 30 minutes after your Time-Release supplements and medications have been absorbed and always please follow the instructions of your health professional if you are not sure.
Over the years people found this water spilling out of the earth and tried to bottle it in order to take home some of healing properties to their family. In fact, there are still places like Lourdes, France where thousands of people line up every day to bottle it. However, to their surprise they noticed that within a few days the unique properties of the water diminishes to just plain water. So getting it fresh is the key.
- Rapid hydrator & super solvent
- Detoxifying Agent
- Powerful antioxidant
The alkaline property in the water is known to reduce symptoms of chronic ailments. Most diseases exist in a state of acidity; an environment to propel the body into sickness. This is not a new concept, back in 1923, Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that cancer has to have an acidic environment to grow. In fact, 1931 Dr. Warburg won a Noble Peace Prize in medicine for it. Eat and Drink alkaline rich foods and liquids to counter the acidic environment that we live in. Better yet, drink more alkaline water to maximize the effect.
The rapid hydrating affect enhances absorption of the alkaline water. Some of these 9.5pH alkaline waters can penetrate through various tissues in the body. Therefore some quantity of the water may bypass the natural acidity of the stomach and penetrate more where it is needed.
Because of the rapid hydrating effect of this type water cells can quickly absorb the water and nutrients and at the same time rapidly excrete toxins out of the places. Some people that are very dehydrate or eat a processed food diet may experience a mild detoxifying affect such as temporary headaches and/or loose bowels. Usually this clears up in two days.
…Better yet! – Drink Alkaline Water on an empty stomach; the body releaces acid when it detects protein. Some alkaline waters that I have tried reach your head in 30 seconds. How do I know? I feel a light tingling feeling in my head!”
There are many different alkaline water sources such as directly from the ground, bottled, soups and juices, or water ionizers. The best source of antioxidants come from water ionizers, these devices vary in size and cost but there basic function is they had electrons to water. This charge that is created becomes the smallest form of an antioxidants and it has the unique property of charging other antioxidants. This is probably the most important feature of these types of waters. Antioxidants fight off oxidation which is the biggest component of aging. Oxidation accelerates aging and disease and is responsible for all the wrinkles that you have.
Note that water still is the most important substance that we need. The problem is that in an industrialized nation most water sources are either toxic or slightly beneficial for us. Government regulated water supplies tend to be full of chemicals that prevents pipelines from rusting or agents that kills bacteria. This type of water is usually very unhealthy. Bottled waters are acidic and deplete minerals from our bodies. Some people are lucky and have great well water – kudos! Therefore, the ideal water is alkaline water from a water ionizer. Many people are still fixed on supplements yet 99% of all chemical reactions in the body occur in a water medium yet we do not drink enough water. It is easy to forget to drink water because the sensory mechanism for thirst is much less sensitive then our mechanism for hunger.
If you are asking yourself right now if you drink enough water then you probably need to drink more water.
If you want rapid health – drink alkaline water! If you want the “Cadillac” of water filters – get a water ionizer. If you want to know my favorite water ionizer – contact THE HEALTHDUDE!
>> Intravenous Nutrition Protocol
Did you know that there is highly effective nutrition protocol that is administered by a few drug rehab clinics yet may be the most vital for reducing drug cravings, anxiety, and enhancing mood stability and mental clarity? It’s called IV Nutrition therapy. “IV” stands for intravenous meaning is the infusion of liquid substances directly into vein. In this protocol the infusion of liquid is nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Why thru intravenous method? Intravenous bypasses the regular digestion and absorption that usually slows or blocks nutrients getting to the cells. In many circumstances, digestion and absorption has been compromised due to damage of the drug abuse.
Over the years, HealthDude has collaborated with so many fine substance recovery organizations where top notch counselors and clinicians having the right level of care, solid principles, and excellent tools to propel addictive personalities to long term sobriety. Yet a fundamental flaw, many do not have a solid nutrition program – moreover an IV nutrition protocol. If this principle was properly exercised, there would be so much less friction enhancing recovering time. Some clinics have reported up to 85% less relapsed within a year with the introduction of an IV protocol.
Who better to reference “IV nutrition” than Dr. John Meyers. Since the 1980s, the late guru Meyers, lectured and advocated the medical community about the importance of IV nutrition protocol for the treatment of; asthma, migraine, fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, cardiovascular disease, upper respiratory infections, and narcotic withdrawals. In his famous “Meyers Cocktail” therapy patients were reporting feeling rejuvenated from both physical and mental ailments with minutes of the treatment.
Below Is The Main Protocol Used:
Magnesium Chloride hexahydate 20% (Magnesium) 2–5 mL Calcium gluconate 10% (calcium) 1-3 mL Hydroxocobalamin 1,000 mcg/mL (B12) 1 mL Pyridoxine Hydrochloride 100mg/mL (B6) 1 mL Dexpanthenol 250 mg/mL (B5) 1 mL B Complex 100 1 mL Vitamin C 222 mg/mL 4-20 mL
To understand drug induced nutrient depletion, one must understand that each drug depletes nutrients differently based on the mechanisms of action of drugs on biochemical processes. Therefore, a model of treatment based on advances of Dr. Meyers is to create a nutrition solution that can be customized to each client. Physicians are already using an amino acids such as glutathione in IV concoction to boost the natural production of serotonin; reducing symptoms of depression. For more specifics on amino acid therapies – please read Amino Acid Therapies.
If you are looking for a comprehensive approach to alleviating your clients from horrible withdrawal symptoms and prolong their recovery then please incorporate nutrition to your therapies today.
>> Amino Acid Protocol
When referring to Amino Acid Therapy in drug rehabilitation and recovery, this section is specifically referring to the healing of the brain. In other words, restoring the neurotransmitters that depleted due to drug induced over stimulation. Many beings struggle with depletion in recovery and suffer too much for too long. Reduce stress, fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety, ADD, and much more with specific proteins also known as amino acids. There are many messenger molecules in the brain that consist of amino acids and are directly correlated to such diseases as depression and other mood disorders.
>> Natural Hormone Therapy Protocol
Natural Hormone Therapy is an amazing way to rejuvenate into a healthy recovery. HealthDude has consulted pharmacies, medical practices, and patients on hormonal imbalances for years. Some interesting trends; people that were truly hormone deficient were internally crying out for help but lacked the knowledge on know where to go. Many times people would drive themselves out of their minds and actually this is where many people are most vulnerable to self-medication and other addictive behavior.
Most doctors found themselves prescribing birth control to women in order to regulate certain hormones instead of treating the actual problem itself. Later these same women were put on anti-depressants due to the strong medication depleting vitamins and subsequently all nutrition out of the body, in turn rapidly propelling the person further into chemical imbalance and illness.
…Find the Right Doctor! – Going to your regular doctor may not always be the best way to go about it. Your doctor may not be trained properly to know what blood work is needed and the best way to interpret it. If you love your doctor then help them understand what you think is going on. Get educated about natural hormone therapy and share your knowledge and offer a solution to your doctor.
When I explained this trend to my mentor, Dr. Varese he replied, “It does not surprise me that medical doctors are only doing what they learn in medical school and many treatments are directly related to pharmaceutical companies that sponsor their own education.” Though this did make sense to me it was still an extremely poor excuse for missing something so critical with the human body; hence the term, “Hormone Balancing.”
You must be cognizant of the fact that hormones behave much like an orchestra. If the instruments are out of tune it will sound muddled and confusing, then on the other hand if the concert violinist is outpacing the rhythm of the rest of the orchestra then it will be extremely aery to listen to.
The foundation of Hormone Balancing consists of all elements playing in tune, pacing each other succinctly, in turn leading to the perfect listening experience, hormonal harmony…
This is exactly what is needed in the body and in this instance “the orchestra” are your hormones. Hormones are much more powerful indicators than vitamins and minerals put together and are considered to be the tertiary element of wellness along with vitamins and minerals.
…Get in Tune with Your Body! – Read on for symptoms of hormone deficiency and correlate that to your own well-being. Do you notice a resemblance of any of the symptoms described in this section? If so it is time to visit your doctor and/or nutritionist for strategies to keep your hormones balanced.
There are also organizations, just like HealthDude that can work with your doctor to properly educate them on the type of blood work needed and design the optimal solution for their patients.
Another route is to find a hormone balancing expert or some other natural physician, not necessarily an Endocrinologist (this group of physicians are quite conservative to their approach and many prefer to use pharmaceutical instead of natural solutions).
The reason I recommend experts in this arena is because balancing hormones is truly an art form of medicine. And the expert will look further into your blood work and medical history than just being content at only using the blood work to gauge that the patient is “in range.” These may seem like subtle nuances but these differences make a huge impact of on the outcome of treatment plan.
…Utilize A Local Compounding Pharmacy! – Compounding pharmacies can be good place to ask for a good hormone expert recommendation.
The prescribed treatment for a hormonal imbalance calls for a (1) or more natural compounded hormone concoction, usually created in a transdermal cream, lozenge, gel, capsule, or drops just to name a few of the forms. The word compounded describes the process in which the compounds are mixed in a customized array of ingredients and strengths instead of a generalized “one pill fits all” approach. The Doctor should write the exact amounts for each hormone and how the mixture should be organized. As a society we are extremely lucky to have compounded pharmacies in such abundance locally.
Please note that there are “over the counter” remedies as well. These OTC versions will consist of varying strengths, applications, and strategies too. New section on alleviating hormonal distress through OTC remedies coming soon, so please stay tuned…
…What Blood Work Should You Request To Be Done? – It depends on the doctor’s preference. Below are examples of panels that would be beneficial for you to better analyze your hormonal deficiencies and imbalances, thanks to Dr. Varese:
- Lipid Panel
- PSA = Men only
- Free T4
- Free T3
- IGF-1 (now testing growth hormone instead)
- Progesterone – Women only
- Estradiol – Women only
- Estriol – Women only
- Estrone – Women only
>> Healthy Living Protocol
Lastly I would like to tie the detoxification methods together with suggestions to a “Clean” and “Healthy” life. Obviously this HealthDude tidbit is referring to those who have detoxed and rehabilitated themselves out of a drug or alcohol induced lifestyle. In order to sustain one’s health and an actual sense of “self” throughout life and to avoid that in which they believe to darken their lives with addiction certain precautions such as a Healthy Living Protocol should be followed. A good website with a wealth of health and nutritional information, statistics, and references is WebMD.com, please visit the site and become familiar with it. Below is a Healthy Living regiment that I found on WebMD that serves as a good rule of thumb for everyone. 8 basic steps…
8 Steps to Take for Healthy Living
- Healthy Living Step #1: Take Stock
- Healthy Living Step #2: Put out Fires
- Healthy Living Step #3: Move More
- Healthy Living Step #4: Upgrade your Diet
- Healthy Living Step #5: Manage Stress
- Healthy Living Step #6: Sleep Better
- Healthy Living Step #7: Improve your Relationships
- Healthy Living Step #8: Challenge your Mind
Your first step toward healthy living is to get a handle on your health status right now. Here’s your to-do list:
Make appointments with your doctor and dentist – Catch up on your routine screening and immunizations, and take the opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you might have.
Gauge your girth – Measure your height and weight to check your BMI, and measure your waist circumference to see if you’re overweight and if your waistline is putting your health at risk.
Assess your activity – How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? How intense is that activity? How much variety do you get in your activity, and how much do you enjoy it? The CDC recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
Keep a food diary – Write down everything you eat for a day — and no fair skipping the items you’re embarrassed about. “The idea is to write it down … without judgment,” says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist, wellness coach, and personal trainer with Cafe Physique in Atlanta. “You can’t change what you’re not aware of or don’t acknowledge.”
Check your mood and energy – Healthy living includes emotional wellness and adequate rest. How has your mood been lately? Are you experiencing any symptoms of depression or anxiety? Do you usually sleep well for seven to eight hours a night?
Consider your social network – How strong are your connections with family and friends? Are you plugged in with social or spiritual groups that enrich your life? “People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships,” C. Nathan DeWall, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, tells WebMD.
If you’re not thrilled with the answers to some of those questions, remember that the point is to figure out where you are today so you can set your healthy living goals. It’s not about being “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.”
Do You Have Any Health Issues?
If you know that you have chronic health problems, whether it’s heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, or other conditions, treatment is an obvious priority for healthy living. The same goes for risky behaviors, such as smoking, and addictions of any kind.
Address the Issues…
Addressing these issues typically isn’t a do-it-yourself task. Partner with your doctor. Make the phone call today to schedule that appointment.
Top tips for increasing physical activity:
Make it fun – Go on a hike, walk with friends, take a belly dancing or karate class, or whatever you enjoy. There’s no need to stick to cardio equipment in the gym if you’re dreading it and you don’t like it, find something that’s fun.
Keep track of it – Make a note of your physical activity in your date book or calendar. Put big X’s on the days that you exercise and keep a visual record that you look at frequently as a reminder and motivator.
Set a weekly goal for activity – To build your confidence, “make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ Use weekly goals because if you set a daily goal and miss a day, you might get discouraged; weekly goals give you more day-to-day flexibility. And at the end of the week, reward yourself with a visual reminder of your accomplishment, such as buying flowers for yourself.
Work activity into your day – “Ten percent of something is better than 100% of nothing. So even if you have 10 minutes, it’s better than zero minutes,” Williams says. She suggests taking a 10-minute walk before lunch or walking up and down the stairs when you’re feeling drained and tired.
Other ideas include wearing a pedometer to track how many steps you take per day (health experts recommend shooting for 10,000 steps per day) and working with a personal trainer (double up with a friend to lower the cost) to create an exercise routine.
If you’re curious about how many calories you’re burning, try using a pedometer, a fitness and exercise calorie calculator. But of course, physical activity is for everyone, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not.
It’s all about eating certain foods and avoiding others as much as it is about awareness and choices. Here are her pointers:
Replace “I should” with “I choose” – So instead of “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables,” it’s “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables” or “I choose not to,” because it’s more powerful language,” it shows that you’re in control, you’re making the choice. So if you choose to or you choose not to, you make the choice and you move on.
Skip the guilt – “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of,” so if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,” it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves, they feel worse, and then they end up eating to comfort themselves.
Choose to plan – Stock your pantry with healthy fare and bring healthy snacks with you so you’re prepared when you get hungry. When we’re really hungry, our physiology kicks in and that’s when we’re craving the hamburger and fries; we’re not craving a salad.
Slow down and savor your food – Don’t watch TV, work, or drive while you’re eating. “A lot of people tell me, ‘My problem is that I really like food,’ but I think that’s a really good thing,” if you really enjoy food, sit down and enjoy your meal. You’re much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied if you don’t multitask while you’re eating.
Shoot for five to nine daily servings of varied fruits and vegetables – Cover the rainbow of fruit and vegetable colors to get a good mix of nutrients.
As a wellness coach trained in stress management, Williams recommends making two different plans to handle stress.
Routine Maintenance – Develop positive coping skills, such as meditation and visualization, and look for activities, such as yoga or exercise, to keep your baseline stress level in check.
Breakthrough Stress – Find ways to handle stressful situations that flare up without warning. For instance, Williams says that after a stressful meeting at work, you might run up and down the stairs a few times to burn off anger, or retreat to a bathroom stall to take a few deep breaths and refocus.
>> Other stress management tips that you can start using immediately…
Check Your Perspective – Ask yourself, “Will this matter to me a year from now?” If not, why are you getting so wound up?
Volunteer – Helping to meet other peoples’ needs may make your own problems seem smaller.
Keep A Gratitude Journal – Write down the positive people, events, and things that you’re thankful for. “It really switches the focus to, ‘Wow, look how much I have,” Williams says. “Most stress is caused by wishing things were different than they are now.”
Breathe – One of the breathing exercises that Williams recommends is to count your breaths for a minute, and then try to cut that number of breaths in half for the next minute.
If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips from sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Ill.
No TV or computer two hours before bedtime – It’s not just because the TV and computer are stimulating; it’s also because of their light. “We’re very sensitive to the cue that light gives you that it’s time to be up and about,” Shives says. She recommends light, calming reading lit by a lamp that doesn’t shine directly into your eyes.
No heavy exercise close to bedtime – Light stretching is OK, but vigorous activity will heat up your body’s core temperature, which makes it harder to sleep. “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard right before bed,” Shive
Take a hot bath – That will heat up your core body temperature, but when you get out of the bath, your core temperature will fall, which may help you get to sleep. Plus, the bath “relaxes you mentally,” Shives says. She adds that having a hot, non-caffeinated drink, such as chamomile tea, may also help.
Set a regular sleep schedule – When Shives treats insomnia patients, she tells them that although they can’t make themselves fall asleep, they can make themselves get up at a certain time the next morning. And though they may be tired at first, if they don’t nap, they may start sleeping better during the following nights. “We’re going to get nowhere if they take big naps during the day and keep a very erratic sleep schedule; it’s chaos then,” Shives says.
Don’t count on weekend catch-up sleep – If you have chronic sleep problems, you probably can’t make up for that on the weekends. But if you generally sleep well and have a rough week, go ahead and sleep in on the weekend. “I actually think that’s good for the body,” Shives says.
Don’t ignore chronic sleep problems – “Don’t let sleep troubles linger for months or years. Get to a sleep specialist earlier rather than later, before bad habits set in,” Shives says.
Prioritize good sleep – “This is as important as diet and exercise,” Shives says. She says that in our society, “we disdain sleep, we admire energy and hard work and [have] this notion that sleep is just something that gets in the way.”
Healthy living isn’t just about your personal habits for, say, diet and activity. It’s also about your connections with other people — your social network.
DeWall, the University of Kentucky social psychologist, offers these tips for broadening your social network:
Look for people like you – The details of their lives don’t have to match yours, but look for a similar level of openness. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship well-being is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people,” DeWall says. For instance, he says that someone who needs a lot of reassurance might not find the best relationship with someone who’s more standoffish. “Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?'” DeWall suggests.
Spend time with people – “There’s this emphasis in our culture that you need to be very independent — an army of one, you can get along on your own,” DeWall says. “Most people don’t know their neighbors as much as they did 50 or 60 years ago.”
Build both virtual and face-to-face relationships – DeWall isn’t against having online connections to other people. “But I think long term, having all of your relationships online or virtual … would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix” of having virtual and in-person relationships.
If a close relationship is painful, get help – “Some of my work and some work that other people are doing suggest that … when you feel rejected by someone, that your body actually registers it as pain. So if I’m in a relationship that’s really causing me a lot of pain, then we need to do something, we need to go and seek help,” DeWall says.
Participating in mentally stimulating activities, especially activities that involve other people, may be good for the brain.
There’s no downside to including brain-challenging activities as part of your healthy living, unless “you spent $400 on some computer program that makes all sorts of wild claims about brain health,” says David Knopman, MD, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Knopman explains that brain fitness is influenced by many factors, including education and opportunities for mentally stimulating activities starting in childhood, and also by the presence or absence of depression, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and other risks.
Observational studies have shown that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities may be less likely to develop dementia. But Knopman notes that such studies don’t prove cause and effect, so it’s not clear if mentally stimulating activities protect against dementia or whether people with healthier brains are drawn to those activities in the first place.
That said, Knopman says, “I think that socially engaging activities are particularly important, and that’s why I’m somewhat skeptical about the various commercial entities that seek to sell computer games to stimulate the brain. … If that’s done to the exclusion of socially engaging activity, it’s probably counterproductive.”