Sleep

Back To School Health Reset: Part 4

Monitor Your Caffeine Consumption

With it being a very busy time of the year, many people will increase their caffeine consumption. The average amount of coffee consumed per day is 3.6 cups per person I personally know people who drink a lot more! Some people are very sensitive to caffeine, some people can barely tell they have had any. Caffeine can be a very useful drug, but like many drugs it is often abused.

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Tired? Have a cup of coffee. Afternoon slump? Have a cup of coffee. Pulling an all nighter to study? Have a cup of coffee. Often we use caffeine to mask the symptoms of exhaustion. It seems like an easy solution to a very common problem. What you need to be aware of is that masking symptoms is not a solution. If you constantly increase your caffeine consumption to mask your exhaustion, your exhaustion will get worse. Instead, try to figure out what the cause of your symptoms are. You may need to plan an earlier bed time to get more hours in. Maybe you have stress in your life that is disrupting your hormones causing you to feel tired. Take a look at your environment and ask yourself what you can change that will help you feel more energized. Often there are factors we can’t control, let those go and focus on the ones you can! There is nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee, just ask yourself if your using it as a crutch. Here are a few ideas for decreasing your caffeine consumption:

Slowly replace with decaf: this is a great solution for those who enjoy the taste of coffee. If your someone that adds in more sugar than coffee, you don’t like coffee. If you have 2-3 cups a day, try replacing one of those cups with decaf for a week or two. When you feel ready try replacing another cup with decaf.

Replace with herbal teas: With stores like Davids Tea becoming so popular, it is easier than ever to find a tea flavor you enjoy. Experiment with new flavors and you may surprise yourself with what you find.

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

The Summer Bod Fraud

A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.

-Colin Powell

You’ve seen the ads. Perfectly airbrushed women using some fancy new piece of equipment telling you that you can be bikini ready too. Their skin is glistening, and their hair and makeup have stayed perfectly intact. All you have to do is buy the product, follow the diet or eat the pill, and you can look like them too. It would be nice if it were that easy, wouldn’t it? The summer bod fraud is nothing new. It goes something like this: It’s okay to overindulge and skip your workouts when no on has to see you in a bathing suit, but as soon as summer comes around you had better be ashamed if you don’t lose those extra pounds.

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Come January the ads become more frequent. They know you’ve just eaten your way through two major holidays and New Years. They know you’re feeling guilty and will be more likely to drop a couple hundred on the magic answer. So you try it. You buy the product, and a few days/weeks in it’s not working, and so you sit down on the couch with a bag of Doritos for a pity session. This cycle continues right up until summer is over and you can breathe a sigh of relief because now you have another 9 months to get beach ready. You see where this is going.

Change your mindset 

So how do you break this cycle? You need to start with mindset. If your whole focus is about looking better, you will never be happy. We are all genetically unique individuals. Each of us will look different at optimum health. Some of us will have 15 percent body fat, while some of us always carry a little more. Some of us can build up leg muscle like it’s our job, while some of us can squat 300lbs with no muscle to show for it. You are unique, and your body will never look exactly like you want it to. Instead of focusing on how you look, focus on your health. Now you’re thinking, “wait, aren’t those the same thing?” Nope. Despite popular belief, there are many people in the world who appear healthy, but are sick. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t look like bikini models who are very healthy. Instead of focusing on how you look, why not focus on how you feel? I want you to ask yourself these questions:

Do you feel well enough to give your family and friends your best?

Can you safely squat down to play with your children?

Are you strong enough to help a neighbour move?

If you had to carry your kids out of a burning house, could you?

Your answers to these questions will matter more in the long run than a six-pack of abs ever could. Your answer to these questions will matter more than all the looks you could ever get in a bathing suit. You have been given a life to live, so why not live it at your best? Here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

  1. Get 6-8 hours of sleep every night
  2. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  3. Exercise every day for at least 20 minutes

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There’s no secret formula or pill that can give you your best health. I am not saying its wrong to want to look good, but if you change your focus you will be surprised in your physical and mental improvements. Your lifestyle will determine your quality of life. Start making changes one step at a time, and live a healthy life. Stop training for summer, and start training for life!

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

Health is Wealth: 3 Tips for Healthy Living

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Without our health, all aspects of our life suffer. If you take care of yourself, you will have the means to take care of everyone else. Poor health can have a negative effect on our mental state, our jobs, and our relationships with those we care about. I truly believe that good health is wealth. What good is money if we aren’t healthy enough to use it? As of today, 54% of the adult Canadian population is overweight or obese, and 17% have high blood pressure.  In the age of technology we have access to more information on health than we have ever had before, but the average health of our population is declining. There are multiple reasons why this may be happening and thousands of article have been written on it. I do want to get into some of the factors influencing our health in the future, but for today I want to offer you three simple tips for improving your health.

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1. Know Your Food

When I say “know your food” what I’m really talking about is knowing where your food comes from. When shopping for groceries try to keep at least 80% of your cart filled with food that you know the origin of. Foods such as vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts and seeds require little to no processing before being sent to the store. When choosing your grain products, try to pick the packages that have the least amount of ingredients listed on them. This is usually a sign that less has been done to put the product together. Whenever possible choose whole grain, as it is less processed and gives the body some much needed fibre. Remember, the more natural the food source, the more useful it is to the body.

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2. Do something active EVERY day

This used to be a part of daily life, but advancements in technology have created many jobs that require less physical labour. Today, most jobs require 6-8 hours of sitting. It doesn’t take a genius to look at the human body and see that it was carefully designed for movement! We were created to be active! When choosing an activity, choose one that gets your heart rate up and your body sweating. If neither of these two things are happening, then your body is going to get used to the activity very quickly, and will not make positive adaptations to the positive stress you are placing it under. If your body doesn’t have to make adaptations that means it isn’t going to make as many improvements. Variety is the key to success, so try to cycle through different activities as much as possible. CrossFit is a great example of variety, as the workout is different every day causing the body to have to respond to every single workout. Starting with 20 minutes of activity a day, and working your way up will make a noticeable impact on your health. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a personal trainer about your current level of health and future goals, as they can help you pick a safe and fun activity.

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3. Get Enough Sleep

The average person needs 6-8 hours of sleep every night. If we were honest with ourselves, most of us do not get that many hours of uninterrupted sleep. We stay up late watching our favourite show, scrolling through Facebook, or worrying about tomorrow’s tasks. When we sleep it gives our body the chance to repair any damage done throughout the day. When we sleep our brain has time to process anything new we have learned that day and work on committing it to memory. Sleep is also very important for the regulation of our hormones. This will be another whole post in and of itself in the future. One of the hormones that is quite often talked about in relation to weight gain is cortisol. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. It tries to create homeostasis in the body in response to the stressor. Many of us, due to poor health and lack of sleep, are in a constant state of stress causing cortisol to be released all the time. High cortisol levels are linked to poor immune function, weight gain, and chronic diseases. Proper sleep can help the body recover from stress and decrease the amount of cortisol needed. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, the two health tips above this one are a great place to start. You could also visit a health care professional, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, for some advice on natural sleep aids.

My hope for 2017 is that you see improved health and, in turn, a positive influence in the other areas of your life. Getting started is quite often the hardest part. If you currently aren’t implementing any of the above 3 tips, start with the first one and spend 4-6 weeks building good habits before moving on to the 2nd! Remember to forgive yourself when you screw up!

Charity Elliott

Why We Need A Revolution NOT A Resolution

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The New Year is upon us! Every year we celebrate the fact that we get a fresh start. Truthfully nothing has changed but we comfort ourselves with the fact that we have a new calendar year to make a difference. We write, recite and share our plans for the future with our friends, and then most of us slowly, but surely, forget why we chose them in the first place and go back to living our lives the exact same way we did the year before. There are many definitions for “Resolution” but I think this one fits the present scenario best

Resolution: 

a resolve; a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.

I like it. There is nothing wrong with making a decision to change or improve one’s self or making a decision to help more people, or do a better job. The problem with a resolution is that it is a decision to act, not an action itself. I think that when it comes to our health, we need a REVOLUTION.

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Revolution: 

a sudden, complete or marked change in something

While the word Revolution is a noun, its definition implies that a change has occurred. Not just a thought, a CHANGE. What changes are you going to make this year? This is why the word revolution is more fitting, it implies that a resolution was made and then followed by an action.  I want you to think about the resolutions you made last night, and write down an action that is required for each of them. You will also want to make sure that the action is measurable. By being measurable you have a way of knowing if you are accomplishing your goals. For example

I will go to the gym more often

vs.

I will exercise for 20mins a day Monday through Friday. I will keep a journal to measure my improvements. 

The first is a great thought but it doesn’t give you a way of measuring your success. The second gives you a plan of action and a method for tracking and measuring your success. Remember, you can’t always control the outcome but you can control your actions. Think about a 5km race, you can’t control what any of the other competitors are doing; you can only control what YOU are doing.

The great thing about this mindset is when you have a plan of action, even if you fail, you know where to get back on track.

Let’s go into this year with a plan of action and lets put it into action starting right now! Let’s make 2017 a year of improved health!

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