It’s been a long month – preparing, celebrating, a lot of eating, less activity and exercise, less sleep, and all the stress that comes with this holiday season. But it’s over now. The weather is cooling down and we’re adjusting back to a regular work and school schedule. Although the Covid-10 pandemic is still around, we are freer to move around, albeit taking the proper precautions.
Many of us spent time reflecting before the holidays. Now there are other types of questions we ask ourselves – What did I learn about my health habits over the holiday season? Did I gain too much weight? Was I lacking energy, too tired, or stressed to enjoy parts of the holidays?
There are 6 areas that we all must work on in order to obtain optimum health. Together all of this will, Gd willing, bring long life and superior quality of life. The 6 areas we will look at are: diet, sleep, exercise and activity, substance abuse, stress, and social relationships
Not an option
The first thing is to look at what NOT to do. Don’t go on a fad diet. The statistics speak for themselves. DIETS ARE FAILURES! About 95% of people that diet gain it all back or more within a few years. The entire connotation of a diet is a temporary fix. Diets are something you go on, and then go off. It isn’t a way of eating for life.
The best choice
The best eating plans that are balanced, tasty, and have proven health benefits are whole-food, plant-based.
Whole-Food, Plant-Based eating (WFPB), is the only way of eating shown to absolutely reverse heart disease and diabetes. WFPB eating also leads to effective and sustainable weight loss, can lower blood pressure, and reverse many symptoms of autoimmune diseases. On the preventative side, diets full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lentils, and some seeds and nuts go a long way!
Most of all it is a sustainable way of eating, satisfying and calorie or portion counting is for the most part not important except on fattier foods. It will get rid of the highly detrimental processed foods in your diet too.
We need good, deep, and restorative sleep every night. Sleep helps us function better and be more alert. Restorative sleep gives our all-important microbiome a reset every night, and this, in turn, will help reduce inflammatory factors in our bodies. With reduced inflammation, successful weight loss success becomes more attainable. Try not to consume any solid food at least 2 hours before bedtime. This can help you improve your sleep quality.
Exercise and activity
MOVE! Exercisers and people who maintain an active life reduce mortality and cut their risk of all chronic disease by more than 30%! What else? Exercise is probably the best medicine for mental health issues like stress, depression, and anxiety that we have.
Smoking shortens your life and will up your risk of all disease. Even if you live a long life, the quality of that life will not be good. Alcohol abuse causes liver disease, several cancers, accidents, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. Just one drink can be too many.
Control your stress
Stress causes physical and mental illness. If something bothering you is beyond your control, learn to let it go. Learn how to manage and control stresses in your life. Learning cognitive behavioral techniques can help you straighten out your thinking. With your stress under control, you will live better, sleep better, and manage other lifestyle factors better, too.
“Friends, you gotta have friends.” People who are social live longer, live better, and stay out of the doctor’s office. Multiple studies show that people who have good social integration have better and more productive lives.
It’s difficult after these 23 days of excessive food, little movement, disruption of sleep patterns, and the accompanying stress to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, it’s only a matter of making your health the priority it needs to be and deciding to just get back on track. What was, was. What will be? It’s up to you. Start the lifestyle medicine protocol today and it will “add hours to your day, days to your year and years to your life.”