Last week we went over why it was so important to look at the big picture when trying to live optimally and manage stress. It’s not just one area of your life that you need to manage, it’s the entire system that has to be in balance in order to work, play and feel at your best. In the last post, we talked about the importance of Water and Circadian Rhythm/Sleep Patterns. Today, I will complete the picture with how important Nutrition/Digestion and Exercise are.
To start, we need to think about what happens when we eat certain foods. What were we, as humans, meant to consume? Around the end of WWII, we saw an enormous growth in manufacturing of items in our country, including the food industry. Things were becoming mass produced and the food companies jumped on board. “How can we make more food, faster and cheaper”? The answer was to create shortcuts. Create foods that didn’t have “real” ingredients because it was cheaper that way. Fast forward to today and what have we seen? We’ve seen a huge increase in fat gain and many new “modern day” diseases. We have to look at food and what is in it as a huge part of the problem.
So, what can we do to make sure we stay healthy, fit and reduce stress within our bodies? We need to start by eating REAL foods. Vegetables that come from our soil, fruit that grows on trees, animals that roam the land, swim in the sea and fly through the air. We want to consume highly nutritious foods so that we can function to the best of our abilities.
We can all probably agree that protein is good for us. It helps aid in recovery and promotes lean muscle mass which increases metabolism and burns fat. All good things! Try and stick to clean sources or protein. Local is best and then organic. Eat wild game, fish, and poultry.
Fats come with some confusion. For a while there ALL fat were considered bad due to unknowledgeable and powerful voices. Unfortunate for us, as just about the entire food industry started making fat free/low fat versions of everything. This just made us even more unhealthy as those foods were sucking out nutritious fat and injecting fillers and chemicals. We became even more sick and overweight. I think we are finally coming around to see that there is a lot of good that comes from many sources of fat. For healthy fats, stick to the OMEGA 3’s like fish, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, grass fed butter, nut butters, etc… And AVOID these types of fats: OMEGA 6’s like hydrogenated oils (canola oil, palm oil, safflower oil). These oils are in almost everything packaged or canned so look at ingredient list when purchasing.
Carbohydrates (sugar) can really affect your digestive health in a negative way. The carbs that come from anything that is not natural, things that are packaged will most likely have added, processed sugar. This creates inflammation in your gut which creates stress. This is just another way stress can impact your body. For carbs, focus on veggies and some fruit for a healthy balance.
Stress comes in many ways, and if you are not taking care of your gut and not breaking down your food and/or eating the right foods then your gut will become inflamed which will cause stress and increased fat gain. First, you must really focus on the breakdown of your food. That starts in the process of actually preparing and cooking your meals. Your digestion starts with saliva in your mouth from just smelling the foods (think Thanksgiving food prep and watering mouths as you smell the delicious foods cooking). That’s where it begins and it’s a great start so prepare and cook your meals as often as possible. Next, you want to make sure when you actual go to eat your meal that you chew and CHEW and CHEW a lot. Chew 30-40 times per bite to really breakdown your foods before it enters your gut. This is huge for the health of your digestion and gut. How many of you actually chew 30-40 times per bite? Not many. And finally, put yourself in an environment that is quiet and relaxed. Eating should be enjoyable with family and friends or a peaceful setting. Try to avoid high stressful environments when eating – no TV, or phone. Put those away and be aware and be in the moment when you eat and enjoy!
The biggest thing with exercise is we want it to enhance your life. We don’t want exercise to be another stressor. In order to do this, we need to take each individual at their own starting point and progressing them with a customized workout plan. This is why we believe each person requires their own plan. This way we can insure that you are not overdoing it or creating additional stress in your life and that we can align all other factors of your life into your workouts so that you find the perfect balance.
Move daily for blood flow. Very important to move blood through your body. Ways to do this are to lift weights, walk, run, hike, swim, bike, etc… or a combination of these is a great prescription for managing stress. The benefits of this is to elevate endorphins which give you that “high” after a good training session which will also help calm the nervous system and leave you feeling full of vigor! It’s important to have a consistent approach with exercise and to seek some guidance for where to start and how to progress. You really want to avoid pushing too hard with too much intensity which could add extra stress and a breakdown of your body and nervous system over time. Most training sessions should fall in the 70% range of overall effort. This will leave you feeling energized after a workout, not tired or deflated.
How We Can Help
OPEX South Shore is a gym that provides not only a complete fitness plan but also nutrition and life coaching on an individual basis. We want to know what you are made of, where your strengths and weaknesses are and align all of this with what your own unique goals are.
Step 1. Consultation – a conversation around your background, where you currently sit, your goals and why those goals are important to you. We believe for long term growth of our clients there needs to be a solid foundational relationship built between client and coach and this is the perfect start for that relationship to begin and grow.
Step 2. Three Part Assessment: BODY, MOVE, WORK
Session 1. Body fat analysis on the InBody machine: what are you made of?
Session 2. Movement Analysis for proper mechanics, strength testing, proper alignment and joint mobility and balance.
Session 3. Aerobic/Cardiovascular testing and comparison between Anaerobic and Aerobic systems.
Step 3. You receive your comprehensive, customized plan and execute that plan at our facility or at the convenience of your own gym if we are not in traveling distance.
Step 4. Monthly consultations are consistent once every month and are ongoing. These consults are to check in, re-test or go over food logs, lifestyle changes, etc…
Please reach out to us for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you!