We really do get caught up in a “one and done” mentality sometimes. A lot of us are trying to stave off chronic diseases and surprise “events” (like stroke or heart attack) and we tend to get really caught up in improving our diet by maybe studying a diet expert’s advice or a website’s-and we might really get into it. We may even do really well in helping ourselves that way. But it’s so easy to get caught up in it and forget that good to excellent health isn’t just based on one rather large thing alone, like diet; but optimum health is a “collective”, with many components which influence so many other aspects of our lives. If those other components support poor health, they play off the damage and inflammatory processes we initiate in our body over time when we stress ourselves or eat badly.
All of us caffeine-ingesting, active people with busy-bee lives may be doing the best we can in terms of our diets, but, if you’re like me, you get a little blind-sided by the focus-on-food.
What about all those other self-care duties? Do you meditate? Are you sleeping well? Are you getting exercise most days? Do you have some semblance of a social life either through friends or religious/community groups? How about sun? Do you get fresh air or are you just shuttling from car to desk to home on a daily basis? It’s not so much a matter being perfect with any of these, but rather, attempting to incorporate them into your life in some way. It takes about 21 days to form a habit (according to Dr. Maxwell Maltz and others so I’ve heard;-), therefore, being cognizant of it for a few weeks, then you can just let muscle memory take over in order to do it!
The point is, you want to make incorporating these new health-promoting habits sustainable in your life and not just a fly-by-night affair. Maybe it’s prudent to incorporate one thing at a time so you don’t feel it’s overwhelming. And if it’s hard for you to do any of these things, you can either reward yourself in a healthy way or remember that these new habits, like eating to promote your good gut flora with whole plant foods or getting some sun for a few minutes a day have their own intrinsic rewards built in. They feel good!!
Kelly Weichsel-Arya, RN, DipABLM