Wednesday Workshop ~ Self-Directed Health Care: Choosing to Live a Wellness Lifestyle

Wednesday Workshop ~ Self-Directed Health Care: Choosing to Live a Wellness Lifestyle

Choosing to live a Wellness Lifestyle is as simple as deciding to take a proactive role in your health and wellness.  It’s about approaching your wellness from all areas, using a more holistic approach.

The best way to achieve optimum health is to start at the bottom of this pyramid.  Many people approach their health incorrectly from the top and turn first to medical professionals or pharmaceuticals.  Responsibility and empowerment for one’s health requires effort in the foundational areas of one’s health.

We start with the bottom of the pyramid and:

Eat Right

The saying goes, you are what you eat.  Optimum nutrition has three components:

  1. the right quantity, (how much you eat)
  2. the right quality, and (what you eat)
  3. the right frequency. (how often you eat)

Quality can be viewed in terms of Micronutrients and Macronutrients from Natural sources.

  • Macronutrients are the structural component and energy-giving caloric components in our food.  These include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  Your macronutrient intake must be well balanced.
  • Micronutrients are the essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants your body needs to grow and function properly.  Often, we need to supplement our diet to reach optimum levels of micronutrients.  This can be done with quality, bioavailable supplements.
  • Natural and wholesome food means choosing fresh, whole foods from natural sources.  In our modern environment, it is also important what not to eat: processed foods or plant and animal products grown with toxins, herbicides, steroids, and other synthetic chemicals or possibly from genetically modified DNA.

 Quantity means matching your caloric intake with your caloric burn rate.  Too much, and you may store energy in fat cells.  Too few and you lack fuel and feel fatigued, leaving your body to catabolize on muscle and other systems.  Many people stop here.

 Frequency and timing is a matter of metabolism.  Your metabolism is like a burning oven in your core.  Your body is burning calories as long as the oven is going.  Eating 6 smaller meals rather than eating 3 larger ones keeps the fire going, your metabolism high, and the calories burning.  Nourishment and recovery is also part of frequency.  Before or after intense physical exertions such as in strength training, a higher intake of fuel and recovery nourishment is necessary.

Exercise is the next step in the pyramid.

Exercising is training your muscles and heart to be strong and healthy; this practice vitalizes the rest of your body.  A healthy exercise habit consists of frequency, duration, intensity, variety.

 Frequency means how many days you exercise on a weekly basis.  Three to four times a week is idea with rest or lower level activity on the days in between.

Duration is about how long you exercise for every time you exercise.  Ideally, you want to raise your heart rate for 30 to 45 minutes.  Some exercise categories like aerobic exercise will raise your heart rate higher than others.

Intensity means your exercise routine should alternate through levels of high intensity and low intensity, just like early man hunting for food.  The higher intensity, the higher the after-burn affect, the more effective.  This is about timing, placing one exercise right after another or incrementally increasing your weight load.  Some activities, like weight training, require you to rest; shortening that rest time can increase the intensity.

Variety should include strength training, aerobic activity, and flexibility exercise.

  • Strength Training is the best kind of exercise for improved body mass and an effective after-burn effect.  After-burn means your body continues to burn calories for up to a day after you train.  This training involves weightlifting.
  • Aerobic Activity is exercise for your heart and body systems.  During these exercises, your heart rate should be elevated and intensified.  Running, swimming, and exercises like burpees, jumps, and high-intensity, whole-body, body-weight movements.
  • Flexibility Exercise are activities that involve stretching, slow movement and posing.  An activity in this category would be yoga.

Rest and Manage Stress is the next step in the Wellness pyramid

Resting and managing stress allows your body to recover and renew and achieve harmony within and with its environment.  Your body needs rest and recovery on several levels: from physical challenges, from emotional and psychological strain, from normal daily activities.  Lack of rest or overexposure to stress can lead to many health problems.

Rest days help you recover from physical challenges like intensive exercising.  These should be followed by periods of recovery, which allow the body to build up and repair, a process that gains strength and muscle tone.

Breathing or meditation helps rest from emotional and psychological strain.  Take a moment to breathe.  Take a nap.  This means taking time out of your day to unwind your mind, forget your worried, renew your canvas, see the bigger picture, and step back from work and worries.  Breathing exercises, aromatherapy, calm music all assist you center and rest your soul.

Sleep allows the body to recover from normal daily activities.  Your body systems need to recharge. For example, your brain detoxes as you sleep.  A good night’s sleep will help improve many areas of your life.  Some say you should spend 1/3 of your day (8 hours) working, 1/3 of your day (8 hours) playing, and 1/3 of your day (8 hours) sleeping.  How much, how often depends on your situation in life.

Reduce Toxic Load is the 4th step

Toxins are in our environment all around us in our homes, our personal care and cleaning products and in our air and water, especially in our modern society.   Common toxins include synthetically produced chemicals such as triclosan, bisphenol a (BPA), pesticides, SLES, and xenoestrogens, as well as heavy metals.

Exposure to toxins can deteriorate our health and sense of wellness, confuse our body systems, increase systemic stress, destroy nerve tissue, and increase our body fat ratio.  Your body naturally wraps toxins in fat in an effort to protect the body frustrating efforts to maintain a healthy weight.  Some toxins are endocrine disruptors that fool or disrupt our hormone response system throwing the body’s hormone levels off balance.

There are two ways to deal with toxins in our life: Reduce and Detox.

Reduce toxins by avoiding exposure.  Since most of the products in our home potentially could have toxins in them, you can avoid a large amount of toxic exposure by using natural products.  Many of these products have essential oils as the active ingredient.  Essential oils are nature’s solution.  This includes cleaning products, skin care, hair care, detergents, and creams and lotions

Detox means removing the toxic buildup in your system.  Detox your gut, your organs, your body systems by using natural detoxifiers.

Informed Self Care is the 5th step in our pyramid

Everything above has to do with keeping healthy.  However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes experience suboptimal health conditions.

Choose natural solutions.  There are many ways we can care for ourselves naturally, like taking Peppermint to soothe a sore stomach.  Natural solutions help keep our body free of toxins while at the same time support the body’s natural ability to keep itself healthy.

Address the root cause more than symptom management.  Take active steps to address the root cause of the ailment rather than just address the manifestations or symptoms.  This is deeply empowering to be able to confidently care for our health at this level.

Optimal therapeutic range is important when caring for yourself.  Too much or too little can have little effect and be wasteful and sometimes counter effective.

And lastly, Proactive Medical Care is the final step in living a wellness lifestyle

Seek care when needed.  There are times when we suffer from disease or illness that it becomes important to seek out competent and qualified medical professionals for immediate help.

Own your responsibility for your health.  During treatment, we can be responsible for our own health and recovery by taking a proactive role in our health.  We can choose what course of treatment we submit ourselves to, even if it means seeking second and third opinions from these professionals.

Inform yourself by purposeful questioning in the quest for truth and solutions.  Informed people sometimes must question their health professionals, challenge diagnoses, understand prescriptions, and know treatment options.

Chose open-minded caregivers.  Seek out medical professionals who will both inform you and will be open to your input and desire to take a proactive role in your treatment.  Professionals that are open to natural solutions exist, and it is both your responsibility and right to seek them out.

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