The Wellness Mindset: A Guide to the 6 Dimensions of Holistic Wellness

Up until now, I’ve discussed 4 of the 6 dimensions of wellness. I was going to post the next dimension today, which is social wellness. However, it’s been quite awhile since I posted the original articles. So, I decided to repost this article, which discusses whole body wellness, and highlights each of the 6 dimensions of wellness.  This article was first posted in March, 2019. After this article, I focused on one area of wellness. If you’d like a more in depth look at any of the 4 dimensions already discussed, you can find the links below:

  1. Environmental wellness
  2. Emotional wellness
  3. Intellectual wellness
  4. Spiritual wellness

Next week, I’ll continue with my wellness series with social wellness. Now, onto the main article.


Here’s the original article:

What is health? What is wellness? What comes to mind when you think of a healthy person? Most people think of physical health, but there is much more to it than just physical health. Yes, physical health is part of the equation, but other aspects of our lives affect our physical health: stress, toxins, the environment, our social circle, spirituality.

So, what exactly is whole and complete health and wellness?  That’s what we’ll talk about today. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete  physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So, you may not be sick at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you’re healthy.

PPT - Welcome to Seminar HW215 Models of Health and ...

You may be asking why I’m bringing this up now. Good questions. I’m preparing to turn in the final assignments in my final course in school! Yes, that’s right, I’m getting ready to graduate this summer. After this final class, I’ll take an exam, then start my research thesis, which will take about three months. So, I decided it was time to begin to shift my blog toward my future career as a WELLNESS EDUCATOR. (That’s what I’ll call myself professionally) So, I decided to begin that shift with a primer on wellness, beginning today, and for the next 6 weeks or so, we’ll talk about all aspects of wellness.

WHAT IS WELLNESS?

The actual definition of wellness is: “The condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits.” It seems simple enough doesn’t it, but it’s a bit more complex than that.  Here’ a great video that talks a bit about wellness.

Proper wellness is broken down into 3 categories. For complete health, for complete wellness, you need WHOLE WELLNESS, which means wellness of BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT.

Prayer | Nutrition and Holistic Medicine
SOURCE

THE 6 DIMENSIONS OF WELLNESS

These 3 categories are further broken down into 6 subcategories, or dimensions. If you Google the “dimensions of wellness”, you’ll get plethora of results with people saying there are 8, 9 or even 10 dimensions of wellness. However, I believe that when you get beyond 6 dimensions, you begin to overlap.

6 dimensions of holistic wellness

The 6 dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Environmental – Living in harmony with our surroundings and respectful of the environment; Surrounding yourself with a healthy, calming, toxin-free environment. (EXAMPLES: RECYCLING, VOLUNTEERING, NATURAL RESOURCE AWARENESS)
  2. Emotional – The ability to cope, manage and experience feelings appropriately; positive and optimistic attitude about life; high self-esteem; balanced emotions; recognize and cope with life issues; (EXAMPLES: POSITIVE ATTITUDE, SET PRIORITIES; SEEKING SUPPORT; LEARNING FROM MISTAKES)
  3. Intellectual – Maintain your mind through learning, problem solving and daily decisions; being open to new ideas; learning new skills; promote creativity; curiosity; exploring the world;  (EXAMPLES: LEARNING A NEW SKILL; OPEN-MINDEDNESS; CREATIVITY)
  4. Physical –  Being in top condition, free from illness, disease, etc; Developed through regular exercise and healthy eating; taking personal responsibility for your own health; Empowers you to measure your own health for warning signs; benefits include looking and feeling good, high self-esteem; determination (EXAMPLES: HEALTHY EATING, EXERCISE, YOGA, STRENGTH TRAINING, HEALTHY RECIPES)
  5. Social –  The ability to interact with individuals around you; good communication; meaningful relationships; respectful of others; supporting family and friends. (EXAMPLES: TIME WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS; INTERACTING WITH DIVERSE PEOPLE/CULTURES)
  6. Spiritual – This one encompasses all the rest. optimal meanings of life, beliefs and values; purpose for life; the connection with the source of life/divinity and your inner self; sense of self-awareness; seeking truth, thinking of others, eating healthy, healing others, taking care of the planet, enriching our mind. (EXAMPLES: RELAXATION; MEDITATION; OPEN-MINDED; VALUE GUIDED DECISIONS; ONENESS WITH THE EARTH)

Each of these 6 dimensions, falls under one of the three main categories:

BODY

  • Physical
  • Environmental

MIND

  • Emotional
  • Intellectual

SPIRIT

  • Spiritual
  • Social

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Over the next 6 weeks, I’ll be covering each dimension of wellness up close. I’ll develop a “badge” for each wellness category. A badge will be included with each article I write, so you know under which dimension the article falls. As you can see, they all sort of overlap, so many times, you’ll see multiple badges.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve tried to stick to the dimensions of wellness in my posts, so maybe things won’t change TOO much, we’ll see!

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

SOURCES

  1. http://www.lifemedwellcare.org/docs/emotional-wellness-lifestyle.pdf
  2. http://www.lifemedwellcare.org/docs/environmental-wellness-lifestyle.pdf
  3. http://www.lifemedwellcare.org/docs/intellectual-wellness-lifestyle.pdf
  4. https://wellness.ucr.edu/physical_wellness.html
  5. https://wellness.ucr.edu/social_wellness.html
  6. http://www.lifemedwellcare.org/docs/spiritual-wellness-lifestyle.pdf

The Wellness Mindset ~ Intellectual Wellness: The first rule of success – Keep on learning

6 dimensions of holistic wellness.

Are you passionate about learning? Do love to read, be creative, listen to music? These are all aspects of intellectual wellness. We don’t stop learning when we graduate from high school or college. At the core of intellectual wellness is becoming a student of life, becoming a lifelong learning, the topic of today’s article. First, what is intellectual wellness?

What is

Intellectual Wellness?

Intellectual Wellness involves…maintaining your mind through learning, problem solving and daily decisions; being open to new ideas; learning new skills; promote creativity; curiosity; exploring the world;

(EXAMPLES: LEARNING A NEW SKILL; OPEN-MINDEDNESS; CREATIVITY)

What is something most successful people have in common?

They…KEEP ON LEARNING!

This video highlights clips of successful individuals, such as Bill Gates, Vin Diesel and Tiger Woods as they discuss the importance of learning on the road to success.

Here are a few examples of some of the wise words from this video:

  • Bill Gates –  When asked about dropping out of Harvard said: He actually still takes college courses and loves being a student. He says it was unfortunate that he didn’t stay there, but he didn’t miss any knowledge. He learned anything he needed to learn because he is always in a learning mode.
  • Vin Diesel, when asked what he would tell his younger self, said: Play it cool and learn as much as you can, because everything you learn you’re going to need. You won’t have enough time to learn. Everything is an education
  • Tiger Woods – Learn something from ever single round you play, every one.
  • Pitbull – There is no losing, only learning. Failure is the mother of all success.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

You’re never too old to learn, never. Part of whole body wellness means having a fit mind. Keeping your mind sharp means continually challenging it through reading, learning, creativity, hobbies, music, and art, to name but a few.

In this digital age of social media, people often get lost in reading about other people’s stories and adventures, instead of living their own. However, we live in the information age. Now, more than at any other time in human history, knowledge and learning are literally at your fingertips. What are you waiting for?

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

The Wellness Mindset ~ Environmental Wellness: Are you nature-wise? The power of Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing)

6 dimensions of holistic wellness

.

Today we continue our discussion of the six dimensions of wellness by discussing one aspect of environmental wellness: Nature and the power of connecting with nature. First, we need to know the definition of wellness.

What is

Environmental Wellness?

Environmental Wellness – Living in harmony with our surroundings and respectful of the environment; Surrounding yourself with a healthy, calming, toxin-free environment. (EXAMPLES: RECYCLING, VOLUNTEERING, NATURAL RESOURCE AWARENESS)

Your vision will become clearonly when you look into your heart.Who looks inside, awakens..png

What is Shinrin-Yoku

(Forest bathing)?

In this TedX talk, Ronna Schneberger*, a Shinrin-Yoku guide, discusses this beautiful practice and why it’s so powerful. (HINT: She talks about the actual chemical given off by the trees that is so beneficial to our body AND gives 3 things you can do TODAY to destress and refocus your mind)

Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is simply going out and spending relaxing and quality time in the forest, amongst the trees. Here is a quote from the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy website:

 “… the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.” Although we are inspired by the Japanese practice our use of the terms Forest Therapy and  Shinrin-Yoku do not mean a specifically Japanese practice. We mean spending time in nature in a way that invites healing interactions. There is a long tradition of this in cultures throughout the world. It’s not just about healing people; it includes healing for the forest (or river, or desert, or whatever environment you are in).”

Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku

A 40 minute walk in the forest has the following WELLNESS benefits:

  • Decreased cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, aka your fight of flight hormone. This hormone increases blood glucose, controls the metabolism, and regulates blood pressure…to name a few. Some cortisol is good for health. However, most people are over stressed and have too much in their system.
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system OPPOSITE the fight or flight response. It initiates rest, conserves energy and slows the heart rate.
  • Boosts the immune system – In one study, men spent 2 hours in the forest and saw a 50% increase in “natural killer cells” – our body’s natural defense system – and they stayed that way for a month! (The cancer fighting, tumor fighting cells!)
  • Increases mental performance and creativity

3 things to do to become nature-wise!*

  1. Go for a 15 minute walk each day – This is known to reduce cortisol levels by 12%.
  2. On your walk…be aware of the sights and sounds around you…the air in your hair, the flowers growing nearby. This helps restore focus.
  3. Tune into your senses deeply. Bath in the forest….focus on the beauty of nature. Take the time to really see, feel, hear and smell what is around you. This will improve mental clarity.

MYWALKINTHEWOODS.WORDPRESS.COM

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As I sit in the quiet of the forest, I am lost to the peace and energy that permeates my being. I absolutely love being in the forest. When I am amongst the trees, I feel at one with the world, unified with our disconnected society. All worries wash away…all stress fades…all concerns are lifted and carried away by these majestic guardians of this beautiful planet we call home.

Because of my fascination with the forest, I was drawn to do some research on the symbolism of forests and trees. Trees have always held an air of mystery throughout mythology and history. To some, forests serve as protection and providers of food, weapons and shelter. To others forests are a scary and mysterious place full of the unknown.

This reminds me of the legend of Robin Hood as his men. For Robin Hood, the forest was their home, providing shelter and sustenance. On the other hand, for the Sheriff, the forest was full of unknowns, evil spirits and danger.

For me, walking through the forest symbolizes a spiritual journey.  The forest represents the mysteries for which I am searching.  As I walk through the spiritual forest in search of answers to my spiritual questions, as well as for unity, love and enlightenment, the trees keep me at peace, as well as provide me with the protection and the energy I need on my journey.

That is the power of environment…That is what being nature-wise means to me. That it also ties in with spirituality… is no coincidence.

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

The Wellness Mindset ~ Emotional Wellness: How to change your negative mind.

emotional wellness (2)

Today we continue our look at the dimensions of wellness by looking at one aspect of emotional wellness: positive thinking. First, however, what exactly is “emotional wellness”?

6 dimensions of holistic wellness

Emotional  Wellness is the ability to cope, manage and experience feelings appropriately. It means having a positive and optimistic attitude about life. It means having a high self-esteem and balanced emotions. It means being able to recognize and cope with life issues.  Emotional wellness is a key component to the other dimensions. Because if we let our emotions get the better of us, if we get stuck in a negative mindset, like we all do at some point in life, all other aspects of wellness are affected.

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Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the ripples of negative emotions affect all aspects of our lives, and all dimensions of wellness. They cause us stress, which in turn cause physical ailments throughout the body. Negative emotions  drain your spirit, cause unclear thinking, create social strain, and send negative energy into the surrounding environment. And, most often, we get stuck in our negative mindset.

282 best images about Gratitude Quotes on Pinterest

So, how do we get unstuck?

The answer, it seems, is quite simple…gratitude. Listen as Alison Ledgerwood, Social Psychologists explains the negative mindset and how to get unstuck.

  1. Think about the positive aspects of your day, instead of focusing on the negative.
  2. Start a “gratitude journal” and spend a few minutes each evening writing about things for which you are grateful.
  3. Meditate for 10 minutes each morning and/or each evening
  4. Do yoga
  5. Take ownership for your life and stop playing the “victim”. (The “it’s not my fault” attitude)
  6. Help someone in need
  7. Accept you are human and make mistakes, then move on
  8. Sing or dance
  9. Surround yourself with positive people
  10. SMILE! 😁

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

Many years ago, when my now 23 year old son was an infant, I worked as a teller for a local credit union. I had a regular customer come in and I’d ask “Hello, how are you today?” He would always answer with an enthusiastic “I’m FABULOUS!”

Now, we asked everyone that same question and most people would say the standard “I’m fine.” or “I’m ok”. A few people would say “I’m horrible, it’s been a crappy day.” But this one customer got our attention.

Out of curiosity, my co-worker and I once asked him about his response.  “How are you always fabulous?” He replied “How can I not be fabulous? I am alive, and I have so much to be grateful for. There is no other way to reply.”

For this person, it was simply a statement of fact that he was fabulous. He had trained his mind to see the positive side of life. And like a pebble dropped in a pond, that positive attitude spreads. THAT is definitely a goal worth pursuing.

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

 

 

 

 

The Wellness Mindset ~ Emotional Wellness: Smashing the image of perfection

emotional wellness (2)

Ariella Nyssa…

I came across a news story about Ariella this morning and knew I had to share her story with all of you, as it fits right in with our discussion on emotional wellness and positive attitude.

We all know the images of perfection that are splattered across magazine covers, featuring gorgeous models with seemingly perfect hair, skin and bodies. Though we all know these images are air brushed, we still hold them as the ideal body type and strive to meet those impossible standards. Ariella Nyssa is trying to smash those impossible images and help women (and men) learn to love themselves.

Ariella Nyssa is an instagram swimsuit model and part of the body positivity movement happening across social media right now. In 2017, after receiving encouragement from her boyfriend, Ariella entered a swimsuit modeling competition and won, with 2 other girls. Since then, it has become her passion to share with the world that THIS is what a normal woman’s body looks like.

But despite her best intentions, Ariella experiences cyber-bullying on a regular basis. Ariella, and other social media influencers like her, receive daily insults for showing off their normal bodies.

‘ I feel sorry for the bullies. I think that they must be going through something horrible to be able to leave hate comments on someone else’s photos’ ~ Ariella Nyssa

Ariella once struggled with self-image and acceptance. She went on a crash diet and spent hours in the gym, trying to reach those impossible levels of perfection. It was only in the last few years that she began to realize that all parts of her were beautiful, even her “cellulite, fat and rolls.”

Have a look at Ariella’s Instagram Account:

‘It’s about time we all learnt to love ourselves at every stage of our lives. Don’t let the number on the scales define you.’ ~  Ariella Nyssa

Here’s a bit more about Ariella’s story on ‘The Project’ in Australia

Closing thoughts

I love the message that Ariella and other body positivity influencers are sending society right now. We all struggle with self-love and acceptance. If we don’t accept and love ourselves, we can’t expect other people to accept us either.

Self-doubt creeps into our psyche and infects every dimension of wellness. We let this doubt control every aspect of our lives, even down to how we treat other people. This is evidenced by the cyber bullies who troll Ariella and people like her.

” Doubt is a virus that attacks our self-esteem, productivity, and confidence. Faith that you and your life are perfectly unfolding is the strongest vaccine.” ~ Dr. Sean Stephenson

Our energy, negative or positive, emanates from our pores, so to speak. Others can sense whether we are confident and happy or insecure and full of self-doubt. We teach other people how to treat us through our attitude.

Ariella proves that beauty isn’t just skin deep, it’s in the attitude. She exemplifies emotional wellness and the importance of a positive attitude. Thank you Ariella for your courage and bravery.

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.instagram.com/ariellanyssa/

The Wellness Mindset: The Best Workout for Overall Wellness

I am currently finishing up my final course in school, and preparing to take my final exam, after which, I’ll begin my research thesis. My time in school is coming to an end, which means it’s time to shift the focus of my blog

15 Quotes to Inspire Your Employee Wellness Program

Over the next few months, I’ll begin to focus my blog posts away from the previous schedule posts and toward the goals in my future business as a Wellness Educator. I’ve decided to begin by helping everyone understand just what wellness means to me.

Over the next 6 weeks, my morning posts will consist of wellness tips and videos, designed to help you understand the true meaning of wellness and the true meaning of health.

TODAY’S VIDEO IS:

The Best Workout for Overall Wellness

 

Look for my main weekly post on the Dimensions of Wellness.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara

Writing SMART Goals (with 3 free planning forms)

I am under the weather today, in fact for the past week. I haven’t left the house in over a week. If things don’t get better over the weekend, I’ll have to go to the doctor.

So, I decided  to repost a blog in place of my usual Fit by 50 blog. This one is perfect, since I am currently working on my fitness goals. I’m currently in the process of re-evaluating my goals, and will update you next week. Meanwhile, here’s a “how-to” on writing your own S.M.A.R.T. goals!


HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

We all have dreams, but how often do we turn those dreams into goals and make them a reality?

A Harvard study showed that 83% of the US population do not have goals. (8) Of the people who do have goals, only 3 out of every 100 people write them down. (8) Did you know that 80% of the people who write down their goals, actually achieve them? (7)

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 GOALS! This is what successful people say is the key to success…

  • Have clear goals
  • Have a vision of where you are going
  • Think big-shoot for the top
  • Work hard-success takes work
  • Do your best-anything worth having is worth doing right.

Here’s a video which highlights how successful people think…

If the key to success in anything, whether it’s your education, job, or health, is a clear  vision of what you want, with proper goals … how, then, do we write a proper, clearly worded goal?

In my opinion, the best way, and the way I use is the S.M.A.R.T. technique. This is a technique taught in colleges and corporations throughout the world.

A proper goal must be S.M.A.R.T.:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relavent

Time-bound

  • S- specific- Be very clear and specific about what it is you want.
    • What do you want to accomplish?
    • Who will help you reach this goal?
  • M – measurable
    • How will the goal be measured?
    • How will I know when it’s accomplished?
  • A – attainable
    • How will the goal be accomplished?
    • What is the plan of action?
    • What steps need to be taken?
  • R – relavent
    • Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
    • Does the goal work in your life at this time?
    • Do I have the necessary resources to accomplish this goal?
    • Is this goal in line with my long term plans?
  • T – time-bound
    • How long will the goal take to complete?
    • What is the due date to accomplish this goal?
    • At what times of day will I work on the goal?

Cute Ways to Announce Your Big Wedding

Let’s look at an example. Saying I want to “get healthy” is far to general. HOW do you want to get healthy? Quit eating sugar? Quit smoking? Quit drinking? Lose weight?

Let’s pick lose weight, since this is a common goal among most people.

Here it is plugged into the S.M.A.R.T. technique.

  • SPECIFIC I will lose weight, with my husband as my accountability buddy.
  • MEASURABLEI will lose 10 pounds, and track this by weighing once a week.
  • ATTAINABLEI will lose weight by logging all meals, walking 10,000 steps a day, weight training twice a week and eating 1300 calories a day.
  • RELEVANTI am doing this in order to lower my blood pressure,  improve my blood sugar and increase my daily energy levels.
  • TIME-BOUNDI will lose 2 pounds per week and reach my goal in five weeks. My goal will begin on June 1, 2017 and end on July 6, 2017. 

HERE’S THE ENTIRE THING 

WRITTEN 2 DIFFERENT WAYS

  •  In order to lower my blood pressure, improve my blood sugar and increase daily energy levels, I will lose 10 pounds, – 2 pounds a week for 5 weeks, beginning on June 1, 2017 and ending on July 6, 2017, by weighing once a week, logging all meals, eating 1300 calories a day, walking 10,000 steps a day,  and weight training twice a week, with the help of my husband as my accountability buddy. 
  • In order to lower my blood pressure, improve my blood sugar and increase daily energy levels, I will lose 10 pounds, – 2 pounds a week for 5 weeks, beginning on June 1, 2017 and ending on July 6, 2017. This goal will be accomplished by:
    • weighing once a week
    • using my husband as my accountability buddy
    • logging all meals
    • eating 1300 calories a day
    • walking 10,000 steps a day
    • weight training twice a week

So, there you have it. I encourage you to write out your own goals using one of the forms below. After you have written your goal, put it on your fridge and bathroom mirror as a daily reminder. Remember, this works for any goal, in any aspect of your life.  Is it time to make your dreams come true?

Below are 3 different forms,

in order to help you

plan your own S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Pick the one that works best for you.

The first two are more general, simple forms:

smart-goals-template

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goal template (4)

smart-goals-template-02

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goals planning form

The third one is more specific,

including an action plan,

possible obstacles

and a network of support.

PRINT your own S.M.A.R.T. goals worksheet (5)

Your dreams are only your dreams until you write them down...Then they are goals!.png

Sources

  1. https://www.smartsheet.com/blog/essential-guide-writing-smart-goals
  2. http://www.hr.virginia.edu/uploads/documents/media/Writing_SMART_Goals.pdf
  3. http://trio.ucsd.edu/_files/staff_forms/SMART%20goal%20setting%20sheet
  4. http://www.timvandevall.com/wp-content/uploads/smart-goals-template.pdf
  5. http://templatelab.com/smart-goals/
  6. https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/science-says-92-percent-of-people-dont-achieve-goals-heres-how-the-other-8-perce.html
  7. http://www.ecowellnessnews.net/wp-content/uploads/Write-down-Goals.pdf
  8. http://www.goalband.co.uk/goal-achievement-facts.html

 

10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight ~ Healthline.com

As someone who is in the nutrition field as a profession AND trying to desperately lose weight on a personal level, I know just how hard it can be to stay motivated on the journey to health and happiness. I recently took a “vacation”, which also led to a “vacation” from my weight loss regime. I’ll talk more about that in my Fit by 50 journal. Suffice it to say, I’m starting from scratch and looking for motivation, the perfect topic for today’s “Walk to wellness” article.

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source: healthline.com

I set out to research the topic and found a ton of information. This article from healthline.com, is perfect, and includes 16 ways to say motivated. I’m going to summarize my 10 favorite ways below. (1)

  1. Have realistic expectations: I’ve had problems with this area before. As tempting as it is to set lofty weight loss goals, with many diets promising outlandish results, you need to keep it real! The safe weight loss total is 1 to 2 pounds a week. This is also the total that has been proven to help keep the weight off. Also, did you know that losing just 5 – 10 % of your body weight can have a tremendous impact on your health – including: (1)
    • Improve blood sugar control
    • Reduce the risk of heart disease
    • Reduce joint pain
  2. Have process goals instead of outcome goals: WOW! This is an eyeopener for me. I have one big outcome goal: 50 pounds. I need to rethink the whole thing and set new goals! Studies suggest that those individuals who focused on the process were more likely to lose weight than those who focused on the outcome. Instead of saying “I will lose 50 pounds”, I should come up with weekly process goals that will help me accomplish this, such as: (1)
    • I will walk briskly for 30 minutes five days next week.
    • I will eat four servings of vegetables every day this week.
    • I will only drink one soda this week.
  3. Pick a Plan That Fits Your Lifestyle: Don’t go on a fad diet!! I know they’re tempting. They sound good. “Do this and lost 10 pounds in 14 days”. Trust me, I’ve been there. They don’t work in the long run. Customize your own plan. For example:  These daily habits have been proven to help people lose weight (1):
    • Decreasing calorie intake
    • Reducing portion sizes
    • Reducing frequency of snacks
    • Reducing fried food and desserts
    • Including fruits and vegetables
  4. Keep a weight loss journal: I know this…I’ve written papers for school about this…I know this works! I HATE DOING THIS! But…It looks like I’m going to have to do it after all. “Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss (1).”  You can do this however is easy for you: an app, a spreadsheet or even a simple notebook. twitter-292994_640.jpg
  5. Find social support:  You’ve all heard of Weight Watchers…this is a form of social support. This is my Fit by 50 journal. In effect, I’ve told the world how much weight I want to lose and I’m publishing my trials and tribulations. Knowing I have to publish my results each week is motivating indeed. Telling family, friends and colleagues can help with moral support. Find a “weight loss buddy” to lose weight with you.
  6. Make a public commitment: By going public, and starting my Fit by 50 journal, I was making a public commitment to lose weight and get healthy. Going public and making a commitment helps you to remain accountable to your health goals.
  7. Plan for Challenges and Setbacks: We all know losing weight isn’t an easy, carefree road. There will absolutely be challenges, set backs, weight gain, etc. Be prepared. Stress in inevitable and unavoidable. Plan ahead and develop methods to cope with the stress. There will always be reasons to go “off your diet”, like a party,  holiday… OR MY VACATION!! Planning for healthy options and stress relief techniques is key to success. I’ve obviously been lacking in this area. Here are some methods to cope with stress: (1)
    • Exercise
    • Take a bath
    • Go outside and get some fresh air
    • Call a friend
    • Ask for help
  8. Don’t Aim for Perfection and Forgive Yourself: This is another area on which I need to work. I’m very hard on myself…most people are harder on themselves than necessary. No one is perfect and you can’t expect your weight loss journey to be perfect either. Remember, it’s not “all or nothing”, take the good with the bad. If you fall off the diet wagon, forgive yourself and get back on. Remember, you can’t fail if you don’t quit. people-2583466_640.jpg
  9. Learn to Love and Appreciate Your Body: THIS is a HUGE issue for me, for many women I think. Research indicates that people who “dislike their bodies are less likely to lose weight.” (1) Improving your body image is key to weight loss. The healthline.com article suggests following activities can help boost your body image:
    • Exercise
    • Appreciate what your body can do
    • Do something for yourself, such as getting a massage or manicure
    • Surround yourself with positive people
    • Stop comparing yourself to others, especially models
    • Wear clothes you like and that fit you well
    • Look in the mirror and say the things you like about yourself out loud fullsizeoutput_11d6.jpeg
  10. Find an Exercise You Enjoy: Since I strongly dislike exercising, this is a big one for me. I’ve recently discovered HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I enjoy the high intensity and very short workouts. They seem to help as well. I’ve also discovered that I enjoy walking. I download an audiobook from my local library, grab my dog and hit the sidewalk. I love it!  (By the way….getting a dog is one of the tips!)

Closing thoughts:

So there you have it. If you’re looking for motivation to lose weight, I hope this helps. I know they help me. In the spirit of self-love and forgiveness, I’m hoping back on the weight loss wagon and continuing my journey.  I will not quit until I reach my goal. Stay tuned on Thursday for the next installment in my adventure.

(You can follow the link below to see the other tips.)


Here are 16 effective ways you can motivate yourself to lose weight. People often lack the motivation to get started or continue on a weight loss diet.

  1. Source: 16 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight

The Ultimate Guide to Gut Health

A healthy digestive system is so important to the health of our entire body. If we can’t properly digest food, everything else falls apart. Did you know… 80% of the immune system is in the gut? (8) Did you know…your digestive system is sometimes called “the second brain”? Did you know…approximately 90% of serotonin is made in the gut, even though it’s typically known as a “feel good” BRAIN neurotransmitter? (1) Did you know… healthy microbes in the gut stimulate our cells to make serotonin? (2)

These microbes are know as “the human microbiome.”

WHAT IS THE HUMAN MICROBIOME? (3, 4)

The human microbiome is the community of microbes that reside on and within humans. These microbes contribute to our own collection of genes to make up our complete genetic portrait. There are a vast array of microbes within the biome, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, viruses and archaea (single cell organisms)

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FAST FACTS ABOUT THE HUMAN MICROBIOME (4, 5)

  • The population of the microbiome is estimated between 75 – 200 trillion individual organisms. The human body consists of approximately 50 – 100 trillion cells.
  • Estimates indicate there are anywhere from 900 to 1000 different species of organism in the microbiome, and they find more all the time.
  • There are microbes living on all surfaces of the human body, but 95% live in the digestive tract.
  • Each individual human microbiome is as unique as the fingerprint
  • We are born with a sterile gut. Our microbiome is typically colonized from our mother. A baby is born by cesarean will be colonized by the skin of the mother and the hospital environment.
  • Breast fed babies have a different type of microbiome than bottle fed babies.

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BENEFITS OF THE MICROBIOME

We live in a symbiotic relationship with all of these wonderful little bugs. But, just what do they do for us? Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Improved mental health
  • Improved liver function
  • Help regulate the immune system
  • Eliminate toxins
  • Bone strength
  • Appetite control
  • Heart health
  • How body fat is stored

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WHAT HARMS THE MICROBIOME? (6,7)

It is estimated that up to 30 million Americans have an imbalanced microbiome, or Dysbiosis. If a healthy microbiome is so important, what harms it or causes an imbalance?

  • Antibiotics – these are the main causes of dysbiosis. This is because antibiotics not only kill the bad bacteria, but the good bacteria as well. Even if you avoid anti-biotic medication, keep in mind that farm animals, and dairy cows are given large amounts of antibiotics, which end up in the food. Buy organic, locally grown food to avoid this.
  • Drugs, such as steroids, hormones, acid-blockers and pain relievers can damage the microbiome
  • Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda
  • poor diet – such as a standard American diet, high in processed foods, sugar, and refined carbs, as well as low in fiber, fermented foods, and micronutrients.

WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF AN UNHEALTHY GUT? (9,10,11)

Now we know just how important the microbiome is to your health. How can you tell if you have an unhealthy gut or imbalanced microbiome? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Sugar cravings
  • Bad breath
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety or moodiness
  • Skin itchiness or rashes, such as eczema
  • Diabetes
  • Constipation
  • Diahrrea
  • Coated tongue
  • Acne

Here is a link to the Body Ecology Gut Health Quiz. It will help you to know if you have an imbalanced gut…

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BODY ECOLOGY GUT HEALTH QUIZ

HOW TO REJUVENATE YOUR GUT AND REBALANCE YOUR MICROBIOME (12, 13)

Whether you have an imbalance or not, it’s important to rebalance or maintain the balance of your microbiome. Here are the top ways to reclaim the health of your gut:

  • Discover any food intolerances – Go on an elimination diet to discover which foods your body just doesn’t tolerate. These foods can cause damage to the lining of your digestive tract and harm the good bacteria by extension.
  • Take digestive aids – If your gut is unhealthy and damaged, chances are you aren’t making the proper digestive enzymes to properly process foods. Digestive enzymes, taken with meals, can help heal your gut.
  • Eat fermented foods – If you have an imbalance gut, you have too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. Eating fermented foods can help bring things back into balance. You can also take probiotic supplements, with between 20 – 50 billion live organisms per dose.
  • Use herbs and supplements to heal the gut – Supplementing with L-Glutamine and herbs such as licorice root, or aloe can help to rebuild your gut lining, which is crucial to the healing process
  • Feed your microbiome – We talked about probiotics, which are the actual live healthy bacteria. However, like any living thing, these little bugs need to be fed. Eat a diet rich in prebiotic foods. A prebiotic food is a high fiber food. Probiotics digest and feed on the fiber our body’s don’t process. These are foods such as beans, onions, leafy greens, or oats.

IN CLOSING…

WOW! We covered a lot of territory today. I hope you aren’t too overwhelmed. The main thing to remember with your gut is what harms it, and how to heal it. Stay away from antibiotics and over the counter medications, if possible. Eat a healthy, whole foods diet, high in fiber, nutrient rich veggies and fermented foods. You really can’t go wrong eating that way.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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SOURCES:

  1. http://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495
  2. http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/know-serotonin-interview-gut-brain-axis-researcher-elaine-hsiao/
  3. https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome/
  4. https://www.britannica.com/science/human-microbiome
  5. https://youtu.be/YB-8JEo_0bI
  6. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/imbalance-body-microbiome-may-contribute-range-serious-disease/
  7. https://www.bepure.co.nz/blogs/news/signs-unhealthy-gut
  8. https://www.health24.com/Medical/Flu/Preventing-flu/your-gut-is-the-cornerstone-of-your-immune-system-20160318
  9. https://www.bepure.co.nz/blogs/news/signs-unhealthy-gut
  10. https://kelseykinney.com/how-do-you-know-if-you-have-bad-gut-bacteria/#Symptoms_of_Bad_Gut_Bacteria
  11. http://darwinian-medicine.com/5-signs-your-gut-microbiome-is-out-of-balance/
  12. https://www.drkellyann.com/8-tips-to-reset-your-gut-and-get-rid-of-inflammation/
  13. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25517/what-i-tell-my-clients-who-want-to-heal-their-gut-a-nutritionist-explains.html

Walk to Wellness: Top 5 Ways to Deal with a Detox Healing Response (AKA Detox symptoms)

Aegrescit medendo

This is the original latin phrase which translates to “The disease worsens with the treatment” or “The remedy is worse than the disease.” This is the phrase aptly given to what is known as the Herxheimer Reaction (technically the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction), AKA, “healing reaction”, “healing response” “healing crisis” “die-off reaction” or “detox symptoms”.

The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction is named for Adolf Jarisch, an Austrian dermatologist and Karl Herxheimer, a German dermatologist, who were the first to observe this reaction in patients being treated for syphilis. The phrase, shortened to the Herxheimer reaction, has since been applied to reactions from healing and detoxing the body.

Healing responses can be scary and quite uncomfortable, to say the least, but are a natural part of the body’s healing process. The liver, in an attempt to protect the body, either stores unhealthy chemicals, in the liver itself, or in fatty tissue throughout the body. (4) Toxins, called endotoxins, also come from bad bacteria as they grow or when they die off.  As you detox, and the body either burns fat for fuel, these chemicals are released into the bloodstream, or the bacteria die off, creating the adverse symptoms. These toxins cause an immune response through out the body, creating inflammation where they are being released. (3)

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While healing responses are a sign that the body is healing itself, detoxing isn’t for the faint of heart, and I mean this quite literally. If you have a chronic disease, heart problems or a diseased liver, DO NOT under any circumstances, detox without the assistance, and approval of a medical doctor or other qualified professional. Many in the medical field consider healing responses to be potentially dangerous, “especially in vulnerable individuals“.

While it is a natural process, I agree with them, but only to the extent of chronically ill people. It can make their illness worse, unless done properly and very carefully under close supervision. In most cases, a detox is exactly what they need to begin healing, however, their bodies are simply too sick to manage it. Detoxing is hard on all parts of the body, but particularly the liver, the main detox organ. Within these people, the liver, already weak, can become overwhelmed and begin shutting down.

In most healthy people, however, it is simply part of healing the body. It should be perfectly safe for most people to detox, as long as it is done slowly and carefully. That said, it is advisable to consult a physician prior to beginning any program.

The below video wonderful if you’d like to learn a bit more about a healing response.

Before we get to the tips for easing healing symptoms, I want to mention one thing. Doing any detox program or even suddenly switching from an unhealthy diet to a very healthy one, isn’t a smooth road, but more like a rollercoaster.

Upon starting the detox, you’ll experience initial symptoms, which will gradually improve. Just when you think things are getting better, you’ll have another flare-up, another healing reaction. Remember, your body is FULL of toxins. They don’t all get released at once, then go away. Quite frankly, you don’t want all of them to be released at once. As they gradually release, your healing responses will come and go.

Another thing to keep in mind, is you may experience pain from illnesses or injuries you acquired many years ago. So don’t be surprised if your injured knee from 20 years ago reasserts itself during your detox. Just something to keep in mind.

Tips for dealing with a healing response – Part of any good detox plan is to drink plenty of water, as well as get plenty of rest. Daily meditation is also a good way to deal with the stress from the detox. Other than that, here are a few of the best ways to deal with a healing response.

  • Himalayan Salt Bath –  Salt bath soaks are one of the best ways to detox the body. You’ll hear many advise you to use epsom salts. These are okay, buy I prefer Himalayan Salts in my detox baths. Himalayan salts are a wonderful addition, not just to your bath, but to your daily diet. Salt isn’t the evil thing it’s been made out to be, but like anything else, you just need the right kind. For more information on Himalayan Salts, FOLLOW THIS LINK. For a demo on how to do a Himalayan salt bath, aka a SOLE bath, FOLLOW THIS LINK. A 30 minute Himalayan salt bath will do the following (5):
    • Reduce inflammation – relieve joint and muscle pain throughout the body. (I’ve personally experienced this effect.)
    • Detox the skin – release inflammation on the skin
    • Increase your metabolism
    • Increase lymph flow –  increased lymph flow is essential for cleansing the body during a detox
    • Increase blood flow – healing issues deep within the body
  • Dry Skin Brushing – The skin is the largest organ in the body and one simple 6 minute routine every morning can improve your overall health, not just the skin, but the entire body. For more information on skin brushing, FOLLOW THIS LINK. For a demo on how to do a 6 minute skin brushing routine FOLLOW THIS LINK. Making skin brushing a part of your daily routine will do the following (6)
    • Stimulate your lymphatic system
    • Exfoliate your skin
    • Increase cirulation
    • Reduce cellulite
    • Relieve stress
    • Improve digestion and kidney function (essential during a detox!)
  • Caster Oil Pack on the Liver – This may be a new one for all of you, but I’ve been doing these for years, especially during my cleanses and detoxing. Basically, you take a quality caster oil, cold pressed, saturate a wool with oil, and warm the oil pack with a hot water bottle or heating pad. You then simply lay back and relax for 45 – 60 minutes. This may see like an odd thing to do, but it really works and so relaxing. Caster oil has been used for thousands of years, back to Egypt, 3500 years ago. For more information on Caster Oil Packs, FOLLOW THIS LINK. For a demo on how to do a caster oil pack on the liver, FOLLOW THIS LINK. A 45 – 60 minute caster oil pack will do the following (7)
    • Promotes circulation around the organ, in this case the liver
    • Supports the body’s natural ability to detox
    • Supports the nervous system
    • Reduces pain, inflammation and swelling
    • Increases lymphatic flow
    • Improves liver function
    • Improves digestion
  • Yoga While strictly speaking, yoga doesn’t actually “detox”, but like the other tips, it is an aid to help improve circulation in specific parts of the body, and relieve healing response symptoms. For more information on Yoga for Detox, FOLLOW THIS LINK. For a 20 minute yoga flow for detox and digestion, FOLLOW THIS LINK. Specific poses in yoga do the following (8):
    • Twists- These moves squeeze the abdominal muscles and stimulating the muscles and circulation to the organs of the digestive tract
    • Forward bends – compress the organs of the digestive tract increasing elimination
    • Inversions – drain fluid from the legs and feet back toward the heart.
  • Take Activated CharcoalActivated charcoal is actual charcoal, made from many different substances, that has been exposed to a gas, which creates a porous surface,  increasing the surface area and ability cleanse the body of toxins. Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins into the millions of tiny pores. It is widely used in hospital to aid in cases of drug overdose, and can be used during a detox or cleanse. It is important to use natural sources of activated charcoal, such as coconut shells. Some things of which to be aware: charcoal can react to medications, check with your doctor; interfere with the absorption of nutrients; should NEVER BE TAKEN LONG TERM, only use during your detox. For more information on activated charcoal, FOLLOW THIS LINK. For a video on activated charcoal, including how to use it, as well as precautions, FOLLOW THIS LINK. Taking activated charcoal will help in the following ways (8)
    • Relieves gas and bloating
    • Cleanses the body of mold
    • Emergency toxin removal
    • reduces cholesterol
    • anti-aging –  by preventing toxin related cellular damage
    • promotes a healthy digestive tract – by removing toxins that create allergic reactions and create damage

Closing thoughts

One final note, I apologize for getting this out so late in the day. However, I was dealing with my own healing response from my detox. It’s been a bad day! Anyway….

There are many more ways of alleviating healing responses, these are just the 5 I prefer. Other methods include acupuncture, enemas/colonics, essential oils, probiotics, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, and chiropractic care.

If you are thinking about a detox, implementing any of the above methods will go a long way to relieving the symptoms. Remember, as uncomfortable as healing responses are, it is well worth it in the end. You’ll feel so much better, cleaner and healthier as a result.

Until next time…

Namaste my friends

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Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarisch%E2%80%93Herxheimer_reaction#History
  2. http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/coping-with-a-healing-crisis-during-a-cleanse
  3. https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/strategies-healing-crisis/
  4. https://paleoleap.com/do-people-release-toxins-when-they-lose-weight/
  5. Himalayan salt bath
  6. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/24/dry-skin-brushing.aspx
  7. https://drjockers.com/castor-oil-packs-detox/
  8. https://www.active.com/health/articles/how-yoga-detoxes-and-restores-the-body?page=1
  9. https://draxe.com/activated-charcoal-uses/