The gulf between healthy living theory and real-life practice is considerable. Improving health markers like body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, quality of sleep and exercise capacity aren’t one-size-fits-all endeavors.
With advancements in scientific data – including genetic predisposition to certain diseases, genome sequencing, DNA analysis and more – the day may come where every person will know exactly what to do in order to achieve robust health, boundless energy and easy weight loss.
In the meantime, trial and error is the best approach. Some people have exceeded their fitness and health goals, with spectacular results. We wanted to get some insider info on what worked for them, and there are some common factors. No pie-in-the-sky theories here (and please hold the pie, while you’re at it), just effective methods that achieved lasting, positive impact on their overall health.
Purge the Processed Stuff
Food plays a huge factor in our overall health, and there’s one thing we noticed throughout the responses we received: ditch the junk and enjoy better health. Kayleigh Conway of the Blue Jeans White Tee blog suffered bloating, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for years. But once she skipped “gluten, pasteurized dairy, caffeine, fatty foods, all refined sugars and carbs,” she regained her health almost immediately. “Health improvements include elimination of bloating and cramps, no more
constipation, eliminating my chronic headaches and migraines, my pasty complexion now glows, I dropped weight from my waist and butt (I’m already skinny but now my body is the shape I believe it’s meant to be) and I no longer suffer from chronic lethargy. I honestly feel like a different person,” said Kayleigh.
Sleep – Getting Results by Doing Nothing
Want to unlock the key to vibrant health? Get some quality shut-eye. Debra Jailman, MD, a board-certified NYC dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, said, “The best change I made for my health is to sleep more. Beauty sleep is essential for both the skin and the entire body. It’s the time when the cells can repair themselves.” Dr. Jailman’s secret is 5 milligrams of melatonin half an hour before bed.
Blend Your Way Toward Better Health
Holistic Health Coach Kimberly Petrosino believes HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat, and a blender is a great way to start. “Before I started making my daily smoothies, I had little to no intake of fruits and vegetables in my diet. I didn’t grow up with them, so as an adult, it was hard to get myself eating them. Drinking a delicious smoothie gave me my first taste of whole, nourishing foods in my diet, and the results spoke for themselves.”
Just Move More
With manual labor on the decline and (sadly) less people enjoying the outdoors (iPhone fatigue, anyone?), basic human movement is also on life support – but it’s not quite dead yet, especially for those willing to embrace meaningful movement on a daily basis. Maja Grugel, a health coach at Just Get Real, says exercise can be – and should be – enjoyable. “Move as you enjoy – keep moving whether it’s walking, playing in the park with your children or rocking a complicated workout in the gym.” For Maja, movement is key to getting the results you want.
Mental Clarity = Physical Health
We shouldn’t ignore the connection between mindfulness and health. La Shawn M. Paul, LCSW-R, ACSW and founder of Social Work Diva, said, “As a therapist, I challenge my clients to start where they are to get to where they want. One thing that has helped me physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually is mindfulness. It has helped me realize that the only time I have is the present and has allowed me to achieve various goals without the worry of the future or disappointments of the past.” Well said, La Shawn!
Health coach Liza Baker agrees. “Speaking of meditation – develop a mindfulness practice: it needn’t take a lot of time, and it should be simple so that it’s sustainable. Try out breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga… the practice should take you deep inside yourself and then brings you back out more focused and centered and ready to be fabulous.”
Seeking Health in the Present Day? Look to the Past
The paleo diet, modeled after our Paleolithic ancestors, has gained traction in the past decade, thanks in no small part to sites like Mark’s Daily Apple. The paleo diet has thousands of committed followers, including Susan Schenck, author of The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet, seconds the notion. “Eat as our ancestors did: Every day, eat lots of fermented foods (sauerkraut, raw apple cider vinegar, kombucha, raw kefir, kimchi) as the good bacteria boosts your mood and immune system; also, make and drink bone broth from non-factory farmed animals every day.”
Other paleo tips: keep processed carbs low, get plenty of sleep and get adequate sunlight for Vitamin D.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Jon Minners, an avid body builder with a full-time job, thinks a rigid schedule can inhibit optimal health. “I’ve learned the best advice is to not have a set schedule. When you do biceps on Monday, legs on Thursday, etc. and miss a day, you can become anxious about making up for the missed day that you end up missing more days as a result. Workout anxiety is real. I make a goal to work out at least three times a week and if I miss a day, it’s OK.”
Daily Exercise: Small Steps, Big Results
But we shouldn’t totally dismiss the idea of a routine schedule, especially if it’ll make a positive impact on our health. Chantay Bridges, a lifestyle coach, speaker and realtor, believes a daily dose of exercise is the key. “I incorporated an exercise routine into my schedule, and the difference has been astronomical! It helps you have more strength and energy overall.”
What lifestyle changes have worked for you? Banner Urgent Care’s primary care physicians can help you maintain your best health with regular checkups, physicals and other programs – we’re much more than an immediate care center – and we can help you today. Stop by one of our walk-in healthcare clinics today and see for yourself.