Creating a Phyiscally Healthy Foundation

waterThe goal of a physically healthy foundation needs a consistent focus all year long, but especially during the holiday season. The extra food and the neglect of exercise, the choices affecting us physically, significantly contribute to the demise of our joy after the holidays.

After years of struggling with depression and having the holidays be the lowest point of the year, I finally realized this startling truth and began to understand how diet and exercise played a huge role in my mood & energy.

Physical & Mental Connections

We simply cannot escape the fact that the choices we make regarding our physical bodies directly and significantly impact us physically. What we do — or don’t do — physically directly connects to how we feel mentally and physically.

  • Our guts produce 95% of our serotonin. (Note: The human body creates Serotonin, which works as a neurotransmitter. Some researchers regard it as a main chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance. Many believe a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.)

If your digestion isn’t healthy, what impact might this have on your mental health?

Is it possible that there are dietary changes you can make to achieve a more consistent mood?

What could 20-30 minutes, 3 days a week do to improve your energy levels?

Lack of sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions at an even keel.

Is there a way to establish a more consistent level of sleep for the benefit of improving your ability to think clearly?

Can you add just a glass or two more of water a day to improve your mood and energy?

These basic principles operate uniquely within every person. The more and longer we neglect this impact, the increased likelihood of ill physical and mental health.

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A Physically Healthy Foundation

Of course, the goal is a consistently healthy lifestyle all year long, but maintaining is certainly more difficult during the holidays regardless of individual levels of diligence and self-control. Incorporate the following tips to help maintain physical and mental health during the holidays and beyond.

  1. Eat healthy food first. Choose fruit and veggies before heading to the dips, sauces and sweets. You’re sure to eat less of the unhealthy stuff when you eat the good stuff first.
  2. Find creative ways to be active. Park in the farthest spot from the entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Commit to a certain number of push-ups or sit-ups a day. These small steps produce an immediate impact simply by choosing to implement them.
  3. Be diligent about rest & sleep. As much as possible, stick to a normal sleep schedule and have regular down time to rest. Don’t be afraid to take short power naps either.
  4. Drink more water. Comparable only to the impact of adequate sleep, staying hydrated significantly benefits mental and physical health. If you incorporate no other tips, drink more water and get enough rest.
  5. Take basic supplements. A good multi-vitamin and a probiotic are likely to benefit everyone. The mental and physical changes even after a couple of weeks will surprise you.

These tips provide the small steps needed for a physically healthy foundation. Having this core base of health allows for flexibility in your diet and schedule from time to time, something that can be helpful during the holidays. It also provides the ability to rebound more quickly after the busy season abates.

Small Steps Add Up

You may not be able to completely control what is available to eat at parties or the busyness of the season, but you can do a lot to find more balance during the holidays. This involves taking small steps that add up over time to make a big difference.

Determine to control what you can by taking small steps toward a healthier you. Consider immediately incorporating one or more of the above tips even before the new year arrives.

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20 thoughts on “Creating a Phyiscally Healthy Foundation

  1. A regular exercise regiment is in my daily activity, or almost daily. I know I need it. I also know it is hard to come by since the weather makes it difficult to get outside and ride. So eating right is the way for me. Sadly, I don't always succeed in that. Chocolate! I love chocolate!! 🙂
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    • "They" say some chocolate is actually healthy for you 🙂 Yes, weather can be a factor in staying active. So can many jobs that require a lot of desk work. I've been using Pinterest a lot lately to find easy routines I can do wherever and whenever just so I can stay active. "They" also say that exercise can be done 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there throughout the day and doesn't have to be done all at once. I find this flexibility very helpful since I'm not like my husband who runs outside year round regardless of weather (crazy group of runners, that's for sure). And eating right has to be a part of it. Too many think they can exercise and eat whatever they want. Doesn't work that way. Keep at it, my friend. Any little thing you do toward good health is worth the effort!

  2. Great advice Kari! Rest, recreation and rational consumption of proper nutrition, i.e. moderate chocolate, wine and lots of water along with balanced meals before all the holiday treats helps. Exercise does not require a health club membership, 30+ minutes a day of brisk walking at least 4-5 times a week will go along way to helping your body deal with stress. Thanks Coach K

    • Thanks for the additional tips. All very helpful! Great point about exercise, too. It doesn't take a lot, and you don't have to be extreme. Finding what you enjoy is certainly a key.

    • Travel does make staying healthy a lot harder to do. My husband has traveled for his job for years. It\’s those small choices today matter even more during those times. Doing the best we can is all we can do.

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  4. It always helps me when I try to drink 4 bottles of water a day. I know it is good for hydration but it also helps me eat better. I tend to eat less and with better portion size. During the holidays I continue to exercise and try to have some days I eat healthy to offset those big Christmas meal days. I plan to run Christmas morning.

    • If someone makes no other change, simply drinking more water alone makes a big difference for the positive. Sleep is equal if not more important. On top of those, anything you do will help you stay physically healthy & even improve. Keep it up, Mark!

  5. Great post as always, Kari!

    The food we consume can defiantly impact our life. I'm trying to get into the habit of eating healthier foods and I already drink a lot of water (which has really allowed me to gain a lot of energy). The difficult part is getting into the habit of eating the right foods while avoiding the unhealthy foods.

    • Water is a great first step, Dan. Good job! For healthy eating, think small steps. Work on incorporating healthy foods (think whole foods and \”perimeter shopping\” for groceries). The more you eat healthy, the less you\’ll desire the unhealthy. It\’s not just about removing bad; need to add in good. Educate yourself on what\’s healthy. That helps too. Keep at it. There\’s even more energy to be found.

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