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6 Foundations of Health: Nourishment

There’s so much Diet Dogma out there, that I think it’s gotten incredibly challenging for people to be intuitive about what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. I believe our biggest struggles with food are that we are always making it about weight loss or weight gain, good food or bad food, and not about nutrition, nourishment or our own individual physiology.  

I wrote and re-wrote and edited this particular blog SO MANY TIMES because there is just a wealth of information to give you on food, on nourishment and on our modern relationship (or lack of relationship!) with our food chain.  But, I cut out all the complicated stuff because you guys get bombarded with info like that every day, and decided I’d share the most common misconceptions we come across with our clients.

 

Mistake 1: You don’t appreciate food as part of the Bigger Picture

The problem: you see food in a league of its own, and don’t correlate seemingly indirect symptoms with the how, what and when you’re eating.

The result: you eat whenever and whatever. Sugar laden foods are messing up your menstrual cycle, your 3pm chocolate and coffee habit wreaks havoc on your sleep, and having your biggest meal at night fuels your body for fat storing.

What you need to know: What, how and when people nourish themselves is almost always top priority because it will affect many other aspects of your health including:

·         Stress

·         Digestion

·         Circadian rhythm

·         Fungus and parasites

·         Energy levels

·         Immune system

·         Training capacity and recovery

I hope by now this blog series has helped you appreciate food is only a slither of what guides your health to spectacular or satisfactory. However, we do place emphasis on nutrition and hydration as the principal drivers to reclaiming and maintaining spectacular health. You literally rebuild your body’s cells from the food you eat, and so what you’re choosing to fuel yourself with is an important responsibility.

 

Mistake 2: You’ve Got Portion Distortion

The problem: you’ve fallen victim to the “Super Size Me” mentality and believe that bigger is better, or you’re not actually even sure what a “serving size” is.

The result: In a nutshell, you eat whatever is in front of you.

What you need to know: Observe the signs that show you're satiated, rather than just eating everything on your plate for the hell of it. Measure, weigh and count your food just for a few days so you can learn to eyeball your meals and know your portions are roughly within the following guidelines:

 

 

Mistake 3: You define yourself by way of a Dogmatic Dietary Discipline

The problem: You’ve fallen in love with a food philosophy you aspire to and you’re following all the rules – so now you’re Keto/Paleo/Primal/Vegan/Vegetarian/Pescatarian/ a Weston A Price disciple/Rawtarian/Fruitarian/LCHF and you’ve cut out food groups on the basis that they don’t fit in with these rules  

The result: Your attachment to food labels and someone else’s food philosophies and rules could be creating a disconnection from what your body really needs.

What you need to know: Emma Sgourakis, The Nutrition Coach, sums this up well when she says: “Nutrition wasn’t meant to be religion.  It should be based purely on your biological and metabolic needs, to nourish, fuel, replenish, repair, build and satiate, to function optimally and asymptomatically, whatever that needs to be for YOU. And that’s it.”

Here’s Emma’s list of check-ins to see if your “way of eating” is right for you:

Feel balanced, satisfied, in control and free of cravings

Experience streamline, efficient, quiet digestion (food in, nutrients absorbed, tummy flat, waste out)

Have deep, restorative, uninterrupted sleep and wake replenished

Maintain a core body temperature of at least 36.6° through the day and a resting pulse between 75-85  

Glide through your monthly cycles comfortably  (without menstrual tension or any other hormonal discomforts or fertility struggles)

Maintain a healthy weight and natural muscle tone without extreme exercise and your body retains no unnecessary fat stores  (especially not around the belly – equates to adrenaline excess; or on the back – equates to excess estrogen)

Have joints that are supple and agile

Have a temperament that is calm, content; mind is clear and focused (not plagued by anxiety or tension)

Experience consistent energy

Have nails that are smooth, un-ridged, gently curved, spotless and strong

Have a strong appetite from the moment you wake up

Manage stress well and recover from exercise painlessly

Are able to live happily, eat out on occasion, socialize and still feel great (without food-related stress or obsession)

For more on this topic, see Emma’s article, ‘lose the labels: listen to your body’ http://www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/real-food/lose-the-labels-listen-to-your-body/

 

Mistake 4: You’re being monitored by The Food Police

The problem: You’re always on a diet. The Food Police constantly shout negative words and guilt-provoking indictments because you're "good" for eating under 1200 calories or "bad" because you ate a piece of chocolate.

The result: you’re in a constant state of deprivation, you calorie count, have unrealistic and restrictive dietary guidelines and are in a constant cycle of falling off the band wagon, binge eating and then proclaiming you’ll start again on Monday.

What you need to know: A diet always insinuates a short term effort to "lose weight", not an ongoing lifestyle change which can affect every facet of your life and discovery of yourself (which is SO much more than just weight loss). Calorie counting apps, meal plans and dogmatic dietary philosophies do not teach you this. It keeps you constantly outsourcing the connection between you and your body's signals, and your overarching relationship with food (from a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual perspective). If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings, binge eating and then guilt! It’s a vicious cycle. Don’t lose faith – you’re not alone and you can change this mentality with some empowering education. One of our female clients completed our 21 Days of Change program where she honed in on some of her food and lifestyle patterns and commented “I would say that I've always calorie counted, punished myself by skipping meals if I ate something considered bad/ binged on chocolate or ice cream and never ever (despite being constantly nagged by my mum to eat more vegetables) viewed my food as fuel. I just factored in eating naughty things and then would skip the substantial meals to compensate for it. After doing this 21 days and seeing that I can eat good portion sizes and be totally satiated to the point that (generally) I am not craving the sugar and junk is actually amazing. And to see my figure changing and becoming leaner in the process is even more amazing. Plus I've probably cooked more in these 21 days than I ever have before!!!! I'll never go back to having such a screwed up relationship with food ever again.”

 

Mistake 5: You eat at your desk, in front of a screen or on the run    

The problem: you think that the most dedicated, effective workers are constantly available and on-task, and that taking a lunch break is counterproductive.

The result: this is counterproductive to obtaining great health! You have little to no passion or presence of mind about the creative or spiritual connection to food and you miss out on the experience of eating and therefore the satisfaction factor.

What you need to know: Research shows that there are tremendous performance advantages to stepping away from your computer and even more plusses if you can get outside.

“Taking a break from cognitively taxing work improves creative thinking,” says Kimberly Elsbach, Professor of Management at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Davis, “and everybody’s job has a creative component, such as problem-solving, managing teams or finding creative solutions.

“For creative thinking, one of the most restorative environments is a natural environment,” she says. So – get outside!

Furthermore, according to data collected using the time-tracking and productivity app ‘DeskTime’, the most productive 10 percent of its users were those who took regular breaks that lasted about 17 minutes each. So for optimal performance at work and better health, step away from your desk and be mindful about your eating.

I encourage you, to at least ONCE, take 6 minutes to do this Guided Eating Meditation to give you a greater appreciation for the foods you eat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaEeXsDEwEo   

 

Mistake 6: It’s not hunger driving your desire to eat     

The problem: you keep getting tricked by the 3 facades of hunger: MCC, thirst, emotional avoidance.

The result: you’re constantly snacking or eating because you think you’re hungry and because the clock is telling you to eat, but you are missing the basic physiological signs of hunger.

What you need to know: “Being hungry is like being in love, if you don’t know, you’re probably not” (a quote by Geenen Roth).

If you're hungry, drink 250ml of water, wait 20mins and see if you're still actually hungry. 

The Migrating Motor Complex (MMC): If you hear your stomach growling it's probably this process happening, not signs of physical hunger! This is the "guy" who comes in and sweeps your digestive system. He cleans up all the stuff, like indigestible food & any bacteria, from the small intestine and into the colon. So you can get ready to poop it out! He comes and does his job about every 2 hours and he can ONLY work during fasting. His job is interrupted when you eat. So if you consume any food while he's working - he stops straight away and doesn't finish the job! That's why a fasting period of some sort is crucial, and grazing constantly throughout the day isn't ideal for most people because it stops the MMC process (this can lead to IBS symptoms and other bacterial problems). 

Last but not least, honour your feelings without using food - find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life and food won't fix any of these feelings.

 

Mistake 7: You’re making healthy eating complicated.

The problem: powders, potions and pills, superfoods you’re cupboard has it all but you have no idea what to do with it all. You’re constantly trying to decipher ingredients on packaged foods, of words you can’t pronounce, bamboozled if it’s a food or a product and every meal you make has to look “insta-worthy”.

The result: You’re taking the Masterchef of Superfoods to the extreme and you’ve forgotten the K.I.S.S. principle.

What you need to know: Your K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sally) Checklist:

Check point 1: Is it off a tree, from the ground or from an animal?

Check Point 2: Is it made up of one ingredient?

You should be able to answer “yes” to both of these questions!

Let’s use the example of, an apple. Check Point 1: Yes! It’s from a tree. Check point 2: Yes! An apple is made up of one ingredient – apple!

Food first. Not powders, potions pills or supplements. Get the basics right and then you can delve into the greater hierarchy of sourcing grass fed meats, organic plants and foods with greater vitality.

In summary, challenge yourself and question your beliefs. Be informed.  Get educated on the basics of the human body and its digestive system.  Read, read, read and look for independently funded scientific research (as opposed to industry funded research). Do all this, then listen to your body and see how it responds.

Always bring it back to physiology and keep things specific to you.  And if you’ve become too confused by it all and don’t know where to begin, that’s where I can help.

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Your Core

YOUR CORE or 'INNER UNIT' provides the necessary joint stabilization for the spine.

Without your inner unit, we do not have an activate stress relief process to support our spine, pelvis, and joint structures in the body.

Stress on the body creates (in time) an environment that leads to many orthopedic injuries and muscle imbalance.

One active way we can to help reduce such stressors, improve posture and the general visual appearance, is to stop all crunch and/or sit-up type exercises until you become proficient at activating your inner unit.

With inner unit dysfunction being extremely common in today's working and exercising population, it is safe to assume that everyone needs to start with novice exercises, even the most elite of athletes.

 

Muscles of the Inner Unit

  • The basic inner unit consists of the following four muscles: „
  • Diaphragm  
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Multifidus „
  • Pelvic floor „
Inner Unit cross section

Transverse Abdominis

The transverse abdominis (TV) is the deepest, innermost layer of all abdominal muscles. Consider the TV as your body’s personal weight belt. When the TV contracts it causes hoop tension around your midsection like a girdle or corset.

The transverse abdominis will, if working properly, contract before any of your extremities move. If the TV does not tighten up, acting as a girdle around your waist, your spine and pelvis are at higher risk of injury.

If the spine is unstable the nervous system will not recruit the extremity muscles (outer unit) efficiently and assist with functional movement correctly. For example, if you bend over to pick up the laundry basket and your transverse abdominis does not activate properly, this leads to all stabilization occurring at the segmental (one-joint) level. This stress eventually leads to overload of the segmental stabilizers and—BANG! You have massive lower back pain.

This occurs because the segments of your spine tighten down but the gross stabilizer (transverse abdominis) does not leave the segments to work on their own. They cannot provide enough muscular strength at the segmental level to withstand such a movement.

 

Now can you imagine lifting weights, grabbing a suitcase off the conveyor belt, or reaching overhead to get down a box of heavy tapes? When the transverse abdominis does not work properly the joints will begin early degeneration, leading to many orthopedic problems. To activate the transverse abdominis (pictured above), draw your belly button up and in toward your spine. This activation should be done before bending over or reaching overhead, especially with heavy loads.

Multifidus

The next muscle we must look at is the multifidus. This muscle lies deep in the spine, spanning three joint segments. The multifidus works to provide joint stabilization at each segmental level. Each vertebra needs stiffness and stability to work effectively to reduce degeneration of joint structures.

Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is our next set of muscles that spans the area underneath the pelvis. It is important for the pelvic floor and the inner unit to work properly. In many cases because of operations such as hernias, hysterectomies, and C-section childbirth, the inner unit muscles have been cut, reducing communication to the pelvic floor. By doing simple yet important exercises we can re-establish communication, tighten and tone the muscle group, prevent or diminish incontinence, leakage, and pelvic dysfunction.

Diaphragm

Each of these three muscles, plus the diaphragm, are the target of inner unit conditioning.

 

Basic Exercises to Improve the Inner Unit

4-point Tummy (Transverse) Vacuum (4PTV)

The 4PTV is great for isolating the transverse abdominis, for correcting “pooch belly,” and reconnecting to the nervous system. It is a valuable skill to learn for pre-surgery preparation, post-surgery rehabilitation and general trunk stabilization. Surgical procedures such as caesarean section and hernia, the muscles, nerves, and tissues are cut, causing a loss of neurological impulse (your brain tries to call your muscles to wake them up, but the muscles don’t answer!). Lack of neural drive to the core muscles is one reason for the belly hanging out. Certain exercises can help reconnect the nervous and muscular systems so your “pooch belly” gets the message from the brain loud and clear and pulls those muscles in.

Note: Using a dowel rod can help you keep good neutral exercise posture and provide biofeedback. (As the rod touches different parts of your body, it makes you aware of your body position.) If you use the dowel technique, place the rod along your spine, making sure the back of your head, upper back, and tailbone are in contact with the rod.

Position

Get down on all fours as though you were going to crawl. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.

Movement

Inhale and let the transverse abdominis hang out toward the floor (diagram A)

Exhale, drawing the belly button in toward the spine. Avoid any spinal movement during this exercise such as contracting the glutes, hamstrings, or external rotators (diagram B).

 

Vertical Horse Stance (VHS)

The VHS integrates the stabilizer muscles of your spine with the other muscles of the inner unit.

Very much like the 4 Point Tummy Vacuum, the VHS targets the inner unit muscles multifidus, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis and diaphragm. After mastering the isolated 4PTV, it is important to then start to integrate supple movements to allow the nervous system to link spinal stability and movement.

Position

Get down on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your elbows slightly bent. Your knees should be directly beneath your hips at a 90-degree angle.

Movement

Raise your left hand and right knee approximately 1/4 centimetre off the ground (that’s about the thickness of a credit card. The right knee is also raised slightly off the matt. Hold this position for 10 seconds.

Repeat with the right hand and left knee.

Alternate back and forth until you have done the exercise for a total of 2 minutes. To help you with proper exercise duration, use a kitchen timer. Do not let your hamstrings flex the lower leg toward the ceiling. Ensure that your pelvis does not shift into the hip that is in contact with the ground.

 

Blood Pressure Cuff

Note: This exercise requires a blood pressure cuff.

A great integration exercise for the inner unit, lower abdominals, and lower extremities (your outer unit).

Position

Lie supine (back down, face up) on the floor with your shoes off. Bend your hips and knees, placing your heels about 20 cm from the buttocks. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Place a blood pressure cuff under your lumbar spine. Pump the cuff up to 40 mm Hg and take a deep diaphragmatic breath.

Movement

Slowly exhale and draw your belly button in toward your spine.

Slowly slide the left leg out, away from the starting position. There should be very little movement of the blood pressure cuff needle. If the pressure on the cuff begins to increase or decrease by more than 5 mm Hg, stop the movement and slide your leg back to the beginning position. Make a note of the distance. The distance is now your ending point. The goal is to extend your leg farther out without the blood pressure cuff changing its reading. The farther you can extend your leg, the better the integration of your inner unit and outer unit. Repeat for the opposite leg.

Repeat for 10 reps at a slow pace for each leg. Do not rush this exercise, aim to do this exercise daily until you can alternate sliding each leg in and out, keeping the blood pressure cuff at 40 mm Hg.

 

After doing inner unit exercises for a while you should notice your lower abdominal region feeling tighter and firmer.

Although the exercises may seem simple from looking at the diagrams here, they are actually very technical and must be executed with exact precision. These exercises are only a small sample of the number of inner unit exercises available but, when done correctly, they are sufficient to make a noticeable difference in the way your body functions.

To get the most from the inner unit exercises shown here it is suggested that the exercises be done 3-4 times per week as an individual workout. To get the best results from these exercises while continuing with a traditional gym program, holisticlifestylecoaching.com.au  suggest you stop all crunch and sit-up exercises and replace them with the exercises demonstrated here.

Always perform an inner unit exercise as the last exercise of your training session, i.e. perform one exercise after each workout. Alternate through the exercises, giving either the 4 Point Tummy Vacuum or the Vertical Horse Stance exercises a go after each training session.

Note: More advanced Horse Stance exercises are always available in a specific client program, to book a consultation & assessment please contact brad@hlc123.com.au

 

Join us next month for a look at the outer unit and the relationship it has between the inner unit and function.

 

 

 

References
1. BOGDUK, N. Et TOWMEY, L. (1987)
Clinical Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine. Churchill Livingstone.
2. RICHARDSON, C., JULL, G., HODGES, P. HIDES, J. (1999)
Therapeutic Exercise. For Spinal Stabilisation in Low Back Pain. Churchill Livingstone.
3. CHEK, P. (1999)
Scientific Core Conditioning Video Correspondence Course. Encinitas: C.H.E.K Institute.
4. CHEK, P. (1999)
The Golf Biomechanic's Manual -Whole In One Golf Conditioning. Encinitas: C.H.E.K Institute.
5. CHEK, P. (1994)
Scientific Back Training Video Correspondence Course. Encinitas: C.H.E.K Institute

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Strength Training Just For Girls

Strength Training For Females Pic.jpg

VIRTUALLY EVERYONE—young and old, male or female—has a deep desire to improve his or her life. 

However, many people have orthopedic problems that prevent them from improving their bodies. These problems occur from a lack of core stabilization and strength, leading to poor posture.

Our bodies were designed to withstand many environmental conditions. 

The ability to stabilize our core musculature is vital to our existence. Our ancient ancestors could not afford to have back pain. They needed to function on a basic level that involved moving rocks, building shelter, climbing mountains, or running after food. If they had a bad back or poor core stabilization and strength, their likelihood of survival would have been deeply diminished.

Core Stabilization and Strength

Our core musculature contributes to vital functions within our bodies and enables us to perform simple to complex tasks. Without good control or stabilization and a thorough understanding of what contributes to core stabilization and strength, we can fall prey to many of modern society’s ailments.

Lower back pain is one of the number one patient complaints throughout physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics throughout Australia & America.

Many problems and orthopedic injuries result from poor core stabilization and strength and unfortunately it seems females are at a higher risk of suffering such injuries. 

Evidence shown in a study by James Zachazewki (1996), saw that over 43% of women have a lack of strength in the lower abdominals, lumbar erectors and pelvic floor muscles.

However, women (of all ages) who participated in a regular weight-training program reduced these incidences to only 4%.

A weight-training program enables the body to communicate better and increase strength and stabilization. Young women can further benefit from a weight training program, which can improve balance, increase lean muscle mass, influence self confidence and of course improve self image.

Note: If you would like more information on how weight training and core conditioning aid older, adolescent, and pregnant or postpartum women, contact; brad@hlc123.com.au

Our first look must be with the functional anatomy of our core musculature. Being able to understand the benefits of a good core conditioning program is the difference to long term and successful posture and health. A core conditioning program will decrease the likelihood of back and neck pain, incontinence, ruptured disks, muscle and ligament strains, all while improving posture.

Join us next month as we explore and start to understanding the complexity of our core and how it relates to overall function. We will look at how important it is for all strength programs to address the inner and outer unit and how they work in harmony......☯

 

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6 Foundations Of Health

Holistic Lifestyle Coaching use the Foundation of Health principles (originally developed by Paul Chek) to encourage our clients to look beyond just the physical aspects of health and fitness. Your daily lifestyle choices play a key role in how you will look and feel in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Read the below checklist and see how many out of the 6 foundations you implement on a daily basis.1. Thoughts

Your actions originate from your thoughts, and so these are what reinforce your success in achieving greater health.

1. Thoughts

Get Clear on What You Want

Being clear on what you need and where you’re headed means you can prioritise your day. When’s the last time you wrote down your deepest desires? Write down 2-3 clear goals today and the associated action steps with those goals and start striving for what really makes your heart sing. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

Think Before You Buy

Your time, energy and money are the biggest investments you make on a daily basis. What are you really supporting with your daily choices, and do these investments strengthen the goals you’ve written down? Get real about the choices you’re making for short term gratification and start thinking about what you really want in 10 years from now.

Take Responsibility

You are at the helm and your health and well-being are YOUR responsibility. It doesn’t matter who gives you advice or what the status quo is – do your own research and make educated decisions at how these things will affect your body and your life. 

Cut the Noise

The glorification of being busy is a modern day paradigm that is leading us to being the most stressed we’ve ever been. How can you cut the noise and quiet the monkey mind? Find a form of meditation that works for you - gardening, dancing, drawing, walking in nature, being still, deep belly breathing - anything that is non-goal orientated and frees the mind from analytical thinking. 

2. Breathing

Most of us are constantly in a stressful state and tend to over-breathe through the mouth or take shallow breaths, which both wreak havoc on your nervous system and your body’s primary mechanisms.

Breathe with the Belly

If you’re stressed and you’ve got neck and back pain, you’re probably not breathing right! Take a couple of minutes every day to sit still and consciously breathe. Slow your breath down to 3 seconds inhale (breathe into the belly and let the rib cage expand), 3 second pause, 3 second exhale, 3 second pause. This exercise can be done at night before going to sleep as it’s a great way to calm the nervous system and massage your internal organs.

Buy a foam roller and a trigger point ball

Self-myofascial release tools like foam rollers and massage balls or trigger point balls are a great tool to help provide relief from knots or areas of tightness in your body. It’s a great way to physically de-stress the body so it can work more efficiently!
Foam rollers for example, have been designed to allow for optimal opening up of the ribcage which can improve posture and breathing mechanics. We recommend people perform the “Long Lie” on the roller while practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing like the technique above.

3. Hydration

Nothing beats water

Two main things here to consider are: chlorine and fluoride. Tap water is chlorinated and chlorine kills bacteria. When you drink chlorinated water, it’ll start killing the bacteria in your body. Friendly bacteria are very, very sensitive to chemicals and can’t survive them well, but the unfriendly bacteria are really tough and they can take a beating. The more tap water you drink, the more likely you are to create a dysbiosis which is an imbalance of pathogenic bacteria in the body

Secondly, fluoride has been touted as a hero for building strong teeth – but it only works when applied topically, not ingested orally.

This also counts for showers and not just your drinking water - Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and absorbs all you expose it to.

So make sure your source of water is from a pure source like Evian, Fiji, Nobles Pureau Pure Water, San Pellegrino Sparkling water or use a quality water filter, like a Reverse Osmosis filter, placed on your tap. Look to see if there is a mineral content label on your water (looks like a nutritional panel), if the total dissolved solids are around 200-300, then you're drinking good water! If it doesn't have a label like this, then you're missing out on all the natural minerals in your water too.  

Tap Water vs Filtered Water

How Much?

Drink 0.033 L per kg of body weight per day, (ie 3% x 60 will give you your intake in litres per day, if you weight 60 kg). Add an extra litre for every coffee or workout. 

Add Sea Salt

Celtic or Himalayan salt has a high mineral content with about 90 essential nutrients present. This is unlike table salt, which has been stripped of all of the nutrients during processing. The mineral content within sea salt helps hold more of the water inside your body because it assists with the uptake of water into your cells. This is really important in staying hydrated.

Hydrate - don’t Dehydrate!

Fizzy drinks, juices, sports drinks, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks will use more water to digest them than the amount of water they put into your body. They dehydrate you, not re-hydrate you.

4. Nutrition

With our Holistic Lifestyle Coaching clients we address nutrition as one of the first areas of priority, because this foundation will affect all other aspects of your health: stress, digestion, circadian rhythm, fungus & parasites, energy levels, immune system, and your training capacity and recovery. You literally rebuild your body’s cells from the food you eat, and so what you’re choosing to fuel yourself with is an important responsibility.

Cut the CRAP!

C- Carbohydrates (processed)

R- Refined Foods

A- Additives

P- Preservatives

A golden rule to follow when it comes to your nutrition: THE LESS HUMAN INTERFERENCE, THE BETTER! If it comes in a packet it’s a product, not a food.

Go Local, Go Organic and Get Pastured

Healthy soil makes healthy plants; healthy plants make healthy animals; and healthy animals and plants make healthy human beings. Making sure you know the source of your food is an important step towards taking responsibility for your health.

Seek out small local farmers. Get to know the people sourcing or growing your food and speak to them. Ask questions! Find out what farming methods they use and what feed they use for their animals. Pastured animals who have eaten the way they are designed to eat will always trump grain-fed.

The vitamin, mineral and enzyme content are high in truly organic food and these are extremely important for creating a healthy body. You could spend all year counting calories and meeting your daily quota of fats, proteins and carbs, but these macro-nutrients are not a single measure of true nutrition.

5. Movement

Holistic Lifestyle Coaching uses training techniques that build lean muscle tissue (to increase your metabolism), increase your heart rate (which increases heart health) & use functional movement patterns (which will assist your body in everyday tasks).

How much and how often?

We recommend 30 minutes of formal movement every single day, with 30 minutes of intense exercise 2-4 x per week. For most people, workouts lasting longer than 30 minutes tend to deplete the body and will have you training under fatigue which can encourage poor form.  Keep it short and efficient, and you should have your warm up, workout and core movements done within 45 minutes. 

Holistic Lifestyle Coaching uses circuit style sessions with compound resistance training and our methods are vital for everyone as they promote:

Lean muscle tissue and muscle mass

Metabolism

Growth hormone and testosterone

Bone mineral content and density

Work capacity

Joint stability

Cardiovascular fitness

Flexibility- functional range of motion

Be Balanced

Over exercising with complexity, load or duration will only make the whole process take longer, only do what you have the capacity to recover from. Essentially, exercise is still a stress and you can only get the benefits from the stress stimulus if you’re committed to the other lifestyle components included here.

What Does YOUR Body Need?

Our bodies are a physical expression of every choice we have made since we’ve entered the world. The body will always mould itself around what you do with it, so ask yourself what does your body do in a 24 hour period? Do you drive to work, sit in a chair 8-10 hours a day, drive home and then sit on the couch to watch TV? Then your body will become a result of those environments, usually affecting posture and your ability to move correctly without risk of injury because it will be slouched and restricted. All of Holistic Lifestyle Coaching session’s combine stretches and strengthening exercises that pull the body into proper alignment

6. Circadian Rhythm

Sleep and wake with the Sun.

Turn OFF!

Our lifestyle of late night television and artificial lights make it easy to forget that our bodies are in rhythm with the light and dark cycles of day and night. In the evenings it is important to not over stimulate the mind or body so it is best to start winding down from 8pm onwards. This means switching your phone to airplane mode, staying off your computer and turning off the TV.  When the sun starts to fade it’s time to unwind so that by 10pm you’re ready to sleep.

When you’re sleeping your body repairs and regenerates all the systems of your body, so you can work to your optimum again the following day. The body uses your sleep phase to go through important cycles including detoxification and rebuilding of cells. Why would you want to cheat yourself out of these vital processes? Get to bed before 10pm, and rise with the sun the next morning.

Circadian Rhythm.png

Get in the Sun

Did you know washing yourself with soap after being in the sun can limit your Vitamin D absorption? The synthesis of Vitamin D comes from the fatty acid secretions in the skin so you want to avoid washing the sun exposed skin with soap for up to 48 hrs after getting sun. Washing the skin will wash away the Vitamin D before it enters circulation.  

Getting adequate Vitamin D is essential for health. The easiest way to increase your Vitamin D levels is to get two 15-30 minute sunbathing sessions per week in the middle of the day. This can be broken up into 10-20 minutes daily, but usually shorter is not going to get a decent response and longer than 30 minutes is unadvised because of the risk of getting burnt.

 

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3 Keys to a Healthy Holiday Season by Paul Chek

When we think of the end-of-year holidays, usually we don’t think of them as being very healthy.

For some, holidays become obligations to spend time with people who drive us nuts. For others, feelings of loneliness or disconnection may drive us to fill that void with something. For the corporate giants of the world, they use holidays as leverage to get you to spend money on stuff you really don’t need.

Instead of celebrating what Christmas was intended to be — a holy day — it has become an expensive custom attached to the socio-cultural expectations of gifts (the kind you purchase). In fact, with today’s economy as it is, many people dread the approach of Christmas.

For those with food and alcohol addictions, Christmas and New Years are times when people give themselves permission to ignore their needs and dive head-long into their wants.

To give yourself a healthy holiday season, you need to be clear on what that concept truly means.

Key 1: Prioritizing Your Health

For you to be healthy during the holiday season is to be balanced. The healthy person or athlete is someone who can efficiently change direction because he or she has the internal resources and balance to do so.

Sadly, some people’s wants so overpower their needs — anything essential to maintaining one’s health and vital wellbeing — it can take weeks, months, or even years for their bodies to recover from the holidays. Once we meet our needs, only then can our wants be supported.

A healthy body is one that functions without pain or limitations. Conversely, the healthy, balanced mind is one that can entertain many ideas, even opposing ones. The healthy soul is one that makes room for others, and to love them!

Key 2: Celebrating Holidays

However, holidays aren’t limited to the ones we celebrate at year’s end. The word holiday is the fusion of the words holy and day. Viewed in religious terms, holy means coming from God. For our purposes, holy really means whole.

Think of something that is whole as equal to, and greater than, the sum of its parts. A holiday is a whole day in which you can celebrate life as something bigger and more beautiful than the sum of its parts.

So how can you do that? First, you must take care of the garbage in your life. You may not like taking out the garbage, but if you don’t, you won’t enjoy being in your home for very long as it will start stinking and attract bugs. The act of taking out the garbage, even when you don’t like it, creates a wholeness in which you can really enjoy your home.

Likewise, if we drink, smoke and eat more than we can efficiently and effectively eliminate, we begin to smell (think stinky poop) and attract bugs! Instead of creating wholeness, abusing a holiday can be the start of a long period of misery.

Creating division is no way to celebrate a Holy day. Keeping it Holy is keeping it whole! To be whole is to be better than the parts.

Key 3: Harmonizing With the Seasons

Above all, seasons represent change. New Year’s resolutions are commitments to necessary change.

Mother Nature teaches us that all life is in a constant state of change, which is exemplified by winter, spring, summer and fall because we are truly creatures of change!

If change weren’t part of her nature, our world would be in trouble. What if snow never melted? What if it stayed hot all the time and the forests and soil dried out? What if fruit never stopped falling off trees? Can you imagine all the flies, bugs, rot and stench?

During seasonal changes, I am reminded that Mother Nature, our Mother, is flexible and adaptable to change and never dogmatic. The seasons give the gift of a variety of weather environments that favor different biological rhythms and activities.

In summer, we hike and bike on ski trails, and, in the winter, we ski on them. During the summer, we are attracted to foods with higher water content as a means of cooling our bodies. In the fall and winter months, we become more drawn to foods filled with fats, protein and carbohydrates, which help keep us warm and insulated.

If you don’t adjust your dietary needs to your body’s instincts, which are driven by seasonal influences, you will have a far more difficult time adapting to change and are far more likely to become obese and sick!

Choosing how you enjoy a healthy, holiday season is up to you. Spent wisely, holidays serve as reminders:

  • To reconnect to our instincts.
  • To rekindle our relationships.
  • To be willing to change.
  • To allow the totality of you to adapt and harmonize effectively.

Choose Balance This Holiday Season

Enjoy a healthy holiday season by making your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs top priorities before your wants! In this way, you can truly experience Holy days as they were meant to be.

I use holidays as reminders to attend to my personal needs, knowing that they are best harmonized with Nature’s needs.

My priority is to maintain a healthy balanced body, mind and spirit so that every day is a holy day. I nurture my relationships with the awareness that they are mine.

I welcome seasonal changes by eating foods that grow during that specific time of year. During the winter season, I go to bed earlier because of decreased sunlight, and spend more time in quiet introspection.

That said, I sincerely wish all of you a Healthy (balanced) Holiday (whole) Season (period of necessary change)!

Love and chi,

Paul

See more at: http://chekinstitute.com/blog/3-keys-to-a-healthy-holiday-season/?inf_contact_key=9c9abe0505d7625821beb4a56037144802b4717f484f4f17df1c329ce1eb9365#sthash.eZ8g3uxn.dpuf

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