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Vitalism: Inspiration for 2020 and beyond

I don't really do New Years resolutions these days, I have some goals that I aim for, but I don't like to do anything drastic. For one, because I don't like to set myself up for failure, and two, because I like the idea of healthy living all year round, so I don't use January 1st as my only time to do that. If anything, it marks a new year and a fresh start. Am I really going to cut out sugar for a month? Am I really not going to eat any bad carbs? I'd like to lose 5-10 pounds but do I really want to put that pressure on myself and feel bad about myself if I don't? No. No I don't. I just want to FEEL GOOD and be able to have plenty of energy to be a great mom and wife and to do all the things I want to do.


So while I don't have any per say, resolutions, I was really inspired from a podcast I listened to last week from Dr. Ryan Sousley. The podcast is Win Your Health and the episode was 5 Ways to Heal Inflammation. I highly recommend it - there was so much good functional knowledge and health inspiration I gained from it. But what I loved the most was how he talked about Vitalism, which is what I'm going for in 2020 and beyond. He says,


"Give the body what it needs to function optimally and then trust that it's going to manifest optimal health. Vitalism is believing that the body has amazing health potential inside of it and just removing the interference by giving the body what it needs: proper nutrition, proper hydration, proper thinking and psychology, no interference in the nervous system... Proper exercise. All the above. And by doing that you put the body in the position where you have to manifest good health"

He gives the analogy of a lawn. If you give the lawn everything it needs to be healthy: proper sunlight, healthy soil, hydration - there's no way the lawn isn't going to be nice and green. There's not a magic formula - that IS the magic formula. The same goes for our body.


I'm just in the beginning stages of aging and body aches and injuries, but sometimes it feels like I'm waiting for the next thing to go wrong - it's always something. A sore knee or hip or foot, a cold, a headache. But I think we forget to give our body the credit it deserves. It really is an amazing system. Your body is made to heal itself, which is really quite miraculous. I'm not saying there isn't a need for medicine or medical interference, but I do think that a lot of times pills and medication can mask problems which could be solved by giving the body what it needs in other areas and/or removing interferences like he says.


Let's go into detail on those areas Dr. Sousley talks about in giving the body what it needs.


Proper Nutrition

I'm not even close to being a doctor, but I can tell a HUGE difference in the way I feel based on my diet. I can tell a huge difference in my kids based on what they are eating. It affects mood, energy, performance, sleep, mental clarity, bloating. Do I think we'd all be better off with no sugar? Yes. (And studies show.) Is that realistic? No. I mean, not for me. I like to eat and I like to eat delicious food. And many times that delicious food has sugar. I'm more of a 90/10 or 80/20 kind of a gal. Or at least that's what I shoot for. The old saying "Moderation is key," really seems to apply to a lot in life. Do I think we'd all feel better if we ate a hell of a lot more of vegetables? Yes. Yes I do. I eat a lot of vegetables, but I know I probably need more. If we all at least paid more attention to our diets and how the things we eat make us feel, I know it would solve a multitude of our health problems. And let's be real - our kids our watching what we are eating, so if we want them to be healthier - we need to be the example.


Proper Hydration

Honestly, what is our excuse for not drinking enough water? At least where we live, there is clean drinking water at our disposal pretty much wherever we go. An article from the NY Times says it well,

"Every bodily process, every living cell, depends on water to function properly. Water transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs, supports the structure of cells and tissues and preserves cardiovascular function. People can survive for only three or four days — a week at most — without water. But more to the point is the quality of survival. Inadequate hydration can cause fatigue, poor appetite, heat intolerance, dizziness, constipation, kidney stones and a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Brain effects include mood shifts, muddled thinking, inattentiveness and poor memory."

I mean, we all know this stuff. This is such a simple one we can all be so much better at. I'm not sure what the current recommendation is but I like to follow the rule of drinking half your body weight in ounces. Go fill up your water bottle, and never leave the house without it.


Proper Thinking + Psychology

Our minds are freaking amazing. And they have so much more of an affect on us than we give them credit for. Positive thoughts as well as negative thoughts. Dr. Ali Miller, another podcaster I listen to, explains it great in a recent podcast she did.


"There's a concept called nocebo, which means you can inflict harm with negative thoughts. There's been research studies that identify negative thoughts as causing physiological influence in the body and perpetuating a chronic stress response. In one of these studies, chemo patients thought they were being given chemotherapy but it was actually just saline. They were aware of all the side effects chemotherapy can have and over 60% of the patients in the study vomited and over 30% of them experienced hair loss.

Wow. That shows how detrimental negative thoughts and stress can be to our bodies. When your mind is not at ease, it's called dis-ease. Which can translate to disease in the body. We all need to set ourselves up for success and have positive thoughts. When my kids get anxiety or distressed about something, it's usually during times when Josh or myself are having anxiety or stress about something. We are modeling to those around us - those little eyes are watching and those ears are listening. Say 3 nice things about yourself right now:)


Proper Exercise

Our bodies are meant to MOVE. It's common knowledge that you're more likely to die from the effects of sitting than dying in a car crash. There's not one exercise program that works for everyone, but it definitely involves moving. For me it's a combo of weights, cardio (I like to cycle and run), and yep, you guessed it - YOGA. When we sit, we don't get our blood circulating and we aren't moving in all the ways we are meant to move. When you don't move your body in certain ways, your body thinks you don't need to move it that way and it, in a sense, turns those movements off. Sometimes scar tissue can build up and things just get stuck in that area.


Have you ever had to re-train a muscle in physical therapy? I had to retrain my Vastus Medialis quad muscle awhile back. That muscle not activating was contributing to my knee pain. The point is, move your body in all the ways it was meant to move so everything can flow on the inside and the body can function the way it should. Whether that be yoga or not, make sure you're extending, flexing, and twisting the spine, as well as activating your muscles, and moving your joints. (Obviously, I'm partial. I have to say, yoga definitely helps with being more body aware more than some other types of movement. And I think a lot of people these days could use more body awareness.)


For the most part, just being more active throughout your day and sitting less will increase your health MONUMENTALLY. Add in the strength training and other body work and you're set your body up for success.


Final Thoughts

Move your body.

Drink more water.

Eat healthier.

Think positive.


And if you sit at your computer all day, or drink more ounces of coffee than water, or eat ice cream for dinner, or beat yourself up with negative thoughts after one of these days...

Wake up.

Start over.

Give yourself some grace. (We are all human!)

And make your NEXT choice a better one for your health.


Cheers! Raise your glass (of water) to VITALISM in 2020 and beyond!


Namaste XOXO

Allie









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