Satisfy Your Craving

When it comes to changing my eating habits I have trouble thinking about going without my favorite things.  When you tell yourself I am going to stop eating this or that it’s like your mind all of sudden goes into rebellion and you want to eat nothing but those foods you swore you would go without.  NYU clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller spoke with the Early Show on CBS about how to battle our food cravings.  One major setback for me is determining when I am actually hungry or when I just feel like eating.  Apparently they are two different things.  One is accompanied by physical symptoms telling your body you need food, the other may be triggered due to an event, feeling, or an emotion.

Like I said in an earlier post I am trying to replace certain things like candy with fruit because fruit is obviously better for me and more nutrient dense.  How about instead of just taking away your favorites try to substitute with something else that will satisfy the craving. Some great substitutions are, instead of going out for a nice cheesy pizza with pepperoni, we made our own personal pizzas with a whole wheat crust, lots of veggies and maybe a leaner  turkey pepperoni, and yes it was still good. Instead of ice cream, try a low-fat frozen yogurt. Forget the greasy potato chips and try some popcorn that you flavor yourself.  There are lots of alternatives, just put a little bit more effort, and the results are every bit as rewarding as the original. Mayo Clinic has an amazing guide that gives hundreds of healthier ingredient substitutions for your diet.

Seven Ways to Stay Healthy

Forbes has listed 7 Ways to Stay Healthy, yes even executives need help with healthier habits. Among these include helps not only in physical health but mental health as well. Tip #1 Reboot your brain with power naps, (mental health). Tip #2 Synchronize your biological clock with melatonin, (mental health). Tip #3 Enjoy being out in the sunlight, (physical health and mental health). Tip #4 Let food be your medicine, (physical health). Tip #5 Build in rest periods during your workout session, (physical health). Tip #6 Hug your family and friends (emotional and social health). Tip #7 Study to prevent age-related memory loss, (mental health).

Goals and Rewards=Motivation

I am still continuing to work on creating healthier lifestyle habits for myself and have made several posts about each of the areas of health. One thing that has helped was to create goals for myself.  I have set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date.  I have also set goals in the other areas of health as well such as reading my scriptures, spending more time with my family, and trying to get to bed earlier. Mayo Clinic has created Ten Tips for Success for Weightloss, I think the tips can apply to goals in other areas of health as well.

Another thing we should not forget to do is reward ourselves for a job well done.  If you took time to go for a walk to burn off some calories, reward yourself!  If you were able to meditate or ponder for a few minutes today to improve your spiritual health, reward yourself!  If you took time to strengthen a relationship to improve your social health, reward yourself!  If you made a goal of getting to bed earlier so you would be more alert and happy to improve your mental help, reward yourself!  All the health benefits you experience from changing your habits will be rewards in themselves but why not give extra incentive to help motivate. Rewarding yourself is especially important the first month as rewarding those first steps helps the new habit to be ingrained into your way of life. Make sure the reward does not go against the goal you are trying to accomplish!

Spiritual Health

For some, spiritual health is maintained through simple  meditation, others may embark on pilgrimages to sacred sites to prove devotion to their deity. However, not everyone has structure to their spirituality or even participates in some sort of recognized religion. Spiritual health is simply our beliefs, values, and what we believe our purpose in life is.

My faith is very important to me and I know that it gives me purpose and it also affects all areas of my health as well. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I do not drink coffee, or tea.  I do not drink or smoke.  I am trying to work on keeping my body healthier by eating healthier foods and exercising.  I also read the Book of Mormon the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants as the words in these books are uplifting and give me insight into what my purpose is on this earth and helps me in becoming the person I want to be. In conclusion, I know my spiritual health affects me not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Nourishing the soul is just as important as nourishing the mind and body. To learn more about how I maintain my spiritual health visit lds.org.

 

Family and Friends

It’s interesting how each category of our health affects all other categories in some way.  If we exercise we feel more energized and happier.  If we are stressed we have a tendency to overeat.  If we feel alone we tend to feel depressed. Our social health plays an important role in our overall health and aging process just as the other areas of health do. Think if you have ever been surrounded by friends and family. Have you felt more complete and happy being amongst people who love you and whom you trust? Human beings are naturally social. From birth we have a desire to be around others.  The relationships of children and parents, husbands and wives, and friends all require that we be the givers and receivers of the love and support that is necessary to our overall health as these relationships form our social support network.

Mayo clinic has listed some benefits of having a strong social support network. First, we feel a sense of belonging. Second, we have an increased sense of self-worth. Thirdly, we have a feeling of security knowing we have people to turn to in times of need. A study analyzed by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill determined that a social support network may add to longevity.  During the study those with friends, family, and community were 50% less likely to die during periods than those with sparse social support, survey finds.

Are You Hardy?

Stress is what you experience when you have to handle more than you are used to. Some people crumble under pressure, some people thrive.  The American Psychological Association published and article entitled “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Hardiness Helps People Turn Stressful Circumstances into Opportunities.” It discussed a study conducted by the University of Chicago involving major downsizing of employees that occurred with the Illinois Bell Telephone Company in 1981. During the before and after events of the downsizing it was determined that two-thirds of the employees suffered major physical and mental health problems and one-third actually thrived.  What difference did the researchers discover, the hardy group of employees held three similar characteristics: commitment, control, and challenge attitudes.

The study was significant because it showed that “hardiness enhances performance, leadership, conduct, stamina, mood, and both physical and mental health by giving people the courage and capability to turn adversity to advantage.” In regards to improving our mental health, let’s try some stress management. Practice stepping back from a situation, look at the bigger picture, and then rise to the challenge.

Zzzzz’s

As a busy full-time student, father of two children under the age of two, and someone who works an average of 25 hours a week sleep is not something I get a lot of.  In fact I don’t even remember the last time I had the luxury of getting a full eight hours of sleep with no interruptions.  Yet, sleep is critical to our health, not just to our physical health but our mental health as well. It affects our moods, it affects our decision-making, and our learning and memory as well. Harvard Medical School published an article entitled, “Importance of Sleep: Six reasons not to scrimp on sleep”.  In it are six reasons, and their explanations, of why we all need to make sure and get enough sleep. It also listed a survey they conducted which determined that more people were only getting six hours of sleep or less per night and that 75% of us are experiencing sleep difficulties at least a few nights per week.

Mayo Clinic has listed 10 great tips on how to catch some extra Zz’s.  One of the tips I found to be interesting as it described having a set routine each night before you go to sleep to let your body know it’s time to wind down.  It’s interesting that as a parent I have learned it is necessary to do that for infants and children. They need that kind of structure to help them understand they need to calm down because it is time for bed so we do the typical bath, bottle, book, and bed.  It is funny that adults kind of need the same regimen for a better night’s rest as well.