Balance: Clean Eating is Crucial, BUT It Is Not Enough
There is no doubt that a significant change in nutrition is key for weight loss, reversal of disease states, managing health issues, and more. But an ancestral-inspired lifestyle for healthy living is about other key areas as well, and we address all of these in our program.
Other Areas To Consider
In addition to a clean eating approach that is customized to each person and their needs, we also look at other key areas that play a major role in health and wellness:
Time in Nature
Finding Your Why/Motivation
Each of these areas is important to consider when you look at creating a lifestyle that is sustainable and supports your long-term health and vitality.
Movement can take many forms. When we have a client whose weight makes it difficult to exercise in the traditional sense, then movement may be as simple as standing throughout the day when completing certain tasks, going for very short walks, or taking stretch breaks throughout the day. The key is to simply move your body! Too many people try to jump into a high level of activity before their bodies are ready, and we encourage each person to build-up to more movement at a pace that works for their ability level. Even the simple movements mentioned above make a difference!
Then as you are able to do more, walking is a great place to start. Walking for 30 minutes a day or more can:
Increase cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
Improve management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
Strengthen bones and improve balance
Increase muscle strength and endurance
Reduce body fat
It is also beneficial to find something you truly enjoy, for then you will look forward to movement and exercise. For me, I love yoga, pilates, walking, and biking. My twin sister, on the other hand, works out with a boxing coach and swims regularly. We both accomplish the same end goal – health and fitness!
Note: Our blog about the SWAP method has some great tips!
Sleep is an area where many people struggle, whether it is not being able to fall asleep, having trouble staying asleep, or not feeling rested after sleeping. There are a lot of reasons that quality sleep can be a challenge, but first and foremost, sleep needs to be something you treat as a priority, ideally allowing yourself 7 to 8 hours a night for snoozing. We all have a sweet spot where we wake up feeling truly rested and energized, and it is different for each of us. Generally, sleeping between 10pm and 6am is where our bodies get the most rest.
What else can you do?
Turn off devices (computers, TVs, phones, tablets, etc) at least 2-3 hours before bedtime – Light is the primary way our circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle stays in balance, so reducing exposure to light at night can definitely help regulate sleep. This also means that sleeping in complete darkness is beneficial – so nothing in your room that emits light ideally. We have black-out blinds in all of our bedrooms, and they help a great deal.
Get sun exposure during the day if you can – getting light exposure during the day is the other end of the circadian rhythm spectrum. Our ancestors slept and woke in tune with the sun and moon!
Get ample movement in during the day – this means our bodies are ready to rest.
Pay attention to eating close to bedtime - Some people do well eating a smaller dinner (especially those with digestive issues). Others do better with a bedtime snack, such as those who tend toward low blood sugar. In general, though, it’s best to go to bed neither overly full nor hungry.
Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Practice mindfulness before going to bed – a simple body scan, breath work, or a guided meditation (I love the app Ten Percent Happier)
Create a sleep environment that actually promotes sleep – so quiet, calming, a little cool, and maybe with essential oils, like lavender
Keeping a sleep journal can help you hone in on what works best for you, and how experimenting with some of these ideas can benefit you.
Research shows that meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, bringing yourself back to the moment over and over again, actually addresses stress, whether positive or negative. Meditation can also reduce the areas of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. If you have never tried it, maybe now is the time!
Starting small, with just 5 minutes a day, can provide health benefits. Then you can increase that over time as your practice grows.
Consider scheduling a time for it each day on your calendar, so that it is as much a part of your day as any other appointment or activity.
Mix up the different practices you try, maybe using a few different apps or audio recordings, and have fun with it. Maybe you sit sometimes, lay down at other times, or even try a walking meditation. The options are endless!
Most importantly, remember the goal is not to clear your mind completely, but rather to come back to your breath when your mind wanders, choosing to focus on the breath, rather than all the things running through your mind. It WILL get easier over time, with practice! We are happy to provide recommendations for resources.
Time in Nature
Natural environments have rejuvenating and restorative effects, reduce stress, and alleviate mental and physical fatigue. Our ancestors spent the majority of their time in nature and they reaped the benefits! Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety. How can you bring more nature into your life?
Pleasure, play, and social connection are all deeply nourishing and restorative, on both a physical and emotional level. Who do you enjoy spending time with? What hobbies bring a smile to your face? What brings you joy? It is vital for your health to spend time putting energy into these areas!
Finding Your Why/Motivation
If you could picture your future self, the person you truly want to show up as, how would you describe that person and the life they are living? This could include everything from wanting to travel again and having the energy to keep up with your kids/grandkids, to setting a goal to run a 5K or having the ability to just go out and enjoy life again.
Helping clients find this why and motivation is at the core of the Functional Behavioral Health Coaching part of our program. Digging into this vision of your future self and creating the goals and steps that will get you there is how you set yourself up for long-term success and sustaining the new lifestyle you have created for yourself!
It really is about balance: all of these areas work together, and we would love to dive into all of this with you!
Yours in Health ~ Jeanna Finch
#virtualcoaching#healthcoaching #healthcoach #cleaneating #ancestraleating #nutritioncoach#eatingforweightloss#Weightloss#healthandwellness #obesityhelp #nutrientdense #lifestylechange #sustainablechange #selfcare #balance