Your Health and Termites

Do you have termite protection for your house? I remember the first conversation I had about termite prevention in my newly purchased home.  I was dismissive of the idea of paying someone hundreds of dollars every year to prevent the possible risk of termite damage.  It was at a time when I was already peeved about the unexpected costs that go along with owning a home.  I had always been a renter—never had to purchase things like garden tools, lawnmowers and weed eaters.  The cost quickly added up.  Fast forward 3 years when we were getting ready to purchase our new (old) home in the city, the inspection came back with the news that there was termite damage to the structure of the house.  It was estimated to cost $10,000 to repair the damage.  Fortunately, the seller picked up the tab, but you can believe that every year after I have gladly payed the termite company to provide routine preventive treatments.  Why? Because now I am armed with the knowledge that these tiny little termites can do significant amounts of damage over time.  Not to mention, I regularly see them around in my yard.  The thing about termites is that often you don’t see them and you certainly don’t see the silent damage that they are doing.  Little by little, and slowly over time, they can eat away underneath the surface.  It’s not uncommon for the façade of the structure to look completely normal, meanwhile the core of the foundation is rotted.

This is a health blog so where am I going with this?  What if I told you that the health habits you have today are paving the road for the health (or disease) you will have in the future.  Perhaps right now you’re putting off making changes because you seem healthy.  You might even have a clean bill of health from the doctor because he or she said your labs look fine, but the problem is that chronic diseases often develop over years and decades.  The silent damage is low-grade chronic inflammation that over time develops into a debilitating chronic illness.  At the golden time of retirement—when you are supposed to be having the time of your life—you’re instead spending your time and money on healthcare, or as I sometimes refer to as sick care.

  Hypertension is known as the silent killer.  According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans has high blood pressure and only about half of them know it and have it under control. The World Health Organization lists high blood pressure as the most important preventable cause of heart disease and stroke worldwide.  I spend a lot of time listening to and coaching clients who want to achieve a higher level of health.  For every client I DO get to talk with, there are a hundred others that I DON’T get to talk with.  There’s a general vibe in our culture where we assume a person’s health is fine until there is some obvious sign.  It’s like not changing the oil in your car for a 100,000 miles and assuming it’s fine because the check engine light hasn’t come on.  Meanwhile, there’s been a strange knocking sound coming from under the hood for a few months now.

So poor health choices are like termites.  It’s hard to convince yourself to invest in yourself because you seem “fine.”  In reality, the termites—the metabolic stress, inflammation and toxins are always there, but they are invisible.  If it’s invisible, then what are the signs that health troubles are on the way?

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Reflux
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Insulin resistance (which buy the way doctor’s don’t routinely test this)
  • Depression
  • Being told you need medications to treat any of the above

Other signs are less obvious and more nuanced.  I encourage my clients to think of a time when they were at their healthiest “sweet spot.”  What was that like?  How did you feel and what were you doing?  How far have you strayed from that person?  I’m not going to sugar coat it:  Making and developing new health habits is HARD.  It’s mostly hard because no one can tell you exactly how to do it and there’s a lot of trial and error.  But I can say from personal experience that the payoff is worth the effort.  I would encourage you to tune in and listen to your body.  It’s always talking, usually letting you know when things are off balance.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Do something to change the trajectory now!

Don’t go at alone!  We all need to make changes in a supportive environment.  We love to partner with people just like you so please reach out.

Weight Loss? YOU First!

Losing weight requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. Nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress must all be considered when starting your weight loss journey, however, diets and exercise alone rarely seem to get at the root of the problem.  Weight regain is common.  Let’s be clear: a person is not defined by the number on a scale. Weight gain is almost always the result of some deeper issue–a sign that things are off balance. Weight gain is a symptom, and so the focus of treatment needs to go after the root causes. 

Weight gain can be a result of biological factors, definitely, but so often weight gain is the result of abuse, trauma, stress, emotional neglect or a combination of these. For women, weight gain can happen when they neglect to put themselves first.  Let’s face it: in our society, women are implicitly told that they should put everyone’s needs ahead of their own. It sounds nice and lovely, but in the end, no one wins.  We need to get rid of this idea that taking time for yourself is selfish. For the women out there: taking time for yourself isn’t just a nice idea, it’s imperative if you want to be an effective mother, sister, spouse, friend, leader in your community. 

SELF CARE.  Day after day, I spend my time pleading women to take time for themselves. Their nutrition and health is suffering, and instead of us having a discussion about nutrition, we’re talking about everything BUT nutrition.  It’s about nutrition and exercise, sure. But more importantly it’s about making sure that you are emotionally being nurtured and cared for yourself.  When you are nurtured and in a state of balance and harmony, it overflows to your daily habits. You find yourself more loving, patient and kind. And weight loss results? That happens because you have the time and energy available to eat well and exercise.  Do you see how it’s all connected? Do you see how it’s impossible to have weight loss stick without self care?  Weight loss struggles almost always come back to self-care.

I should mention that I don’t set weight loss goals for clients, they do.  I try to encourage them to think about a time when they felt the best, which tends to be difficult for many people.  At the root, it’s not about a number on a scale.  It’s about health and being free to live the best version of themselves.  For many, that does mean weight loss results, but again, I think the weight loss is a result of digging deeper.  Weight loss is what happens as a result.

We know the weight loss journey feels lonely and hard.  That’s why we love providing support and encouragement. If you are ready and motivated to make changes, please reach out to us. We’d love to work with you.

Building Your Weight Loss Team

      So you’ve decided you want to lose weight. You’re probably getting prepared on the right nutrition and exercise strategies, but have you considered that you may need some help? My guess is probably not. It’s not your fault. It’s been drilled into your head that weight loss is just a matter of calories in and calories out.  Losing weight is nothing more than eating less than you’re burning. So get to it!

Ok, no more joking. Anyone who has struggled with maintaining their “sweet spot” knows that it’s not that simple.  Obesity is a complex, chronic disease. Even when a person loses weight, weight regain is common. I believe there’s a magic ingredient that is missing from most weight loss plans. It’s called support. Weight loss cannot be a solo adventure. It’s an arduous journey, uphill, against the wind. Now imagine you had a trail partner, or 3. More support means more hands and feet to carry the load and perhaps you can even enjoy each other’s company along the way.  That’s a good picture of the weight loss journey–a team of individuals with the same goal in mind.

Obesogenic Environment
Obesa-what? Obesogenic environment simply is a term to describe the western culture that promotes poor food choices and sedentary behavior.  On my lunch break today, I picked up a few produce items from the grocery store. I don’t often look at the receipt, but this time I did. One apple, organic: $1.02. My immediate thought was, “I could have bought a hamburger for that price!” Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to feast on a greasy food-like meat muffin that probably has more chemicals than nutrients, but it highlighted to me a major problem in our world. We are incentivized to eat junk food–it’s convenient and cheap.  No wonder people are struggling.

A Better Way
Yes, better nutrition and exercise habits must occur–no question about that, however, for these habits to stick, it must be done in the context of a supportive environment.  If  you have decided to stop weight gain in its tracks, enlist the help of your coworkers, neighbors, family and friends. Out with the old and in with the new!  Make time for hanging out with people who have the habits you want.  Their success will rub off on you.  Likewise, the opposite is true. If you’re hanging out with the same people that contributed to your weight gain, it will be difficult to move ahead.  Sure, it’s impossible to get away from all negative influences (apart from leaving the planet), but you can be sure to make time for you.  And you are worth it.  Give us a call for professional support.