1. Don’t Diet!
a. Most diets are uncomfortable, unhealthy and unsustainable; train yourself to eat healthier. Weight Watchers is a good resource for dietary habit training.
b. Eat more often – eat to a point of comfort instead of a point of discomfort. Eating 3-5 smaller meals per day will stabilize your metabolism to use energy evenly throughout the day.
c. Eat a variety of foods – Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They ate a variety of foods from a variety of different sources. This type of eating provides the necessary balance of vitamins and minerals.
d. Eat immediately following exercise – Before you shower, eat! Your cells absorb nutrients faster in order to recover. Don’t worry; you will still continue to burn fat during this period. Try to combine carbohydrates and protein – Cottage Cheese and fruit, Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, smoothies, milk, etc (don’t forget to hydrate as well).
e. Drink more water - hydrate and detoxify your body. We need to replace about 2 liters of water per
day (more when you exercise). Use your urine as a quick hydration gauge – it should be pale yellow to clear; Darker = have a drink. If you choose to drink juices make sure that sugars and corn syrups are not in the first few ingredients – otherwise you are just drinking sugar water.
2. Keep Moving; movement is a fundamental property of life – take advantage!
a. Try to get up and walk for at least 5 minutes every hour.
b. Elevate your heart rate for 30 minutes each day – if you don’t have time for 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at lunch and 10 in the evening (15 morning/ 15 evening).
c. Find a hobby – exercise is easy if you are doing something you enjoy.
d. Change it up – moods and seasons change; so can exercises.
e. Stretch - stretching will relieve tension and stiffness (just remember to sit before reaching for your toes; its better for your back)
3. Don’t worry, be happy!
a. Happiness not only makes life more enjoyable, it’s healthier too. Stress is a neurological response to things that threaten us; “fight or flight response.” It speeds up heart rate and breathing, increases blood pressure, disturbs sleep and slows digestion – encouraging indigestion.
b. Mood affects posture, confidence and success – remind yourself that you are in charge.
c. Relax!- practice slow breathing (3-5 sec/breath)
d. Smile – smiles are contagious; spread as many as you can.
e. Have the serenity to accept the things that you cannot change; the courage to change the things you can; and the wisdom to know the difference. – serenity prayer.
4. Practice Good Spinal Hygiene
a. Have your spine checked every 2-3 months – it’s cheaper to see your chiro a few times per year than every other day with an acute injury.
b. Don’t wait for the straw to break the camel’s back, or yours. Get in for care when you first notice the pain. The pain may go away in a few weeks but was the problem ever fixed? Typically, thesooner you receive treatment, the faster your recovery will be.
c. DO NOT sleep on your stomach – Back sleeping is best; side sleeping with a pillow between your legs for support is also acceptable.
d. Sit in an upright, supported posture (at work and in the car) – good posture takes the strain off of individual regions of the spine, especially the shoulders and low back. Try rolling up a bath towel for support.
e. Lift with your legs, keeping the curve in your low back, and hold the object close – NEVER twist to pick something up.
Remember that every journey starts with the first step. The first 2 weeks of any major change are always the most difficult. Be strong, be tough, be brave and the hard work will pay off in a longer, happier life.