Similar to the foundation of a house being critical to its stability and strength, strong health foundations are vital for your wellbeing. Hopefully a house’s foundation remains strong from the time it’s first built but unlike a house, building a health foundation is a constant process with lots of opportunities to make it stronger! Here are 3 important ways you create (or potentially weaken) your foundations:
#1 - Food
You are what you eat. If you’re choosing foods that are full of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, your body is going to use all of those things to help keep you healthy. If you’re consuming food that is mostly processed then not only are you lacking nutrients but your body is spending valuable energy getting rid of toxins, working to undo the potential damage.
Food choices can be overwhelming so here are a few simple guidelines:
Make a plan! A little meal planning and food prep goes a LONG way towards making better choices.
Keep it simple. Choose a variety of whole foods- lots of veggies, whole grains, protein & healthy fats.
Keep processed foods and refined sugars to a minimum- a periodic treat vs a daily option. AND make sure your choices are worth it. If you’re going to have sugar, make it high quality and tastes amazing.
# 2- Sleep
Sleep is mission critical for everything else to work well so it’s always high priority. During sleep, not only does your body get a literal break but this is when important repair work happens. Adequate sleep allows your brain to work better, improves your mood and increases your heart health by helping lower your blood pressure. Getting enough Zzz’s also helps manage your weight, blood sugar and hormone levels!
Sleep issues can become a vicious cycle so start by setting yourself up for success.
Set a bedtime that will allow for 7-8 hours of sleep and stick to it. Start preparing yourself for a sound night’s sleep 30-60 minutes before bedtime. During this time, do your best to keep “stressful things” off the table literally and figuratively. Turn screens off and pick up a good book, turn on mellow music, or maybe do some meditation. Make sure your bedroom is DARK and consider trying a weighted blanket if you have a history of insomnia.
# 3 - Movement
Our bodies are meant to move but many struggle to make exercise a priority. Lack of movement = low energy, high pain and lower mood. Regular, focused movement improves weight, energy, mood and sleep. The goal is to learn to make it as important as brushing your teeth! If you’re building a new movement habit, set a time and start small- 10 minutes/day and build from there. The options of WHAT you do are endless but there is always something for everyone.
Taking care of your foundations is a basic but vital part of discovering and creating a healthier you .
* First published in the Tigard Life, March, 2021