Many of us have busy lives that require our time to be spent in so many different places that we barely have enough time to fully dedicate ourselves in one area. I have been seeing a lot of patients lately that feel as though they are doing everything right but not reaching their optimal level of health. When they express this to me, I ask them what things they are doing right. I have been getting a lot of answers that sound something like this “I’ve been trying to exercise everyday and drink more water. Dr. Angela, I’ve also been trying to eat better.” You all know what my next question is, right? What specifically are you eating? However, that is not the point of this post. Many of you know that if you tell me whole grains, you will get a polite invitation to my next nutrition class. The point of this post is to evaluate priorities to reach your health goals, and I am going to start with an analogy I use often:
If you went home tonight and saw that one of your house plants was wilting, what would you do?
Most people will tell me that they will give it WATER!
Great answer. What if I told you that it had been watered adequately. The plant just happened to be placed in the basement where there are no windows.
Then people say “Well duh, it needs sunlight.”
Another great answer. What if I told you I was mistaken; the plant was in the window and was watered regularly, but there was no soil in the pot.
Now you are getting annoyed because who doesn’t know that the plant needs soil for nutrients?!
So, what you are telling me is that a plant can have adequate water and sunlight and still be a wilting plant? Yup. Your body is no different. We require ALL aspects of health to truly be healthy. Not only does that mean appropriate dietary nutrients and adequate water, but that means movement, as well. You can exercise every single day, but if you are picking up McDonald’s on the way home or eating pasta every night, then you probably still have health concerns. The same is true for reducing stress and removing toxins. Our bodies are built to be able to keep up with stress and remove toxins, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep and stressing out everyday at work, guess what, despite your efforts at the gym and in the kitchen, you are still a wilting plant.
This can seem like a tall order. However, it is our current lifestyle that makes it impossible for many people to “do it all.” Therefore, they either focus on eating healthy and don’t carve out time for exercise. OR, they are a gym rat that doesn’t have time to cook healthy meals. OR, they are a gym rat that eats healthy to maintain their physique but gets up at 4:30am to go to the gym, doesn’t get out of work until 6pm, has to run the kids around, cook dinner, start laundry, and might get to bed around 11:30pm. Hate to tell you….still a wilting plant. This balance is a tricky one in today’s society but it is essential for our vitality.
removal of toxins (no one wants to grow a plant next to the sewer!)
appropriate doses of stress
If one of these components is off track, think about making a shift in your life in order to create balance. If you are eating correctly, you are probably cutting out a lot of toxins that would be coming from food at the same time as providing your body with nutrients. If you have movement within your job, then consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, you need to make it an effort of move daily, and exercising outside gets you both movement and sunlight. If you give yourself a bedtime, then you are probably much more able to handle stress throughout the day. Chiropractic adjustments also have impact on the nervous system, which is essential for stress adaptation. If you structure your day around making sure you hit all the things you need to be healthy, then it’s easy to evaluate whether or not you have time to add another task onto your schedule. This is probably the hardest thing for parents to do these days and it may just be the missing link to your vitality.