Health – Lifestyle Medicine: An Empowered Health Journey

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by Adam Soyars

The blank squares on a new calendar vibrate with potential.   If this January is like most others, you’re feeling a renewed sense of focus and connection to your health and well-being.  Convert the squares of potential into squares of action.  There is no better time to take charge of your health than today. 

Where to start

In a culture where we are inundated with information and recommendations, it is easy to get stuck.  Where do I start?  What should I do?  Who should I listen to?

Every expert seems to have opinions of what nutrition or diet plan is the “best.”  Unfortuanately, when it comes to health, especially nutrition, broad generalizations lead to frustrating outcomes.  They fail to appreciate that our goals, our lifestyles, our habits, our unique physiology, and our DNA are highly personal.  What works for your friend or your favorite social media expert may not work for you.   

How can you take control of your health and learn how to optimize well-being? We have highlighted the five steps of a self-determined health journey.  We’ve also given you several high-yield practices to implement TODAY!

It’s time to fill the potential with action!

STEP 1: Define your WHY

WHY do you want health?

Finding your “Why” is, likely, the single, most important piece of your health puzzle.  Your why will keep you centered; it will give you motivation, it will keep you focused, and it will give you inspiration when faced with challenges.  

STEP 2: Take control

You are the CEO of your health.  

Sure, that’s incredibly philosophical and somewhat cheesy, but it is true.  Employ and assemble the Healthcare Team that will help you achieve your goals and fulfill your life purpose.  Remember, a CEO is not an expert in every facet of their business; however, they are usually exceptional with regards to piecing together the best support team.  Trust your intuition. 

STEP 3: Measure

What gets measured, 

gets managed.

Work with your Healthcare Provider to measure your blood work.  Of course, that’s the bare-minimum. You need to know how your body is functioning based on your current lifestyle and inputs.  This will help direct your focus, and it will inform you where to make lifestyle pivots.

STEP 4: Get to work

The only way to make change is to start practicing.

Health is not an easy pursuit.  You don’t have to be perfect.  While we emphasized the importance of individualized recommendations, we’ve assembled some general guidelines that will serve almost anyone. These tips will help jumpstart your progress until you start working with your Healthcare Professional.  

Movement 

There is no single greater health intervention than exercise.  No matter your health status (whether you’re overweight or a lean-mean biohacker), walking for 30-60 minutes per day has profound health benefits.  For most, it’s hard to find that block of time so break it up!

Hydrate  

Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water (180lbs = 90oz).  75% of us are chronically dehydrated.   Experiencing a craving?  Don’t confuse thirst for hunger.  Try some water with electrolytes first.

Circadian Rhythm Reset

Circadian rhythm regulates hunger, digestion, metabolism, production and release of hormones, and more.   Get direct sunlight exposure in the morning (stacked benefit if you combine with a morning walk).

No calories within 3

hours of bedtime

Improves sleep quality by facilitating a lower Resting Heart Rate (RHR), increased DEEP/slow-wave, and improved Heart Rate Variability (HRV). 

Prioritize Your Sleep 

Window

Sleep is a lever that impacts every pillar of health.   We are not 100% efficient.  Obtaining 8 hours of sleep will, commonly, require a 9-hour sleep window.  Poor sleep leads to weight gain, irritability, cravings, fatigue, poor-health decisions, and many other detrimental outcomes.

Eliminate 

Inflammatory Oils 

Stick with EVOO and Avocado Oil.  They are rich in Omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) and low in Omega-6 (tend to be pro-inflammatory).

Consolidate Your

Feeding Window 

Take, at least, a 12-hour break from calories every day.  Reverse-engineer your optimal feeding window based on your bedtime.  If your goal is to be in bed by 10pm, stop all calorie consumption by 7pm. Your first calorie intake should not come before 7am the following morning.

No sitting after meals  

This gets back to movement.  A walk, air squats, lunges, jumping jacks, etc..  Movement after a meal will blunt the rise of blood glucose, and make you more insulin sensitive.  Low glucose variability is associated with longevity.

Step 5: Build Support

Find your community.

Lifestyle changes are hard.  Building support increases success and joy along the way.  In fact, a 2021 study compared the success of lifestyle interventions among Type 2 Diabetics; the results showed that the odds of success more than doubled for those who participated in an online support group.

Our community is FULL of different interest groups whose mission is to serve health and wellness.  Find an accountability partner and link into any or multiple of these groups.  With support and effort, health will become your lifestyle.

Remember, you’ve GOT THIS!  Hold onto your WHY.  When things get tough, which they will, lean into your support system and your community!  We want to see you WIN!