Anyone who knew me in high school was not shocked to see me with my typical anytime meal: Mountain Dew and Doritos. My staples. I was moderately active, had been in dance since I was a kid. I've never been overweight, so people would just say that I was lucky and could eat whatever I wanted. And if caloric intake was the only thing that affected health, they might be right.
While out running errands the other day, I caught the last couple of minutes of an interview on the Diane Rehm show. Yes, I'm an NPR geek who also enjoys learning about food: how to cook it, where it comes from, how it got to be the way it is, what food is (versus food products/processed foods)... you name it. So the tail end of this interview caught my interest. A registered dietitian called in and asked the guest to talk about how much better off we'd be if folks would just understand calories in/calories out and how calories are calories. The first part of his response - clearly agitated - was, "I could not disagree with you more."
The guest was Dr. Robert Lustig, whose new book is called "Fat Chance: Beating The Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease." He is a child obesity specialist, an endocrinologist, and professor at UCSF, and on the Diane Rehm show's website was a link to a talk he gave called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth." It was about 90 minutes and I watched it all. Twice. He debunks myths about nutrition that we as a nation have bought into for decades. He explains it in great (easy to understand) detail, even going into biochemistry if that's your thing, why a high sugar diet IS a high fat diet and that fructose is actually poison. Not just empty calories. Poison.
My teenage eating practices were pretty bad. Today, say the stats, 25% of adolescents are getting 15% of their total caloric intake from fructose (not total sugar, but fructose) alone. Not good. And worse, there is an epidemic of obese 6-month olds. Yeah, that's happening, and he shows why. What are we feeding our kids?? And why don't we realize what we're doing? Answers: sugar & it's everywhere! Fructose doesn't release the hormone that tells us we're full. So, as in the example Lustig gives, those 150 calories in the soda drink your little sunshine gets on the way to the fast food joint stop the brain from registering that there are calories coming in, so guess who wants to keep eating?
We've all heard this, but it is worth repeating. If we consumed one 20-ounce bottle of soda per day for a year, we would gain 26 pounds of fat. And that is before the other 'poisonous' effects. Lustig goes on to talk about the different ways our bodies metabolize ethanol (our favorite Saturday night sugars) versus glucose and fructose. Did you know that your liver metabolizes fructose? I didn't. Your liver's job is to deal with stuff that the rest of your body doesn't know what to do with. The results are gout, uric acid, high blood pressure, blocking brain signals that say you're full despite new fat production, type II diabetes, and on and on. Sexy, no?
I know I'm nerding out with one of my hobbies, and that I'm requesting a chunk of your precious time, but I ask you to watch it. Your health and wellness start in your kitchen. You don't have to listen to me. Let the good doctor explain it. Watch it to understand why we shouldn't eat things that advertise how good for you they are on the box, or advertise at all. He's even kinda funny. Most importantly, he tells you what you can do to make changes, the same advice he gives his patients and their parents. Watch. Watch with your kids who are in health class. Tell me what you think. If you agree or not. If you're going to change what you eat or feed your kiddos or eat while pregnant. And please, if you think it's good info, share it with someone you love so they can see it, too.
Happy New Year, friends! As all the end of year postings on Facebook happened, one with some New Year's numbers trivia cited the CDC, "16.2:
The percentage of American women who are getting the recommended amount of exercise regularly." I don't know what the number is for men, but I imagine it's similar. Not OK!
New Year's is a time when many of us make resolutions that last a week or two, then comfortably slide back into the way we were. Especially when it comes to fitness, and especially if it's a big change. Any day is a great day to set a goal to better your health and wellness, and I want you to give yourself the best chance of success.
How? Be specific
in what you want to achieve so you can see the result in your mind. See it in great detail. See yourself in that pair or jeans you want to fit into or crossing the finish line to that 10k. Picture your plate full of colorful veggies and feel yourself full of energy and excitement to eat and feel well. What if you don't know what you want the end result to be? That's OK! If you know that the current way isn't the way you want to continue, ask yourself what life could look and feel like if you changed one or two things. Maybe there are a couple habits that keep you where you are. See yourself getting off the couch, feel your feet and body active and moving, your lungs filling up with air from outside.Break it down
into accomplishable pieces. You are not going to get a six pack overnight. Know that it is going to be hard, but it's supposed to be and that's all right. Good, even. Your body tries really hard to stay how you tell it to (think stressed out, sitting at desk posture). When you move in a different way it is going to resist. But progress, no matter how small or slow, is progress. Time will pass anyway, you may as well gain something as it does. Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health
is an oldie but a goodie if you're looking for some direction on general wellness.Ask for help.
We all have weaknesses, work around your own and get help in making the best choices. If you know that Monday nights are stressful after that long day back after the weekend, find a Monday night yoga class to help you unwind and set up for a great rest of the week. If you are new to the gym, get a trainer, even if only for a few sessions. They will know what you need to do to reach your goals and can help you get there. Not only that, you will have someone to hold you accountable. You have an appointment to keep with yourself!Be ready
for defeating self-talk. There are going to be difficult days. There are going to be times you are tired, sore, and just don't wanna. So before it happens, know what you're going to do. Make a list of things you are going to say to yourself or do to keep you on track. Really. Sit down and write it out. Have the conversation in your head where you emerge victorious and so proud and feeling great.
And on your list, especially at the beginning, give yourself a hand and schedule a massage once a week. You are going to be sore. It is going to feel good. So good that you'll want to get back to the gym and do it again. It is going to shorten your recovery time so you will
go back. I can't say enough that massage is part of a wellness routine. It is extra great when you're putting your body through something new and challenging. Help me help you!
And I truly mean it. All of your goals seem more achievable when you have a cheerleader, and I am happy to root for you! If there is anything I can do to help you achieve your goals, let me. Massage? Great. Need a reminder text to get out for a run, stretch those hammies, or do your wall angels? You got it. Remember, every day is New Year's Day. Every day is a chance to let go of something that doesn't work in favor of something that does. So happy today! What do you want to achieve?
I made two purchases this last week that I had to nudge myself into. An old-fashioned sense of thrift runs deep in my blood, so it took a moment to think it through and see that I was making investments rather than spending money. What were my purchases? Some glass replacements to plastic food containers and a pair of shoes for outdoor activities.
You're thinking I'm a little silly for hesitating, and I'm OK with that. It's hard for me to justify spending my hard earned dollars on things I can survive without or that there are less costly alternatives to. Then I think about the long term benefits to my health and quality of life and realize that not only is it OK for me to do this, it is the wise decision. I feel better knowing that: 1, my leftovers (and I LOVE leftovers) will be better for not absorbing hormone altering chemicals and, 2, I can take myself and my pup out for a stroll around the mountain each morning in a pair of shoes that will do the job I need them to do and that my health and my dog's health will be improved for it.
You're still wondering about my sanity. That's OK. But I ask you this: when is the last time that you scheduled yourself a massage - not to treat yourself, but because it is good for you? Do you have a gym membership or good running shoes? Do you eat canned food and drink bottled water? Simple choices. Improved health. Higher quality of life. What investments are you making in yourself?
Perhaps unorthodox, but this month I want to share another blogger's post on the topic. I direct you to the very interesting blog of Eric Brown of Bodywork Biz:http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/04/can-chair-massage-replace-psychotherapy/
Most of us are not strangers to the office chair and all of the aches and pains that it promotes. But did you know that it can actually be downright BAD for you? Learn how it affects you and what you can do about it (even while you're at the office) in the March/April issue of Valley Functional Fitness
, where you can also learn what Functional Fitness IS and why it's important. And if you've never heard of Tough Mudder, a Valley mom will tell you about her experience in the crazy obstacle course.
I'm so proud to be a part of thie great local publication. If you have any questions about the article or want more or different stretches to work into your office routine please ask! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make your health a priority!
Cedars-Sinai researchers published a study last year showing that “massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” and that massage recipients “experienced significant changes in lymphocytes” among other findings.
The first part’s pretty clear.
Lower stress hormones production = excellent.
We all know what stress does to us.
(How is your posture right now? Totally just checked myself, too!)
But what are lymphocytes and what do they do for you?
They are part of your immune system.
A kind of white blood cell that helps your body when it is under attack from foreign (non-self) invaders – i.e., cold and flu viruses and bacteria.
Give yourself (and your loved ones) the gift of health this cold and flu season! Book a massage
at least once a month to keep that lymphatic system optimally operating.
And it will feel a thousand times better than your annual flu shot!
Ugh. That is the shortest description of all the miserable symptoms of a headache I can come up with - especially if you're a frequent sufferer. Tired of taking aspirin and dealing with it? Well, good news: there are things you can do to help prevent them.
Stay hydrated. Take breaks from the stress of your day. Get up and stretch to break up your tasks and your tension. And you had to see this coming: get regular massage. Especially if you get frequent headaches or migraines, it can be a great preventative step. Whether working specific points in the neck and shoulders (ask me about trigger point maps!) or your regular Swedish relaxation to ease your stress, it can help!
You are a busy person with a thousand things to do. Why should massage make it into your thought process, let alone your actual schedule? Is it really going to help you? How often are we talking here? And what's it going to do for you anyway?
First, thank you for joining me here. I'm grateful that you looked. Now, the mere fact that you are such a busy person means that you can be helped by massage. You have deadlines, things to get done, no time for niceties. I'm going to stop you there. While massage helps you relax, don't think of it as a froofy luxury. If you have spent any time on my table, you already know otherwise. (Can I get a witness?) Like a good night's sleep, exercising and being hydrated, it's part of a healthful lifestyle. You won't just feel better, you'll fell taller, longer and looser.
How's your day going? Are you at work right now? Hunched over your desk, shoulders to your ears, rotated in toward your chest? Stress isn't just something in your head it physically affects you in several ways, not the least of which are chronic holding patterns (keep holding that position and your body will do it whether you want it to not for its own efficiency), stress hormones, and pain.
I will blab about the benefits of massage all day long, so I will attempt to restrain myself, but by all means ask questions if I don't address them. When you get a massage you're telling your body many things. Here are a few of them:
1. Hey, body. It is OK to be well. I deserve the time to feel good and be healthy and this is helpful and good for me.
2. It makes it easier to be in proper alignment. I can work less and accomplish more just by being how I'm supposed to. You know that saying about the right tool for the job? YOUR BODY IS YOUR TOOL. Allow it to work with and for you.
3. Wow. This feels awesome.
And yes, one massage will feel good and be helpful. REGULAR massage has waaaay more when it comes to benefits. How often should you get a massage? If you're able to, every day would not be overkill. You will see results much faster and wonder why you waited so long to start. Realistically, most of us are not able to every day. Once a week is great. Once every two weeks is pretty good. I recommend at least once every 4-6 weeks and of course it will vary by what you want to accomplish.
Like working out, getting good sleep and eating well, it is something you have to make a priority. "But it's expensive. And I don't have time." I see that caramel macchiato in your hand. Two weeks worth of those probably adds up to a massage, plus think of the glycemic shock you're saving yourself. I'm not suggesting you cut the treats out of your life, but be mindful of how you treat yourself in the long run. And remember, Dwell comes to you! Have a light dinner, set that Tivo and hang out on my table for an hour and a half before you stretch, grab a glass of water and roll into bed. It will be the best slumber you've had for weeks and you will be TWO steps further into a lifestyle of good health choices.
I'm here to help, folks. I joke, but it's true.
And we all need a little help remembering to take care of ourselves. So if you know someone who could use the reminder, I offer gift certificates. Father's Day is coming up, along with Grandparent's Day and all those summer birthdays. We all deserve to feel good. Let's do something about it.
You LOVE massage. I LOVE to be a massage therapist. Let's work together on and off the table to make you feel your best.
I am thrilled to start this blog, inspired by my clients and fellow therapists. I hope you'll find interesting and useful, and also put into practice some of the things you pick up here. I have seen the amazing results that massage has in a short amount of time, and better, the effects of regular massage. It is part of a healthful lifestyle, for your body AND mind, and this blog aims to integrate insights and discussion of massage and off-the-table advice and study in order to make all of our lives and bodies better.
Thank you to those who have helped make me the therapist I am: clients, family, friends, former instructors and classmates, and successful therapists I've met in person or networked with. I become a better therapist and human being because of you.
Now let's see what I can do for you! How are you feeling today? How could you feel better? Ask me.