To start off the new year on the right foot and get a head start on your goals for better health and wellbeing, listen to this episode! We’ll be discussing the second half of the NEWSTART principles: Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in Divine Power.
Hi and welcome to Nutritionally Speaking. I’m your host Michaela Ballmann. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and that you enjoyed good food in moderation. It’s a new year which always brings a newfound energy and desire for good things, like health! So let’s continue on the topic of NEWSTART. We will be talking about the last 4 aspects of this wonderful approach to overall health. As a review, the first four components were nutrition, exercise, water, and sunlight.
The T following sunlight stands for temperance. Temperance basically means moderation. I’m sure you’ve noticed that is easier to either get too much or too little of everything—sleep, food, exercise. During the workweek you may subsist on just 5 hours of sleep, and by the time the weekend comes your body requires 10 or more hours per night. Why is it so hard to just get 8 hours per night every night? The same goes for food. Many follow a restrictive diet plan during the week only to splurge on the weekends either as a reward or with a “last supper” mentality. Wouldn’t it be better to just eat everything, including desserts and what people label off-limit foods, in moderation? Then there is no physical or psychological urge to binge. Exercise also doesn’t seem to remain steady and constant. One may go weeks or months without a regular exercise program and then decide to train for a marathon, overwork the body or become discouraged and return to a more sedentary lifestyle. Moderation in exercise is a better choice. 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise is great! Starting from nothing, 15 minutes is worthy of applause! Approaching things like food and exercise with a healthy viewpoint will give you more reason to want to maintain a steady, healthy lifestyle through the week, months, and year. Forget the yo-yo-ing of dieting and exercising. Moderation is key!
A stands for Air. Both breathing and fresh air are key components of good health. Have you ever spent some time in the mountains away from pollution, noise, and building-saturated cities and realized how much more peaceful your mind and body feel? Spending a beautiful summer’s day inside in front of the television or cooped up at an office desk is nothing compared to being outside in a park or soaking up some vitamin D at the beach. In fact, there is even a name given to time spent in green spaces—“vitamin G” and kids who get this may have lower stress levels and greater success in school. Nature may even cause us to exercise and socialize more. Other health benefits may involve improved immunity, blood pressure, and mental activity. These are some really good reasons to get fresh air. So, the next time you have the opportunity, take your lunch break outside, or spend a weekend gardening. Take a run or walk outside instead of on a treadmill in a gym. Your body and mind will notice the difference!
The R in NEWSTART is for rest. We touched briefly upon sleep earlier in the episode, but let’s delve into it a little more. A lack of sleep doesn’t only make you feel groggy and function at a lower level, but it also affects your hunger level and how much you eat. That’s right! Getting too little sleep can cause your ghrelin levels to increase, which means that you will feel more hungrier, and hence, eat more! That’s not too nice for your waist line, is it?! But that’s not even the worst of it. The nurses’ health study by Harvard University found that a lack of sleep is linked to a greater risk of breast and colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It also causes drowsy driving which may lead to fatal accidents. You may just notice that you are more alert, make fewer mistakes, are more emotionally stable, and have a better memory if you get a good night’s sleep, and that’s reason enough!
Lastly, T stands for Trust in Divine Power. One’s spiritual health has been shown to be strongly linked with one’s physical health. Physical ailments can be signs and symptoms of underlying emotional or spiritual turmoil. When one has trust in a higher power, there is a meaning and purpose to their life that affects their choices and health habits, and even their level of stress and other negative emotions. The YOU docs write that “a good connection helps your heart and blood vessels, your brain, immune system, and even your anxiety levels”. They go on to say that going to religious services can protect against age-related memory loss and thinking problems. Decreased blood pressure and risk of major depression are also results of frequent attendance at religious services or study at home. For the new year, maybe you will want to assess your spiritual health and re-discover your faith. It could have lasting effects on your body too!
As we can see, living in moderation, aiming for wholeness (in our physical, mental, and spiritual capacities), and just basically taking care of ourselves can lead to better overall health and quality of life.
I hope that this podcast has given you some great principles for the new year. Happy 2011! Thanks again for listening and I’ll see you next time!