Diet, Exercise & Sleep and Fitting It In
I’ve often wondered how much my newfound passion for running has affected my digestive health and overall well being. Desperate to get relief from gastritis, IBS and reflux, I latched onto the real food lifestyle after reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food back in 2009. By focusing on eating real foods sourced as locally as possible, and also developing better eating habits for digestive health, I was able to get myself off Nexium and back to the range of “normal” within the year.
But I wasn’t 100%. I still had occasional stomach aches and some gassiness and bloating that I couldn’t shake, and I also was struggling with a hypo-active thryroid and some dizzy issues for which I had no clue the cause. Also? My hair was horrendously thin and getting worse.
After doing some research and attending the Weston A. Price Conference in the fall of 2010, I decided to give gluten-free living a try. I figured I had nothing to lose.
It only took me a few days of gluten-free living to feel like a new person. I truly felt lighter and healthier and happier. My reflux symptoms and bloating were gone almost immediately. As time went on, I noticed that my dizzy spells and brain fog seemed less frequent. I had hoped that it would help with my hair loss and thyroid issues, but I wasn’t that fortunate. Still, I felt so much better that I had no desire to go back to glutinous living.
Studies show that removing gluten from one’s diet can provide relief from headaches and migraines, digestive issues, thyroid symptoms, autism, ADD and joint pain . . . to name a few. Do I sound like a textbook yet? HA!
I don’t necessarily think that everyone should go gluten-free, but if you have health issues that you can’t seem to shake, it can’t hurt to give it a try.
I’m also not convinced that gluten in and of itself is bad, but I do think we eat WAY too much of it, and most wheat products are processed in a way that removes any natural health benefits.
Ultimately, though, a healthy lifestyle is about far more than simply what we eat.
In addition to trying to eat mostly real foods and cutting out gluten, I’ve made a commitment to being more active in my old age. I figure, I’m 40. If I don’t do it now, I never will!
I was never an athlete, but I discovered an unexpected love for running after I pulled a muscle and couldn’t do the 30 Day Shred DVDs I was using. I went out to walk and ended up running out of boredom. Did I mention I can’t sit still? Or, apparently, walk. So running it was. And once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop.
I am probably in the best shape of my life right now, and I believe it is a combination of diet and exercise. And also? Sleep. I love my sleep and I am adamant about getting my 8 hours a night.
I guess there’s nothing new in the world. It all goes hand-in-hand . . . diet, exercise and sleep.
Exercise is great, but if you’re still eating crap, it’s only going to do so much. The same with diet. I was eating better, but I never felt truly great until I added exercise to the equation. And without adequate sleep, you won’t have the energy for either!
We’re all fighting for time. I get it. And while we all have 24 hours in a day, I realize that not everyone has the same amount of “me time”. I’m fortunate that I don’t have office hours that dictate my schedule, and I can fit workouts in when many people are already clocking into work.
Eating well also requires a certain amount of time and financial resources.
And sleep? Yeah. I know. It’s tough to fit it all in!
But I know that I, for one, am a much better wife and mother when I’m getting my fair share.
How do you manage to balance diet and exercise and sleep to maintain your optimum health? Do you have any clever tips for fitting it all in?