Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mindset, physical health

You can’t outrun a bad diet

The other day, I talked about how diet and exercise aren’t opposite sides of a balance, that each has its own unique benefits to health.

Even if we’re ignoring all health ramifications beyond weight, most people are still unlikely to “win” the diet versus exercise game.

I’ve worked with a lot of people over time, both one-on-one mentoring, in classes, as well as just casual conversations, and by far, the most common reason given for not exercising is not having enough time.

If you don’t have enough time to exercise at all, how are you going to have enough time to “work off” all of the extra food?

But what about the athletes? The people who are already making time to exercise? Especially the ones who are training for endurance races and the like?

The Climbing Daddy was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver. The two most common causes of a fatty liver are too much alcohol and too much sugar.

The Climbing Daddy has also done a handful of IronMans. For those who don’t know, an IronMan is a triathlon where participants first swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, then run a marathon (26.2 miles). They have 17 hours to complete it.

He happened to be wearing his finisher’s jacket at his appointment with the gastroenterologist. She had something to say about that.

“You cannot fix this even if you run three IronMan races. You have to fix your diet.”

When I gave the class at our Wellness Expo regarding sugar (recap still to be posted), there was a woman in the class who wanted a way out and asked about mitigating the effects of a high-sugar diet with exercise.

No matter how much exercise you do, your body has to process what you eat.

You can’t outrun a bad diet.



Posted in food, mindset, physical health

Labels that are not synonyms for healthy

Food production companies are looking to make money. They’ll put whatever is legal (and push that boundary) on the food packaging to get people to buy it.

The following are commonly used but not necessarily healthy.

  • all natural
  • organic
  • vegan
  • gluten-free
  • dairy-free
  • fat-free (or low fat)
  • sugar-free (or low sugar)
  • GMO-free
  • low-carb
  • whole wheat
  • high protein

This is not to say that these labels have no value—some of them do, particularly if you have food allergies or sensitivities or if you recognize that food shopping is a political act. But they’re not necessarily healthy.

I will do a post about each in the coming weeks, but for now, let these labels raise a red flag for you.

Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, physical health

Diet vs. exercise: the balance

The title is bait. They don’t balance. They’re not on opposing sides.

Exercise is not punishment for eating.

What you eat fuels you, affects your hormone balance and contributes to the maintenance and eventual regeneration of most cells. (Not all cells regenerate, and almost all body functions are controlled by hormones.)

I know a growing number of people who changed their diets (just to “healthier”—nothing extreme) and were shocked at how much more energy they had.

Yup. And it seems that until you do it, you don’t believe it, but the sugar, the highly-processed carbs, the alcohol, the fried and deep-fried—as a regular diet, they all have tangible negative effects on your body, in addition to the long-term ramifications.

Exercise stresses bones and muscles, which is a good thing! It helps them to become and stay strong. It maintains or improves cardiovascular health. It sometimes increases flexibility and/or balance (which are both important). It has profound impact on our brains, in terms of mood, of mental health, and of mental acuity. (We have better moods, better mental health, learn better, work better when we exercise regularly.)

So diet does things that exercise doesn’t, and exercise does things that diet doesn’t. Both are important.

Exercise can’t counteract all of the things that happen in our bodies when we eat a lot of junk.

Eat well. Exercise daily. You need them both.

Posted in mental health, mindset, physical health

December is rough

This time of year is, for many people, brutal.

Schedules. Expectations. Hopes. Dreams. Memories.

Parents. Kids. Spouses. Friends. Other communities.

Decorations. Gifts. Meals. Sweets. Parties.

Religion. Other religions. Politics.

Please, for your mental and physical health, first trim the lists, then trim the lists again, then delegate.

Ladies, as a generalization, we are bad at this. Share the load with other people in your house. And when the jobs are done not quite the way you would have done them but they’re good enough, say thank you and leave the job done as it was.

It doesn’t feel good to be berated after doing something for not having done it to spec, or to do something and have someone else redo it. Let it be good enough.

Unless it’s dangerous (electricity and water, or undercooked poultry, for examples), let it be good enough. (I might write more about just this another day…)

Don’t do chores for your old-enough-to-do-it-themselves children. (That is year-round, not just December. And delegate holiday work to them, too.)

I find that giving options works well. On Sunday (which was not a no-work Sunday, sadly), my 7-year-old had three options and he had to choose two: clean his toilet (this is a weekly chore for him), help pull weeds outside, fold the recently-washed napkins, placemats, and kitchen towels. He chose two, was super-happy not to have to clean the toilet this week, and didn’t complain a bit. I was happy to have help in the yard because what he got done takes longer than it takes me to clean the toilet. Win-win.

In trimming lists, trim the to-do. Keep what you need for it to “feel like Christmas” and ditch the rest. Trim the to-go. There are so many events and things to do. There were three things going on this past weekend that I had on the Maybe List that we didn’t get to. The weekend was full enough that I never even looked at the Maybe List.

It’s OK not to do it all*.

Just like at Thanksgiving, you are more important than the stuff. Trim the lists so you can enjoy it.

*Side note about skipping stuff this weekend: I didn’t tell The Kid that any of those things was a possibility, so he wasn’t disappointed to miss them. The Climbing Daddy wasn’t super-interested in any of them (but amenable to all), so there was no sadness other than: we all wish there was more time.


Posted in physical health, tips

My wintertime best friend

Tis the season for the creeping crud.

I mentioned the other day that it was creeping around here.

Thus, my wintertime best friend made its seasonal debut: the Neti pot.

It’s a fairly common device, so there’s a decent chance that even if you have never used one, you’re familiar with it.

Basically, it’s a teapot for your nose. You use warm salt water to irrigate your sinuses and flush out the garbage.

My understanding is that it’s not a good idea to do this on an ongoing daily basis, but with proper salinity, using this little guy as needed is beneficial.

It’s one of my go-to things when I start to feel run down. (Extra sleep is another.)

It helps.

When I’m already sick, it helps clear out my nose, at least for a little while, so I can breathe well.

The plastic ones at the pharmacy are pretty inexpensive. Read and follow the directions on the box.

Do you already have one of these in your bag of tricks?