Is this slowly killing you?

As I write this I am knee deep in the busyness of the final days of summer. Coordinating back to school schedule changes, cramming in all the “fun stuff” before school begins… The end of summer and the beginning of fall are usually a time for change for many of us. Amdist all this change, have you taken the time to notice how YOU’VE been feeling lately?

You’re worth it! Check-in with yourself. Have you been feeling tired or fatigued lately? Experiencing brain fog, headaches, bloating, gas? Do you feel achy or inflamed? Joint pain? Sleep issues? Weight gain or the inability to lose weight? Take a good hard look and see what comes up for you.

It’s time to pay more attention to yourself. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms (or more), it’s time to pay closer attention to the likely culprit – chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation builds slowly over time, and silently and insidiously wreaks havoc with our health. Most of the time, we don’t even realize it! All the normal signs and symptoms I referenced above normally aren’t thought about, or linked to, chronic inflammation in our everyday life. However, it’s the root cause of all of it. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be the root cause of most diseases – cancer, alzheimer’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, all autoimmune diseases (and the list goes on). Those signs and symptoms you are experiencing are telltale signs that you have some sort of chronic inflammation within your body and it’s time to pay attention.

Enough doom and gloom! There are things you can do about it! You have the power to reverse and prevent chronic inflammation – isn’t that exciting???? You have control over your diet, your lifestyle and habits, the supplements/herbs you take. You have control over the elements and components that can help you fix inflammation and that can help you prevent it.

Where to start? Start with your diet. Become a detective. Start paying attention to how certain foods you eat make you feel. For example, when you eat a lof of fried foods – how does your body react? Do you feel bloated? Do you notice swelling or bloating after drinking alcohol? How does dairy from cows make you feel? Flours? Refined sugars? Wheat based grains? I could go on. Even “healthy” foods – how does your body react to citrus fruit, tomatoes, red peppers, nuts, seeds, soy products?

Every person’s body is different and reacts differently to the compounds within our foods. The very first step in taking back control is to notice what affects you negatively. Food matters. The types of food, the quality of your food – it matters. Additionally, how your body process and absorbs the nutrients in your food matters. How healthy is your gut? Fixing your gut can be a key component in handling inflammation buildup.

Where to look next? Lifestyle changes. Sleep and exercise are super important. Are you moving your body enough? Movement helps the detox process. Are you sleeping well – our bodies do a lot of cleaning up while we sleep. Are you allowing ample time for recovery, relaxation, rest? Are you doing things that make you happy? All of these have impacts upon your physical body and levels of inflammation.

What to layer in last? Supplements/Herbs. Once you know you’re body is healthy enough to absorb nutrients properly it’s imperative that you are getting the nutrients you need each day to combat/prevent the long-term effects of chronic inflammation. With supplements remember – food first! That’s the first and best source (the one your body can use in the best way possible). Some of the heavy-hitters here? A high quality multi-vitamin, methylated B-complex, D3, Magnesium, ALA, vitamins and minerals that support your detox processes. There are also a variety of healing herbs at your disposal – but I would tread carefully and consult with an expert. Herbs are very strong medicine and should be tailored and carefully considered for each individual person. The type of herbal support depends heavily on the type of inflammation as well as the constitution of the person.

Too much to take in? Don’t be overwhelmed or discouraged. Take it one step at a time – start with your diet and then make small improvements over time. Chronic inflammation has built up over days, months, years and even decades – it’s not an overnight fix. Small, consistent improvements will help you get there! I’m always here to help if you need it!

Schedule your free 1-on-1 discovery call today. Let’s talk about YOU! Your concerns, your challenges and where you want to be. Let’s talk through some possible solutions! https://calendly.com/svitaleholistichealth/discovery-call

Is sleep an elusive dream for you? Read on for sleep supporting habits

Sleep. It’s something we all need, we all want, we all strive for (except if you are 5 and you are too busy too sleep and think it is completely unecessary to your day). Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health – it’s effects are far-reaching and impact our physical, mental and emotional states. However, in today’s world, sleep is usually not seen as something to be revered and nurtured. It’s almost like an after-thought or something we have to do in between the business of life.

Sleep, however, should be catapaulted to the forefront of your mind if you care about your ability to think, to create, to manage, to innovate, to plan, to be, to age beautifully, to increase your chances of being disease free, to not be a cranky bitch – If those things are important to you, I highly suggest starting to shift your perspective on sleep and start taking care of it. Sleep is the secret folks.

Some highlights:

Sleep regulates most hormone production

  • disrupted sleep slows metabolism and makes you hungry
  • the bulk of your growth hormone (think anti-aging hormone) is released while you sleep. Growth hormone stimulates recovery, repair & muscle building; breaks down fat stores & normalizes blood sugar regulation
  • cortisol levels increase with less sleep (eat more, anxious and store belly fat)
  • thyroid slows down
  • insulin doesn’t work well

Sleep is like an antioxidant for your brain

  • during sleep the brain goes through a cleaning and detox process
  • sleep helps to consolidate your memory and it literally changes the cellular structure of your brain by removing toxins associated with neurodegeneration
  • chronic sleep deprivation accelerates the aging of the brain

Quality of your sleep affects every aspect of your waking life

  • it affects your mood (we all are more bitchy and less tolerant when we’re tired)
  • it affects your ability to think and focus
  • it drains your energy
  • risk of cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease increase, as sleep quality decreases
  • The list goes on – I’m sure you can pile on here

You might be thinking. Ok, fine. Sleep is important I get it. I do want more sleep. I love when I sleep – but I sleep like a newborn baby (meaning barely at all or inconsistently or, well, crappy – because we all know baby’s do not sleep – at night anyway). How can I help myself here?

Take a cue from author, nutritionist, and all around amazing dude Shawn Stevenson and try out one of the ideas below – derived from his book “Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success”. Amazing book with great tips, tricks and science interwoven throughout.

You’ll be sleeping (not like a baby) in no time.

  1. Get more sunlight during the day (your sleep is based on circadian rythym)
  2. Avoid screens and electronics before bed (that blue light will majorly jack up your sleep cycle and sleep quality)
  3. Have a caffeine curfew (enough said)
  4. Setup a bedtime routine with a set bedtime (yes, you can)
  5. Have an orgasm (yes, you can!)
  6. Fix your gut (95% of your serotonin is produced there, this is the precursor for melatonin your “sleep” hormone)

Now, go get yourself some blue light blocking glasses, a good book or magazine and a nice cup of chamomile tea – Happy Bedtime!

Increase your metabolism and Energy!

Mysterious weight gain, inability to lose weight, weight piling up in places it never used to, mood swings, fatigue, lack of motivation…. this list goes on and on. What do all these have in common? Well, besides totally sucking – all of these are related to your metabolism and your hormone health.

But WTF happened to me you ask? How, when, why?

Ladies, this didn’t just mysteriously happen overnight (although sometimes it feels that way – you know what I mean – “I hit 40 and it all went to shit”). It actually is a product of a buildup over time and the way we have mistreated our metabolism and hormones throughout our lifetime. Sad and harsh – but true.

“Well, shit” you’re thinking – how they fxxx do I fix this mess? There are contributing factors that you have under your control here. But before I get to those, let’s just quickly talk about what your metabolism really is and the rules it lives by (you know, just so you can avoid making it worse).

Your metabolism is the process that causes the chemical reactions in your cells that create energy from the foods you consume. It regulates the pace at which your body converts what you eat/drink into energy – or if it should store it away for a rainy day.

There are 4 main purposes it fulfills:

  1. Converts food into energy
  2. Converts food into the building blocks for proteins, fats and carbs
  3. Eliminates cellular waste from thousands of metabolic chemical processes that occur each day
  4. Transports substances between your cells

Rules it lives by:

  1. Our metabolism is constantly working to balance itself and stay in a state of homeostasis (the happy place your body likes where it feels safe and is functioning well). It is responsive to what we do, think and feel as well as how we act and what we put into our bodies. In other words, it monitors – figures out if it feels unbalanced and then responds to work to get us to back to safety.
  2. Your metabolism is NOT a good multi-tasker. It doesn’t like and is not good at both burning fat and building muscle at the same time. Caveat – exception is when you first start something new and you’re in the beginning stages of change – it hasn’t caught on to your tricks yet.  However, once it does, it knows and remembers and it is not easily fooled again. It learns how to quickly compensate (see Rule 1 above)
  3. Your metabolism is extremely unique to YOU – like your finger prints

Let’s go back to our question – how did we get into this mess? There are lots of factors, but for women the largest suspect is the dieting mentality and lifestyle that we’ve all grown up with since young girls. Our brains like to find the easiest means to an end. It’s normal – we’re humans and that’s how we work. Hence, our love of the dieter mentality and the ease with which we believe that the route to weight loss is through our calories and exercise only. The belief that this diet holds the key or this workout routine will do the trick, sadly is a total myth. Remember the rules above? When we restrict calories and exercise more, our metabolism can be fooled for a bit – but then it catches on and adjusts itself to compensate. It holds onto those calories for dear life because it fears we will need them. Each diet cycle over time, it gets smarter and we work harder to offset it – resulting in the place you may be now. Stuck. Where even though you may be eating great and exercising your body just isn’t budging. See the vicious cycle here?

Now onto the good news part! There are factors we have control over. And we can start working on them – today! The big players: stress levels and your threshold of stress resilience, hormone function, sleep quality, nutritional state, digestive function. Yes, ladies. Really. These are not magical unicorns – but they are the pillars of good health. And THEY WILL help!

Here are 5 actions you can start taking immediately to get you started on your road to metabolic health:

  1. Increase your Stress Resilience (& keep your cortisol in check) – take 5 minutes each day to find something you are thankful for. Get some perspective, calm your nervous system and relieve some anxiety 
  2. Eat meals/snacks regularly throughout the day (& keep your blood sugar balanced) – fluctuations in blood sugar create hormonal imbalance and wreak havoc on your metabolism
  3. Cut down on caffeine (& support your sleep and hormones) – drink decaf green tea instead
  4. Eat balanced meals/snacks (& support your digestion and hormones) – protein, fiber (vegetables), water and healthy fats
  5. Cycle your exercise routine (& help prevent your metabolism from over-compensating) – keep it guessing

Focus on balancing your energy and taking care of your hormones and you’ll be on the road to wellness in no time!