A well-balanced diet and regular exercise may not be the only mindful habits you should adhere to in order to be healthy. You should also pay attention to your body’s symptoms. Most people will suffer through injuries and poor health related symptoms either because they “live with the pain” or are worried if they take a break from certain activities, they will “be out of shape.” But what most fail to realize is that ignoring certain symptoms can actually make your health worse! It’s important to understand and listen to what your body is telling you. Chronic symptoms are your body’s warning signs that something is off balance and in order to prevent injury and improve your quality of life you need to know what to look for.
Here are some common symptoms many people live with, but could be easily be treated with a little mindfulness:
Did you know anxiety may be caused by what you eat? If you’ve read my past blogs, you know I am a HUGE anti-sugar blogger. When I say sugar, I mean refined sugar, not naturally occurring sugar you find in fruit. Millions of people suffer with anxiety and don’t realize how much their refined sugar intake is contributing to their anxiety every day by eating foods that create anxiety symptoms and unconsciously avoiding foods that may help fight it. The sugar rollercoaster—which I discuss in more detail in my blog 3 Ways to Remove Sugar from your Diet is highly anxiety inducing. I can’t tell you how many of my clients thought they needed medication before going on my blood sugar conscious diet cleanse. The truth is that your diet does matter when it comes to your emotional well-being. What you eat affects how you feel, and if how you feel is anxious, then it’s time to pay attention to the amount of refined sugar and/or starches you are consuming daily. You should also pay attention to your meal times. Ever heard the term “hangry?” Hangry is the combination of being hungry and angry simultaneously. This tends to happen when you’ve either gone too long without eating or have too much sugar throughout the day and are constantly crashing from it, which in turn can make you feel irritable.
Do you just assume that the pain in your lower back, or the constant ache in your neck is just a part of getting old? Well, you’re wrong! Unless you’ve had a legitimate injury most aches and pains that seem like “a part of life” are just your body’s way of telling you you’re not activating those muscles groups enough. In my many years as a fitness professional I have treated and corrected countless lower back and neck pain cases that my clients believed were irreversible before starting a program with me. Each time I heard the same defeatist explanation, “I’m just getting old.” Not true at all! Growing older doesn’t mean you have to surrender yourself to pain and suffering. The body works like this: your muscles protect your bones, tendons and ligaments and the stronger your muscles, the more protected these are. However, as you age if you do not work on maintaining a healthy muscle density through a proper strength straining routine, your muscles begin to deteriorate and as they do, the structures around the muscles are stressed, which in turn causes pain.
What you eat, or don’t eat, can affect how much you do or don’t sleep. Not eating enough, or eating foods that are not nutritious can cause fatigue. If you eat foods that cause spikes in your blood sugar, as soon as those sugars drop, you feel fatigued. My MBX followers now how important it is to eat a balanced diet complete with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein not just for overall health but for quality energy, not just a sugar or caffeine boost. This should go without saying, but avoid or limit junk foods high in sugar and fat. Also, be conscious of some very important nutrients for energy. Ladies you must have enough iron in your diet in order to have optimal energy. High amounts of iron can be found naturally in red meat and leafy greens. Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of fatigue in women. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, and iron is a main component of these cells. Without enough iron, your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs for energy.
Sleep is essential for replenishing our body and brain’s resources. We cannot function without adequate sleep—nor should we try! Insomnia, which is a chronic poor sleeping condition is defined as “struggle with initiating or maintaining sleep, or suffering from restless sleep, for at least one month.” One in three Americans suffers from poor sleep and the culprits tend to be: stress and too much screen time, which causes your brain to be over stimulated.
It’s important to understand the effect of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes—and could shorten your life expectancy.
Hydration is essential to maintaining a healthy body, and when you’re well hydrated, your urine should be almost completely clear. If you pay attention and notice you’re seeing not just a lot of yellow, but dark yellow, you’re definitely not drinking enough fluids. Remember, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages are dehydrating, not hydrating, and sodas are full of chemicals, so stick to water, herbal or green tea, coconut water, or green juice.
Just because you maintain a healthy lifestyle—you eat your veggies, choose organic when you can, exercise regularly, and get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, doesn’t mean that your health is in the clear. You may think your post-dinner bloat is totally normal, but sometimes, a subtle symptom like that can signal more serious health issues. Bloat is the accumulation of gas in the digestive tract, and if these symptoms become chronic, may indicate an underlying health problem. Some foods are naturally difficult to digest, but if you’re always bloated, it’s time for a check-up—it could mean you have a food allergy or sensitivity. As we get older, some of us develop food sensitivities without realizing it. One common one is lactose intolerance, which can come in the form of gassiness, sharp pain and/or bloating.
The quality of your skin is a sure-fire way to get a reading on your overall level of health. In some cases, people struggling with skin issues like acne may have a hormone imbalance. However, in a lot of cases it’s diet related. A poor diet really impacts your skin quality, especially poor hydration. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread and soda, cause your insulin levels to spike, which in turn causes inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Another thing to keep in mind is that although a glass or two of wine may have some heart healthy benefits, when you consume alcohol it causes body tissues and skin to become dehydrated, which causes premature aging of the skin, aka wrinkles.
Unless you have a serious illness, all of these symptoms can be cured with a well-balanced diet and a consistent exercise routine. But more importantly is your awareness of your symptoms. Don’t assume aches and pains are a normal part of life. A healthy body is a well-rested, energized, and active body. If you’re not living every day feeling this way, it’s time to evaluate your health!
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.