5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Body

These past few weeks (honestly since the wedding) I have had some pretty awful stomach issues. Pains, nausea, vomiting, you name it. Sorry to be graphic, but after seeing a stomach doctor and getting an endoscopy done I found out that it all came from stress.

Friends I stressed myself out so much during wedding season that I actually irritated my stomach! At first we were scared it was an ulcer, but luckily it’s just inflammation. However, this could have all been avoided if I just relaxed a bit and took care of myself…instead of worrying about every single minuscule detail.

After my endoscopy I actually sat down to reflect on the different health issues in my life that I have been avoiding. Things that don’t seem like a big deal now, but looking at my current circumstances I’m realizing that my body really needs to be treated well. I only get one of them, which means I should start listening to my aches and pains and treating my body with better care.

Here are a few of the things that I reflected on that need some change:

STOP STRESSING

Okay this one was for me…but maybe you resonate with it too. I stress out WAY too much about the silliest things, and find myself getting upset or even sick over them. Why?? What’s the point?? Life is too short to stress about things that don’t matter! Dust collecting on the bookshelf? I’ll take time to clean it this weekend! Eating dessert that I probably shouldn’t? That’s okay, I work out pretty consistently! Dishes dirty in the sink before going to bed? Not getting to work on time? Forgetting my cell phone at home? Getting sauce on my shirt? Not having as many blog readers as I would like? It’s all really going to be okay. Life is still going to happen, and there’s no reason to ruin my day over the tiny things that will eventually be solved.

Recently a student from California released a list of tips to cope with stress given to her by a Psychology teacher, which she shared on Twitter and has now gone viral. Looking at these 101 ways to cope with stress, I picked out a few for myself:

  • Say no more often
  • Look for the silver lining
  • Have goals for yourself
  • Read a story curled up in bed
  • Become a better listener
  • Tickle a baby
  • Remember that stress is an attitude

Start flossing & using fluoride

Sorry mom, but I actually haven’t been to the dentist in two years. When I did go to the dentist though, he told me that my gums were in pretty bad shape. Nothing extreme like gingivitis or what not, but if I didn’t start flossing and using mouthwash each night I could find myself in some serious trouble. Did I listen? Of course not! But now as I reflect on what’s been bugging me lately, I immediately thought about my swollen gums and how they need better care every night. Plus I would rather not go into the gross details on gum diseases, so I’ll just let you read up on your own.

Eat protein

There are so many benefits to making sure protein is getting in your diet. Why? Because your body does better with protein AND helps you to lose weight! Protein helps you to feel full for longer, helps to establish your muscle, and can help reduce cravings. You can even burn calories by eating more protein since it requires more digestive energy!

However, some proteins are better than others so make sure your protein intake consists of healthy choices. In a diet study evaluating 120,000 male and female adults done through Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health, people who eat more red and processed meats gained weight every four years, while others who concentrated on other proteins such as nuts lost weight. Eating fattier and highly processed proteins often can lead to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even colon cancer.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid these meats all together (Oliver & I do enjoy having steak or burgers every now and then), but adding high-protein snacks and meals throughout your day can truly help (especially when staying within your daily intake limit, which you can calculate here. Some great proteins to consider meal-planning around:

  • Eggs
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter

Track your steps

I just started tracking steps with my new Pebble watch, and I am obsessed with reaching my daily goals. I used the Lose It! app to track my nutrition and fitness throughout the day. I have a daily step goal of 8,000, and when I reach my goal or even go beyond my goal, Lose It! gives me calories that I earned for walking that day. I also find that tracking steps motivates me to choose walking when I can, like to a farther train stop or taking the stairs at work.

We could dive into the many ways to how staying fit is great for your body, but that’s sort of a no brainer. So I leave you with this from Harvard Medical School’s Health Publications:

  • Among 10,269 male graduates of Harvard College, walking at least nine miles a week was linked to a 22% lower death rate.
  • Among 44,452 male health professionals, walking at least 30 minutes a day was linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Among 72,488 female nurses, walking at least three hours a week was linked to a 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.

Laugh more

Remember just a few minutes ago when I told you to stop stressing? Well to experience the complete opposite effects that stress cause on your immune system, try laughing more. No seriously, according to Time’s article You Asked: Does Laughing Have Real Health Benefits? it turns out that laughing can actually releases cortisol, which is your stress hormone, while lowering levels of inflammation and improves blood flow. So if you’re in the mood, give me a call and help me laugh. I probably could use it right now. Plus catching up with friends is nice too! 🙂

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