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New Year, New “Abnormal” You
Shocking Statistics About the Average Person in The US…
- More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. The medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight (CDC)2.
- 48.7% of people are using at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days7.
- 21.8% of people are using three or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days7.
- 10.7% of people are using five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days7.
- Most frequently used pharmaceuticals7:
- Cholesterol lowering medications
- Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death3.
- Heart disease is the #1 cause of death3.
- Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death3.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death3.
- National Institutes of Health estimates up to 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and this number is grossly under reported. Research based estimates are closer to 50 million. Compare this to cancer affecting up to 9 million and heart disease up to 22 million1.
- The average American adult buys a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week. Greater than 30% of children eat fast food on any given day10.
- 54% of Americans over the age of 18 consume caffeine on a daily basis8.
- About 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with living a normal life6.
- Less than 21% of US adults met the 2008 physical activity guidelines in 20144.
- 1 in 4 Americans Confess They Never Exercise5.
Overweight, tired, sedentary, on 3 or more prescription medications, not exercising, developing one or more autoimmune diseases, eating out all the time and loading up on caffeine every day. Sadly, this is the normal lifestyle of an average American. It is an unhealthy lifestyle that will eventually lead to the development of heart disease, cancer, and or diabetes. As unhealthy as it sounds, this is what is considered normal. Why would you want to be normal? Let’s choose to be abnormal in 2017!
2017 is right around the corner, what are you plans for the New Year? Hopefully, they include a healthier, “abnormal” YOU!
Let’s not make the typical new year’s resolutions that most people will give up on by March of the new year. Let’s set some goals that are both realistic and achievable.
1. Eat Healthier
- Understand nutrition through education. Take a course in nutrition or read a book. Familiarize yourself with eating nutrient dense foods. Your body is your temple, and no one will take care of it better than you. That being said, it is hard to take care of something if you don’t know how. Read, get informed, and pay attention to the way your body reacts to food.
- Keep it simple. That means eating real food. If it comes in a package, always read the label. Take ownership of the ingredients you put into your body. If you suspect food intolerances or allergies, get with a good functional medicine doctor to help you navigate the waters.
- Don’t worry about counting calories. As long as you are eating nutrient dense foods, there is no need to count your calories, unless you are managing your weight.
- Eat organic grass fed meats, free range chicken, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts and small amounts of healthy seeds (pumpkin, chia, flax, sunflower). Yes it matters. Remember that most pesticides have been linked to increased risk for cancer. Many pesticides act as chemical estrogens.
- Drink filtered water. Avoid any chlorines, bromines, metals or other compounds that may be contaminated in the water, which can interrupt normal gut function. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you should know that up to 42 prescription drugs have been identified from the tap.
- Limit or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake. Large amounts of caffeine can lead to dehydration, adrenal stress, and can interfere with normal sleep patterns. Alcohol is devoid of any nutrients and is basically empty calories, which can also lead to dehydration.
2. Make Exercise a Priority
- Plan a workout 3-4 times a week. Stay active and find an activity you enjoy. It can be rowing, zumba, swimming, biking or whatever keeps you motivated!
- Try High Intensity Interval Training if you are short on time. This is a quick workout that will maximize your calorie burn.
- Perform more resistance training. Body weight exercises will do (squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups)! Our muscle content determines our metabolism and it is serves as our immune system reserve.
- You will sleep better when you exercise on a regular basis!
3. Get Outside Each Day For Some Sunshine
- Sunshine will allow your body to make more Vitamin D and produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Vitamin D is a major hormone which is responsible for a variety of critical functions in your body, including immune system function, thyroid function, and glucose metabolism.
- Aim for 20 minutes of sunscreen- free morning sunshine each day (sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production by your skin).
4. Reduce Your Controllable Stress
- Take pride in your job and love doing what you are doing.
- Journal. The act of writing helps remove mental blocks and allows you to better understand yourself and others in your environment.
- Meditate. Take time for yourself.
- Do some yoga! Attend a class or use an at home DVD.
- Surround yourself with positive people and remove yourself from toxic relationships. Know your boundaries.
5. Get Adequate Sleep
- Try and get least 8 hours each night. It is normal to sleep5-6 hours per night. The optimal hours for restorative sleep are between 10pm and 2am. That doesn’t mean that you should wake at 2 am to start your day. The 10-2 window is what is vital to help you repair and recover from the previous day, and you should be sleeping between these hours. Remember that for many, normal bedtime is 12 am. That means 2 of the critical 4 hours are lost.
6. Make time for family, friends, and real people
- Stop texting and start talking. Deep, meaningful connections can come from person to person contact.
- Do something you enjoy doing! Take on a new hobby or try volunteering in your community.
7. Plan a Vacation
- Plan a nice vacation this year! Taking time to get away and unplug can be an invaluable recovery tool for you. You don’t need an elaborate vacation either. If you are working against a tight budget, consider hiking, camping, or other inexpensive outdoor adventures.
Starting your new year with these healthy habits in mind will put you on the right track for having a successful year! Accomplishing and maintaining these goals every year will produce long term beneficial effects on your total health; mental, physical, and social.
Healthy food, daily exercise, stress relief, sunshine and good times with family and friends = a happy and prosperous 2017! Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of the advice above. When you combine them all consistently over time, the results can be extremely powerful!.
Happy New Year to all of our Gluten Free Warriors!
- American Autoimmune. (2016). Autoimmune Statistics. Retrieved from Autoimmune Information
- CDC. (2016). Adult Obesity Facts. Retrieved from Overweight and Obesity
- CDC. (2016). Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved from Leading Causes of Death
- CDC. (2016). Physical Inactivity. Retrieved from America’s Health Rankings
- CDC. (2014). State Indicator Report on Physical Activity. Retrieved from State Indicator Report
- Davis, Charles. (2016). Fatigue. eMedicine Health. Retrieved from Fatigue
- Gu Q, Dillon CF, Burt VL. (2010). Prescription drug use continues to increase: U.S. prescription drug data for 2007-2008. NCHS data brief, (42). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
- Health Research Funding. (2014). 24 Remarkable Caffeine Consumption Statistics. Retrieved from Caffeine Consumption
- Osborne, Peter. (2016). No Grain, No Pain: a 30-day diet for eliminating the root cause of chronic pain. New York, NY: Touchstone.
- United States Healthful Council. (2016). Fostering Healthier Food Choices. Retrieved from Food Choices