A change in seasons comes with a change in health and wellness habits. So now that the days of summer ice cream dates, relaxed bedtimes, and extra glasses of wine are over, how do we get back on track to healthier habits and lifestyles?
Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner talks about the elements of daily success people need to follow in order to keep up a healthy lifestyle.
As the cool temperatures start, it is a reminder to get back on schedule and renew good habits. Dr. Bitner says the first step is to have tangible goals. Finding such goals requires a bit of personal reflection and reaching inward to feel, not think, to feel what is most important.
Once a goal is set, the next step is to figure out what do to differently in order to reach those goals. Everyone has obligations with work, family, and other activities, but sometimes among those activities, we forget to take care of ourselves.
Self-care starts with good habits. Dr. Bitner came up with SEEDs, or the Seven Essential Elements of Daily Success, to help anyone feel better and improve the odds for healthy aging.
- It is so important to know it takes 3 days to hydrate and 3 days to dehydrate. We recommend a net of 80 oz water or non-caffeinated and no added sugar beverage per day. Net means the total minus the ounces of caffeinated beverage such as coffee or soda and minus the ounces of alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are beverages which dehydrate, and getting enough water is important to improve energy, reduce hot flashes, and make skin and hair look better.
- The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Adequate sleep makes it easier to lose weight, have more energy for exercise, and a better mood. People who get an average of 7 hours per night have less risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke, and less risk for depression and dementia. If there were a drug that could do all of these things, without bad side effects, everyone would take it. Sleep is free, only has good side effects, and benefits everyone.
- This includes daily Vitamin D (2000 IU), calcium (1200 mg ), and a Multi-vitamin (whatever brand). Vitamin D is SO important after Labor Day as we do not get enough from the sun even on a sunny day after Labor Day. Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and therefore bone health, but also supports healthy blood vessels and is linked to reduced inflammation. Calcium is best to get from food such as romaine lettuce and almonds as well as dairy, and a multivitamin is good insurance in case you do not eat everything well every day.
- This includes a daily healthy balance of complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and one treat: 5/5/3/1. Complex carbs are starches with color such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, or brown rice pasta. Lean protein included fish, eggs, chicken, beans, or tofu. Healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, and nuts. Treats are those items including alcohol, white bread, white rice, and the white flour tortillas we can crave, but sabotage all other hard work and go straight to belly fat.
- Including a balance of aerobic exercise to get the heart rate up, strength training to maintain and improve muscle mass, and stretching to improve function and reduce pain. It is crucial to pick what you like and find a safe, fun, energizing place to do the activities. Walking with squats, sit-up and lifting weights, yoga and Tai Chi-all these are part of the equation.
- It is important to get 35 grams of fiber per day to keep BM regular as well as reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Gratitude can get us through very tough times and stop us from over-reacting and improves our focus and ability to function, as well as sleep and slow a hot flash. Metered breathing is done by sitting and focusing on a not-too-distant spot, and closing the mouth and breathing through the nose for several minutes, concentrating on the sound of the breath. If there is no way you can do this, then the gratitude can be a first step to staying in your body.
Following through with the SEEDS every day can help people feel better and when put into practice, can reduce the risk of disease. Planning is key-and Sunday nights are a good time to put the SEEDS on the calendar for the week. What is the menu including snacks, which are the days for stretching or aerobic walking or strength training, and what is the strategy for getting enough sleep. The time is now, to breeze into Fall and the rest of your life!
To set up an appointment with Dr. Bitner or her staff, call (616)267-8520. Their office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite A., Grand Rapids. Make sure to visit her blog at healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/blogs .