The cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter reminds us that there are cycles within nature, and cycles within our own lives: being born, growing, thriving, and inevitably, dying. When we are young, we cannot wait until we are older, and when we ARE older, we want to slow down and remain young for as long as possible. I hope that we have the opportunity when we are in the growth and thriving phase that we are conscious enough to enjoy ourselves.
When I started seeing patients 20+ years ago, my main goal was to help people with their pain. Chronic and acute pain and injuries responded extremely well to Directional Non-Force Technique® Chiropractic adjustments. What I realized over the years is that chronic pain went hand in hand with other chronic problems: digestive issues, insomnia, neurological problems, immune disorders, and more. As my patient population aged, I witnessed how the aging process affected different groups of people. Their aging and the choices they made directly affected their health.
It inspired me to change my life and my approach to aging, and it propelled me to learn and practice more Functional Medicine. Through lab testing and analyses we find out how your body is coping: 1) Are your lab tests in the pathological range or functional range? 2) Are you at showing the patterns that determine where your health is heading? and 3) What do we do with all this information anyway? Do you treat a problem or potential problem via education, or do you have to put a certain lifestyle into practice? Is it the right approach in working with your chosen medical health care provider? There are many questions to ask and the answers are different for everyone.
I'd like to share are some personal practice anti-aging tips I've learned as a full-time observer and problem solver, working with thousands of patients in my two chiropractic offices:
1) Be more present and conscious in your body, mind, and emotions.
Folks who pay attention to small changes are able to correct them before the need for serious intervention arises. Pain is not the problem; pain is a symptom of a problem. When pain comes and goes, or just comes and stays, there is usually some inflammation or tissue damage in the area affected. This goes especially for the gut, where there are few to no pain sensory receptors. So other symptoms are important to note: bloating, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, distention, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.
Being present addresses the proposition (from yoga and meditation practices) that suggests in order to achieve full happiness and a step towards enlightenment, we must completely live in the present moment. Just being is enough. There is no use over-thinking a past you cannot change; that ship has sailed. The stress and depression of repeating a past incident has no use to you in the very present moment. The future hasn't happened yet, and while it is important to plan and look forward to future occurrences, worrying about them will only increase anxiety. While I am definitely not suggesting that chronic anxiety and depression have simple solutions, there are countless case studies that suggest that being present and mindful is your only true reality and focusing on that truth will increase your chances of being present with yourself, without triggers for stress and mood alterations.
Mindfulness, as it is often referred to, includes the discipline to stick to your health-minded intentions. If you know you will need to plan your food for the next 24-72 hours, then stick to your plan. Failure with food often results from poor planning, emotional upsets, and peer pressure. Being out and about when you find yourself hungry can be a problem for many, but it is totally acceptable to carry a cooler in your car, snacks in your bag, or have food at your desk. Choosing wisely at parties, restaurants, or the supermarket means feeling that in this exact moment this is exactly what your body needs (not craves) and you will feel good with the outcome. This is tricky stuff, and it requires patience, discipline, and a strong will. Mindlessly snacking on a bag of cookies or chips, ordering unhealthy off the menu, or failure to plan for being hungry later may cause you some stress and regret.
Solutions: Bring food with you if you don't know where you will eat within the next three hours. Offer to bring a dish or two for dinner parties. For catered affairs, inquire about the menu before hand. If the menu does not suit your dietary plans and nutrition goals, then you may have to eat before you go. Food restrictions, whether for allergies or sensitivities, because you are doing a detox, or for weight concerns, must be made a first priority. A polite "No, thank you" might be all that is needed. Practice mindfulness while you are doing your routine activities: count your breaths, practice walking meditation, immerse yourself in hobbies such as sports or the arts. Laugh out loud, and often. Forgive, out loud and often. Research and practice a mediation technique that works for you. Some people feel comfortable reaching out to public centers, like temples or retreats. Some prefer a personal and private practice. You choose what works for you.
Kindness: Be extra kind to yourself when you feel like you've cheated, or that you gave into to natural and nurtured food cravings. It is nearly impossible to eat at a restaurant without careful consideration of every item on the menu, or to pick up items at a supermarket without checking the label first. Things happen, moods happen, addictions and cravings may be a lifelong temptation. We are not here to make light of it, just that forgiveness is huge when it comes to feeling like we let ourselves or our practitioners down in some way when it comes to food, especially for weight loss. Our philosophy is that every day you get to ReStart your routine, your habits, and work toward a goal you've set for yourself.
2) Move your body!
Exercise will only get harder to start when you are older. If you start moving now, it will become a habit. If you think it is too late or that you are already too old, you are wrong. You will (hopefully) live longer and will need your physical body until the VERY END. Keep it healthy, move, exercise stretch, play sports, dance, walk, take the stairs, get off the couch/chair and get outside. The 75-year-old patients that come in for treatments and engage in regular exercise routines are in MUCH better shape and have more energy than their couch potato counterparts.
Physical exercise greatly affects the health of your aging brain. Many patients check off that they are "losing memory" on their subjective questionnaires. Why is that? Are we not paying attention to our surroundings while we spend the day multi-tasking? (see tip #1) Or could it be that when our brain cells (neurons) die, we lose all their connections, decreasing our ability for neuro-plasticity (brain pathways that can change and adapt).
Neuro-scientists promote walking for cross-brain activity, increasing oxygen to your brain cells, single-tasking (for focus) and learning new activities (like a musical instrument, a language, games) as the best ways to keep your brain aging more healthy. Recently, there is focus on keeping a low inflammatory diet, or using supplements and herbs knows for decreasing inflammation.
Solutions: Get off your butt and outside or get to the gym. Everyday. Take a walk, even if only 1/2 mile. Walk during lunch. Stretch during your break. Take a class. Join a sports club or meetup that revolves around an activity you like. Exercise with a friend and hold each other accountable. Stretch every day, too. Take 5 minutes and hang your body forward. Do some twists. Lateral bends. Roll your shoulders. Roll your neck. Breathe deeply and use your entire ribcage.
Kindness: There are times when you physically cannot do your exercises due to injury, arthritis, or hectic schedule. Do the best you can. There are plenty of isometric exercises that you can do to help strengthen muscle, there are chair exercise classes, there is gentle stretching you can do. Remember, it's not about having to go to the gym or participate in a sport; it's about moving your body to your ability and possibly a little bit more. If you are unable to exercise do to injury, then you can always sign up with Physical Therapy and exercise in a guided and supervised way. Your P.T. knows how to get around your obstacles, even if you don't.
Brain Assessment: Call us for an appointment where we can your neurological health through subjective and objective testing. We can recommend certain exercises, food, and supplements to support the function of your healthy brain, 303 604 6164.
3) Focus on the quality of what you are exposing to your body.
What are you eating? What are you reading? Where are you getting your news? What websites do you visit? What TV shows are you watching? Who are your close friends? What line of work are you in? What are your hobbies? What are your habits? Do you eat too much sugar? Caffeine? Alcohol? Fried foods? Empty carbs? Do you binge? Do you have food allergies or sensitivities?
You might not live in an area that you feel you can take advantage of low-cost quality food. My suggestion is to try to take a different perspective: Low cost organic foods are offered in most supermarkets. Choose high quality real food, rather than the boxed, pre-made, take-out food, or restaurant choices. Home-made, good quality food will usually be less expensive than the other choices, even for a large family. You might be short on time, but there are ways to juggle your schedule or ask for help. However, you must be willing to make this a priority for you and your family. I've seen it done with moms, business owners, folks in small towns with limited access to great food, and other busy people. If you think you might be setting yourself up for failure by creating excuses (some definitely are legitimate), then change your perspective, or ask for help from Dr. Chance.
Solutions: Read the labels on all your food. Where are your meat and produce from? Question everything. Restaurants. All packages. If you don't know an ingredient, look it up. Not sure what "gluten" is? Find out more info. Re-assess your TV choices and what you do with your free time. I'm not suggesting a puritan lifestyle, but at least a 80/20 good/bad ratio for most of it. Or try a television boycott for the weekend, or forever. This can hold true for the computer, video games, texting, tablet, cable television, commercials, anything where you will not suffer any consequences if it's out of your life for a few hours (or a whole day). Unplug for the weekend. Have a "no phone mealtime" rule. Whatever it takes because we are taking in much more information now than ever before. As rapidly as it comes in, we don't have the opportunity to truly decide whether it's VALUABLE information, or just extra noise pollution. Take a brain-cation and watch yourself become more alert to your surroundings, more present with yourself and the company you keep, and increase your overall sense of self-esteem by re-plugging your energy into yourSELF.
If you are in a situation that does not serve you, get out of it. Make it a priority; do not make excuses. And if you fall "off the wagon" then pick yourself up and Restart again tomorrow. Try every day to be and feel your best. Make it an intention to enjoy your day, no matter how stressful it may be. Falling apart is okay too. Periodically, not habitually.
Assessment: We help assess your current functional health via questionnaires and blood work (and more) analyses. We can help you avoid certain foods that are low in quality or pro-inflammatory, and guide you through healthy, quality choices.
Kindness: You are what you eat, so be kind to yourself when you decide to have any junk food. Occasional dessert, dark chocolate, quality ingredients, are always a better choice than "diet" or "lite" snacks. Always check the ingredients on the back of the label. If you are stressed and you stop your food plan, or if you are in an area where your regular food is unavailable, just do your best. Start again the next day, or when you can.
If you are around "toxic" people, remember they are most likely pulling you into their drama. If you feel like you are helping them out of their situation, but they are draining you, they probably are. Be nice to yourself and "un-friend" them. Whether it's on Facebook, or in real life. This is especially difficult with close friends or family members, but ultimately, you are better off without their toxic energy.