A chapter in my upcoming e-book is dedicated towards getting healthy over getting fit. The two are not synonymous, and being fit before being healthy can actually make you sick. Think about it– how many over-trained, starved, neurotic, and depleted athletes are there? Too many to count. That is why the rate of injury and exhaustion is so high in these individuals; they are fit but not healthy. This is not to say that all athletes or fit people are unhealthy, as there are exceptions. A lot of people set out to lose weight with horrendous strategies, and their overall health becomes a casualty. At one point, you may have experienced some of the hallmark symptoms of your health going backwards, not forwards. These include:
– A drop in body temperature. You might experience cold fingers and toes, reduced tolerance to cold, and an inability to sweat, even when exercising.
-Reduced sleep quality. You either can’t sleep, or the sleep you do get is not restorative and you wake up feeling exhausted.
-You are tired all of the time and need caffeine just to function. This is a hallmark sign of an energy disturbance within the body, and you need to be aggressive in fixing it.
– A constant craving for sweet or salty foods. Your adrenal glands do not just produce sex hormones, they also produce stress hormones. When the stress you are placing on your body is no longer therapeutic (eustress), your body produces more stress hormones (cortisol) to try to adapt to the chronic stress (distress).
In this chapter, I give strict guidelines a person will want to follow on their path to not only a healthier body, but a healthier mind. Most diets create stress for people and inevitably, they are doomed to fail. A good diet will give you energy, improve your quality of health, and also your quality of life. Here is a blip I will share with you.
INCREASE INSULIN SENSITIVITY AT ALL COSTS
A valuable gem I learned in terms of overall health is this. There are 3 things that cause ill health; Insulin resistance, Estrogen dominance, and Inflammation. Insulin resistance is a biggie in terms of health. Ultimately, it regulates how well your body uses or stores energy. People who are pre-diabetic or full blown diabetic have deranged insulin sensitivity. This derangement leads to weight gain, fatigue, and in severe cases, organ damage. I am not aiming to be a fear monger’r, but rather drive home the relevance of insulin sensitivity. There are a lot of things you can do to increase your body’s overall insulin sensitivity. For the sake of time and to keep things simple, I will outline 3 big ones.
1. Diet: Big shocker there. A diet that is high in processed foods, PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially from seeds), refined sugar, and meals low in protein and fiber will ultimately hinder insulin sensitivity. So keep it simple and just make sure you limit processed food intake. Be sure to have protein and fiber present at every meal. In the presence of protein and fiber, the glycemic load (the amount of glucose that enters blood stream proceeding a meal) is greatly reduced. This makes sure glucose enters the blood stream slowly, and more energy is shuttled into the cells for respiration.
2. Exercise: Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, glycogen re-synthesis, and promotes more lean body mass (muscle tissue). When you consume food post-exercise, more energy is preferentially going towards restoring muscle and liver glycogen stores. Glycogen is a form of stored energy that fuels exercise and the body in a fasted state. Think of it as a form of starch the body stores and uses as needed. Depleted glycogen stores hinders athletic performance exponentially. The ability to store glycogen efficiently is a good sign of insulin sensitivity. Remember, the poison is in the dose. Exercise appropriately and do not over do it.
3. Sleep: Sleep is huge player in your quest for overall health. Just 4 nights of sleep deprivation can greatly reduce your body’s insulin sensitivity. Here is a great article for more insight on sleep…http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/05/lack-of-sleep.aspx
Putting it all together
When it comes to getting healthy, make a few changes that will have the greatest positive impact on your health. I like to tackle sleep and diet first and foremost. If you have your sleep and diet under control, maybe take a look at your training program as whole and make the necessary changes. I also cover optimal training in my book. Please share and stay tuned for my upcoming e-book.