Thank you for tuning into our Mind, Body and Skin Connection series. I’m so excited to present some strategies to improve your health and ultimately your life. I’m your host Fran Lambert.
As a Certified Health Coach, Area Manager with Arbonne and genetically predisposed weight gainer, I’m committed to helping people live their healthiest lives. I’ve helped hundreds of men and women of all ages experience a better level of health and happiness. You don’t have to wreck your body with extreme exercise or eat buckets of cabbage soup to trim down and get healthy. The key is to start with the first step and DECIDE that this is what you want. The rest is something we can work on together. Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing success strategies. What would your life look like if your health improved?
Studies have shown that what we feed our mind, put on and in our bodies and on our skin has a direct correlation to the quality of life we live. Focusing on the whole person translates to a healthier mind, stronger body and beautiful skin. Of course there are factors that we cannot control like heredity; however we can control factors like our stress level, the amount of sugar in our diets. We can choose to smoke or not smoke, indulge excessively in alcohol. Do we move on a daily basis? Do we get too much sun or use products like mineral oil, petroleum or chemicals that get absorbed through our skin? Are we aware that some of things we voluntarily eat or drink are toxic?
We have the power to change some of these factors and live a longer healthier life. Again, it starts with taking the first step.
Let’s address the first culprit.
How does stress and mindset impact aging? Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous or fearful. It elicits a “fight or flight” response it the body. Basically scientists compare it to the response your body has when you are being chased by a wild animal. The body releases several different hormones and over time this can cause harm to the body. Physical symptoms of stress include:
low energy, headaches, upset stomach, aches, pains, tense muscles, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent illness and loss of sexual desire/ability. Of course there are many times we can’t control stress like in the case of the death of a loved one, loss of a job, increase in financial obligations, moving, injury etc. We can control how we deal with stress with breathing exercises, meditation, keeping a journal, participating in some type of movement like physical exercise, dancing and playing. This counteracts the fight or flight response.
I had a nana that lived until she was 107. I believe it was that she was great at managing stress. She wrote in a journal almost every day. She said it helped her deal with things and remember things. She also endorsed dark chocolate and whiskey.
The next factor we can work on is our intake of sugar. Why is sugar considered bad for us? What does this have to do with chronic illness? It’s not necessarily that sugar is bad. It’s that Americans in particular have made it a major food group in their daily food consumption. The processing we have subjected sugar to has caused it to be harmful to our systems.
Why are we so drawn to something so harmful? The simple truth it tastes good. Don’t feel bad. You’re not weak for loving sugar. When someone loads up on high sugar foods the brain is lit up similarly to someone taking drugs. As the sugar races through the blood it spikes and gives a rush of energy and then causes a sudden drop in the sugar level bringing with it a myriad of emotions. How do we counteract this? There are many ways. One is by eating foods that take longer to digest and release small amounts of sugar into the bloodstream that is easily used up. These are called complex carbohydrates. How the body metabolizes the sugar in fruit and unsweetened milks is different than how it metabolizes or breaks down refined sugar in processed foods.
One more thing about sugar is that if you don’t use it, it tends to form fat.
Examples of healthy sugars are found in peas, beans, sweet potato and whole grains. The goal is to have balanced blood sugar. It leads to more stable moods. Most people have seen the Snickers commercial where the actor is portrayed as someone having a fit and when given a snickers they turn back to their real selves. It’s an extreme example but not too far off.
We can still have sugar in moderation by staying away from sugary foods and beverages and adding in fruits and fiber. Everything in moderation. Even too much of the good stuff can get stored as fat if not used.
This can lead to obesity. Obesity has been associated with certain cancers including breast, prostate, uterine, colorectal and pancreatic. Fruits high in antioxidants-blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and apples may reduce your cancer risk.
Another factor that can be controlled with some focus and effort is whether or not you smoke. If you grew up before the 70s chances are you were subjected to some form of second hand smoke. If you didn’t subsequently smoke, you may have gone through withdrawal without knowing it. If you picked up the habit it may be time to kick it. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. It restricts blood flow to everything in the body including the largest organ, your skin. This causes fine lines and wrinkles to form earlier. There are ways to kick the habit that include hypnosis as well as medication.
Alcohol’s impact on your mind, body and skin starts from the moment you take your first sip. While an occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer or spirits can take its toll. It can have adverse effects on all of the body systems from sugar levels to the central nervous systems. Moderation or abstination are the best routes for slowing the aging process and experiencing better health.
While it is important to absorb Vitamin D as naturally as possible. It is also important to protect ourselves from ill effects of sun exposure. It’s also critical to get annual skin checks even if you haven’t gotten much exposure.
I’ve always been out in the sun. I have always loved the sound of the ocean and the smell of sea air. As a child we really didn’t use sunscreen. In 2014 I went for a skin check; because I have had many moles removed in the past. I had a dot on my left arm the size of a pinhead. The PA said he didn’t like the way it looked and decided to do a biopsy. 10 days later I received a call to inform me that it was a malignant melanoma. What I said? That can’t be. It was tiny. He said that if it had been 1 mm bigger they would have considered removing lymph nodes on my left side and possibly chemo. Instead they took a 3” x3” piece of skin off my arm.
The best way to protect yourself moving forward is to wear protective clothing, hats that cover your ears as well as sunscreen. Limit your sun exposure and this will also contribute to slowing the aging process.
The last but not least culprit is toxins. We’ll cover this in our next session.
So what about mindset? Is it just a bunch of mumbo jumbo? Thousands of successful people through the years have proven that a positive mindset can lead to amazing lives. What does that look like? Does it mean standing in front of a mirror and telling yourself you’re healthy? Maybe that’s part of it; however it starts with setting a SMART goal and knowing what your WHY is. For the hundreds of people I’ve worked with there have been hundreds of goals and whys. No two have been exactly the same. The goal is the roadmap. The why is the gas. Without both you’ll go around in circles never becoming what you set out to be.
SMART goals are simple.
S is for specific. It takes asking lots of questions to really narrow it down. How will that goal impact your life?
M is for measurable. Is it the amount of weight you’d like to lose? Do you want to run a 5K? It has to be something you can measure and reflects success.
A is for actionable. How are you going to achieve it? Do you have the tools you need? If not it might be necessary to revise the goal.
R is for relevant. Does it fit into your current situation?
T is for time-bound. Set a specific date. This can be revised if necessary.
Once the goal is set, we can work together to make it happen.
Many of my clients have said they feel that they’ve reached the point of no return and have given up hope. As long as you’re alive you have the ability to make small changes. Remember it starts with a DECISION and the DESIRE.
The bottom line is that the mind, body, skin connection all starts with a DECISION. Decide what you want your next 10, 20, 30 years to look like? It definitely starts with having a positive mindset. How can we have a positive mindset when we are constantly bombarded with negativity? Reading something positive, journaling, meditation, breathing work, exercising and eating healthy all lead to a more positive mindset. Really, what I eat impacts my mind? Absolutely. We saw what a snickers can do.
It is also true that genetics plays a role in what we are predisposed for. As I mentioned at the beginning, I was predisposed to gain weight even at a very young age. Congenital diseases (things you’re born with) can’t be cured but can be managed. Things that you develop for whatever reason (sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the whys and hows) can also be managed with lifestyle changes. The question is ‘How Bad Do You Want It?” What are you willing to do to reduce or alleviate factors that are making you sick and tired?
How badly do you want to age gracefully?
A problem that many people face is that they don’t realize how poor lifestyle choices (smoking, sun exposure, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, dehydration) play a huge roll is how they age.
Imagine yourself at 80. How will you look? How will you feel? How about 90? 100? Is it silly to think that you might live past 100?
I’m so happy you decided to tune in. What is your next step. Where do you see yourself in 6 months, a year? Can you envision what your life would look like if you made some of the changes I spoke about today? Don’t wait. Reach out to me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll include your questions in my subsequent podcasts. Make a commitment to yourself. Put your oxygen mask on first. This is Fran Lambert. Have an amazing day!