The latest edition of Chicago Health focused on Chicago as a BIG city…and it was not all positive. So how did we get this reputation? And, is it only about Chicago, or about our country as a whole? Our obesity epidemic, and yes, it has reached epidemic proportions, boils down to we do not move enough, and we consume too much food. The choices that we have made have created this health challenge. Think about your own choices – to move more, consume less, select wisely, shop carefully. Think about your habits – those that have challenged your health and well-being, and those that will impact you for the long haul. Then, generate a ‘fix.’ How? Generate two columns on a page; in the first column, list your habits! In the second column, list the choices that you could possibly make that would allow you to keep your habit, but create positive change. We are the City of BIG – big museums, big restaurants, big theatre, big culture! But, do we really want to be the City of BIGGER than BIG people? I think not!
For years, cleansing diets and detox plans have been in the spotlight, fueled by stories of celebrities who followed these strict regimens to lose weight quickly for a movie, an awards show, or public appearance.
Cleanse programs are prolific, and they vary widely; most eliminate caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods and fast foods. Many exclude dairy, meat and wheat products. The most stringent are liquid fasts. Some even recommend enemas, including coffee enemas. When I began the Cardiovascular Health Improvement Program (CHIP), it started with a cleanse that eliminated dairy, processed foods, white flour, chicken and meat. And, my goal was merely to improve my cholesterol. These plans are big business, often involving purchasing books, supplements, vitamins, shakes, drinks, teas, juicers and other products.
What are the risks?
Regardless of the type of cleanse, possible challenges include:
• Headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, loose bowels and upset stomach
• Loss of muscle mass
• Yo-yo dieting effect
The question is “Are you willing to suffer the possible consequences to look good for a special occasion?” While the quick fix may sound simple, it is a short term solution to a long term challenge. Is your bloating caused by inflammation – a sign of deeper health problems?
A high fiber diet may be just what the doctor ordered for a satisfactory cleanse. You can get more benefits in less time and with less work. Let your healthcare provider be your partner in these important health decisions. Discuss the risks/benefits and any possible problems presented by existing chronic conditions.
And, when you take the important step, know that it is one of many steps aimed at improving your overall health and appearance. Live well…be well!
Have you ever thought that your life, your time, was not your own? I have! And, it was true in so many ways. My life is simplified now, compared to the years between 1992 and 2004, when I worked about 100 hours per week and traveled monthly to countries in Eastern Europe. At that time, I directed the office of international affairs for a large hospital alliance, and 50 percent of my time was sub-contracted to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). My role was to foster international partnerships between U.S. hospitals and their foreign counterparts. I loved the work, I loved the people with whom I interacted, and I loved my job. The hours were extreme, and I found myself in a constant state of catching-up and was always tired. Now, with a self-imposed work week of 40 hours, I feel I have dramatically simplified my life. I now have time to work, write, teach, be with family, and give back to society. I have simplified my life by keeping up with less, not more.
I’ve taken lessons learned in less developed countries to heart as I have simplified my life. In my travels, I witnessed firsthand how simple life can be. Immediately following the earthquake in Yerevan, Armenia, on December 7, 1988, the only decent housing was in a former government hotel. Although we had neither heat nor hot water, I had a roof over my head and a clean bed. When there was no food in the hospital, our hosts found moldy bread. We ate this for weeks—sometimes with cheese or tomato sauce—and always with an appreciation for what we had. Although it was impossible to get hot water in a tub, we could use an electric coil to warm some water and rinse the shampoo out of our hair. Our colleagues lacked so much, but their refinement of spirit and passion for their work were unsurpassed. They lived a simple life—nearly a sparse life—yet a life of gratitude.
Now, as I visit this part of the world and see the progress that has been made, I am sometimes saddened by the fact that my colleagues are now living more complex lives, just as I once did. They too are burning the candle at both ends; they too are dealing with car pools, school-aged kids, aging parents, and work-life balance. Call it progress…I do not!
“Life is like riding a bike. It is impossible to maintain your balance while standing still.” –Linda Brakeall
Tip of the day to creating balance in your own life: When your work life and personal life blend together under the guise of “multi-tasking,” both suffer. When you are at work, focus on the job to be done. When you are finished with work, don’t bring it home with you. Make time for your personal life. If your work materials are dispersed throughout nearly every room of your house, you have no place for a real retreat. You’re not spending high-quality time with friends or family members if you’re talking on your cell phone or checking your e-mail when you’re with them. Take time to focus exclusively on your friends and family members when you’re with them; then you won’t feel guilty when you have to concentrate on work. Create high-quality work and personal experiences for yourself by keeping them separate.
I just completed an updated Speaker OnePage, and it was a wonderful process. You want to share your story and your potential with so many clients, and you want to do it in as few words as possible. As a speaker/author/educator/nursing professional, I’ve had the privilege of touching many lives in significant ways. I welcome the chance to do more of the same in 2014 and beyond.