Provision #623: Stress Proof Your Wellness
by Bob Tschannen-Moran
It's been said, "Those who do have health, have many wishes. Those who do
not have health, have but one wish." Although that's not exactly true, per my
Life-Giving Needs, the point is well taken. Nothing contributes more to a
sense of distress than poor health. The key, then is to stress proof your
wellness a topic I have returned to repeatedly since starting LifeTrek
Coaching in 1998. Indeed, my own lack of wellness at that point was part of what
led me into coaching. Today, I review my formula for Optimal Wellness.
I am enjoying Dr. David Kessler's recent book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. He makes the same point I have made on many occasions: fat, sugar, and salt make for a lethal combination. Not only does it do a number on our health and wellness, it also does a number on our willpower. Remember the old commercial that included the line, "Bet you can't eat just one!" Well, guess what? They were right.
The food companies know a good thing when they see them. By combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain's reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when were full. The only answer, then, is to plan and structure our eating to avoid that lethal combination. And the best way to do that, in my experience, is to educate yourself about the things that make for health and wellness. Such information can lead to action.
As you may remember from my long series on the topic, optimal wellness requires us to pay attention to three factors: what goes in (nutrition), what goes out (fitness), and what goes around (goodness). For a long time, I conducted my own experiments in these arenas without clear, scientific guidance. It seemed I could always find an authority who would contradict another authority on the matter. All that changed for me in the summer of 2004 when I heard a lecture given by Dr. S. Boyd Eaton at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State.
Titled, "Stone Agers in the Fast Lane: Health Promotion in the 50th Millennium," the lecture articulated a principle for understanding optimal wellness that won me over immediately and has since become an avid part of my reading, research, and regimen. The principle Dr. Eaton articulated was simply this: by learning about the diet and lifestyle of our original ancestors, we can learn about the diet and lifestyle that best suits human beings today and in the future.
Why would our original diet and lifestyle be so prescriptive? Because we ate and lived that way for most of our existence as a species. Only recently, in evolutionary terms, have we made dramatic changes to our diets and lifestyles (through the agricultural, industrial, and now informational revolutions). Although those revolutions have generated some wonderful things, including civilization as we know it today, they have also generated chronic disease and stress in unprecedented proportions. People were not designed to eat those fat, sugar, and salt combinations, to sit around all day in front of electronic screens, and to live in ticky-tacky houses in relative isolation from each other.
That's why Dr. Eaton and many others now argue persuasively that the original diet and lifestyle, from the Paleolithic period, is worth emulating (in so far as that is possible) for those seeking to optimize their own health and well-being. So I have moved in that direction over time and I have been sharing with you my experience with that through the pages of LifeTrek Provisions. Here's a quick recap of what I have learned:
So that's the pattern that makes for optimal wellness. It's also
the pattern that protects us against the ravages of stress. It's hard to
overstate how stressful it is on our health and wellness to eat poorly, to
exercise minimally, and to rest hardly at all. To say that we don't have time to
take good care of ourselves is to put ourselves on a fast track to the morgue.
That may make headlines when we are a celebrity, but something tells me that's
not the kind of attention Michael Jackson was hoping for.
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Your last Provision on "Stress Proofing Your Routines" was a great provision. Thank you! I will put this on my 'things to change agenda for this week.
The first line of your last Provision hit me right between the eyes. Tell me your routines and I will tell you your future. Since I read that line I have paid much more attention to my routines. Thanks!
Your provision about healthy routines reminded me of a chapter in coach Cheryl Richardson's new book, The Art of Extreme Self Care. A healthy routine has a power all its own. A healthy body, mind, and spirit can accomplish so much more, too.
I want to thank you for your Provisions. They are like a free, weekly coaching session. I always look forward to them and always leave feeling nourished. I found it interesting how similar my routines are to yours. Over the last few years I have been doing a lot of work on my "walking the walk" in preparation for Wellcoach training. Your weekly provisions have played an important role in helping me clarify my vision. Although my choices vary from yours, I have developed stress-proofing routines in my life and also feel uplifted by them. I have significant sources of stress in my life that could send me down the wrong path. Instead, my routines provide me a deep sense of inner calm and path to mindful living.
There seems to be a lot of sugar in your smoothing recipe. Even though it is natural sugars, I'm a diabetic and this would not work for me. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and that's a bad thing. (Ed. Note: Agreed, when it comes to the health impacts of sugar. The sugar in my smoothie recipe is easily reduced; just eliminate the molasses and reduce the quantity of fruit. Otherwise, there are no sugars.) Top
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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