By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.
I started my 40 before 40 list with less than a year to complete it; this time I’ve got about 9 and a half years! The last list spurred me to do things I likely wouldn't have completed. Writing it down is key. I will be pulling from this list to spice up my annual goals each year now through 2029.
Some are serious, some are silly – all are good!
It’s natural for us to reflect on the previous months as the year draws to a close. I’m sharing some of my own and my clients’ thoughts on what was learned or shared this year that would be beneficial to keep in mind as we enter a new year and decade!
On Body Acceptance
I didn't actually appreciate my body and how it was functioning until it wasn’t. I was focused on the wrong things. I worked out to “fix” body parts I didn’t like rather than to make my body stronger and more resilient; those are the things that really matter.
Bigger, smaller, muscled or not - healthy bodies come in various shapes and sizes. The ideal body type changes through the years and it doesn’t necessarily indicate greater health and longevity. How does your body feel and what can it do? Strive for improvement if you aren’t where you want to be and know that your healthy may look different than someone else’s.
The more I catch negative self-talk and re-frame it, the easier it becomes. The negative self-talk may never go away completely but it's much more quiet!
My favorite quote from the book Secrets from the Eating Lab,
“You were not put on this earth to mold yourself into a perfect physical specimen. As writer Glennon Melton says, ‘Your body is not your masterpiece, your life is.’"
Hysterectomy is among the top 10 most commonly performed surgeries in the US; 1 in 3 women has one by age 60. It seems like every other woman I’ve talked to has had one or knows a relative or friend who has one scheduled. It may be common but it’s still a major surgery that requires general anesthesia and significant recovery time. We’ve got to have a pre-op plan for optimal mental and physical health post-op. These are the things I am preparing in the two weeks leading up to my surgery date. The following tips are written with hysterectomy in mind but could potentially be applicable to other major surgical procedures.
Stress can be a good thing; it gives you that kick in the butt to perform well. The on-going, negative, daily stresses building up over time is what results in feeling unwell and unhappy. Unrealistic deadlines, “not your favorite” co-workers, traffic, arguments with a loved one, aging parents, childcare, illnesses or injuries, unexpected repairs, insomnia, watching the news = STRESS! Just reading that list made me feel it! We all have variable doses of stress throughout our lives and when it's not well-managed, it adds up. If we look at women with very similar situations and sources of stress, we’d still find differences in perceived stress levels and how each is affected by them.
How do you address your stress? Do you open a bottle of wine, grab some pizza, and complain to a friend? I’m not gonna lie, that sounds ideal when you're dealing with an unexpected rough patch. However, for ongoing day-to-day stress that is affecting your life, you've got to have some other strategies. Several forms of coping, such as reliance on alcohol, will eventually make you feel worse. And it matters because chronic stress can have a significant impact on your health and well-being.
Chronic stress has been shown to have numerous effects on the body. Immune function, cardiovascular health, and gastrointestinal processes can be negatively impacted. Stress influences hormones which influence metabolism and appetite, leading to changes in weight and energy levels. Hormones also affect recovery rates from illness or injury, ability to sleep, mood, and more.
Chronic stress can impact relationships at home and at work. According to the American Psychological Association Stress Survey in 2014, 48% of those polled said stress had a negative impact on their personal and professional lives. Social support increases chances of succeeding in exercise and healthful eating efforts. If relationships are strained, it will be harder to find dependable social support.
When under chronic stress that is continually pushed down or ignored, it will likely manifest in changes to your health, energy, mood, and/or relationships. That's kind of a big deal! If you are working on improving dietary and exercise habits but you don’t address chronic stress, you aren’t likely to get very far. Even if exercise itself helps; addressing stress is an essential part of a comprehensive fitness plan.