Be Like the Aviation Industry.

The aviation industry are smart and have a lot of things right (and geez, are we glad about that!)

They not only have multiple systems in place to intercept potential errors and damage, they also teach the vital process of putting on your own oxygen mask on first.

This saves lives and also empowers people.

Be like the Aviation Industry.

 

We know life doesn’t always go to plan, but having support systems gives us what all their checks give to Aviation – safety!

Support systems make us feel safe!

I hope you have been able to spend some time this month thinking about the support systems you have in place, and, just how they help you choose a marvellous life.

Here are a few things I have observed so far:

  • Caring for oneself is absolutely a crucial building block of thriving in life – before we can live our lives to the fullest we need to make ourselves our own priority.  If that means putting your supports in place to take a day to gather your thoughts, or to buy yourself a beautiful diary so you can get organised or taking yourself off to a health professional to get advice – then, DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS!
  • Supports aren’t always in your face every day – even people who love us have lives too – the reason they are our supports though, is that we are on THEIR priority list.
  • Sometimes supports aren’t so obvious – the example of my house cleaner – I pretty much hate cleaning, so to me, having my lovely cleaner come once a fortnight is 100% a support to me!
  • Back to aviation, they have layers of safety checks what allow them to do what they do so well.  We are no different, your support systems most definately need to be multidimensional.  Don’t be relying on one support (or person) to be your only solution to you doing well.  Sooner or later that arrangement will come unstuck for various reasons.

 

There you have it, my observations, I’m very keen to hear how your support systems work for you – please feel free to share!

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“Food is healthcare”

I don’t look at all food the way I used to.  I truly do love food, but sadly in the second half of 2015, it became apparent that there were a few foods that just, well, didn’t love me!

Before I go any further, I need to respectfully acknowledge people who suffer anaphylaxis, those with severe conditions  which bring on adverse reactions to certain foods and those with  diabetes. These people’s food choices can have life-threatening effects on their health.  In comparison, my little story is hardly worth telling, but I think still relevant to the image above.

So, it appeared that it would be a process to discover ‘which’ foods they were that didn’t love me!

You see, I had a colonsocopy (yep, the drink was woeful) – ruled out the nasties but symptoms were suggestive of Irritiable Bowel Disorder. In my head, I was thinking, ok, nothing too sinister about that – I will just watch what I eat….  and maybe take some of those over the counter medications I have seen advertised on TV – ‘for medically diagnosed IBD’ – you know the ones.

Woah – at that point I didn’t realise the regime the dietitian had in store for me!  Her recommendation was to do a FODMAP elmination – basically, cutting out all of the short chain carbohydrates for a period of 6 weeks and then methodically re-introducing them.

How hard can it be? Right? Wrong!  Do you know how many foods this involved??  There were a few days when I was just plain ‘hangry’ – so starving, and didn’t know what I was ‘allowed’ to eat.  But its done now, and you know what happened – I felt amazing, yep, on top of the world!

The dietitian was spot on, clearly all of the symptoms were being caused by those pesky short chain carbohydrates.  Then, the trick was to re-introduce them separately to work out exactly which ones were bothering me the most.  The challenges  were harder – so much trial and error (I do mostly like to have a plan!)  Interestingly, it got to this point where I didn’t want to add in any more foods because I was feeling so good, crazy hey?!

Now, I need to tell you, I seriously love bread – like, so much so that prior to the abovementioned story, my most truly favourite thing to eat was fresh bread, butter and vegemite (with proportionately more butter than vegemite, wink, wink!)  As you can probably imagine, this type of bread is not really allowed in low FODMAP regimes.  For a detailed look at FODMAP, head to http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

Don’t get me wrong, its not that I haven’t had any bread at all since this unravelled, I have had bits and pieces – all the while knowing that it wasn’t the best thing for my body.  That was a choice I made on those days.  What I now know, and perhaps I didn’t fully acknowledge it before, but eating the right food really is healthcare.

 

The take away message here is:

  • Try practising mindful eating – essentially, it’s about concentrating on your food and the taste and how it makes you feel,
  • Nibbling while preparing dinner is an example of mindLESS eating, as is finishing the food on plates that your children didn’t eat 😉
  • Try keeping a journal of not of how many calories you ate, but rather, what you ate and how it made you feel – go on, just a few days, as an experiment?!

Yes, I can hear your say, nutrition is only one component of a healthy lifestyle, but it is a vital part!  You can’t eat rubbish and expect your body to work well  – like me with the bread, I know, not my wisest hour, but I have to be okay with the consequences, if that’s what I choose.

What do you choose??

Winter Wellness

I live in southern Queensland in Australia, and it kind of feels like we are on borrowed time with the weather, like winter is going to hit with vengance very soon.  Does anyone else feel like that?  I’ve just spent the weekend in Townsville – so, of course, I didn’t feel my sense of impending cold there, however when we came home, I was expecting it to be colder, but it isn’t just yet.  But I know the cold of winter will be here very soon.
I’m not particularly fond of the extremes, spring and autumn kind of suit me best, but i do know, my peaches and cream complexion is much better suited to winter!
As the cold weather approaches, its a good time to think about winter wellness and what that means for your health.  The truth is that during these colder months, the exposure to the germs is unavoidable – its how we look after ourselves that matters.
My random thoughts on being ready to stay well for winter are as follows:
Handwashing – this is the simplest and most effective action you can take to stop the spread of infection.  Are you a fastidious handwasher?
Did you know that the average adult gets two to three colds per year and children eight to twelve per year**.  The difference is ultimately, the handwashing and the amount of germs children unknowingly share!
Handwashing is the single most important activity we can undertake to stop the spread of infection.
Stay home – Do yourself a favour and stay home from work and keep children away from other children when they are sick – you don’t want to be ‘that’ person who goes in looking dreadful and then proceeds to spread their infections around.
Influenza vaccination – Influenza is a virus that is more common in winter.  A common cold or (man-flu as it is also known) is not influenza.  See http://www.immunise.health.gov.au for the specifics.
If you are in one of the high-risk groups, the vaccination is funded for free (see below this blog).
Alternatively, you can choose to pay a small price for the vaccination via your GP or some community pharmacies.  Just as a conversation starter at your next dinner party, each year’s vaccine is different to the previous year.  It depends on what the Northern Hemisphere has experienced and it is formulated to cover those most recent strains. Discuss your risk vs benefits of having the vaccination with your GP.
I don’t have time to start the immunisation debate tonight – I will just say the evidence base of why immunisation is so crucial and wise is very well researched.  If you ever get sucked into someone’s claims, my only advice is – be careful of your source!!
The most reliable and science based information available can be found at www.immunise.health.gov.au
Pneumonia – This week is pneumonia awareness week.  Pneumonia is a complication of influenza and that’s the reason I wanted to write something about this significant issue.
Antibiotics will not fix every illness you have during winter – Most winter illnesses are viruses.  Which means they will typically be self-limiting (they go away on their own after a period of time) and require symptomatic treatment only.  In the case of viruses, antibiotics are not useful.
Fitness during winter – yes, those mornings can be tough, but just remember – summer bodies are made in winter!

Spread the message – we all know someone or lots of people who fit into one or more of the categories below – do the right thing and start a conversation with them about whether they have considered influenza vaccination.  Peer engagement is an awesome way to spread how important the message of good health is.

So there you have it, my thoughts on winter wellness.  I will be so organised with my winter woolies by the time the proper cold weather gets here, will you?

 

Image result for stay well this winter

Source:  www.norfolkslivingwell.org.uk

Featured Image Source – http://www.mapio.net

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High-Risk Groups – Source:  www.immunise.health.gov.au

**www.uptodate.com

Easy to do and easy not to do!

I have recently bought a new vacuum cleaner, the cordless type – partly because I sold the other one on gumtree and needed to replace it, but also partly because I am super keen to apply the slight edge principles to my household cleaning!!  FYI – cleaning most certainly isn’t one of my past times – funnily enough I have a few close friends who would say its theirs – but that’s a story for another day!

Back on track – The Slight Edge is a book written by Jeff Olson – the overview of the book is that is about success habits and applying them to your everyday life.

What habits do you have?  Are they helpful or not helpful?  Interestingly, successful people always seem to have habits – I think there is much we can learn from even just that finding, let alone what the habits actually are!

Motivation is great, but it doesn’t stay constant or last forever!  Habits are what you need if you are going to make sustainable lifestyle changes – in any area of your life!  I said it.  And I will say it again, successful people have habits.

Back to the book, this picture below is pretty much the overview of the whole book.  Seems simple, but I can definitely recommend reading the whole book to make complete sense of it and be able to apply it to your own life.

Here are a few messages from the book:

  • In a way, it is environmental restructuring – setting up a framework that helps you to succeed.  Sounds like a good plan, yes?!
  • The book compares the slight edge concept to crops and time – about how we need to need to plant and cultivate before we can harvest.  We also know this to be true with healthy lifestyles – its an ongoing commitment to yourself.
  • The book challenges your personal views.  Are you ready to confront the values and beliefs that shape your world?
  • The people we choose to spend our time with matters!  Have you heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  People either inspire you or they drain you – choose them wisely!
  • Sometimes we need to get uncomfortable or outside of their comfort zone so we can grow and learn and change.

Have I got your attention?  If you want more, you will have to read the book for yourself!

I look forward to hearing if anyone is intrigued enough to have actually read or listen to the book.  And no, I am not receiving any commissions, but this is one place you can get a taste of it, with an introduction actually spoken by Jeff Olson himself, on YouTube, of course – just cut and paste this address https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSBaZJ1y6MU   It is also available on Amazon and various other book retailers.

I think it also very well describes that changing is a process, and through consistent actions we can see powerful results in many areas of our lives.  That is all.

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NB: for anyone who is interested, I have indeed, been using the vacuum cleaner daily.  Admittedly, it has only been a few weeks.  Evidently, and perhaps on the upside, my children seem to be quite taken with it too – happy days!

Sleepy?

This morning when I was so rudely woken by my alarm, I seriously felt like I’d been asleep for like 10 minutes!  I hadn’t, I had almost 9 hours sleep, but it set me to thinking about how amazing sleep is!  I have always felt empathy for people who have trouble sleeping, however, never truly understood it!!!

Sleep is a human necessity and the benefits of sleep are truly astonishing!!  Who doesn’t love a good sleep??

Here is some facts I found for you in the ABC’s National Sleep Research Project (in bold)(These are from 2000 – its a little old now, but these facts are ones which won’t change with time.)

  • Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.  Being a nurse who has done some shiftwork in her time – I believe this to be true!)
  • Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal.  If you have had the pleasure of spending time with an adolescent, you will know sleep is very high on their priority list, and here it is, backed by research!)
  • Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. And further to this, backlit screens actually decrease a person’s melatonin secretion – which is the hormone that helps us sleep.
  • A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year (wow, I’ve not seen it laid out like that, any new parents out there, you are doing awesome, don’t stop reading, I promise to be the bearer of some tips too!)

And this is what I know about sleep:

Good quality sleep is good for weight loss! – Poor sleep has a slowing effect on metabolism, and we know our metabolism needs to be working well if we want to lose weight.

Lack of sleep has been used as a form of torture – prolonged periods of sleep deprivation mess with the entire body’s biological functions and therefore effect mental and physical health.

A sleep routine can actually help you sleep better.  Psst, sleep routines aren’t just for babies!!  Its not about timing how long you sleep for and sleeping for intervals and waking up, its about getting in the ‘sleep zone’ before you even go to bed.  Again, its about creating habits!

icon-sleep

Here are just a couple of things to try:

Try getting up at the same time each day – for people who are particularly fond of their sleep, this might be difficult to start with, but it helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.  And when you wake up, get out of bed, so for you serial snoozers, its time to ‘disable’ the snooze function.

Avoiding caffeine after about lunchtime – for obvious reasons, being zinged up on stimulants before bed clearly has detrimental effects on your sleep pattern.

Exercise, especially in the afternoon – physically tiring, but also there is a link to body temperature and it being back to normal by the time bedtime comes around.

I’ve saved the best until last, though perhaps it will be the least popular of all…

Turn off your backlit screens at least one hour before you want to go to sleep.  As mentioned above, the melatonin secretion is affected by that light.  The ‘one last look’ at your social media for bed has got to be a thing of the past if you want to sleep better!

There you have it, Wellness Assist’s sleep tips in a nutshell, have a great, sleep-filled week!

 

The best you can be.

In the last blog, I talked about knowing your chronic disease risk factors. For most people, this will have been put in the ‘that doesn’t apply to me box…..  It seems bringing up the issue was quite timely!  (Yay, I got something right!)

It was right, because it was World Health Day last Thursday and it was solely dedicated to targeting and ‘beating’ diabetes.  FYI  Diabetes is one of the chronic diseases with lifestyle risk factors I was referring to!

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to give a massive pat on the back to anyone who lives with diabetes.  It is relentless and unforgiving for the sufferer and those around them, especially carers of young people with Type 1 – you’re awesome!

This is probably also the right time to point out the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

As according to Diabetes Australia, Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. 

WHEREAS

Diabetes Australia says Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. We do not know what causes type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors. Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors.

Did you know the difference?  Here’s a challenge for you – go and tell someone else about the why these conditions are so different.

Make it your conversation starter for the week.  Or you could also share the staggering statistic, that 1 in 11 people have diabetes (World Health Organisation) or that if – Diabetes was a country, it would be the third largest in the world (Diabetes NSW).  Everyone likes to be the bearer of good news, sorry, its not you today! (when you start the conversation).

People with Type 1 Diabetes account for 10-15% of all diabetes cases.  The management of this condition can be heartbreaking and exhausting!  It’s a condition close to my heart and an imminent cure is most certainly on my hopes and dreams list, as I’m sure it is for every other affected person and their families.

Back to the main story (!) – for the purpose of this discussion, we are talking predominantly about Type 2 Diabetes – as its the one that is preventable, and also the one posing a major global health challenge.

As responsible humans, we need to recognise and talk about Type 2 Diabetes, no longer can we as a society, ignore it in any way!  In fact, we need to take concentrated action to make a change.

Sturt Eastwood, the Diabetes NSW CEO, recently told the Huffington Post ‘… Australians need to learn to read the signs of diabetes better.’

Do you know if you are suffering early symptoms or have you used the AUSDRISK assessment tool?  A list of symptoms can be found at: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/type-2-diabetes

You can thank me later, I’ve helped you out here.  You can do YOUR assessment at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/diabetesRiskAssessmentTool

This tool calculates a risk category and advises you on what, if any action, you should take.  I say it again, the best action you can take is to know your risk!  What would be even better is if you shared this knowledge and risk assessment tool with someone around you who you think might also benefit??

Apologies if this is a bit confronting, but at some stage you might just be grateful you read this blog.  Maybe you haven’t been feeling quite right and it is just the call to action you have been searching for?

I say it again, its about managing your health and taking concentrated action to be the best you can be!

 

Here’s to new adventures!

Today I went to my first group PT session.  Wouldn’t you think that a good couple of years into my gaining health journey, I would have been to one?!  I guess it’s just never lined up with my schedule, or perhaps I have just never made it happen.  But, low and behold, I really enjoyed it, the camaraderie was really something to be relished.

The group was welcoming, not stand-offish, friendly yet not over-familiar and giving it their all, but yet not competitive – some people would say this is tall ask these days!  Everyone was there for their own reasons, and you know what, nobody asked their reasons.  The leader, Marisa, perhaps knew some of their reasons, but it wasn’t important.  What was important, that despite their reasons and motivations, everyone turned up and gave it their all, not to be the best there, but to be better than yesterday.

‘Being better than yesterday’ is another quote I like, it supports the concept of starting from where you are – wherever that may be, as long as its an improvement on the days prior.

If I had not gone to the class today, I wouldn’t have had this new adventure and I wouldn’t be writing about the supportive network of women I encountered today.

There is always room to be better, and I reckon today, I was!  Yay, me!  I was a little proud. Though only a bit, some of the ladies should be even prouder of themselves, they smashed out some impressive fitness test results!!

My conclusion and in support what I have always known – new adventures are ridiculously good for the mind!  Sometimes they require stepping out of your comfort zone, but hey, life begins at the end of that, doesn’t it?!

Have a great week!