Hello again you wonderful human, this is going to be another presentation of the best blog that the world has ever seen*. Connected Community Health Support covers seven different pillars of lifestyle health including fitness, nutrition, sleep, mindset, socio-environmental, personal finance, and policy change. Because we can throw a lot of dense information at you, I wanted to use this week and write up an eye friendly review of what we have presented so far! It will cover each of the pillars from a 30,000 foot high view. The hope is that you will be able to read this and reflect upon your change so far or the change to come. Feel free to give it a share and check out the other good nuggets on our blog after you read. Without further ado, enjoy the health nuggets.
This is what most people think of when they consider health and for many this an overwhelming topic. What we like to emphasize is not going crazy and burning yourself out or making yourself so sore that you never want to exercise again. While super intense VO2 max work is a highly effective way to get in a workout quickly, it is not sustainable to do more than once or twice in a week. On top of this, time and financial resources can make a full gym membership unrealistic for the 83% of Americans that don’t have one (or do and don’t use it!). It was for this reason that CCHS has created the free stream series that progressively increases the duration of aerobic exercise. At week 12 you hit the level of exercise required by national guidelines and decrease your risk of mortality by 40%. By the end of the program, you’ll be completing over 400 minutes of aerobic exercise a week which is enough to lose weight without dietary intervention without any equipment other than a phone or computer. CCHS also offers high quality online personal training at the most affordable prices that anyone could offer that is customized to your needs and wants! All of this considered, consistency is the most important part of any program. Be it resistance training, anaerobic training, aerobic training, or other mobility and balance work, if you work your whole body with enough frequency, you will see improvements in that skill! Think about a realistic goal for you to start with, and incorporate/ block out time for that plan into your daily schedule.
The most effective way to reach your health goals in a timely manner is to combine all of the pillars. The ones most people talk about the most in health are fitness AND nutrition. Research also supports the efficacy of this combination especially with weight loss. The topics we have covered include macros, micros, caloric intake/deficit, protein pacing, inflammatory things, and ways to make this practical.
With macronutrient (carbs, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), CCHS reinforces that to be healthy you should aim to eat a macro balanced, micronutrient rich diet. Fads and restrictive diets often do more harm than good unless it’s for a diagnosed allergy/disease. Even going vegan can result in a deficit of protein without a substantial amount of effort and research which in the case of weight loss, can lead to substantial muscle loss (which is obviously bad for many reasons). Speaking of, a person should aim to consume 1.2-1.8g/kg body weight and ideally eat a portion of that amount every 3 hours or so throughout the day. As for micronutrients, eating your fruits AND veggies in recommended amounts should be okay to get all you need there. In practice it will feel like a lot, but good preparation makes all the difference! Veggies are also NOT calorie dense and have a lot of fiber, which means it’s easier to feel full for longer! This will also help you reach a calorie deficit if that is a part of your health goal. A healthy deficit is anywhere from 500-1000 calories a day which equates to 1-2 pounds of fat loss a week. This “deficit” is below how much you burn in a day. This is around your body weight in pounds times 12. For example, a 150 pound person burns close to 1800 calories in a day and a 200 pound person burns close to 2400 calories in a day. This is a rough estimate but is a simple start for your dietary plan! Lastly, inflammatory foods like simple sugar, alcohol, and tobacco products can slow your metabolism, prevent your physical recovery from stress, and have been linked to a ton of very bad diseases as many of us already know. Try to limit or exclude these from your life in small steps. That is our nutrition review! A Lot, but put simply so that you can get started.
Literally just sleep 8-9 hours a night. There is so much science on this. Just do it. LIke actually. I’ll spare you the mechanisms of how or why, just prioritize your sleep. Seriously. It will help you recover better from stress, be smarter, give you more gains, and also just feels great. If you already do this, give yourself a pat on the back! If you don’t, do better. No blue light or ideally screen time an hour before bed, no caffeine after the hour of noon, and actually force time for yourself before sleep to calm your mind and breathe or journal. Okay? Thank yourself later you wonderful human.
This is a very broad topic and one that intrudes into all other pillars. This Includes executive function skills, scheduling/journaling, self-expression, resiliency, goal setting, and many other small topics. All of this boils down to MI, mindfulness and intentionality which was covered in a recent blog. CCHS encourages everyone to make time for themselves to either become aware of how they are feeling in the moment, about the past, and about the future. Just putting something on paper and labeling your emotions is a crucial first step to moving past them or dealing with them. In the case of a problem, this will also allow you to brian storm solutions! These usually take the form of SMART goals, which you can read our previous blogs about if you aren’t familiar. These action steps to your goals should be practically included in your daily plan, and time should be blocked out and devoted solely to doing whatever it is you have decided to do. Once you are mindful of what you want and are feeling and have a realistic plan to go about achieving it, your change or success is simply a matter of time and execution. If you come across a fog or long lasting depression, eating disorder, or are dealing with another sort of trauma, CCHS highly recommends taking the action to get help. This is usually in the form of therapy or a doctor's visit and there are many options for each person to figure out what works best for them. You don’t have to do it all yourself and become frustrated!
This is also a large topic that many people ignore. The summary is that people are VERY social creatures. Your immediate friends and family as well as the environments that you find yourself in affect your thoughts and actions over time in a large way. This can be used to help you, or without attention can hurt your health in the form of chronic physical or mental disease. Without going into the details of the relationship between poverty, health disparities, and unhealthy environment, take mental note of how the people and environments you find yourself in affect your life. If these things do not align with your life or health goals, make a plan to overcome these as we talked about above.
A big part of resilience and success in your goals is taking care of your relationships. This includes with yourself, your close friends and family, and your larger circles such as work. We can find ourselves lonely in any one of these categories independent of the other. Without any one of these, it can be hard to find the support needed to overcome tough times. Take time to foster these relationships.
The review of personal finance is similar to that of the above topics. Be mindful of your spending and intentional with how you do spend your money. The latter often takes the form of budgeting. This can be made simple and not scary! On the left side of a piece of paper write down all of your expenses per month. On the right side, write down your income. If you have some left over, try to set aside 10% each paycheck for safety savings until you have enough to cover 3-6 months worth of expenses without an income. If your income doesn’t top your critical living expenses, no plan will be that helpful until you either increase that number or seek assistance. Note: There is a heavy stigma for many people against using government assistance. If you feel an aversion to this help, I would challenge you to write down and label exactly why you feel that way.
If you have savings and spare cash still, determine what makes you happy. Think about where in your life spending a little more money could have a large effect on your happiness. Try to emphasize experiences in new places with other people if you can! Although CCHS is not a financial professional, you could also take this spare cash and look to invest it for your retirement. This takes many forms including self-investing, roth IRA’s, 401k’s, real estate, and others. This is for you to check out!
The big thing CCHS likes to emphasize is dedicating money to reaching your health goals. The average obese American will spend $1400 a year on medical expenses. That money could be spent up front to not only avoid illness, but be able to have a much higher quality of life. Think about what the cost of replacing a meal out could do for your health! A lot to unpack here, we hope this helps you defy the odds
Long story short, our lives are guided by policy and actions taken by corporations and the government. $11.4 Billion is spent on junk food advertising each year which is targeted to the poor and towards children. Spending is emphasized by these businesses at the beginning of each month to take advantage of those on food stamps that often don’t have nutrition information to avoid poor food choices. A tiny sugar tax such as a penny per gram of sugar invested into public health would be astronomically beneficial in overcoming the obesity epidemic. Smaller things like your work offering a workplace health program is great and should be taken advantage of or pushed for if not existing. Further, community sport programs or physical activity should be encouraged and if these don’t currently exist, you could be a leader and start them!
*takes a breather* That was a lot. This review of what we have covered so far at Connected Community Health Support is all actionable information to help you create the change that you would like in your life. Perhaps try to take it one section per a week and institute a small change at a time. Nothing happens overnight, and that expectation is important to set early! With small perseverance overtime though, you will reach your health and fitness goals. If you enjoy this, and think another one of your friends or family would benefit from this as well, please share this with them. As always we have tons of blogs, weight loss videos, products, and other services to help you on your journey to either reach your goals, or avoid chronic disease. Thank you for reading, you wonderful human and have a great day!