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Lifestyle Medicine. Accountability. Who Is Helping You?

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Is it true: You know what you need to do, but aren't doing it?



Certain key behaviors reduce risks of disease and death. These behaviors are daily habits built up over time that also improve your chances of recovering from severe illnesses and injuries.



Depending on your situation and your goals, a coach can help you to move more, to sleep better, or to make a habit of eating more vegetables. Improve your chances. Connect to a group of people with similar priorities. You need support & accountability. Support to reach your health and performance goals comes in many forms.





This article will help you:

  1. Get the support you need.

  2. Have a better understanding of the five pillars of lifestyle medicine.

  3. See the kind of work that I do.

Most of us know that eating whole foods and choosing an

active lifestyle every day forms the cornerstone to wellness.


As a personal trainer and health professional, I see the most common obstacles to eating and moving well are the "vises" that keep our attention more than we'd like. It could be junk foods, sugar, screen time, alcohol, smoking, caffeine..., that get in your way to feeling your best.


Sometimes OVER WORK OR OVERTRAINING is the vise. We can do more harm than good. Pushing the body beyond its limits over and over again without giving it the necessary recovery time. The grips of these vises, so to speak keep us from being well in our bodies. You can change habits and find strategies for reducing these and other vises. And lifestyle medicine encourages you to do so.

In 2020 American Council of Exercise published a special exercise and health report: Lifestyle Medicine Essentials-The Power of Healthy Habits.




You've got to nurture good habits to fuel yourself for recovery over the long haul. To support the activities you want to do and to counter stresses of everyday life. Lifestyle medicine recognizes that what you do with and what you put into your body matters. And so do I.


The five pillars of lifestyle medicine are:


  1. Exercise

  2. Nutrition

  3. Mind Body/Stress Management

  4. Sleep

  5. Substance Abuse

  6. Social Connection





#1 EXERCISE: NO matter your circumstance you've got to find a way to move your body each day. When you are sick or injured it becomes more challenging but is still fundamentally important. All of the body's systems benefit from the circulation that occurs when we move. Some of them, the lymphatic system (your body's immune and a key waste processing apparatus), for example, depend on muscle movement to function. Crawl, wiggle or move whatever you can, carefully and as best as you can. Slowly and gently increase -no more than 10% per day and don't do anything that causes tearing, sharp or pulling pain. Slow and steady wins the race. It's not what you can do in one day, but what you can do each day. Little by little.


















Summing it up as simply as I can: whole foods in their natural states, nutrient dense. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds. Fresh. Half your plate veggies. If you can't identify it consider if you should eat it. Cook at home. Reduce Alcohol, Salt & Sugar. Increase veggies and water.


#3 Mind Body/ Stress Management: Boiled down to chronic stress harms all body systems. 3 categories: A) Peace of Mind B) Gratitude C) Laughter.

Peace of Mind split into: 1) Meditation 2) Mindfulness 3) Relaxation Techniques.




#4. SLEEP: Alleluia finally, I think the world is seeing it: SLEEP is KING. 8hrs every night for optimum recovery. You CANNOT heal if you do not sleep. Clinical signs of dementia are observable in non-elderly populations after just 3 days of limited sleep. Computers, phones nor work should get in the way of a good night's sleep. If you want more car accidents, more physical pain, more inflammation, decreased mental health, decreased digestive repair don't make sleep a priority.



#5. Substance Abuse.

Cannabis, Tobacco, Alcohol, Stimulants, & Opioids are all harmful to the body. We know that if you can reduce dependency and make them not a habit you can optimize your chances at living a fuller, longer healthier life. Don't do it alone. There are many and varied resources. Take a stand and reach out for help.



#6. Social Connection

People need People. Isolation and loneliness has a negative physical impact on immunity and health. When I was really sick about 16years ago I was told by my caregivers that every human needs at-least 6 different people that they can call on in a moment of crisis. I believe it and I live it. Fellowship is good. Put in the time to build relationships. We are creatures of connection, even introverts. Join a club, a community center, a team, a church...Go find your people.


About me: I am certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise (10years). I've worked in the field of recovery and substance use disorders since 2013, as a health & fitness professional, as a peer mental health & addictions counselor and as an emergency medical tech. I am a Physical Activity & Public Health Specialist with American College of Sports Medicine (5years). I have a degree in Recreation from the department of Health & Human Development at Western Washington University. I have 5 children, a farm that I share with my husband of nearly 20 years and an obsession with all things health & wellness.


I facilitate an adventure wellness club: a yearlong adventure in integrating the daily habits of health and longevity. It's for people that want to build stamina and improve energy so they can feel good in their body accomplishing the work that they need to do. I have openings for 8 people beginning in April.


APPLY here .

2 for 1. year of PT functional fitness, habit change science, nature connect & cirl rhythm, lifestyle medicine mental, emotional, physical


Below are two worksheets that can help you to find the support to change habits and to get connected with an accountability buddy. We use these as tools in the club that I am running: Adventure Wellness Club. It's for people that want to improve energy and stamina.






Peer Support Worksheet


When we change our habits we…change! Yet, often we go looking for support for the person we are becoming from the same people who are used to us being a person with our old habits.


Two possibilities for peer support exist.

  1. Identify people who already have this better habit.

  2. Ask your people(friends+family) to support you by helping to reinforce your new you.

Use this worksheet to mobilize peer support for your better habits.


  1. Who already has this better habit? (you don’t need to know them personally)



  1. Who do I know personally who already has the habit?



  1. Who in my daily life does NOT have this better habit?



  1. Which people in my daily life SHOULD I inform of the better habit I am trying to implement?



  1. Who might be able to easily support me in implementing this better habit?



  1. How might they be able to support me in implementing this better habit?



  1. List 2 ACTIONS you will take to engage peer support based on this exercise.

1.

2.


Remember-trying to engage better habits alone isn’t the easiest, fastest way. Reach out.




Finding An Accountability Partner Worksheet


If you are the kind of person who has trouble staying on track, or if you simply want a buddy on this adventure wellness path, find yourself an accountability partner.

Answer these questions to get a clearer idea on how you will support each other.

  1. Why do you want an accountability partner? What are you intending to get out of the relationship?


  1. What are you able to bring to the table for them?


  1. What attributes are you looking for in a partner? What does he/she need to be able to bring to the table?


  1. What Structure Works Best for you? (time/place/commitment level)


You can post on a group forum that you are looking for a partner that can bring X to the table. Once you’ve found a partner, determine a consistent meeting time, your ground rules, and expectations. Get to it!





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