If you've never had a serious health problem or deal with a chronic disease there's no way you can fully grasp how much of a gift it is to be healthy. But, you should try. Sit and think about how your life would be different if you couldn't use your arms or legs. How would it be different if you had diabetes? What if you can't see? Or you have conditions that require medications that make you feel irritable, tired, foggy, numb? What would life look like if you had 8 medical appointments during a typical month? Would your car, house, vacations have to be different if you were spending $1100 a month on medications?
Health is something that we tend to take for granted and don't realize how hugely it can impact our life until it's altered. We complain about the effort it takes to live a healthy lifestyle instead of being grateful for the ability to go to the grocery store and reach the stuff that's high up, buy fresh produce because your budget allows because you can maintain a good paying job and don't have a lot of medical expenses, exercise without major modifications, travel without worrying about how your medications need to be stored or cleared through security, drink water without worrying about your water restriction, sleep without worrying about wearing a mask and wake up in the morning without every part of your body hurting. Whew!
Your health is a gift. Are you taking care of your health? Or are you taking it for granted?
I had zero idea there was a difference between gratefulness and thankfulness until I saw this cheesy phrase and thought to myself- why are they saying both thankful AND grateful? The dictionary defines thankful as "pleased and relieved." Grateful is defined as "feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness." They do sound very similar even in definition but gratefulness seems to carry more of an action or having thankfulness with intention. You can be thankful without fully recognizing it and practicing gratitude.
Tis the season for thankfulness and gratefulness because if you are reading this- you have access to the internet, probably a smart phone and you're concerned about how your health could impact the purpose you have in life instead of worrying about food, shelter and safety. You are blessed. (I'm saying this to myself too.)
So, in effort to not only be thankful but to be grateful- take a few minutes to name as many things as you can that you're grateful for and then express that gratitude. Whether that be texting or calling someone to tell them they made the list or sharing your list on social media, spread the attitude of gratitude!
My list includes: headphones, coffee, fall leaves, planners, technology, car, house, my kids getting to grow up around family (esp cousins), being a momma, salvation in Jesus, running shoes, hoodies, leggings, norwex mop, coworkers, freedom, Juice Plus, ability to exercise, good smelling candles, prayer, quiet mornings, new roof, sunrise, sunset, stars... I could go on and on.
Now it's your turn. What makes you thankful, grateful and blessed? Practicing gratitude should be something you do at least once a day. The next time you're having a "bad" day try finding the good- the things you're grateful for and meditate on the good.
Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
The holidays are just around the corner! You're probably wondering how you enjoy the holiday meals without completely derailing your healthy lifestyle efforts. There's nothing more deflating than taking 5 steps back after it took you months to take 10 steps forward. So I'm here to give you a plan that will allow you to enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived or deflated.
First, make sure you're drinking plenty of water and drink at least 8 ounces of water just before you sit down to eat. Next, fill at least 1/2 of your plate with a fresh, non starchy vegetable. Preferably this vegetable would be raw and without a sauce or dressing already added to it. If there's a sauce or dressing you want to put on the vegetable be conscious of your serving size. Third, fill 1/4 portion of your favorite starchy vegetable. If there are sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and stuffing- pick your favorite or a bite of each- whatever you have room for on 1/4 of the plate. Last, fill that plate with protein! Keep in mind that if you're planning to add gravy, butter or other fat containing extras to your food then you should stick with a lean meat. If you're doing pretty well steering clear of the high fat dishes then feel free to go with that dark, fattier meat. Last but not least, pick an extra food item. This is a holiday after all. This could be the dinner roll or bread on the table OR a small portion of the yummy dessert that's going to be served.
Always show up to dinner with a plan in your head about what you're going to pass along without partaking at the dinner table. This should be the foods that you don't enjoy the most or don't think you'd really miss that much if you didn't have them. For example, the bread or dinner rolls are probably not unique to your holiday meal. Maybe in years past you'd take a certain side dish to be polite- that's the one you pass along without taking.
There are so many more strategies for holiday health that I'll be sharing in other posts so stay tuned. But for now, get your plate strategy worked out. Remember, fail to plan then plan to fail.
Did you know that gratitude is an important part of your mental health? And like any other healthy habit, practicing gratitude takes discipline. There's no time like the thanksgiving holiday to start practicing gratitude in your life every day!
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist that has studied the brain and how it changes with different thoughts. She says, "If you can’t appreciate what you have to be thankful for right now, it is harder to achieve what you desire in the future." And she goes on to say, "Gratitude is therefore essential to overcoming difficult circumstances and achieving success in all areas of your life!"
It's really quite simple to start practicing gratitude. Set an alarm on your phone for a time of day that you're awake and can take a few moments to stop what you're doing and think about what you're grateful for! Some people like to keep a journal or write large lists but you can make it as simple as listing in your head 5 things you're thankful for every day.