I think it's safe to say that most of us want to live as long as possible and still be able to do all the things we love with ease even when we're "old". So much of our focus at Pretty Healthy Family revolves around this idea... extending our health span. Not just our life span, but our health span. Our health span is the number of years that we'll be at our healthiest selves. To do this we have to take a deeper look at Metabolic Syndrome and its link to so many common causes of death.
Metabolic Syndrome Defined
Metabolic Syndrome includes a multitude of conditions that together raise your risk of high blood pressure, high blood fat, low levels of good cholesterol, high blood sugar, as well as a large waistline (40 inches and over for men and 35 inches and over for women). In fact, these highlighted issues have had a large contributing factor to the top causes of mortality in the last handful of decades. The majority of these issues are influenced by factors such as food choices, metabolism, microbiome, exercise, sleep, stress, mental health, age, sex, and genes. Each of of these is a contributing factor that makes up your metabolic health.
About 1 in 3 adults have metabolic syndrome, but almost 80-90% have at least one or two of the common markers noted above which is reason for concern.
The biggest reason for concern is that most of the issues which result in metabolic syndrome are preventable without much extra effort.
The biggest hurdle for most people to begin healing their metabolic health is really getting started. We recommend starting with the three things outlined below. By implementing these, you'll be able to create habits that really move the needle, and will likely find your way out of any symptoms caused by metabolic syndrome.
How to Avoid Metabolic Syndrome
01: Incorporate MORE Nutrient-Dense Foods
I'm going to ask you to read that again because what I didn't say was that you had to give up the foods you love. Incorporating more nutrient-dense foods will naturally help you feel full with often corresponds with less desire for the high-calorie low-nutrient foods.
02: Find Your Strength WITHOUT the Stress
Stress plays a HUGE part in how our body functions. When our body is in a stressed-out state, our hormones signal to the body to shut down. Exercise helps alleviate that stress... if done properly. Take strength training, for example, it can help your body work through fat storage in addition to relieving stress. Finding at least two to three days to incorporate some full-body resistance training can do wonders for your stress levels and get your body primed to utilize the excess fuel. The other way we relieve stress is through calming activities like walks, meditation, and journaling. Finding the right balance of exercise and stress-relieving activities is essential for optimal metabolic health.
03: Go to Bed
Our society loves to praise the entrepreneur who sacrifices sleep and wears it like a badge of honor. In the metabolism world, it's a cone of shame. Sleep is a cornerstone of health and the lack of it will ripple its way into every corner of your day. We encourage strength training, but many people will injure themself if they're sleep deprived. We talk about eating nutrient-dense foods, but if we didn't get enough sleep we're often too tired to make a healthy meal and we then revert to the simpler less nutrient-dense options. Aiming for 7-9 hours per night will give you the recovery you need to attack the day and stave off metabolic syndrome.
04: Change Your Perception
Throughout the years we've seen a few very common perceptions about changing your habits that have tripped people up and often lead to abandoning all healing efforts. By changing these perceptions, you can allow yourself the grace to be imperfect, continue your health journey, and will, therefore, be more likely to see results.
Thinking you need to change everything at once. So often we get the encouraged client who's so motivated to change that they try to change everything at once and then crash and burn a few days later. The people who find the most success, make their weekly goals achievable but challenging. It keeps them engaged, but it isn't overwhelming. Start small and build on your established habits.
Thinking you need all of the details to get started. Decision fatigue is a real thing and we'll get asked, "which is better for long-term health, carrots or kale?" Or it's "beef or chicken?" Everything is questioned because they just want to perfect and know what's the absolute best. But unfortunately, they find that because of their decision fatigue they find they don't have either. While deciding between the carrots or kale, they had 20 potato chips. Focus on the information you need to know now and what'll make the next decision easier. That's all we really need to care about....the next step.
Not thinking this has anything to do with your mental and emotional health. We've discussed goal setting, that's largely derived from previous experiences which influenced us. Thinking I need all the answers is another experience we've had in our past that creates a filter we see life through. Unpacking those filters and how we react to our day-to-day lives will make this whole physical transformation process easier.
Balancing all of these factors can be difficult which is why we designed our Pretty Healthy Metabolism™ course to break down each one of these topics one by one and distribute them into manageable actions across the span of eight weeks. We dissect nutrient-dense foods by highlighting each macro and micronutrient and their corresponding benefits. We also talk about how hydration, sleep and stress contribute to a healthy metabolism and then how to incorporate a strength training program that will leave you feeling capable of participating in any activity. We guarantee this program can fix most metabolic health issues.
The goal, in the end, is to extend our health span to live as long as possible living the enriching life we've all dreamt about; a life that's filled with activities with loved ones, heartfelt connections, and a sharp mind. It starts here and now... by putting your metabolic health first.