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A lot of people are all about the newest supplement and this or that, that will get your health back on track. I’ve never been one of those people because the money I made was going towards other stuff–like rent and gas and other things that were a primary nature.

But recently, with all this stay at home stuff, I’m realizing that a lot of people just don’t have that knowledge behind what health is. Sure, we go through a class in high school that is supposed to teach us a few of the basics but that doesn’t really get us much of anywhere. Granted, were we really paying attention or was it long enough ago that science has figured out a few more things.

Where to Start

This is the hard part. What’s the best thing to do first? Do we do it all at once, and try to hold onto a brand new life with no basis.

That is a bad idea. You’d do best with a single change at once unless your doctor says otherwise.

You know, when he tells you to avoid salt, carbonation, and a bunch of other things in the same visit.

This lets you trial and error something. It lets you see what feels good to you. Rather than doing it all at once and maybe one of those five things you implemented will actually help. I’ve given my two cents on the idea that you should really start with drinking enough water. Really, it’s a good place to start, like making sure that you change the oil in your car to keep it running your body needs enough liquids to get all the things to do all the things.

Now, you may (according to science) need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but you start to feel waterlogged when you drink that much, but a nice seven glasses of water with whatever else you drink might be the trick. Adult humans, on average, need about 91 oz. of liquid a day, preferably with most of that coming from water. This is flushing your system.

What next?

This is the fun part of the process. You get to try all the things. I like to start with the free or cheap versions so that I’m not out much if this doesn’t work.

Do I like doing CrossFit with the whole body system? Yes. But do I actually like lugging kettlebells anywhere? Nope. Did I borrow someone else’s to try it out? Yessiree.

Do I like running? Psha, no. Did I get running shoes at some point? Yeah, they were never replaced. Did I get better walking shoes though? Yeah, I don’t like the color red I turn when I try to run.

Do I like eating a lot of veggies and all that jazz? Some of them, my roommate is baffled by my love of lima beans with garlic salt, but can I actually eat all of them? No, tomatoes and other veggies (peppers) grown that way actually make my stomach angry. Do I supplement those with vitamins? Yes.

Did I go part of my life without a journaling routine, without a gratitude log, without a set of visualizations, affirmations, and scripture reading that has added so much to my mindset? Yes, yes, I did. And guess what I’m never doing that again.

……insert whatever thing I’ve researched and forgotten that I added to my lifestyle.

Trial and Error

This process of learning what makes you feel good requires you to listen to your body. I had some advantages because my mother and I both started dealing with some issues with milk products at the same time. We both assumed it was a lactose intolerance because that was pretty much all that anyone talked about with milk issues. But I could have some milk products without any issues and it was mostly cream based products– soft cheeses, anything with cream in the name, ice cream, sour cream, cream, cream cheese– so I gave them up and saved up my ‘bad kid points’ which was when I knew I didn’t have to work the next day and if there were side effects I would suffer because it was worth it (Bluebell, anyone?).

And then one day I was talking about it with someone and they mentioned it could just be milk fat. Not the lactose. So I experimented. I changed a recipe that used whole milk with skim or 2%, I don’t really remember that part, and I didn’t have the same reaction. So I started just avoiding the fat in milk. And I can have real mac and cheese again.

Not that stuff from the box, from scratch on my grandpa’s altered recipe.

The point of health is that your body does know what it’s doing.

Most of the time.

If you’ve taught it a few bad habits, it will want them over what is good for you. This is where you start with adding habits into your life so that they take over instead of just trying to shove out a bad habit.

So if you drink about 64 oz of soda day, don’t start off by trying to cut out soda all at once. Start by drinking enough water today, and if you do, tomorrow you can have all the soda you want. But you want to try to drink the water first and then have the soda as a reward. It’ll take a few days, but soda wont taste quite as good anymore.

And you keep pushing it another day of enough water and your soda intake will get smaller and smaller and then it will become the real treat.

You know that day when you did all the workout, the water, the other good habits and you’re craving Dr. Pepper and you’re just like, one won’t kill me (This does not apply to alcohol and other various addictive substances. I am not a licensed medical practitioner and if they tell you to do something, they know your situation better than I do. I only go with what works for me.)

Life is a Journey not a Destination

This process is a lifelong thing. What works today, may not work tomorrow. The journaling program I used years ago looks nothing like the one I use today. It has changed as I’ve changed. Things I valued before have been put under a microscope and I’ve figured out if that is something I really want in my life or not.

Nothing is sticking around that I don’t make useful. It denies me the chance to make my life a little better one step at a time.

Practical Health is about taking into consideration your life as it is now and seeing where you can improve without going more than a little crazy. It’s not about eating all the strange things becuase they will make you live longer.

It’s about reducing your bloated feeling because you stop eating that food that every time you eat it you feel bloated, heavy, or just sluggish. It’s not about continuing to eat something all the time that actually can make you sick later. My ice cream treats are not up for discussion, as I’ve stated I save up my bad kid points for that.

So take your time to figure out what really makes you feel good and if no one gets hurt in the process, do your best to make your life the best it can be, one try at a time,

J Joy

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