This is a repost from 4/20/2016. I recently just re-listened to Mistakes Were Made(But Not By Me). This book is so fascinating. As I look back at my own family transition and the struggles of current families, this book is entirely relevant. It is not uncommon for parents to have conflict with each other related to making lifestyle changes to how they raise their children. It is easier to stick with comfort than it is to make change, especially when change requires admitting mistakes were made. Although my husband and I are comfortable with our current lifestyle choices, that doesn't mean we didn't have struggle. In fact, I think the act of both of us reading and listening to this book allowed for some pretty dramatic changes in our relationship that continues to support us today in doing difficult work in communicating with each other in a productive manner. I went back to this blog to re-read and see if I feel any differently or have anything to add. The main thing is that this may become a book that I recommend all parents and couples read together as they embark on making lifestyle changes. We are all human and it is important to understand when working towards change and betterment of your self and family. Much of this blog is still pertinent and consistent with where I continue to be in my life personally and professionally, so I really haven't changed much. Cheers to all and I hope this book brings you some guidance in how to proceed in making lifestyle changes even in the face of what appears to be resistance from your partner or children. The more you understand yourself personally the better off everyone is around you.
Let me begin by saying, this isn’t going to be a blog where I give you a resolution to your problem. I am still working it out for myself. It is also a bit longer than normal but I hope you stay awake long enough to read it. I believe this may be my most important blog yet…..
This is a story that I hesitate to share only because I can see lots and lots of JUDGEMENT. Not just judgement of me personally, but of all those involved. I urge you to keep criticism to yourself, as all parties involved were attempting to help. Yet, if you know our family, you know that we live a life that is often “stranger than fiction.”
Keep in mind, this story has a happy ending.
One of our cats climbed a tree last week. Not just a little bit, but a lot. He climbed 40 feet up. My son heard him meowing for help after being gone for 24 hours over night. It’s likely climbing the tree was the escape from a coyote looking for dinner.
In case you are wondering, we do NOT own a ladder that goes that high…and they don’t make them actually. Because of safety and things….check this out here.
Oh dear...the DIET bashing....AGAIN....
I have something I need to say about diets. Here me out. A diet as defined by the Webster dictionary is "a special or limited selection of food and drink, chosen or prescribed for health or to gain or lose weight."
Many folks, whom may or may not understand the true purpose of a diet, are shaming very useful diet strategies because they are "difficult" to do and then discredit them. Check out the US News report. I think there is a misunderstanding about a diet versus lifestyle. An effective diet is NOT designed to be a lifestyle, but a TOOL to gain health. The "diet" is the tool designed to help you design your life, specifically related to what you put into your mouth, so that it can be a sustainable lifestyle. Many of the easiest and most popular diets are not healthy because they do not give you information about your body. Let me speak (write) clearly....
A diet is a TOOL to gain INFORMATION about yourself so that you can MODIFY your LIFESTYLE to fit your PERSONAL health needs.
DIET = TOOL
TOOL = INFORMATION
INFORMATION => PERSONAL HEALTH
Pain : (noun)
1. Physical discomfort caused by illness or injury
2. Careful effort, great care or trouble
I am on the top of Copper Mountain ski resort above the tree line at 12,000 ft.
It's 1 o C with a wind-chill factor of -6 o C.
I take my gloves off to capture a panoramic view with my phone. In moments, my hand begins to hurt from the cold. The pain is severe.
What would you do in that situation?
If you have followed my blog the past few years and even read my book, you may have wondered what I do. My identity was blurred for a bit as folks tried to encourage me to leave the field of physical therapy and focus on health coaching. Although I understood why they suggested I do that, for ease and money, I simply couldn't do it.
See, even as I have expanded my knowledge base into nutrition, it hasn't changed the fact that in the world of pain, there are many causative factors. Optimizing nutrition alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if there is a mechanical component. Optimizing movement alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if they are in a physiological inflammatory state from lifestyle issues related to nutrition, sleep or stress.
This past week I attended our national combined sections meeting of the APTA. It was like a knowledge, passion, creativity, compassion and innovation explosion. My introverted nature struggled at times with 13,000 physical therapists there, but I now would like to reclaim my title of physical therapist and explain what physical therapy is in case you didn't know.
Anxiety (noun): a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome (wikipedia.org)
I have shared how I lost my anxiety with our lifestyle changes, starting with eating paleo-inspired naturally gluten free. As time has gone on, I realize that the statement isn’t the whole truth. What actually occurred, is I lost the brain fog in order to see what actually caused me anxiety so I could address it. It is no longer endless and meaningless or debilitating as it was before. Anxiety for me now is a signal that something amazing is about to happen. I don’t ignore it. I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. I jump into it and explore what it is. It isn’t easy, of course and requires a lot of my attention and time. It also forces me to grow personally and often strengthens my foundation with family members and those close to me. I look at anxiety much like stress (as I have described in Soar Into Health), too much is unhealthy, but my life is much brighter with it in my life.
This blog is following appropriately after my discussion about Why Are Mother's a Good Target Market?. This book came timely as a grappled with sharing that blog 4 months after it was written. I worried about offending people. I worried about expectations. I worried about my accountability to myself and others. I wrote this after reading a book which helped me understand why.
Have you ever tried to start a healthy habit but struggled? Do you make New Year's Resolution only to fail? I certainly have in the past. The reasons for my failure however are likely different than yours.
I recently took a quiz to determine my personal tendency. This quiz was designed by New York Times Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin. No, this isn't some validated personality measure as per a randomized controlled double blind study. Yet, if you read her book Better Than Before, you realize that it is based on published research, personal experience, interviews and well..... a lot of thoughtful analysis.
This book was a Lightning Bolt for me. Gretchen describes the Lightning Bolt as something that transforms habits by the power of knowldege, beliefs, and ideas. It is something that happens to us, you aren't able to plan it on purpose. Yet, when they happen, habit changes often occur spontaneously.
Let me start off by clearly answering the question…..YES, if not necessary to have health.
The resistance to homework seems to be at the forefront for those of us in public school systems. Facebook posts are floating around about the parental struggles with their children getting homework done.
I am a mother of 3 kids. All of which have homework every night. I am also a student that has regular homework assignments. Although I hate testing for many reasons from a developmental and confidence issue, as a clinician I say, “How do you evaluate change if you don’t measure something?” I do not “practice” the test with my patients, but I do give them homework that is designed to improve the outcome of the test. In physical therapy we use functional outcomes.
In our family’s past, we initially tried Montessori school. From a rehabilitation standpoint, I loved the tactile learning, the free flow thinking and the practical activity learning (clean up, make food, tie your shoes etc). I also loved the “no homework” rule.
Let’s start by asking, “Do you believe in God?”
We could be discussing God or higher power or nature or heaven or hell or the solar system or health. A few years ago, my family and I went to church on a Sunday. No, we don’t go every Sunday. Yes, we do actually believe in God. But that isn’t the point. On this fated Sunday, the pastor discussed the question about “Do you believe in God?”
Of course, we were in church, so the answer was, “Yes.”
“How do you know God exists?” he asked.
Let me describe the dark side and bright side for a moment. The bright side is where all the people are. Everyone appears to be smiling and belonging here, at least on the outside. Then the dark side is behind the curtain. The bright side doesn’t look behind the curtain, because it is well…..dark and unknown. It is scary. And so it remains dark, forgotten, and unexplored. But why?
Our family left the bright side of popularity over to the dark side (whole foods naturally gluten free paleo inspired) about 3 years ago in order to find our family’s health. And it turns out, the dark side is actually where the light shines the brightest. This is where true health and wellness lives inside and out. It is only behind the curtain and dark, because the bright side pulled the curtain closed.
Sloths are mammals characterized by moving only when necessary. Even when they move, they move slowly. They generally live their life hanging about in trees. They eat, sleep (an average 10 hrs/day) and birth their children simply “hanging around.” They also only go to the ground to urinate or defecate about once a week. (Wikipedia.org).
Recent popularity of the sloth can be credited to Dash from the movie Zootopia. His slow delivery of jokes makes him even funnier. You already know that I only watch animated movies because…you know…the small kids and all. Watch Dash trailer here, he is actually funny.
So what do we have to learn from sloths? How is it that learning to do more of seemingly “nothing” or just “hanging around” be healthy?
Here are a few definitions to start…because re-learning some vocabulary is always healthy, right?
fear (noun) – an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat
fearlessness (adjective) – without fear; bold or brave
courage (noun) – mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
calmness (noun) – freedom from motion or disturbance; stillness. Freedom from agitation, excitement, or passion; tranquility; serenity
curiosity (noun) – a strong desire to know or learn something; a strange or unusual object or fact
Originally, this blog was going to be a strong rebuttal to the Washington Post article titled “Meat is Horrible” with The Savory Institute’s data that cattle are actually helping to reverse climate change. Watch Alan Savory’s TED talk, it's definitely worth your time.
I resent things that make me fearful of living, like eating meat or climate change. I prefer awareness and make specific positive life choices, because I know it matters.
Instead, I am going to share a story and lesson learned on a recent family trip.
Sometimes you get caught. It’s mid afternoon, and you haven’t had lunch and there isn’t time to make dinner before soccer games. The only thing to do is go through the drive thru…..How do you get in/out without throwing yourself so far into gluttony that you can’t get out for weeks???
Here are a few tips to optimize your experience until you can better plan for next time.
I did a little experiment. I often ask clients/patients to track their food or pain to gain further understanding of the problem. I find it extremely informative for me but also for the client/patient. Suddenly, something that didn’t make any sense, all of sudden has a pattern to it.
So, I took my own advice in order to better understand how to help others. I decided to keep track of how much time I spend in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up whole food naturally gluten free meals for my family of 5. I was surprised at the results.
Recently I completed my first CrossFit Open…Scaled of course at 39 years old, mother of three young kids, married and small business owner/entrepreneur. It was pretty awesome. I ranked 43,615 (0f 56,166) worldwide and 2,551 (0f 3,233) regionally. That’s not super, but I do get bragging rights now. Best part is, I am proud that I completed the five workouts without injury. See I only crossfit officially twice a week, other days I live my life. Don’t believe me search me on the leaderboard.
If you don’t start somewhere, you’re gonna go nowhere.
I have laid out four KISS principles to health and wellness. At no point have I said any of these was easy to do. The point really is to provide a framework of reference in order for you to make decisions in your life, simple as that. Should you find yourself stuck and not feeling your best, but you don’t know why, then simply start somewhere. For me, my start was actually movement, and then that flowed into eating, then sleeping, and then thriving. It doesn’t have to go in that order. But all components are important.
In life, it’s human to fall down; the magic happens when we get back up.
—Grant Korgan, founder of Choose Positivity Now
Purpose and Connection
This principle is probably my most open-ended and flexible. In order to soar in life, you must have connections to people in your life and a purpose that drives you. For me, my connections are to my husband, my children, my patients, and even my community. I’ve only recently discovered my purpose to help others gain health and wellness, even through illness and injury. You really must discover what your own purpose and connection is. There is no scientific data set that can measure what this is or should be and what it means to you.
Often, discovering what makes you soar requires effort, self-exploration, connecting with new people, trial and error, and often an adverse life event. You don’t have to have tragedy to find purpose and connection, but if you don’t look for it, you will never find it. If you are lucky, your job may be, in part, how you find purpose and connection, but it doesn’t have to be that either. Most of the people in my life who I see soaring have, in fact, found a way to find purpose and connection in the job they do.
Life requires movement.
What Is Movement?
Movement is defined as an act of changing physical location or position. For me as a physical therapist, the movement you do throughout the day must include full range of motion of the joints. Our standard American life tends toward spine flexion in the form of sitting in front of a computer, in a car, on a couch watching TV, and lifting, which is all flexion. It is not that sitting alone is a problem as much as chronic sitting means you are not moving your joints through their full range of motion.
A healthy joint is a flexible joint. When you stop moving joints, the tendency is for them to get stiff, soft tissue shortens, and you lose range of motion. Once the motion is lost, the strength of the muscle supporting that joint begins to weaken. It is a vicious cycle.
Cooking (from scratch) is the single most important thing we could do as a
family to improve our health and general well being.
What Is Real Food?
To put it simply, to eat well, you must eat real food, not something that only looks like food. Most of the food you eat must be in its natural or whole form, free of contamination, in order to maximize nutrient-richness and absorption. However, in today’s world, understanding what real food is has become a bit confusing.
Real food is as close to its natural state as possible. It is simple. It is in its whole form and merely needs to be eaten or cooked for consumption and for the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. An example of real food would be broccoli. Broccoli can be safely eaten raw, or it can be gently cooked. An apple can also be eaten raw or cooked. The bioavailability of nutrients in a whole food is optimal for natural absorption.
I have been brewing on this blog for quite some time. Most of those who are already “in the know” about Paleo will find this a bit boring…nothing new to them. Those who dig their heels in about Paleo may never read this. Maybe it will strike a chord with someone but they aren’t going to hit “Like” or “Share.” It’s hard to predict.
I wrote one of my most favorite blogs as a guest blog for Robb Wolf (one of the Paleo leaders and someone who continues to inspire and support me with his graciousness), but that blog fell flat to his audience. Maybe it wasn’t technical enough. Maybe it was too simple. It felt good to write that blog. It was one of my personal favorites. I appreciated Robb Wolf sharing it on his website.
Then again, another blog I wrote as a guest on Dr. Kristin Prentiss Ott, MD site about tips to recovery after injury or surgery was not as inspiring to write for me, but apparently much more well received on her site. Funny. I don’t totally understand it all, the world of blogging and Internet and likes and sharing…but apparently I can’t stop.
I can’t stop because health is AWESOME. It is always a work in progress, but I never knew I felt bad until I felt good. Although there are many components that help to support health, it wasn’t until I changed how I ate that it finally all came together.
Special treats, like this, are occasional for our family. The Holiday Season is a great time to enjoy some treats that don’t derail your healthy progress. It is also a great time to offer up some healthy treats to share with family and friends. Most people are surprised about the simplicity and sweetness of the natural fruits and ingredients.
This recipe was derived out of simply pulling from the refrigerator and cupboards to produce a warm dessert for a wintery weekend day.
*** A special note that this is still sweet to our family of five, but we are 3 years into eating whole foods and avoiding excessive sugars. We actually only used ½ TBSP honey as the cream is already sweet. You may need to flex with the honey to suit the stage your family is in***
As most of you know, I have been working on simple principles to live by so that living life doesn’t derail you from having health. As we get into the holiday season, many people can be driven by emotions, I know I am. When I first started my journey with food, I found that emotional eating was a difficult beast to manage. I ate excessively because I was stressed by large gatherings or conflict with family or long distant travel or kids acting ungrateful about presents or fear of hurting someone’s feelings…the list goes on.
Over time, however, it has gotten easier as I have developed habits that gracefully help me stay on track so the normal stress of holiday doesn’t send me into emotional eating.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.