A few months ago, I wrote a blog related to cognitive dissonance and human nature. It was primarily focused on the reasons why the paleo diet is bad for you and why you won’t try it. Read more here.
At the conclusion of the blog I wrote, “We are all human; fallible yet capable of change.” This is important. Why? Because being human means, if not requires, that you make mistakes, even despite efforts to do your best.
I recently read an article in an Integrative Medicine journal written by an Emergency Physician. He cited an article published in the British Medical Journal.
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.
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.
There are many questions doctors (including and not limited to MD, DPT, DO, DC, DDS, OMD, etc) ask during a history. What practitioners do include in the history evaluation is asking these questions:
“How old are you?”
“What brings you to the doctor today?”
“What other diagnosis do you have?”
“Do you smoke?”
“Do you drink alcohol? How much?”
“Do you use recreational drugs?”
It is a process of collecting information in order to formulate a plan of care to help the patient recover.
Why is FOOD any different?
We put it into our bodies and it affects the way we function. We know that post-surgical patients won’t heal as well if they smoke. Why wouldn’t we ask whether they eat processed foods that contain chemicals and lack nutrients that can equally inflame our systems and delay the rate of healing?
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.
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.
This blog was written as a summary for a talk given to young female volleyball players on December 12, 2015.
Many things have changed since my athletic days. I’d argue that my Crossfit participation reminds me of my athletic days, yet I don’t consider myself an athlete anymore. Why? Because I only do Crossfit twice a week and I don’t compete. It is a means to stay fit and healthy. A majority of my time is spent on mothering and physical therapy “performance.” However, I will argue that my ability to participate in Crossfit at my young age of 39 years old, is directly related to a few things that I WAS NOT doing when I was actually competing in high school and college athletics.
With age comes wisdom, right? What I know now, I wish I knew then? What might I have been able to accomplish athletically?
It doesn’t matter because what I know now helps me stay fit and healthy enough to participate in Crossfit, mother three kids, run a physical therapy practice, work towards a Master’s of Science in Holistic Nutrition, write a blog every once in a while….. My optimal performance in these tasks requires optimal nutrition.
I was honored to be accepted to write a guest blog for Robb Wolf. It was fun for me to re-live my athletic days, but also draw from my experiences in order to help past, current and future athletes. Read on for more details here: Robb Wolf
“How you think about something can transform its effect on you.” – Kelly McGonigal PhD
When you think about stress, what do you think? Do you think, “I have too much of it and it is causing me to be sick and tired?” Or do you think, “Stress is the ability to adapt to change and I acknowledge it when I see it?” Which is the right answer? The answer is that both are true, if that is what you believe.
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.