This time next week, it’ll be 2017. Everyone will be in the throes of winding up any loose ends from 2016, recovering from the holidays, and getting started building healthy new habits. It can be a little overwhelming at such a hectic time of year, so I appreciate your taking the time to read my postings.
Although I have been doing this “fitness thing” for a couple of years now, I am still fairly new to fitness, nutrition and blogging, but I’ve learned a lot on this journey, and the focus of this blog is to share that information, resources and support with others. When I started doing my own research, looking for information and support, I was a little lost. (Try googling “nutrition” or even “paleo diet” and see the flood of info that pops up!) My goal initially when I set up this blog was just to record and share my progress, but the more I learned, the more detours I encountered searching for info, and meeting others who were still in the dark about a lot of the things I was finding, I realized that the best use of this blog would be to share what I was finding. Frankly, sharing is how I first got some of my best resources and info: hearing about it from my fitness friends on My Fitness Pal (MFP).
One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that we need to be savvy health consumers. That is, we need to keep an open mind when it comes to new information but not blindly follow anyone who offers help or advice. This is one of the reasons I will occasionally add in the “I’m not a healthcare professional” disclaimer and I provide (as much as possible) the source of my info so you can not only check it out for yourself but so you have the opportunity to check out some of the other links available. It’s important to be open to new ideas (I believe this is how we grow as a civilization and individuals) but at the same time, we have to be careful that we don’t blindly follow the lead lemming off the cliff. When it comes to health, we need to remember that what works for one person may not work for us, and more importantly, what is safe for someone else may not be safe for us! So, while we’re looking for new ways of getting fit or losing weight, we need to focus on what we can do safely and not “how much can I lose/ lift in two weeks doing X?” That idea is how people make themselves sick or end up in the hospital. In high school, my sister used to run almost daily. Eight times around the track (2 miles) was a nice run for her. When I had to do it for my PE final one year, I nearly passed out! (Truthfully, they gave me the option not to run, but I was stubborn…..) I took it slow and was the last one on the track but it still hurt to do it. Even though we’re sisters and grew up in the same house, our health, bodies and habits are still different. It’s what makes us individuals.
Some of the information that is out there is just irresponsible. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can add their two cents to the weight loss/ fitness conversation and just because they have a website or a YouTube feed, it doesn’t mean they are professionals or even that know what they are talking about. As the information consumer, it’s your job to do a little research. Some of you may recall the old saying caveat emptor: ‘buyer beware’ and it’s true more than ever today. There are so many people online who are giving out information (including me), some for free but many for money, and they may not have your best interests at heart. Many of them mean well, I’m sure, but since they are not professionals, they may not know the whole story. (FYI: even professionals can be wrong!) A good example of this is all the supplement companies and advocates who push them. Even if it’s just something like a sleep supplement with magnesium, ‘more’ is not better, especially when it comes to certain supplements aka vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins like B & C are water soluble, which means it’s nearly impossible to overdose on them since you pass them through your urine, but other supplements are actually minerals and metals, like calcium and iron, and they don’t pass through your body quickly. You can overdose on certain vitamins, minerals and supplements, which can have serious or dangerous consequences. This is why when you buy these items, you need to buy them from reputable companies, read the informational pamphlet that comes with them, and hopefully you have researched the products before you bought them and discussed them with your healthcare professional. I’m not telling you that you need to spend a mountain of time and money before you buy a bottle of valerian root or melatonin, but some people spend more time going through the reviews on Amazon before buying sneakers than they do before buying a bottle of something they are going to ingest! Just because it works for others does not mean that it will be good for you. Melatonin is actually a good example of this: I bought some a few years ago and: #1) it did NOT help me sleep; and #2) it made me really irritable, so I threw it away. It works for a lot of people but not for me!
I have found that the podcasts and websites I like the best not only offer good information on a variety of nutrition and fitness/ health topics but they always caution their clients that everyone is different and what works for others may not work for them. They usually mention that if you have a health condition, make sure you are okay to do/ take whatever they are talking about, i.e. melatonin or a fitness regimen. I try to follow their example: I’m sharing what I have learned and some of the resources that I have found reliable and trustworthy, but you know your body better than anyone else, so if you have questions, concerns, doubts or even if you just want more info, please do some more digging! I love answering questions and offering my opinions (who doesn’t love that!), but I am in no way the final authority on any topic and definitely not an authority on your health! Don’t be shy about telling anyone that something is not working for you. This goes for your doctor too! Just because they have letters after their name, it does not make them the Final Word on anything. Many years ago, I broke my leg: I cracked the tibial plateau (the top of your shin bone), so even though it was broken, it didn’t look broken. I had x-rays done at Urgent Care where the radiologist told me it was broken and sent me to the hospital ER to be admitted. The ER doc was in a rush (as usual), looked at my leg & the x-ray for 5 seconds, proclaimed “it’s fine” and started out the door. I told him the radiologist had said it was broken, so he stopped, looked again and in those two minutes, my leg went from “fine” to “broken” to “a bad break.” Had I not stopped him, he would have sent me home with a broken leg which, according to my orthopedic surgeon, would have split like a piece of kindling the first time I stepped hard on it which would have required surgery with installation of plates and screws, not to mention incisions down both sides of my leg. All because the ER doc didn’t pause to look at my films and I kept my mouth shut out of fear of contradicting him. You live in your body every day; you know how it feels and when something isn’t right. Never be afraid to ask questions of any health professional (or someone just offering information) when it comes to your health and your body. You are your own best advocate! I will never be offended if you don’t agree with me or if you have questions, or if you just want to know more info. I try to cite my sources in my posts, but if I forget, I am always available through comments on this blog or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a Happy New Year, everyone and thank you for making 2016 one of my best years yet!