Our Paleo Lifestyle Charms

Over the last several years we have developed our lifestyle to center on three primary areas - Nutrition, Movement, and Mindset.  Within each of these areas, we try to uphold three key philosophies, or what we refer to as Our Charms - Purpose, Self, and Future.

Purpose is the philosophy that everything we do should have a purpose, and the decisions we make should be conscious - choosing what we eat, how we move, and how we spend our time.  Self means finding the individual things that work FOR YOU.  Recognizing that you are an individual with unique needs means that choices related to nutrition, movement, and mindset should be what is best for you and not others.

Finally, the Future charm means we focus on making decisions that are sustainable over a lifetime.  This also means that we recognize the need to change our lifestyles as our values and goals change.  Below we have described how we apply Our Charms to nutrition, movement, and mindset to achieve a paleo charmed life.

Nutrition

One of the keys to life is the food that we eat.  All too often, though, we don’t really think about what we are putting in our bodies. Eating with a purpose is the first principle (we don’t really like “rules”) that we try to follow in our daily lives.  Simply put, we try to ensure that everything we eat contributes to our overall health, rather than taking away from it.  We have spent a lot of time over the last several years becoming more self-aware of our food choices and conscious in our eating decisions.

Eating with a purpose starts with nutrient dense, real, whole foods.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, and ethically sourced meats provide the basis for a healthy, sustainable diet.  These are also the foods that will contribute to overall health rather than detracting from it. We avoid processed foods whenever possible because they not only lack the nutrients found in whole foods, they are often full of hidden sugars, artificial ingredients, and industrial oils, which over time can lead to many chronic health issues.

Along with eating with a purpose, we also believe in striving to eat for your self. We realize that every body (and everybody) is different and that no single approach to nutrition will work for everyone.  The relationship that a person develops with food needs to be individualized and based on what each body needs and tolerates.  Eating for your self also involves being flexible and forgiving.  Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Figure out what foods work best FOR YOU.

Ultimately, the food choices we make need to be sustainable for life.  This doesn’t mean that they can’t evolve over time as our bodies become healthier and change for the better.  But, it means that our approach to food needs to be something we can continue for the long haul rather than a short-term solution or passing fad.  Fortunately, if you Eat With a Purpose and Eat for Your Self, sustainability comes naturally.

Movement

Moving with a purpose is an overlooked aspect of a healthy life.  Food and nutrition are typically the first priority, overshadowing fitness and exercise.  For those who DO focus on physical activity, many emphasize a “work out” program or some other isolated  activity, rather than incorporating total body movement into their daily life.  Moving with a purpose means that we consciously incorporate activity into all aspects of our daily lives.  This includes daily exercise as well as decisions to increase opportunities to move throughout the day. We can help you identify these opportunities and develop habits that will create a movement-based lifestyle.

Seated Hip Stretch

Movement and physical activity are the lifeblood of the body.  Our tissues are designed to move and to be active.  Muscles need to contract and relax, fascia needs to be stretched, and joints need to move.  We can give our bodies all of the nutrients it needs in the food we eat, but if we aren’t moving regularly, our tissues will suffer, and in turn, so will our overall health.  As athletic trainers, we have spent our careers improving the movements of our patients and clients.  What we have found is that the body has a universal rule that applies to just about everything - “Use it or lose it!” - this is especially true when it comes to mobility, flexibility, and strength.  If we aren’t moving on a regular basis, our tissues will become stiff, our joints will become restricted, and our muscles will become weak and inactive.  Over time, these changes create daily aches and pains.  Moving with a purpose every day can help prevent these issues and maximize oour health.

To move with a purpose every day, it's best to find activities you enjoy and that work for you specifically.  Moving for your self means understanding how your body reacts to different exercises and identifying the types of movement you enjoy the most.  Remember, it isn’t necessarily what kind of moving you do every day, simply that you chose to move everyday and that you move well.  Avoiding poor movement patterns and compensations will help ensure that your activities are adding to your health rather than contributing to injury. 

Through our movement journey we will also learn what kind of activities our bodies need. As we grow older, our bodies change and adapt to our lifestyle.  This means that we will gain or lose mobility, flexibility, and strength based on the things that we do (or fail to do) every day.  Remember the universal rule “Use It or Lose It” - if you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, you are going to to lose mobility in your hips and spine and  strength in your core.  Therefore, a desk-bound person needs to find opportunities to move throughout the day that focus on their specific needs.  We can help you identify your movement needs and guide you to developing habits that will improve your overall health and well being.

Moving for the future means that our physical activities must be sustainable and ongoing.  For as long as we live, movement will be necessary for our health and well being.  We need to identify activities that we can sustain for the long term and that we adapt these activities as our needs (and bodies) change over time.  Within the Future Charm, we recognize that one of the keys to a long and happy life is sustainability - this means committing to a lifestyle change rather than a short term gain.  Fortunately, if you move with a purpose every day and identify activities that are individualized and enjoyable, creating a sustainable movement lifestyle for the future comes easily.

Mindset

A positive mindset is perhaps the most powerful tool in combating the daily stressors of life.  It is also an often overlooked aspect of health and well being.  No matter how great your nutritional approach is or how much you move with a purpose every day, if you are not able to manage your stress and find joy and fulfillment in your life, you cannot achieve optimal health and well being.  As humans, we have a finite number of hours in the day.  Thinking with a purpose means consciously choosing to spend those hours doing things that add value to your life and bring happiness and satisfaction. This also means avoiding activities that add unnecessary stress or unhappiness to our lives.

Thinking of your self involves creating a conscious awareness of your psychological state - understanding common sources of stress, identifying successful stress management strategies, and creating an overall positive mindset.  The first step in thinking of your self is to understand the common stressors in your daily life and how your body reacts to these stresses.  By identifying common sources of stress, you will be able to work to eliminate some sources of stress and better manage others.  Stresses in life, both positive and negative, are inevitable. However, it is not the presence of stress that negatively impacts our health, it is how we manage it.  Finding individualized approaches to stress management - movement and exercise, meditation, recreational activities - is a key focus of the Self Charm. 

Thinking for the future means that your active management of stress and conscious awareness needs to be an ongoing lifestyle choice. The cumulative effects of negative stress can create significant health problems if left unmanaged, and both positive and negative stressors change throughout our lives.  Your ongoing goal should be to create a positive outlook that will prepare you to handle any of life’s challenges.  This comes from choosing to regularly engage in activities that bring you joy and happiness and taking care of yourself by actively managing your stress.  Life comes with lots of unknown challenges, but by thinking with a purpose and of your self, you are able to create a positive mindset that will prepare you for what lies ahead.  


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