Health care is wildly expensive and that presents challenges if not down-right extreme-problems for many people when they must have medical care. In the United States, health care has become one of the country's largest industries with escalating costs created by government policies and an epidemic of preventable diseases. Consequences of the rising costs see people working harder and longer to keep up with health insurance premiums and pay medical expenses for themselves and their families. Sadly, medical bankruptcies are declared by those that are unable to keep up with this type of debt and that brings new financial struggles into their lives.
For many years, before I studied and began my career as a health coach and wellness consultant, I sold homes and land. At one point I was self-employed as a licensed selling broker with a local Keller Williams Realty company in the city I live in. Here, I had a great opportunity to learn the teachings of Gary Keller, an entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder of Keller Williams, which is one of the largest real estate companies in the world. His books include The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Real Estate Investor, and The ONE Thing.
What I learned from Gary Keller is an approach to dealing with challenges. It works for business challenges or any type of challenges, including our own personal health and preventative care challenges in my opinion. Here it is:
Ask yourself this question:
“When presented with a challenge, do you first think of the ways you could succeed or the ways you could fail?” This is a test.
To get your highest level possible, you will always have to be answering the question:
“If I want it, what must happen for me to get it?”
And then believe that through your efforts, even trial and error if need be, your goals are possible.
Every one of us will need to seek medical care at some point in life, most likely, no matter how healthy we are overall. But responsibly staying as healthy as possible can also help each one of us avoid costly medical expenses for as long as possible. It can also help alleviate having to experience a current broken healthcare system that all too often is driven more by profits than for the people’s well-being that the system serves. If I want it (health), what must happen for me to get it?
Poor health, illness, disease, pain, aging before your time, etc. All those kinds of signals and messages from your body prevail when cells are malfunctioning. Cells generally malfunction due to deficiency of nutrients or toxicity internally or from environment. Malfunctioning cells are a wake up call! Developing a personal strategy to keep your cells healthier longer, then building it into your daily habits, is helping your body’s life force be able to do its work for YOU in synergy. You’re already in partnership by nature, but this is like getting into full partnership intentionally and mindfully by your design!
Focusing on the components of N.E.L.I. (that I created as a guide to use personally with my own health and now share with others) is about affecting your own quality of life and personal care towards improved wellness. It doesn't matter what condition you're in when you start because improvement is the goal and improving simply means make or become better.
Let’s take a brief look at each of the components in N.E.L.I.
Think of nutrients as CELL FOOD! Breathing air is not an option as we are all aware! And, neither are these nutrients that your cells must have. You can meet the needs of obtaining all of these nutrients if you are regularly eating a well-balanced assortment and proportions of whole foods: vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains (plant-based) adding to these lean meats and dairy moderately if you prefer those types of foods. The Plate Method is a simple way to guide and manage getting proper nutrients for your body's cellular health with built-in portion control too.
The phrase, “you are what you eat” is literally true. Nutrients from the foods you eat provide the foundation of the structure, function, and integrity of trillions of cells in your body—the engines that keep you alive. The composition of a living cell points to how nutrients reach the cell and are converted to the energy for your body-that is a bit deeper subject—but listed below are the ingredients of a cell’s structure.
Ingredients of a Cell’s Structure: (percentages listed are approximate)
Water is a universal solvent-needed to dissolve substances. Water makes up approximately 90-percent of a cell’s weight.
Protein molecules are made up of chemicals called Amino Acids--they make up about 5-percent of cell’s structure.
Carbohydrates are starches and sugars which are converted to blood sugar called Glucose and are burned for quick energy--they make up roughly 2.5-percent of a cell.
Nucleic Acids include DNA (hereditary material) and RNA (molecule with various biological roles). These control the cells by supplying the codes for making necessary chemicals that help cells replicate and build proteins—they make up about 1.5 percent of a cell.
Fats, also called Lipids, are fats, oils, and waxes that make up approximately 1-percent of a cell.
Cellular functions also require essential Minerals and Vitamins. Cells depend upon the action of minerals to activate the enzymes which perform bodily functions. Vitamins protect cells from damage, guide mineral utilization, regulate cell and tissue growth and help perform specific activities like produce energy.
E = ENVIRONMENT:
Stress Level. Though not all stress is bad and quite normal, we do need to take breaks from life’s stressors to relax and unwind. Otherwise, our health can begin to deteriorate manifesting ailments such as: headaches, upset stomach, back pains, trouble sleeping, and a weakened immune system. We live in such a rushed society, filled with ever-increasing demands and often an expectation of immediate results for our efforts. These increased demands on our time can lead to a lack of attention to our body’s restorative needs which in turn weakens our cells. Lack of recovery time is closely tied to not getting enough sleep and the ill health affects this can create.
Tips for Diffusing Stress.
Toxic Exposure. One of the most direct sources of toxic exposure is in the foods we eat. Over the last 100 years we have introduced thousands of man-made toxins into our environment thus changing it dramatically. In fact, man-made toxins are so prevalent today that they are impossible to avoid. Researchers and health practitioners are increasingly understanding the long-term effects of toxic chemicals present in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the products we use, and those that are present within the buildings we occupy: our homes and workplaces. In addition to external environmental toxins, there are powerful internal toxins that place a strain on our health that may ultimately cause cellular malfunction that can lead to disease.
Internal Toxins generated by our own bodies, are becoming more prevalent as a result of lifestyles, modern diets, medical treatments, and side effects of prescription drugs. Our bodies are not genetically designed to deal with the unprecedented levels and types of poisons that are accumulating in our tissue faster than our body can process and get rid of them. Generally, people aren’t aware that their own body can be a source of dangerous toxins — mainly in the digestive system, but also from stress, allergic reactions, and other sources.
Food Additives and their effects on human health are disturbing as we learn more and more about them. Despite mounting evidence, the U.S. Government still loosely regulates food additives on the FDA’s Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) list. This ineffective system cannot guarantee safety as the GRAS designation is a voluntary process — instead of being required to register food additives, companies may notify the FDA about their product if they so choose. There are no testing requirements for proven safety for a food additive to make the FDA’s GRAS list currently.
With the proliferation of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, thousands of synthetic additives have been introduced into our foods. The FDA maintains a list of more than three thousand ingredients in its database titled “Substances Added to Food in the United States.” Many of the ingredients listed we are familiar with such as sugar, baking soda, spices, but most of them are chemicals synthetically made in laboratories.
There is a whole industry devoted solely to food chemistry. A food chemist’s main job is to formulate new chemicals for the purpose of preserving, developing, or improving foods and beverages shelf life and taste. Sadly, neither the health of people eating these foods, nor the overall nutritional value of the foods, is the central consideration or top priority for many food companies.
Our Bodies Are Under Attack Every Day!
L = LIFESTYLE:
It’s not just the food we eat that affects the health of our cells, but all the factors present in our daily lives that contribute to our sense of nourishment and fulfillment. Healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity, and a spiritual awareness are essential forms of emotional nourishment that prompt our physical states.
I love to teach a unique nutrition theory developed by Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I studied to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach—he calls it "Primary Food". These are key areas of lifestyle nutrition that go beyond the food we eat. We talk about seeking to bring balance to important elements of life such as love and relationships as well as career and money. When these primary foods are balanced, what you eat becomes secondary beyond getting the very basic nutrients out of food that body cells require.
I = INTENTION:
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose.
There is a Body Mind Relationship wherein:
Our emotions cause our body’s response to external stimuli, this prompts thoughts and memories that create our physical states.
Our feelings are the brain’s interpretation of our emotions/physical body states, which triggers thoughts and memories causing our mental experiences.
A person’s thoughts and reactions to events experienced are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, intuitions, and dreams. They can be the driving force behind intentional goal(s) setting. Since our personal thoughts and feelings cause our behaviors, they are truly what drive us to take intentional actions that in turn produce tangible results.
Where Do You Stand For Your Own Health?
What’s the most important single action you should take in order to improve your health? Narrow it down to the ONE thing, the first thing you must do.
Now think about how you feel about this action you already know that you need to take. What emotion do you associate with (believe about) doing it—PAIN or PLEASURE? Your answer to this question is a great indicator of whether you’ll succeed or not at moving forward to take this action consistently and improve your health for the long-term. Tony Robbins Quote: “People will do more to avoid pain than they will do to gain pleasure.” Don't think it's true? Experiment with it.
For me, with my own personal health for example, I have learned to associate pleasure with taking care of the needs of my body's cells. I catch my own thoughts by reminding myself what happens to my body when cells malfunction--that's a great big PAIN association! I remain mindful that I'm in control of what I consume, think, and feel which can either help or harm these cells that keep me alive and well. Then I make a decision, good or bad, using this principle of pain/pleasure association. I consciously seek balance with my thoughts, feelings and actions using the N.E.L.I. chart (Nutrients, Environment, Lifestyle, Intention) as a guide and daily reminder of consumption and surroundings that can impact the health of my body's cellular life.
The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you. ~Anthony Robbins, author "Awaken The Giant Within"
Isn’t it exciting to know that you have the power to condition your mind for the benefit of your health goals? With this one technique of associating either pain or pleasure with your habits, you can choose to change any of your habits that do not serve you. Getting in the habit of asking yourself some good questions when that internal voice (we all have one) starts chatting, is another powerful positive focusing technique, e.g. “If I want it, what must happen for me to get it?
Take a look at the scale below showing a spectrum from 1 to 10. On this scale, 1 represents Illness/Injury and 10 represents Health/Wellness. Circle the number that best reflects where you believe the state of your health lies between these two points:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Considering the number you rated yourself at, what’s the most important single action you should take in order to move that number up the scale and therefore improve your health? (Narrow it down to the ONE thing, the first thing you must do): _____________________________________________________________________
Now think about how you feel about this action you need to take. What emotion do you associate with doing it—PAIN or PLEASURE? ____________________________________________________________________
My singular action I need to take to improve my health is:___________________________________________
What is the pain I associate with this action? (describe) ___________________________________________
How can I associate pleasure that will override the pain in my mind towards taking this action?
I'm so offended when my body decides to get sick. Like I gave you a vegetable last week. How dare you? ~Unknown
It costs money to stay healthy, but it's even more expensive to get sick. ~Ashleigh Brilliant
In the future, it's going to become more and more impossible for the economy to support how expensive medical care is and the number of sick people we have. Why don't we just get our population healthier so we don't need medical care? ~Joel Fuhrman
Health is not valued until sickness comes. ~Thomas Fuller
By Judith Garner, Certified Health Coach
Helping people stay healthy inside & out!