Healthy habits can help with your gut health. But how many do you have?
The question that I get asked most in the clinic is, what can people do to improve their gut health? It really depends on what’s going on with you and what you’re willing to do.
One of the reasons I see clients not reach their goals when it comes to gut health is often not what people think. It’s got nothing to do with motivation, willpower, nor having to do with being lazy. Sometimes, it’s because we don’t know what to do next. Sometimes it often comes down to the fact that we haven’t established these healthy habits needed to repair the gut.
Some of you might be having lemon water, or apple cider vinegar in water every morning or doing daily exercises during the day, or adding extra vegetables to your diet. And it’s not that you’re not doing anything. It’s just that, it’s likely because these healthy habits are not so ingrained that you no longer see them or they’re so ingrained in.
What I mean by that is, you no longer see them as unhealthy habits, but they have become something you do without thought, so it’s almost like an involuntary action. And what happens is to take that one step further is we set up our environment to support these habits.
I’ll give you a story back when I was in my early and late teens. I was a smoker and I would set up the day so I could roll over grab a cigarette first thing in the morning. So we do support the environment for that and the idea is to set them up for healthy habits as well. So we know we need a “cue” for us to form a hurt habit.
We need to change the cues that we’re setting up for ourselves to eliminate the bad habits. Sounds easy, right? Changing our habits support not only our physical body but also our mental and emotional health as well.All those components you need to have to work together to have a really good gut environment.
So here’s a list of healthy habits:
- DIET – Are you eating enough variety and diversity? As humans, there is real comfort in eating the same foods over and over and over again. I see it in the clinic and I even do it. One of the cues to help with diet is meal planning
- EXERCISE – Do some physical activity every day, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. We know the benefits of exercise are really, really well documented. Stronger heart, increased bone density, lower stress, better balance, sharper mind. Choose some exercise that you like and do it and do it with consistency.
- SLEEP – Most people are not getting the recommended amount of sleep, which is about seven to nine hours every night. Our body uses deep REM sleep to repair ourselves. So getting the right amount of sleep is connected to better mood, better concentration, better memory and better cognitive function. So if you’re really fatigued and lacking in energy, doing something will actually help you to.
- STRESS MANAGEMENT – It is finding effective ways to manage stress. So we all know about the fight or flight response. Once we hit this fight or flight response, our body stops us from digesting foods. And once we get into the state, this can cause us really a lot of issues, especially around digestion bloating and reflux those sorts of things. If we don’t digest the food, it sits and ferments and it causes us more gas, reflux and bloating as well. So you want to try and not get yourself into that side of flight response when you’re eating. You need to find some practices that work for you on lowering stress.
- “ME” TIME – It means spending some time with yourself. So spending some time getting reconnected to yourself is a health habit that’s worth cultivating. You know, you’re worth it. And most of us aren’t doing those sorts of things.
- FORM CONNECTIONS – Connecting with others is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. We are basically social beings and we need relationships to be deeply fulfilled. And what happens is, it’s not just the acquaintances around us.
So now the question is for you, how many healthy habits do you get a thick fall?