By Dr. Bianca Drennan, ND
Spring has (finally!) sprung! After a long and dark winter, the sunshine and warmth of spring are a welcome change.
This is a great time of year to do some spring cleaning, both literally and figuratively. Many people use the beginning of spring to do a deep clean of their homes – renovating, clearing out dust bunnies, scrubbing every visible surface and dark corner. But what about spring cleaning your health and wellness routine? This is often neglected, but is a habit we should all make a priority. It is important to check in with yourself and your health to ensure that what you are doing (or not doing) is an effective way to guide you toward optimal long-term wellness. Below I have outlined some areas of your health that you can check-in on this season.
Is your diet serving you? Is it giving you energy and life? Have you been eating the same foods or following the same “diet” for years? Do you need to lose weight? Do you need to gain weight? Do you know where your food comes from? Could you be doing better? The way you eat should reflect what your body needs to perform optimally. It is easy to get stuck in a rut or consistently make less than ideal choices. There is a lot of good and bad nutrition information out there, which can lead to a lot of confusion and potentially poor choices for you. If you think you might need some guidance on how and what to eat, make an appointment with me, your Naturopathic Doctor. I can help you weed out what is true and false, and simplify your diet to suit your lifestyle and your needs.
Have you been taking the same supplement for years? Have you considered that you might need supplements in the first place? Do you have a collection of supplements gathering dust at the back of your cupboard? Have you checked the expiry date on your supplement bottles? Are you taking them as prescribed? Have you fallen off the wagon with your supplement regime? Our supplement needs change over time due to age, changes in life circumstances, fluctuating stress levels, changing seasons, illness, and changes in diet. If you have been taking a supplement for a long time but cannot remember anymore why you were taking it or if it is having any effect, then it might be time to update your regime. Supplements should be in addition to a good diet, not instead of. It is important that they are taken at the right time, in the right dose, and the right formulation to ensure safety and efficacy. I highly recommend that before you start any supplement, regardless of how safe you may think it is, to consult a Naturopathic Doctor. Natural does not always equal safe, and supplements often interact with pharmaceutical medications which could be dangerous.
Are you seeing results with your exercise routine? Have you been performing the same exercises since you saw that trainer way back when? Have you plateaued? Are you paying for a gym membership that you never use? Do you have the proper fitness gear to support your workouts? Do you make time to exercise? Is exercise something you always say that you will do later? Later is now. Movement, of any kind, is an essential component of long-term health and wellness. Our bodies and muscles adapt to movement, which is why it is important to switch up your exercise routine to “shock” the body. Otherwise, your body will get lazy and find easier ways to do things, which inhibits change and progression. The most effective way to maintain an exercise routine is to find something you enjoy doing. This increases the likelihood that you will follow through with your exercise goals, which is more sustainable. If you hate running, there is no point on deciding to run 3 times per week. It is a lot easier to make an excuse not to exercise when it is something you do not enjoy. Although there are some exercises that are more effective for certain conditions, the most effective exercise is one that you will do consistently and regularly.
What are your goals for this year? What were your goals last year? How many of them did you accomplish? What prevented you from succeeding? What allowed you to succeed? Is there an aspect of your health that needs to be addressed? Do you need help with achieving your goals? Goals are often made in January, but I believe it is important to re-evaluate your goals on a regular basis – especially when it comes to your health. Your goals now are unlikely the same as they were a year, 2 years, or 4 years ago. If they are, then it is important to understand why they have not been tackled. I ask every patient on their first visit what their goals are for meeting with me, and what their goals in life might be in general. This allows me to target my treatment plans and re-assess how close we are to achieving them over time. I encourage you to do the same with yourself, or with me. Goals are a great way to break down the bigger things, and they are effective at monitoring progress.
Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments four days a week. If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment. The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.