Have you ever felt like your body’s storing fat for winter, much like whales store blubber to keep warm? The idea is not as far-fetched as you might think! “There’s a reason that the average female over age 30 gains two to four pounds per year between Halloween and Valentine’s day, many of which they never lose,” says Dr. Robert Messer, chief science officer of BESANA Health & Wellness. “The body works in many ways like a bear, which hibernates in the winter and has a slower metabolism when there’s fewer sunlit hours. The difference is that humans hibernate daily!”
Now that winter’s almost over, don’t fret if you think you’ve hibernated your way through it. “It’s the perfect time to hit the reset button,” says Dr. Messer. Indeed! To help you get a jumpstart on spring and shake off the winter doldrums, here are a few expert tools and tips from the wellness experts at BESANA.
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If you’ve been hoarding bad eating habits the way squirrels store acorns all winter, it’s time to check in with us. We want to hear about your energy level, mood, meal plans (or lack thereof), aches and pains, sleep patterns, worries…you name it, there’s nothing about you we don’t want to know! At BESANA, there’s no such thing as TMI, and that’s because our goal is getting to the heart, or root cause of your concerns so we can help you heal properly and achieve optimal health and vitality for the long haul. “The only way we can get you there is understanding everything about you!” says Dr. Messer. “With your help and our diagnostic tools, we can get a baseline understanding of your wellness and determine the exact tools you need. Having the right tools in place is everything.”
This sounds counterintuitive; however, it refers to mental/emotional chaos, because when spring fever hits, we all feel like running a million miles an hour. “Physically, this is great,” says Dr. Messer, “but mentally, we want to be focused and present to stop and smell the roses, as they say.”
Slowing down doesn’t mean lethargy or inactivity. Rather, we recommend adopting a mindful attitude as spring approaches. Mindfulness refers to awareness of the present moment and all your thoughts, feelings and sensations. When you’re mindful, you’re in tune with the present moment instead of lingering in the past or fretting about the future. Research indicates that mindfulness is good for you by reducing stress and chronic pain, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure and helping to alleviate many other chronic health concerns.
There’s a lot of wellness advice out there, and it’s easy to get bogged down and feel overwhelmed thinking you have to follow it all. For example, eating a plant-based diet, exercising, meditating and practicing mindfulness are all ways to live “right,” but that doesn’t mean you need to master them all at once. “Start by picking one or two wellness goals,” says Dr. Messer, “and get as specific as you can.” Dr. Messer advises being specific because it boosts your chances for success. “Spring is coming — eat as many live foods as possible and limit the processed and fat-storing foods, like sugar, grains, saturated fats and heavy proteins, and allow the body to lighten up as it prepares to ‘spring’ into summer.”
According to research on the habits of successful people, specific goals (e.g., walking three times a week) are much more likely to be attained than vague goals (e.g., getting more active). It makes sense. Doesn’t the goal of walking around the neighborhood three times a week sound a lot easier than “exercising more at the gym”? For another example, wouldn’t you rather have the goal of eating one 80-calorie dessert bar every day versus “cutting out sweets indefinitely”? Which goal seems more attainable?