Healthy Changes Cause Benefit But Can They Cause Harm?By
Much of what we write about on this blog is designed to encourage you to improve your health, both physical and emotional. I am a big supporter of healthy eating and regular exercise. It is something I have done by entire life thanks to my mother, who modeled this behavior with cooking healthy meals and playing tennis regularly. My mother regularly heeded the advise of one of her aunts, a trained dietician (and a nun!), regarding the importance of a diet high in fresh vegetables and limited starches. Imagine getting this advise in the 50′s and early 60′s. I sometime muse how this woman was way ahead of her time.
Due to this sort of teaching at a young age, I have eaten a fairly healthy diet and been active the majority of my life. Hopefully I can to continue that way; that is my goal for myself and it is also my goal for you. I am someone who feels anyone can be as active as they wish, within reason of course! This qualifier became most pertinent after I began the practice of Yoga!
I have always known I am not very flexible, so I started with a TV yoga series a few years ago. It was (no longer on the air) fairly straight forward yoga, and it did improve my flexibility. When the show went off the air, I started purchasing DVDs. I went for the advanced beginner, or intermediate level; thinking that is what I should be. I was incredulous at some to the poses I encountered and have been heard to mutter more than once “Yea, right. Not happening today!”
When I read a recent article about such a topic, How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, I feel vindicated on NOT trying all those poses that I suspected could do me harm! The author of the article illustrates how many people may push themselves to the point of real harm-dislocated ribs, back injuries and even strokes!
The point of this post is to illustrate that when you begin a new physical activity, or a new diet; it is important to feel comfortable and capable with the tasks. Many a patient has come to me with gastrointestinal distress over a drastic change in diet. Some high protein diets can hurt your kidneys if you are susceptible, adhere to the diet for too long, and do not consume enough water. It is important to proceed carefully if a plan seems drastic. How many times have we all become enthusiastic about a new plan, only to suffer the consequence of an overenthusiastic beginning.
The important aspect to remember of any new plan is to trust your instincts. If an activity causes you to feel anxious, it may be too soon for you to try it. If a diet does not seem to be something you can accomplish, make a few changes so that it better fits your taste and style.
Remember, go slow and be mindful of your abilities. Push a little beyond your comfort zone, but not too far. This is one of the ways to make changes permanent.