Happy New Year to everyone. Each new year brings decisions and change for many folks. For others it may bring the status quo, which may or not be a good thing. Usually, the process of taking down my Christmas decorations gets me thinking more about the New Year and transitions— and what I will be doing differently in 2016 that will help attain my personals goals. How will I improve my business, how will I optimize quality time with family and friends etc. What am I doing wrong? What am I doing right? I’ve always believed no decision is a decision in itself—which doesn’t mean no decision makes the topic go away. Quite the contrary—often no decision leaves a person quite discontent. Going forward with a particular change or going forward with no change is a choice. Ahhh—life and the tricky ways in which our minds approach choices.
My career allows me the opportunity to work with people in their efforts to make changes. Lifestyle choices that affect our health including changing your diet, exercising, stopping smoking or reducing alcohol etc, often also affect other big changes such as career changes, relationship changes and vice versa. All of these changes first require acknowledgment of the need to change. A change may be as small as adding some protein to your breakfast, walking every day for as little as 15 minutes, flossing your teeth, calling that friend more often, cleaning the kitchen before going to bed, taking your vitamin D supplement, writing more blog posts, or bigger changes such as finally addressing that fifty pound weight gain or a dead end career or unfulfilling relationships.
This isn’t a post about how to change but just to start thinking about how you approach change and decisions. And maybe even just thinking about it will prod you towards taking steps to make the important changes you desire. The big changes inevitably require smaller changes —and you may not even be aware that you’re making them. Sometimes, however, people finally become so fed up—they just go for it. It’s curious to me that human behavior usually dictates that people reach a really low point before initiating change. How low do you go? How do you approach your decisions?
Being pro-active is not easy for many of us. It’s important not to underestimate the value of small change. Small changes can have huge positive impact. I see the benefits every day in my own life and the life of my clients. What doesn’t feel so great is the burden we bear or the weight we carry of indecisiveness. Indecisiveness is part of procrastination and can lead to feelings of inadequacy or helplessness—because you are not taking a stand one way or another. My wish for you in 2016 is to consider how you approach decisions in your life. Become more decisive about your choices, become more proactive—big or small.
One change that I’m making in my practice is giving my clients more options for obtaining informative lab tests. Lab tests provide us with information about our body’s biomarkers. Many tests can be provided by your physician, however some physician offices will only provide them for certain conditions or within a certain time period. Individuals are able to purchase many lab tests on their own through certain labs. Of course, interpretation of results is important too. But getting the information is the first step.
So—what is a biomarker? Our bodies talk to us by giving us a variety of information. Biomarkers are measurements of substances that are indications of health and disease. These biomarkers reveal quite a bit about our state of health. They may be nutrients, hormones, neurotransmitters, organisms or break down products of metabolism. We can test for these biomarkers in the blood, urine and saliva. Medicine is learning better about the best biomarkers for measuring thyroid function, detecting inflammation, cardiovascular health etc. Health occurs on a continuum. Disease doesn’t just happen overnight and by keeping track of certain biomarkers may help you stay better a head of the sick curve and if you do become ill better understand the pathways that are being affected to help get you well.
More information is not necessarily better but it’s important to test the biomarkers that give you the best value. As a nutritionist, I appreciate that nutrients are involved with nearly every pathway in the body and influence so many processes.
Two quick examples:
Vitamin D is a nutrient and a hormone that is best tested in our blood, so far we believe, anyway. We have D receptors throughout our body and we know it’s involved with probably every system in the body. I recommend people have their blood levels checked at least every other year, preferably yearly and if too low or too high, then to check every 3-6months until optimal levels are achieved.
Vitamin B-12 is a nutrient that may not be as accurately measured in the blood. B-12 has many functions in the body including DNA synthesis, normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as being a cofactor for many reactions. Blood levels don’t give you the best measurement of whether vitamin B-12 is getting inside your cell to be optimally utilized. Normal to high blood levels don’t rule out a deficiency. True deficiency is better measured by a substance called methylmalonic acid —aprecursor to vitamin B-12, found either in your blood or in your urine. High levels of methylmalonic acid are quite sensitive for B-12 deficiencies, though less so in the elderly.
For more information about a nutrition evaluation or acquiring tests contact Cindy@nutritiontofityou.com