HPN 37: Sweet, Sweet Victory and Lifestyle Medicine Part 2 – Evidence-Based Wellness Practices

September 8, 2023


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Welcome to episode 37 of Holistic Performance Nutrition (HPN) featuring Tawnee Gibson, MS, CSCS, CISSN, and Julie McCloskey, a certified holistic nutrition coach and personal trainer, who you can find over at wildandwell.fit.

Julie’s Big Win! 

  • The race: Palisades 50 Miler: Palisades, ID July 22nd. 11,000’ up/down. 14 hours, 2am-4pm. Hot.
  • Result: 1st place female. Was in 7th/8th until mile 35 then steadily took the lead.

Things that went well:

  • Scaled back pace after going out too hard.
    • Let people pass and reminded “to run my own race,” there’s a wholeeee lotta miles left to make up ground.
    • Started out fast, scaled back and focused on “enjoyment” from mile 5-35, then flipped on my competitive switch with 15 miles left.
  • Kept my HR low
    • Nasal breathing, slowing down.
  • Pushed it when it felt good
    • Saved having coca cola for the last aid station and then passed about 15 people going up the final climb at mile 35. 3,000’ in 3-4 miles at 12:00 in a section with no water and absolutely found my flow and rocked it. Favorite part of the race, truly felt so empowered and connected to myself and to the race.
  • Dunked in every creek – kept cool!
  • Stayed calm and was constantly on top of her shit…checking in: Eating enough? Drinking enough? What sounds good right now? What doesnt? What do I need at the next aid station?
  • Training Wise/Prep: got the workouts, long runs, and easy runs in. 2 strength workouts. Ran a good amount of miles but didn’t sweat it if wasn’t running as much.
  • Nutrition: tried for 250cals/hour…did well in the beginning with gels and chews and then just ate whatever and whenever; let go of the “plan.”
  • Body: mostly feet hurt and were tired toward the end, they were ready to be done. Low-grade nauseous on and off all day, but always manageable. Body and mind felt good and strong for the most part!

Things that didn’t feel good:

  • Ate a full breakfast RIGHT before the race. You gain 2,000’ in the first 2 miles so no time to digest it :)…BUT would rather be uncomfortable for an hour at the beginning then go into a long race without giving body fuel..no regrets.
  • Shoes – felt like wearing high heels out there. Couldn’t get footing right, slipping all over the place and rolling ankles left and right…luckily had old shoes to wear for a while.
  • Headlamp died after 1.5 hours so I had to use iPhone flashlight.
  • Didn’t have enough salt. Body felt swollen and tender.

Lifestyle Medicine & the Roots of Wellness 

Part 2: The Research and #4

In HPN 36 we shared our dimension of wellness #1-3…

We often are asked how to heal x,y,z or get better at x,y,z… then often hearing “I can’t heal or get better…” Maybe we’re looking too much at the surface and not enough at the roots. J, I know you and I are people who’ve dug deep to be well and we are reaping benefits in this season of life. So let’s think deeper than just a current fad or protocol, what does it take to get well and stay well? This is lifestyle medicine…

Healing and thriving is not just about supplements or a perfect diet. Holistic wellness is much deeper and intricate. If there are unhealed wounds or imbalances, no supp or diet will be a “magic pill.”

Before sharing our 4th key dimension of wellness, we briefly discuss some of the research and evidence-based resources to support this idea of lifestyle medicine!

Holistic Wellness Research

  • Dimensions of wellness: change your habits, change your life – article from 2017
    • “Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit (1). Although it always includes striving for health, it’s more about living life fully (1), and is “a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life in a way that… allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow”
    • Wellness encompasses 8 mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental
      • Give attention to all (otherwise suffer) although doesn’t have to be balanced
    • Find your own personal harmony, does not have to be perfectly balanced
    • Change becomes much more achievable if you pay attention to who you are and insert routines that take advantage of your strengths, tendencies, and aptitudes. With self-awareness, you can cultivate the habits that work for you. Consider, for instance, differences in circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms reflect our natural tendencies for sleeping and waking and influence our energy and productivity at different times in the day (11). The odds of success to improve your fitness won’t increase if, for example, you decide to rise an hour earlier to exercise each day when you happen to be a “night owl” rather than “morning lark.” Self-awareness includes knowledge about other aspects of self as well, such as whether you are a marathoner, sprinter, or procrastinator; under- or over-buyer; simplicity or abundance lover; finisher or opener; and familiarity or novelty lover (8). It also includes whether you are promotion- or prevention-focused, and whether you like taking small or big steps (8).
  • How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
    • Forming new habits
    • The median time to reach 95% automatic mode with habits was 66 days, with a range from 18 to 254 days.
    •  The time it took participants to reach 95% of their asymptote of automaticity ranged from 18 to 254 days; indicating considerable variation in how long it takes people to reach their limit of automaticity and highlighting that it can take a very long time. Missing one opportunity to perform the behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process.
  • Clustering of Five Health-Related Behaviors for Chronic Disease Prevention Among Adults, United States, 2013
    • From 2013, wonder what this is like today? these five health behaviors are critical for disease prevention:
      • not smoking,
      • regularly exercising,
      • consuming moderate to no alcohol,
      • maintaining a healthy weight,
      • getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
      • ***Only 6% of Americans include all five behaviors in their daily routine.***
  • IFM’s functional medicine tree (chart) – awesome from roots to branches
    • What I like in this is that it shows how our genetics don’t have to be our fate and what influences our genetic predisposition e.g. mental, emotional, spiritual influences (or lack thereof ie spiritual connectedness) + experiences, attitudes and beliefs. Shows the power of what we think… and a lot of the time I think our experience and attitudes/beliefs are the make or break point in onset of disease. Not always but I believe in a correlation.
    • There also needs to be antecedents, triggers and mediators that lead to being unwell, ill or diseased.
    • Disease is DIS-EASE.
    • Of course, it’s not always in our control… environmental, trauma, relationship (behaviors/treatment by others), etc. We can try here but sometimes this is tough stuff.
  • And this tree on integrative medicine

Our list continues…

4: Nutrition!

  • Seems so obvious but there are so many layers of nutrition as it relates to holistic wellness and our nutritional needs vary so much as individuals.
  • Consistent, good quality, nourishing nutrition is a foundation we must abide by to live well. Whether it’s 90/10 or 80/20, it has to be a priority, and there will be times when we stray from our go-to nutritional norms, that’s ok, just keep the foundation strong.
  • Experiencing joy with quality nutrition.
  • Finding and making the time to invest in this practice.
  • When we stray.
  • When it’s tied up in emotions and doesn’t serve us.
  • Excuses, poor excuses (eg covid 15 weight gain).

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