What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Balance”? For me I think of my then 7-year old son getting up on his pedal bike for the first time. I could see his excitement, but also sensed the fear he had at riding a bike all on his own. He was afraid of falling down and getting hurt. He climbed onto his bike and I helped hold him from behind while he pedaled. For those who have helped a child with this experience, you know that they don’t have any sense of balance at first. They are completely in your control to helpRead More →
6 Blind Spots that are wrecking your road to a healthy and happy life
Several years ago when I was 15 years old, I began taking driver’s education to get my driver’s license. I remember being nervous but excited. I wanted to learn to drive, but knew there were a lot of things to worry about. You have to learn how to operate the gas pedal, the brake, watch your speed, along with other parts of driving. One of the vital areas, but often missed even by seasoned drivers, is watching your blind spots. A blind spot is an area around the car that you are unable to see with a rear view or side view mirror. When operating any vehicle be sure to check your blind spots at all times to know where other drivers are relative to where you are. This will help keep you safe and other drivers on the road safe from harm.
Our lives contain blind spots, just like driving on the road. We get busy or careless or just don’t pay attention and run into problems because we weren’t checking our blind spots. Some things in our lives are a little easier to notice and to take care of, like eating food and getting sleep. These are things that don’t take much thought. It is like checking the car behind you with your rear view mirror- it is easy and quick- not much effort required. Just like a car, we need rear view mirrors and side view mirrors- these are things that we know we should do- we should eat healthy, exercise, sleep, and work a job to support ourselves and families. These things are easy to see, but what about the areas in our life that aren’t so easily seen, our life’s blind spots. These are things that might be slowing our life’s growth or keeping us from experiencing full happiness and joy in life. They could be causing depression or just preventing us from living an energetic life full of passion and excitement. I can’t think of many people who would describe their life with that description, but shouldn’t we all be feeling that way? What if you could have more energy, more excitement, and more passion in your life? Think of what you could accomplish, the difference you could make, the kind of life you would lead, the example you could be for others. I am here to tell you that you can.
Here are 6 Blind spots that are wrecking your road to a healthy and happy life:
1. You need more hours of sleep (not just a few more minutes). You may think you are getting enough sleep, but the studies show the far majority of people are not. Just like a neglecting to check your blind spot in your car, you are missing the full benefits and potential of this vital re-energizing life activity.
Adults are averaging less than 7 hours of sleep. The recommended amount is 7-9 hours, although from my experience and working with others 8-9 is the optimal amount of sleep that can really change your life. There are many positive reasons to get more sleep including: more energy, easier to lose weight, stress reduction, think more clearly, better production at home and at work, and mostly just gives a better outlook on life and makes you happier (probably a by-product of all the others). Just like a blind sport with a car, there are dangers associated with neglecting your sleep patterns including: health problems, weight gain, stress, lacking energy, depression, and many other health problems. You can fix the not enough sleep blind spot by setting a goal to get more sleep. You may need to go to sleep 15 minutes earlier each week until you reach your goal. Others might be able to go “all in” and start getting to bed earlier right away. Do what works best for you and see the benefits of more sleep.
2. Drink more water and don’t drink juice or sports drinks. Carbonated drinks along with energy drinks are full of sugar and are not healthy for you. I think that the adverse health effects of diet sodas are becoming increasingly to be unhealthy as well. But people continue to drink these and as a result we continue to see an increase in obesity and diabetes, which is attributed mainly to high sugar intake and a sedentary lifestyle. The area where we are experiencing a blind spot is with juice drinks and sports drinks such as Gatorade.
But wait, weren’t we all taught that a glass of orange juice is great to drink in the morning or that all athletes should drink a large bottle of Gatorade after a game? A 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains an incredible 9 teaspoons of sugar. This is almost a ¼ cup of sugar! It takes about 6 medium size oranges to make 12 ounces of orange juice. Have you ever tried to eat 6 oranges? I am usually full after one or two at the most. Fruit is not meant to be consumed without the flesh and pulp. This part contains the fiber and is the more filling portion of the fruit. The other reason for not consuming juice is that when we drink our calories, we tend to not feel full and consume much more calories than we would if we were to eat the fruit.
Sports drinks aren’t much better. They also contain high amounts of sugar and also they contain artificial sweeteners and ingredients. If you want to fix this blind spot, start by not drinking anymore juice (any kind of juice) and sports drinks (and keep avoiding soda and energy drinks). You will see a big difference if your main source of liquid in your diet is water. Shoot for 8-10 eight-ounce glasses per day. It is also OK to drink some coconut milk or almond milk.
3. Workouts not effective enough. Many people work out on a regular basis and feel good when they can check it off their list of things to do. But are they really just going through the motions and not really pushing themselves. I had a job that had a gym on their campus where I worked out in the morning before I started the day. I often lifted weights and was only one of handful of guys that worked out. I couldn’t help but notice a guy working out with some dumb bells to work out his arms. Over a span of 3 years he used the same weight every day and did the exact same 3 workouts. I never saw him change in shape or get any stronger. He wasn’t pushing himself, challenging himself, or working himself any harder.
In order to gain muscle you have to make your workout more difficult. If you fall into the rut of working out the same way, the same weights, or the same cardio routine you will never see any noticeable results in your life. It will actually become so easy for you that you might actually get weaker! I have watched people on treadmills workout at the same speed and length of time day after day for years.
Here are some tips to make your workouts more effective and fix your ineffective workout blind spot:
- Add weight every 2 weeks to your weight lifting routine- start with adding 5 lbs and continue adding 5 lbs every 2 weeks
- try different cardio equipment to workout different muscles- try cycling, treadmill, elliptical, or other equipment,
- try a High intensity cardio workout- take 2 mins to warm up, exercise hard as you can for 45 seconds and then do it slowly for 2 min 15 seconds, then repeat for 6 cycles and cool down for 5 minutes.
4. Thinking that you can eat out often and be healthy. A common blind spot for people is to think that they can eat out often and still be possible to be healthy. With the many healthy options at restaurants and the increase of salad and sandwich shops and smoothie shops, it would seem logical that you can eat healthy while eating out. When you look at the calories and other numbers more closely at several “healthy” restaurant locations, you can see why this is a real blind spot for people. Take for example- smoothies. You would think smoothie shops and smoothies offered at restaurants would be healthy. They are full of fruit and often they add other healthy add-ins like chia seeds, greens, or other foods. But when you check all the ingredients and the calorie and sugar quantities, it is a real eye opener. A 16-ounce Strawberry smoothie at a popular smoothie shop has 56 grams of sugar and 570 calories. That is a 1/3 of many people’s daily calorie requirements and is a whopping 14 teaspoons of sugar or about 1/3 cup of sugar! It is unbelievable that they can tout their smoothies as healthy, but it is marketed and advertised as delicious and nutritious. Another example is a southwest grill restaurant that my wife and I like to visit occasionally. They have a chicken salad (which is healthy, right?) that has 1,200 calories, 1,000 mg of sodium, and 121 grams of carbs. These numbers are all more than half of your recommended daily intake. And for a salad!
Don’t let this blind spot wreck your diet and road to good health. You can start by making your own meals like salads. You can take control of your food and use ingredients like spinach, berries, nuts, and a vinegar and oil dressing with some lemon. Add some baked or grilled chicken pieces and you can eat healthy and save money. You can also make homemade soup, seafood, healthy green smoothies (check out my book- Ultimate Green Smoothies), and many other healthy homemade options. You can eat out once a week or less but be careful.
5. Cut down on how many snacks you eat. I believe the increase of snack foods in our lifestyle has contributed greatly to the current epidemic of obesity and overweight problems in the United States and many other countries. I believe this began with many so-called diet “experts” telling us to start eating regular snacks each day to avoid a sugar crash and then the subsequent binge on anything in sight. I believe they turned to this thinking when the “fat is bad” message was being sent out back in the 80’s. Many foods began taking out all the fat and advertising no fat or low fat- remember back when an avocado was considered too high of fat and not very good for you. Wow! The message has changed on that one as it Is now considered one of the healthiest foods out there. The same thing happened with nuts and many other foods with fat content that were once considered very unhealthy. When fat was taken out and carbs increased it left our bodies needing something to eat sooner as fat takes longer to break down and keeps our bodies fuller longer. Hence, the reason for the experts teaching that we need to eat snacks 3 times a day (or some diets saying even more). This started a huge market for snack foods, treats, and all kinds of foods that are easily accessible at work, at home, or on the road. People began eating non-stop just following the advice of the experts when what they really need is some help with eating their 3 square meals and maybe 1 snack a day when more than 4 hours are between meals.
More snacks and junk foods aren’t the answer to your weight and health problems. Start with eating a better ratio of fat, protein, and carbs at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When a snack is needed, eat healthy, natural, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, and other healthy snack options. Avoid crackers, chips, candy, energy bars, protein bars, baked goods, and other items that are sweetened and processed. As you change this part of your diet, you will see a big difference in your energy levels and also your wallet.
6. You need to read more and exercise your brain. Our society focuses a lot on our physical body and losing weight. This is a vital part of our lives, but there is a lot more to us that just our physical body and needs. We also have emotional needs, mental needs, and spiritual needs. These other 3 aspects of our lives are often neglected. It is true that the less you focus on and work on something the weaker it gets. This is the reason why we need to spend more time exercising our brain and working out our mind. As we do this, we can stay mentally sharp and can be asset to the companies we work for, our clients, and also become a better spouse, parent, or friend.
As you work on your mental skills you might find a new idea to start your own company or create a new product that could revolutionize the world. One way you can help uncover these ideas and clear up this blind spot is by reading more books. Spend time at night before you got to bed or in the morning or at lunch reading books, you can also listen to books on DVD while you drive or do other activities where you can pay attention and listen more attentively. I like to listen to talks or books on tape while taking a shower and getting ready for the day. I heard that reading for one hour a day will help you read 1 average size book per week which is 52 books per year. Try to read both fiction and non-fiction/self-help books for entertainment and learning as both activities are important to each of us to let us have fun and also learn new things at the same time. Try doing some crossword puzzles, word finds, regular puzzles, and different card games and board games to keep your mind sharp and have fun at the same time. Try writing a journal or write about a topic you enjoy or know a lot about and maybe you could turn it into a self-help book or post on the internet to help other people who want to learn about that. Don’t underestimate the power of your mind and thinking, put it to work, and it will work for you.
Don’t let your blind spots wreck your road to a healthy and happy life. Use the ideas above to help you get back on track and find a clear and open road to the life you desire and desrve.
Hi, this is Steve Christensen. I am the owner and president of Ultimate Life: create a life worth living. My wife, Rachelle Christensen, is co-owner and vice president. We have 5 kids and live on a farm in rural Idaho. We raise chickens, cats, and a dog. I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan and love dark chocolate. Rachelle is a successful author and loves to spend her free time reading and spending time with her family. Ultimate Life was created to share our story of how we found a life of health and happiness through following a series of steps and ideas thatRead More →