Written by: Sarah Cady, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Are you paying more attention to the health of your business than your own body?
As focused, motivated, dedicated entrepreneurs and professionals who are intent on success in all things, we would never ignore something askew in our businesses affecting productivity and success, yet it’s not uncommon for things askew in our health to go dismissed, blatantly ignored, or, just as ill-advised, accepted as ‘normal’ signs of aging. It’s not uncommon for us to pay more attention to our businesses/work's health and functions than we do the health and functions of our own bodies.
Please be cautioned that this is a fool’s way of operating.
Oftentimes we brush these things off as annoyances, too busy with our day-to-day to appropriately address them. We may instead just take quick measures to mask them so we can continue.
These annoyances, these symptoms, should instead actually serve as warning signs telling us something is amiss in our systems. Know that where symptoms are, dysfunction is already brewing.
If you sat for a bit and made an evaluation, an audit, how your body is performing, so-to-speak, and how you are really feeling and functioning, what would you report? Are you…
regularly popping antacids or other “digestive aides?”
reaching for that caffeine boost later in the day to keep yourself going (or even needing a substantial amount in the morning to get yourself going)?
finding you are using something to help you unwind, take the edge off at the end of the day?
more short-tempered, feeling more overwhelmed and anxious?
lying awake, tossing and turning, when you should be getting your much-needed sleep
noticing that waist-line increasing?
These are all very common red flags of dysfunction.
Pay attention to and address these 4 warning signs of health at risk:
1. Digestive, gastrointestinal issues
Heartburn, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating all seem to be commonplace. More than irritations, these symptoms are things to take great note of and get resolved as soon as possible.
There is a saying that all health begins in the “gut” (your entire gastrointestinal tract). It is responsible for so much more than just providing a passageway for food! Two-thirds of our immune system resides here (that should hit home now more than ever). It is where we fully break down and absorb our nutrients from food, thus supplying our cells with much-needed fuel. It is how our bodies provide a protective barrier from unwanted and potentially harmful organisms getting into circulation.
When things are not functioning properly in our GI system, it is a sign of impaired health which does not stay isolated in our digestive tracts. Skin issues, headaches, joint pain, impaired thinking, and mood are common problems related to dysfunction in the “gut.” This may stem from improper ways of eating, eating the wrong foods, an unhealthy bacterial balance, medication use, stress, or infection. If not resolved, this will cascade into other health areas and affect our overall immune function, nourishment, and inflammatory status.
The phrase “listening to your gut” needs to take on an additional meaning and provoke action.
2. Cognitive and mood issues
Aging-brain fears aside (Alzheimer’s, dementia), we are typically concerned with being as sharp as possible, remaining calm, cool and collected, and keeping that strong sense of drive so we can execute efficiently. If we feel our wits dulling, have trouble concentrating or remembering (“brain fog”), feel anxious, irritable, or even melancholy, our work, relationships, and overall contentment of life suffer. No doubt this is something we have all experienced to some degree at one point or another, but if this becomes a regular state of being, pay attention and take action. There may be something metabolic at play.
Stress is something that most people blame for lack of mental clarity and moodiness. While it’s true that stress is a culprit, the word “stress” means so much more than just emotional chaos. Stress can also be happening behind the scenes on a metabolic and internal level. No matter the source, stress will always wreak havoc on the system if not addressed.
Cognitive and mood-related issues can stem from many things that are often not recognized as sources of such issues. Problems in the gastrointestinal tract, excess weight, hormonal imbalances, even blood sugar problems, and the wrong foods being consumed can affect our cognition and mood. Sometimes when we feel mentally foggy and/or emotionally unsettled, we may very well be imbalanced in these other areas.
3. Sleep problems/fatigue
Some experts have said lack of sleep is even more detrimental to physical and mental health than a poor diet and can create more problems than just tiredness during your days.
Sleep is a crucial element of health. As we sleep, biological and restorative processes are at work. Certain hormones are released and regulated, allowing for tissue repair and growth of new cells. Organs regenerate, and the processes related to detoxification are occurring. Our brains regenerate, program, improve synaptic activity, allowing for better concentration, memory, and mood. Our immune system is active during sleep, allowing us to search out and handle possible invading infections. (Think we need that especially right now?) And, of course, we re-energize for a new day physically and mentally, ideally waking completely refreshed.
It is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every nightfall asleep quickly and easily, sleep soundly and completely (unmedicated), and wake easily and energized.
Many feel they can survive and even do “just fine” merely on a few hours of sleep each night, but biology would disagree. At this moment, I am not speaking to those cases where sleep is simply not prioritized—that’s a behavioral choice, and I urge you to put sleep high on your list. If you are one who feels you cannot commit 7-8 hours to something so critical because your lifestyle or your work keeps you burning the candle at both ends, I urge you to re-evaluate and re-prioritize for the sake of your physical and mental well-being.
If you are having trouble with the quality of your sleep--difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, falling back to sleep, or a combination of those, I urge you to find help with investigating why. If you feel a general sense of exhaustion and fatigue, more than you are feeling energized and refreshed, seek guidance. Emotional and mental stress aside, plenty of other factors may be affecting your sleep. In my practice, I regularly see things like food sensitivities (which can lead to gastrointestinal breakdown), bacterial overgrowth, environmental triggers, and hormonal dysfunction all playing a direct role in the quality of my clients’ sleep.
Find the answers, address the issues, make good choices to protect the quality of your sleep and thus your overall health.
4. Weight gain
Whether it is explained weight gain (because of unhealthy choices) or unexplained weight gain, carrying extra fat pounds packs a serious punch on health. You might feel uncomfortable in your body, in your clothes, or may have a harder time doing physical tasks and activities, and you may also be headed for more serious problems.
Fat is metabolically active tissue that sends cascading inflammatory signals throughout our bodies, impacts our physiology, and puts stress on our organs. Excess fat tissue can have a significant impact on processes that control blood sugar stabilization and sex hormone production. The more fat one carries, the more fat one stores. The more fat one carries, the more estrogen one circulates in the system, which could pose some negative issues for both women and men.
If you see that waistline increasing due to some extra indulgences, take some positive action to self-correct. If it’s unexplained weight gain, seek a professional’s help to find potential reasons why this may be occurring. Underlying metabolic issues may very well be at play once again—bacterial overgrowth in the gut, adrenal or thyroid dysfunction, and blood sugar dysregulation maybe players. They can all impact the body’s way of storing fat. Sometimes it’s biology and metabolism, instead of a lack of willpower, that have a greater impact on creating this gain.
You may have noticed a pattern. Many of the same possible contributors were present in each of these scenarios. It is important to note that the things listed may themselves be contributors to dysfunction or the results of dysfunction. The body’s systems all work together, affecting and being affected by one another—a holistic network—requiring all areas to be supported and nourished for optimal health. If you see yourself in any of these pictures, take it as a warning sign and as a golden opportunity to do some investigating and course-correcting so that you can be and operate at your best.
Remember that where symptoms are, dysfunction is already brewing. Furthermore, they may also be limiting you from even greater success in your work, and if ignored for too long, they may legitimately become debilitating later down the road. How would that affect your ability to be effective in your work, not to mention your complete enjoyment of life in general?
We certainly hold the well-being of our businesses as a top priority. We pay attention, and we invest in their success. Be sure that you are treating yourself as a priority. You are, after all, your business’s greatest asset. Invest whatever necessary in the pursuit of that.
We’ve all heard the greatest wealth has good health. May we all truly believe in that real concept and live that truth.
Sarah Cady, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Sarah Cady, FDN-P is the Owner and Practitioner of REIFY Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching. She has had the privilege of coaching and supporting other healthcare practitioners in the Lifestyle/Functional/Natural Medicine space (for more than two decades) while also running her own holistic practice.
Sarah specializes in working with clients who are motivated and committed to their wellness but are struggling with health challenges, don't know why and don't know how to 'fix it.' She provides them access to specific lab testing to help finally uncover the contributors to their struggles and then builds an individualized and targeted diet-lifestyle-self-treatment plan to help them finally become free from those struggles and frustrations and truly feel and function at their absolute best, coaching them and supporting them along the way.
Sarah is passionate about seeing people finally achieve freedom from their health challenges and relishes in such successes of her clients.