Friday, October 23, 2015

How well do you know your "OWN"ers manual?

Whenever we purchase something that is a bit technical, it comes with an owner's manual. The manual helps us understand how the equipment works, how to maintain the equipment, what it can and can't be used for, some cautionary instructions, trouble shooting suggestions and a help line if a person were still struggling getting the item to operate how it should.

Things as simple as a toaster come with an owner's manual. Other electronic items also come with rather extensive owner's manual.

Despite most things coming with an instruction book/owner's manual, people rarely look at them until they have a problem. Some of the most basic, primitive tools require maintenance.

We as humans are exponentially more complicated than even a computer.

So wouldn't it be wise to have an owner's manual for ourselves?

The Precision Nutrition Lean Eating program, which will be starting in January, has clients create an owner's manual for their body. And honestly, it's a great idea. As the ancient Greeks said, "Know thyself."

What types of things would go in your own owner's manual?

From a nutrition perspective it would be things listed below:

  • What types of foods do you like/dislike?
  • What are your favorite veggies/meats/grains/meals?
  • How often should you eat to feel, think and move well all day?
  • How does your body respond to a low quality meal? 
  • What can you do to ensure you have quality food available for when you get hungry?
  • How are you when you get thirsty?
  • What are some "trigger" events that would lead to over eating?
From a physical perspective, questions below are good to ask yourself;
  • How often do I need to exercise to feel good? 
  • Do I do better with short workouts 5-6 times a week or 2-3 longer workouts over the week?
  • What activities do I enjoy? Which do I dislike?
  • Which activities look like exercise but feel like fun?
  • How often do I need to stretch?
  • Which stretching methods work best for my body?
And from a lifestyle perspective:
  • How much sleep do I need to not feel like junk in the morning?
  • Who are my best friends?
  • Are there any relationships that are hurtful or destructive?
  • Am I a good employee?
  • How is my faith/spiritual life?
  • How is my family life?
  • Do I take time for myself?
All of these questions (and these are just a few) will help us understand ourselves better and make ourselves healthier from a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional perspective.

We are complicated beings. Those who simply react to the situation in front of them will constantly be chasing their tails.

This happens a lot in physical therapy. Patients come in feeling a lot of pain. After 4-6 weeks, they feel better. They get discharged and go back to the living that injured them in the first place without continuing on with their maintenance exercises.

What happens?

We see them again in 3-4 months.

You don't have to write a novel, but at least know a few things about yourself. A few things about me that are in my owner's manual?
  • I have a chronically tight left hamstring. But when I deadlift on a regular basis, the pain goes away. When I stop, it returns within 2-3 weeks. Better keep deadlifting.
  • I am VERY unproductive without enough food in the morning. It sets the tone for my day. Better make sure I always bring eggs and oatmeal.
  • I like coffee. But more than 2 cups leaves me jittery and scattered.
  • I am easily distracted. I do best when I set a timer and work for that period of time and then take a short break.
  • I have sleep apnea. So when I don't get at least 6-hours of sleep with my CPAP unit, I feel tired and lethargic.
  • I enjoy ironing while listening to big band music and having a beer (summer) or coffee (winter). It's SUPER relaxing if you haven't tried it!
So try just jotting down a few things about yourself. It will help explain why some days are better than others. Recognize a pattern then add it to your manual!
Special thanks to Dr. Brad Davis for the inspiration for this newsletter! 

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