Gear Down to Gear Up
If you read my last blurb here on the Suffer Better blog, then you already have some solid ideas for how to approach the holiday eating hoopla. If you didn’t catch the post, well…go read it and come back here! The recommendations aren’t traditional ones like “drink lots of water to fill your stomach” or “get in morning exercise before you hit the family buffet table”, but they are bound to make a difference if you take the time to think through them and implement.
Many athletes take this time of the year to wind it down from a training perspective, seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Sometimes this “off season” equates to putting thoughts and plans towards nutrition and health goals on the back burner….cuz “there ain’t no time for that right now!” While I’m a definitely a proponent of honoring R&R time, there is also benefit to having a few tasks to check off the list before we’re into the full swing of the new year.
To gear up for 2019, I propose to you:
- Schedule blood work. And not just ordinary blood work, especially if you are an athlete, have big racing plans in 2019, or you have switched dietary patterns (from omnivore to vegan, for example, or low-fat to high-fat). The standard blood panel you get with a general physical isn’t good enough, sorry to say. For example, you may need to get a full iron panel, thyroid panel, and other hormonal markers assessed. What you need for blood work depends on where you are and where you’ve been from a health and nutrition perspective. Drop me an e-mail and I can give you some direction on this.
- Build your support system. Ask yourself: Where have I been lacking in self-care? How can I go further in my athletic pursuits? Am I aging well? Am I living everyday to my optimum level? You don’t have to go at all this life stuff alone, friends. Whether it’s a physical therapist, sport dietitian, training coach, or a mental health specialist, building your support system can open new doorways to places you’ve never dreamt imaginable.
- Look for local and start to grow your own. As part of the food sustainability movement and making a positive dent in environmental health, find local farms selling produce, eggs, and meat/poultry (whatever is applicable to your dietary preferences) and adjust your shopping schedule to support one or more of these farms. Similarly, choose grocery stores that support local farmers and if you regularly dine out, aim to support restaurants that source locally grown foods. If you don’t already have a garden, start with some window boxes or invest in a tower garden (check out Garden Tower Project) to grow herbs or vegetables.
As you get into your gear down time for rounding out the year, plan to give attention to the above tasks to help you gear up for a year of sufferin’ better – woot!
Dina Griffin, MS, RDN, CSSD
Your Nutrition Mechanic
Performance DietitianReach out at firstname.lastname@example.org