by Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, LN
Coach Jenniferlyn here! Here in the Mind Body Shine Program, Coach BK and myself are driven by a passion to help our clients rise from the ashes of burn out and fatigue and forge ahead a path to transform their lives.
We have a 3-pronged approach to this, which our name somewhat illudes to:
In my practice as a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, I work to identify what are some mandatory, non-negotiables, what are the nice-to-haves, and what are the shows no clinical benefit /non-necessary for optimal health. I separate out the heal vs ideal conditions in each client and we work together to make those small incremental changes that add up to success and health unique to their individual needs.
Given that, the non-negotiables are starting point for every one of my clients, and they are:
Wait, what? These are seemingly pretty random and specific - how on earth are these particular things any indication of my health?
Aha! I will tell you!
Why is sleep my top non-negotiable? A good night’s sleep supports immune, neurological and hormonal function. It is truly a vital process in keeping us not only alive, but thriving. Sleep helps balance the microbial diversity in the gut and is one of our most critical forms of helping our body's detoxification processes.
And sleep is one of the biggest factors found to be clinically relevant in weight loss resistance. Meaning - if you are shorting yourself sleep consistently you not only will find yourself with bags under your eyes, but a spare tire around your belly.
Oh, but I get 8 hours a sleep a day so I am a-ok, right? Maybe, maybe not. It is not only about the time in the sheets but how you use them and what you get out of it. A good night’s sleep includes:
If you are checking those boxes consistently every or most nights then you may have high sleep quality. A trained sleep/health coach or your doctor can help assess your sleep through a sleep questionnaire to help get better insight into your sleep habits and the base lifestyle you lead that impacts your sleep.
We have a whole unit within the Mind Body Shine Program about Rest and Recovery, including the tools and assessments used to help get the big picture and take action.
In the Mind Body Shine Program, we approach blood sugar control primarily in the Hormones unit as we realize that a lot of the dysfunction in our hormone balance can ultimately be backed up to blood sugar stability. The basics of blood sugar is that as we eat food, the carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, which get released into our blood as glucose. The body detects this glucose and signals the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that helps to shuttle the glucose into the muscles to be used as fuel. If you consume too many calories, or a super high dose of sugar all at once - your blood sugar levels spike and it causes the body to dump a lot of insulin to regulate the glucose, this results in a large dip, which signals your body to call for more sugar... it is a cycle that wreaks havoc on your cardiovascular and hormonal systems. The idea is to keep you blood sugar levels with as small of peaks and valleys as possible.
Why is blood sugar control a non-negotiable? Because it plays in every single area of your foundational health.
Additional reading to better understand blood sugar, the effect is has on hormones and how to balance it.
Why poop? Paying attention to your poop can help you build a stronger gut, check your organ function and boost nutrient absorption from the foods you eat. If you pay attention to how your digestion and elimination changes after you eat certain foods, you are able to better suss out when your health status is changing, or if you are having difficulties with certain foods.
The color, shape, texture, frequency and consistency of your poop can tell you whether your diet needs adjusting. Just take a glance in the toilet, this is not a hands-on exercise!
Poop is one of the easiest feedback systems we have. You cannot move into the ideal health status if you are having elimination issues. We call the reference for getting a good handle on what our poop is telling us the Bristol Poop Chart.
SIZE, SHAPE, CONSISTENCY
Once your body is in its ideal health state your eliminations should be brown, smooth like a sausage or a snake, or solid sausage shaped with some cracks on the surface. This is the ideal elimination zone. If your poops are hard, small, broken up, or difficult to eliminate - you may be dehydrated and lacking fiber and minerals. If they tend to be on the other end of the spectrum, such as liquid, mushy and ragged, or soft blobs with defined edges - you may be low in fiber and have a weakened biome. If you find yourself with liquid/diarrhea often you need to seek medical attention.
FLOAT OR SINK
In general, poops should sink. If they are floating regularly or have an oil slick you may have a fat digestion issue. Also, if you see parts of undigested food in your poop, especially vegetables, do not be alarmed - vegetables contain cellulose which our bodies cannot break down, so they pass right through you. However if you see a fair amount of undigested foods in your poops regularly - please seek medical attention as this indicates a concern with your body's ability to break down food into usable nutrients.
Another important indicator of our poop health is its color. It tells you how well your body is processing the food you eat.
If you’re on a fairly regular schedule, that’s a sign that your digestion is strong. Congratulations! Your poops should also generally feel “complete” — that is, like you’ve evacuated everything, and there isn’t more to come out.
If you poop
Navigating the Non-Negotiables
A certified health or nutrition coach or a licensed Nutritionist/RD/RDN can help you assess each of these areas of health and help you to create a personalized wellness plan supporting optimal functioning through sleep, blood sugar control and proper elimination.
If you are embarking on a transformation of weight loss, weight gain, increased performance, or just increasing your health status for longevity and a fulfilling active life - working with a professional to help you dig deep will help your success long term!
For more information and to join the Mind Body Shine Program - please visit here.
Coaches BK and Jenniferlyn are wellness professionals who have a passion for helping others create their best shining lives. Both are former engineers who have found a path to wellness and triathlon due to their own journeys. Together they will share recipes and informative posts on various wellness topics.