Exercise is Nature’s Prozac

Monday was a very hectic and stressful day. By the time I left work I was worn out and brain fried. When I arrived home, what do you think I did? Laid down on the couch and turned on the TV to loose myself in the life of someone else? Would that have helped me?

Instead, I changed my clothes, went to the barn, got my clippers and branch cutters, and started trimming our overgrown bushes. Did I feel like doing this when I was so tired? No. But I understood the power of motion, it empowers the body and brain!

So the more important question to ask is, how did I feel when I finished? I felt GREAT! Full of energy, the stress was gone and I was ready to once again to tackle the world… or at least the pile of laundry!

That is the magic in motion! It is one of the keys to health and happiness; living life to its fullest. You can walk your way to health and into happiness and abundant life by getting up and tapping into the magic of motion! A balanced and well-planned activity program is one of the wisest investments you can make. It pays dividends: better quality, longer life! Staying physically active may just keep you healthier and stronger 8-10+ years longer than a sedentary person.


We are a couch-potato, TV/computer driven, air-conditioned, sedentary society. And quite frankly, it is killing us. Inactivity is a curse by which disease is given entrance. “If we can’t find time for exercise we will have to find time to be sick” (“The inner and outer joys of exercise.” Your Life and Health.)

If those who are sick would exercise their muscles daily, in outdoor work, engaging the brain, the bones and muscles, weakness and languor would disappear. Health would take the place of disease (the state of no longer be at ease), and strength the place of feebleness.

Sixty to seventy-five minutes of activity offsets the risks of 8 hours of sitting, according to the prestigious health journal, (The Lancet, July 27, 2016, online). According to HealthDay News, online, May 17, 2016, “A higher level of heart-lung fitness may reduce your risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. One hour of exercise lowers cancer risk according to the National Cancer Institute. And also published July 27, 2016, poor fitness level is second only to smoking as a risk factor for premature death according to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Exercise is “Nature’s Prozac”! Exercise produces beta-endorphins, elevating the mood so you feel better, have less pain and less fatigue. We need to move to think!


Make Exercise FUN!

Exercise should not feel like a duty. Exercise should add to your life; do it because you love life! Sedentariness is a learned habit. We were made to MOVE! Just watch a baby. The frontal lobe of their brain does not tell them when it is or is not socially appropriate to move. We would all look pretty silly sitting in our board meetings wiggly like a baby. So God developed our frontal lobes to tell us when it is appropriate to move, and He expect us to use that ability! Just as the centurion, Hulda Crook, when asked if there were time she didn’t feel like exercising, said, “If the brain is on top, it should be in charge and tell the rest of the body what to do. And so that’s what I do, I exercise anyway” (Crooks H. conquering Life’s Mountains: A collection of writings. Redlands, CA: Quiet Hour). Ms. Crooks spent the first 60 years of her life in poor health. In her 60s she started exercising to treat her depression. Her story is amazing! The more she walked the better she felt. At 70 she stated, “I began exercising in earnest”. She climbed Mount Whitney in California 23 times, and set world athletic records for women over the age of 80. At 91 she climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and also the entire 212-mile John Muir Trial in the High Sierras. She died at 101.

What I find most impressive about Ms. Crooks is she turned her health around completely at the age of 60. And you can too! It is never to late to take charge of your health. Just like Ms. Crooks, you can climb more than mountains, you can climb your way out of poor health into the magic of motion, and a life of abundant health!

What is keeping you from starting a new you? Don’t let the Lazy Boy Couch rob you of your health and happiness.

The Power To Change Anything!

Are you considering making a New Year’s Resolution?

Did you know people who make specific resolutions are ten (10) times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make specific resolutions? (1)

Several years ago I made a resolution to improve my health, not on New Year’s Day, but on my Birthday. I had made several attempts at this resolution in the past but could not maintain it long-term. On each attempt, I quickly discovered I still loved ice cream and dealing with severe hypoglycemia more than I loved health. So what was I to do? Pray the Serenity Prayer, and let ice cream and hypoglycemia rule my life?

As I approached my 27th birthday, dealing with frequent low blood sugars, dysrhythmia, being hospitalized twice in the last year, and having a host of female problems, I decided health might be better than ice cream. As a dietitian, I knew “WHAT” to do. My failure was not due to a lack of knowledge, but the inability to consistently put knowledge into action. I needed to know “HOW” to consistently do it and for that I needed help. I could not do this alone. I was ready to do whatever it took to have lasting results.


Have you made resolutions of health in the past and broke those resolutions? Well, you are not alone. According to Statisticsbrain.com close to 50% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and over half meet with failure to the point that we actually have a National Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day. You read that right! January 17 is known as National Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day because people (myself included) have such a hard time sticking to their resolution for even three weeks.

So what is the solution? How can we make lasting change?

I read in the Bible that GOD is the health of my countenance. (Psalm 43:5) So I decided to dedicate my health to Him for one whole year.

I made my plan specific, shared it with my husband and asked for his support.

On my birthday, my husband gave me a new Bible! For a birthday cake, he presented me with a watermelon cut in half, decorated with candles! I was off to a great start; I had tapped into

  • the Power of GOD,
  • the Power of Support and
  • the Power of Accountability.

What will it take for us to stick to our resolutions?

Many times the answer is not found in “WHAT” to do but “HOW” do we get from where we currently are to where we want to be? You do not need to pray the Serenity Prayer, you don’t have to accept your current health state as unchangeable. You can tap into the Power to Change! You can get help

  • from GOD,
  • from your social network,
  • friends,
  • and family, and
  • from those who have had success

putting knowledge into action.

With tapping into the Power to Change, I successfully made it the entire year without a single incident of hypoglycemia, dysrhythmia or female problems. And within five months after my birthday, I was also pregnant (something I was told would not happen without surgery)!

I continued my resolution of health even after the one year was over. And by the grace of GOD, I have enjoyed abundant health for many years now (and I still even enjoy ice cream sometimes)!

If you are still working toward your goals, CONGRATULATIONS! If not, do not despair, you do not need to pray the Serenity Prayer. You simply need to tap into the Power to Change; the Power of GOD, and the Power of Support and Putting Knowledge into Action!

You can embrace health and conquer disease!

Food Fact Friday – Grains

Got Grain Brain?


Oats can have an invigorating and stabilizing effect, improve mental performance and can help bring balance to the nervous system.

Regular oat consumption (at least once a day) is recommended for those suffering

  • nervousness
  • fatigue
  • mental exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • depression

Oats also protects the mucosa of the digestive tract and are high in fiber.

Fiber helps us feel full faster and longer, and can therefore help cut down on the calories and snacks we eat!

The bran in oats is wonderfully effective in lowering cholesterol.

For those who need to be gluten-free, gluten-free oats are widely available at most grocery stores!

Having a healthy, well-functioning brain, will make overall health more achievable.

Oats are a very nutrient-rich grain that has all the most important nutrients for proper functioning of the brain’s neurons; rich in glucose, fatty acids, phosphorus, lecithin, calcium, iron, and vitamin Bs.

Oats: The good for everyone growing; young, old or anywhere in between!
Eat some oats today!

Stay-tuned for Oat Recipes on Tasty Tuesday!


There’s Magic in Motion!

30+ Reasons Why You Should Exercise Daily:


  • Increased stamina, energy and enthusiasm


  • Increased alertness and improves memory, Improves IQ in children


  • Boosts the immune system and strengthens bones


  • Decreases risk of infection, Improves health and fights disease


  • Improves calcium absorption, improves thyroid function, reduces risk for osteoporosis


  • Improves vitality and self concept


  • Relieves stress and tensions


  • Decreases fatigue and boredom


  • Effective in relieving depression and anxiety


  • Helps induce sound sleep, is a treatment for insomnia


  • Prevents muscle and bone wasting


  • Improves muscle tone


  • Increases metabolism


  • Improves circulation and digestion


  • Helps relieve constipation


  • Helps regulate appetite


  • Aids in weight loss


  • Improves ability to throw off toxic wastes


  • Increases lung capacity


  • Improves ventilation


  • Recharges supply of oxygen


  • Strengthens heart


  • Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke


  • Lowers “Lousy” (LDL) Cholesterol and Triglycerides, and makes the blood less “sluggish”


  • Raises “happy” (HDL) Cholesterol


  • Controls Blood Pressure


  • Improves glucose (sugar) utilization


  • Can result in possible decrease in DM medications (pills/insulin)


  • Increases coordination and flexibility


  • Decreases risk of arthritis, cancer, headaches and migraine


  • Decreases menopausal symptoms


  • Decreases sensation of pain


  • Can enhance your sex life


  • Increases quality of life and lifespan!


Don’t let the Lazy Boy Couch rob you of your Health and Happiness.


Resolution Tips From Dietitian Dana West, RD, LD

Are you wanting to be healthier in the new year?

 Have you or are you planning to make some New Year resolutions?

 Most individuals have trouble sticking to their resolutions to the point we have National Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day, just 17 days into the new year; January 17.


Why Resolutions Fail

 1. Too big, unrealistic or overwhelming

 2. Not specific or not attached to your other goals

 3. Do not track progress or establish a time when goal should be completed

 4. Motivated because someone else nagging you (not really something you want to do)

 5. Too rigid or absolute



Here are some tips for resolution success all the way through to the end of the year:


With Basic Steps

01 Start with this

 Create a Resolution that is specific and states the positive (what you are going to do not what you are not going to do.) For example, try “I will be tobacco free in 2018” instead of “I will not smoke”. Make sure it is a goal that is important to you, something YOU want.

02 Afterwards do this

Create a resolution that is manageable and measureable, yet challenging. Here are some good examples: I will lose ½ pound to 1 pound a week for 10 weeks.

03 Then do this

Make your plan into a workable checklist, clearly defining the major steps you will need to accomplish over time. Then break those larger goals down into small, individual, daily action steps so you can track your progress. Here’s an example of daily goal tracking: “I will weigh in every day and will make adjustments in my eating and exercise goals as needed to achieve my weekly goal.”

04 Finally, do this

Tap into the power of accountability. Choose someone who is as motivated as you are and check in with them frequently (at least weekly, but may need to be daily!)


This is Your Year!

Make it all you want it to be!

Want to start a this new year with a brand new you? Work with Dana today!