Struggle with Depression? I Get It.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffer from depression and PTSD. In fact, no one should EVER view these unfortunate ailments as reasons to warrant any shame. We all have our problems in life and it’s the way we choose to deal with them that is most important. While I firmly believe that there are lifestyle choices that can greatly impact the severity of these afflictions on a daily basis, there is no remedy or cure for these maladies. Always seek professional help with these matters along with supplemental lifestyle changes.

Below are 5 ways that I keep my head screwed on straight.

1. I don’t medicate with alcohol

Thinking that alcohol or drugs can help you “get over” the way you’re feeling is nothing short of a recipe for disaster! Alcohol and many drugs (yes, even marijuana) act as depressants and can greatly worsen depression and PTSD. People who suffer from depression and drink a lot have more frequent, severe episodes of depression, and are more likely to contemplate suicide. 

2. I don’t medicate with food

 

Like drowning our sorrows in alcohol, it’s also common to sooth our frayed feelings with unhealthy food and drink. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a comforting cupcake or piece of pizza in moderation while we are feeling down. The problem begins when we start to use food as a “substance” to get us through and help regulate our moods. When we start relying on outside sources to soothe ourselves, we become dependent on those outside sources. Sugar can be detremintal for everyone, especially those who suffer from depression. Also, knowing what foods that can actually help your mood is priceless. 

3. I don’t medicate with fear 

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Stress and fear of the unknown can be just the trigger(s) someone needs to step into a deeper hole. Learning some coping mechanisms that can be used at the onset of these feelings is crucial in dampening their effect. Incorporating breathing techniques and meditation have been lifesavers for me. Exercise, reaching out to a friend to talk, not expecting perfection and the simple realization that life is often messy can help greatly. 

4. I don’t medicate with self

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Always worrying about our social identity, accomplishments, failures, etc. will wreak havoc on our perception of ourselves. This can easily turn into a cycle where we don’t feel smart enough, successful enough, thin enough… and so on. Realizing that we control very little in our lives and that more often than not, the cards will fall where they want is an incredibly freeing way to live life. Many find meditation or prayer fantastic tools to put these things into perspective. 

5. I don’t medicate by isolating and staying inside

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When depressed nothing sounds better than staying inside and not answering the phone. There’s no better way to dwell on those thoughts in your head than to isolate yourself and be alone with your misery. By simply going outside and getting moving, you open yourself to different perspectives and to a broader horizon. Getting out in the weather, soaking up some vitamin D and seeing the world is a simple tool to soften the blow of what can be a crippling day. Physical activity has been consistently shown to improve psychological well-being.  

If you need some suggestions or supplemental support along with your mental health professional, please reach out and let’s talk.

Be well.

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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Youth Is Wasted on the Young (10 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life – Starting Today)

Such a simple saying that holds so much meaning. Since I turned the big 40 in March this saying has been floating around my head and making appearances on a daily basis. I realize that in the scheme of things 40 is not *that* old and that I have many years ahead of me. I realize that those older than me might think that I’m still young and, just maybe, that youth is still being wasted on me. It’s all about perception, though, isn’t it? It’s all about when we start to figure things out. It’s all about when we realize that health matters, not only for our longevity, but for our family, friends and community as a whole. 

Ask anyone about the keys to living a longer, healthier life and you’ll usually get these 3 answers: diet, exercise and good genes. While this is absolutely true, we can’t forget lifestyle, attitude and spiritual disposition. This is probably why some of my clients are surprised when I delve into more of the lifestyle coaching part of their program. As I tell those I work with “it’s all part of the big picture, part of the process” to which they go along with it and often see unexpected (yet very appreciated) results. Think of your body as a car, would you get a new engine and forget about the flat tires and broken windshield? Without everything running properly and in good order, the car will meet its demise much earlier than if it had been through routine maintenance. A spot of rust that in no way impairs the vehicle’s ability to get from point a to point b can eventually take over the whole body. It’s the little things that can end up costing us everything.

I now want to beat all life expectancy predictions and live to be 200. Yes, I know that’s an impossible feat. I’m dreaming on that one, right? At the very least I want the years leading up to my passing to be healthy, happy, vibrant and strong. I definitely don’t want to be taken out of the game due to bad lifestyle choices or a preventable disease. Why would anyone? Below are 10 simple strategies that I practice for a longer, healthier, happier life.

 

10 ways to live a longer, healthier life – starting today

1. Get and stay fit

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Regular exercise keeps your body strong and will help prevent injury and disease. Search for something that you enjoy, which will keep you going back for more. Once you’ve established a routine, replace the words exercise or working out with the word fun. Starting small is perfectly fine, just start. 

“We found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as just 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity”  – Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine I-Min Lee

2. Lower your stress level

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Play music, meditate, walk, take a nap, talk to a friend. Stress management is one of the keys to disease prevention and a longer life. 

3. Have more sex

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An active sex life is connected with a longer life. Having sex two or three times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 45%. And guess what? It’s a form of exercise. Two birds, one stone. 

4. Faith

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No matter how you feel about religion, find something to believe in. Your higher power doesn’t have to be Jesus, Allah or Buddha. It could be Love, Kindness, the Universe, etc. Studies show that people who have faith live longer, happier and healthier lives. 

5. Check that ‘tude

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One quality that most centenarians (a person who is 100 years old or older) share is optimism. Want to live a long life? Your attitude counts. Be grateful for the good things in your life and stop bitching and moaning about the little things that will mean nothing in the end.

6. Brain games

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Learn a new language, attend lectures, read more books, finally figure out that damn Rubiks’ Cube. Keep your mind engaged and sharp.

7. Stay lean

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Extra weight can put you at risk for diabetes, heart attacks, cancer and many other diseases that can rip away precious years from your life.

8. Don’t smoke 

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This one is a no-brainer. Seriously, don’t. If you do, stop. Get help and keep trying.

9. Help others

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Volunteering will make you happier, healthier and live longer. And it just feels good to help others! There are strong links between volunteering and longevity.

10. Eat well 

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Realize that food is for fuel and nourishment. Also realize that there is not a one size fits all diet. Better food availability, variety, balance and more appropriate nutrition are critical for overall health and longevity. Make it a point to reach out to someone who can support you in finding what’s right for you as an individual while cutting through all the gimmicks and misinformation out there.

In what ways are you ensuring a longer, happier life?

Be well.

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Don’t forget to connect! Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

When It Comes to Health, Live and Let Live

It might come as a surprise to those who already live a healthy life full of exercise, unprocessed foods, smoothies, fitness trackers, meditation, yoga mats, gym memberships, etc. that many people are not the least bit interested in getting healthy, nor are they interested in seeing your workout selfie or inspirational quote placed overtop a sunset, abdominal muscles or fierce lion. In fact, there are many who get downright annoyed with comments and social media posts that highlight your love of everything healthy. I’m here to tell you that you, yes you, have some haters out there. That’s okay, we’ll discuss why later on.

Last week I got involved with a Facebook thread that a good friend was already commenting on. You know, those threads that you follow and follow while telling yourself not to comment. The thread eventually becomes the equivalent of a plate of fresh, homemade, chocolate chip cookies that you’re walking past over and over. Eventually, willpower loses out and you scarf down a few cookies like a toddler eating birthday cake. In other words, I just had to comment. I had to get my 2 cents in. I mean, it pertained to exactly what I do for a living, my passion.

My opinion is valuable, right? No, not always.

The original status update was something like “I’d be healthy too if salads weren’t $7 and I had time to exercise!”. To this I tried to explain why that salad is so expensive in comparison to a hamburger. For example, I mentioned government food subsidies and how grains like corn and soy that feed cattle were given so much more than vegetables and so on. I posted a link to further explain what I was talking about. Yeah, I was educating people about an important issue that I was passionate about. Go me! Guess what? No one cared and not one person commented on the link I shared.

I won’t lie, this bothered me. I mean, how could they not care about why food prices are so unfair. Why, it seems, that our great nation cares more about money than the health of her people. Why it’s so important to support local farmers and economy. Why it pays to pay a little extra for quality food, even if the system is rigged. Why the food pyramid was based on the strength of industry opinion (and money) and not on the interest of preventative health care. Why, unless you have the money, following a healthy, nutrient dense diet is next to impossible. Why advertisers and celebrity doctors use manipulation and body shaming as a way to sell bullsh*t supplements to those looking for a quick fix. Why, it seems, that you simply can’t get or stay in shape unless you join a gym (You can). Why, it seems, that having a “normal” body and a “normal” diet is not good enough (it is), be it in television commercials, film or print ads.

Why why why why?

After marinating on all of this for a few days, I came to some profound personal realizations:

1. People have enough to worry about in life without having to research, study and fight the power that is a rigged system. 

2. People are so inundated with differing opinions on health, nutrition and fitness that it becomes a cluster of information, which makes it virtually impossible to know what is right and who to trust. 

3. My job as a coach and educator is not to stir the pot or attempt to spark a revolution towards everything wrong. It’s my duty to give answers, support, to inspire change through self care, little by little. 

4. People (including myself for many years) see those workout selfies and inspirational quotes as self serving humble brags that in no way inspires them to eat healthy or get in shape. Don’t get me wrong, many find a lot of inspiration in seeing the personal transformation of a peer. If posting such things holds you accountable, gives you fuel for the fire or gives you a sense of community, keep posting them as people always have the option to scroll past and move on.

5. There are those who, even with the proper knowledge, will never care to change their lifestyle in a way that could add years to their life, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. 

Be well.

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Don’t forget to connect! Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram