06 Aug Start Here: 3 Steps
Start Here: 3 Steps
Per my first post Blaming Age, many of us (including me) are quick to blame age for every ache, pain and blah blue yuck stuck day. I finally stopped doing this. I finally decided to look closer at the things that were happening in my body, head and heart and find the root cause…and it turned out that the root of much of what ailed me had little to do with the number of years I’ve been on the planet.
Beginning in this post and over the next few, I am going to lay out some things that have worked for me. Some lifestyle changes that made a big impact on how I feel physically, mentally and spiritually moment to moment. A lot of my creaky cranky joint and muscle issues are better than in my twenties. My energy and mood levels are higher and more consistent.
The following are use or lose. This is the formula that worked for me, but you will have to find your own path through honest trial and error. I’m not looking to debate. I’m just looking to share my story and each of you can decide if it is right for you.
And please, please consider this: if you know yourself to have a disordered relationship with food or your body image, it is likely that these solutions are not for you. I care about you and would never want to be a negative trigger on your path. For those reasons I thought long and hard about whether to post this info. But I also know many people who could benefit, so I moved forward with publication.
- Meditate 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at night.
- Right size your daily caloric intake.
- Fast nightly.
Meditate 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at night
Boom! The Cliffs Notes…Stress is a thief. It’s exhausting and robs us of energy. A racing mind replaces focus and productivity. The cortisol released when we are stressed causes inflammation (cranky joints, pain, compromised immunity) and has a direct relationship to weight and body composition (belly fat in particular.) And can we talk about despair? That feeling that comes when we lose perspective and get trapped in the small and the petty and diminish our ability to impact the world? All of this makes us feel like hell and…old. You have 5 minutes. You do. If you say you don’t, you are lying to yourself. This was the most important step in my journey. I could write a book here, but trying to keep it brief. 5 minutes am, 5 minutes pm. For you and the planet. The world needs you and me and everyone to be thinking and acting as clearly as possible.
Right size your daily caloric intake
This is another big one. For thirty days track your food and caloric intake. I’m guessing you will be in a state of shock when you realize how much you are consuming each day. I was. I thought I had a pretty good idea how many daily calories I was eating and you could hear me from a mile away lamenting how I ate so little, yet continued to gain weight. It turns out I was dead wrong. On my ‘good’ days, the days I was sure I was in a calorie deficit, I was actually eating more than 1,000 extra calories than I thought, or needed. My ‘bad’ days were often 2500+ (!!) more calories than I needed to maintain or lose weight. This was a huge wake up call for me. The extra weight (more than my frame could hold) did not feel good. It was way beyond vanity…more inflammation, fatigue, pressure around my middle. We also strain our bodies with our relentless need to digest food – expending energy and depleting our operating system. Before you point your finger at your birthday as the cause of your expanding middle and shift in body composition, take a good long look at your stress levels and caloric intake. Address those first.
Tip: Use an app for calorie tracking. There are hundreds of apps out there and they make the tracking easy and fun. If you knew me well, you would know that I’m really, really bad at administrative tasks which is why I had never previously tracked my food/calories. The apps changed all that. If I can do it, anyone can.
I digress, but worth considering: This is another place where we are not the only ones who benefit from ‘right sizing’ our caloric intake. I wonder what the impact on the earth would be if all Americans consumed closer to what we actually needed? Agriculture makes up 9% of emissions (EPA). And then there’s food packaging to consider, soil depletion, and the list goes on.
Guess what? You already do! Every night when you are sleeping, you are fasting. Now, just expand that a bit, to 12 hours. If you eat your last meal/snack at 5pm, eat your first meal the next day at 5am. If you eat at 6pm, not again until 6am. You get the drift. No food for twelve hours. Easy, breezy. Why do it? It gives our bodies an extended break from the difficult work of digestion and allows that energy to be redirected toward our immune system and healing and detoxing and restoring and repairing and all the damn things we need to have happen each day to thrive, thrive, thrive.
The above is the beginning. These three things made a dramatic impact for me. If this speaks to you, get started right beautiful now. Two more posts will follow. I will layer in the next steps/phases that I took and also address a few things that did not work.
Good luck. Listen to your body, your spirit. Make it your own.
Want to talk one-on-one about this with Kathleen? Book an appointment. Kathleen is the owner of The Studio and teaches meditation on Saturday mornings at 7:45am.