From a young age I had an unnaturally strong love of music. I especially loved (and still do love) going out at night to see bands play. I love everything about it. Not just the rush of the music and the social time, but also the getting ready part. I love deciding what to wear and the anticipation of what the night will bring. The eternal optimist in my mind imagines that the opening bands will be just as good as the headliner and everyone is dressed and jacked like it's the last place on earth. As life and time wore on these events became fewer and further apart. When my health was at it's worst I spent most of my days catching up on everyday tasks rather than doing the things I really loved. I couldn't even fit into any of my favorite clothes much less get into the mindset needed to interact with other people. I heard a lot of people say- "You're just getting older," or "This is what 35-40 feels like." It's true that I was (and still am) a mom and priorities change. These new responsibilities were also being hindered by my lack of strength and energy. It didn't seem right to be content with just enough energy to get through to 8pm. Was this it? I felt like there was some secret I was missing out on.
How often do you stay home because of a health issue? Maybe you're tired from a long day at work or your foot or lower back pain is so unbearable your social time is mostly spent with a screen? Maybe it's not a rock show or rave that you're missing, but there is a whole big world of fun out there and it would be terrible for health problems to stop you from a lifetime of memories. You need to learn, as I have, to be terrified of regret. There is a lot of BAD INFORMATION out there. I especially hate the *you're just getting older* myth. I believe all of this bad information causes serious apathy in people. As a culture we are getting sicker and fatter every year. Just watch an old movie and look at the people in the crowds. Then go to the Mall of America and people watch for two minutes. We've traded hip huggers for pajama bottoms and are being taught to embrace visceral, gluteofemoral, and subcutaneous fat as beautiful. Please know that I am not advocating for the heroine sheik days of the nineties, but at least let's agree on a health promoting body fat percentage that lets the body function from an optimal place. We can argue about how we got here as a society, but I prefer to focus on how we can get out.
First thing is to get right with yourself. More importantly- your FUTURE SELF. You need to take a deep look at the big "who am I?' and ask yourself what do you really want. What do you like, and what don't you like about how you live your life right now? One of Tibet's most famous yogis Milarepa said, "Enemies arise from your own mind; to conquer them, cease negative actions, cultivate positive ones, and tame your mind." He is basically saying that to be truly happy with who you are you need to do your best all day long. You are how you move, eat, sleep, and think. What you put in, you get out. The same way you can't take a bath once and be clean forever, you also can't workout hard twice a week and expect massive results. You need to be living the other 23 hours of each day in accordance with your ideal. If you are moving, eating, and dealing with stress in a way that your body doesn't want, it will tell you with knee pain, acne, unwanted fat, sleep disorders, and even anxiety. These symptoms are not a fact of aging, but a signal that you are doing something wrong, and once you take ownership of your body you have the power to change it. Just because your mother had bunions does not predispose you to having bunions. But if you wear the same footwear and move in a similar way- over time you will! While there are some genetically inherited disorders, I have seen so many people totally change how they look and feel just by changing how they eat, move, sleep, and think. They attain their goals by remaining consistent with the proper inputs over time. The secret is in finding the proper inputs for your body and cultivating the habits that you can stick to. Yes, eating a roasted salmon salad for every meal and training at the gym two hours a day will likely get you to your health goal, but in reality it's not sustainable.
It's ok to be different.
If you want to have better health or look better you need to find a way to eat, move, sleep, and think that you enjoy so you can do it consistently. I know that a lot of people enjoy yoga. I was a regular yogi for some time. But still something about it never felt right for me. Most times I would get bored and end up looking at the clock the whole time. Sometimes my competitive nature would get the best of me and I would look around the room and think about how much more flexible I was than Suzi or Sally. But always the Shavasana at the end of the class would just kill me. I was lying there in corpse pose and I wanted to crawl out of my skin! Namaste. Finally! This practice is loved by so many, but it wasn't right for me. I realized that it wasn't me that had to change into someone who enjoyed yoga, I just needed to find a movement practice that I enjoyed. Don’t forget that movement is not just what you do at the gym, but also how you walk up stairs, sit in your car, watch a movie, and all the other actions that make up your day.
I have heard so many people tell me they could never stop eating bread or dairy. Really? Why? Does what you eat define your character? The reality is that something you are doing is hurting you internally. Bloating and farting are not normal. Losing tons of hair in the shower is also not normal. Chronic fatigue and depression are not normal. These are signs of internal distress. People tell me they feel awful when they eat red meat. Well let's really look at that meal you ate. Was that all on your plate or did that burger come with cheesy tots and a soda? Right there you have four foods that are difficult for many people- highly processed oils, dairy, sugar, and gluten. Remember, in order to feel more like ourselves we need to cease negative actions. I know I sound like a used car salesman but would it hurt to remove these inflammatory foods for 30 days? The results you see from being compliant for such a short time might just get your mind right for the long haul.
Control Then Flow
So the first step is find a movement practice you enjoy. The second is to remove inflammatory foods. The third step is my favorite- sleep! When you don't get enough sleep, insulin (the hormone responsible for stabilizing blood sugar) increases by 50%. This will cause you to store more fat. This one is so simple, just sleep, about 8 hours a day. I naturally wake up at 5:24 every morning, so to get 8 hours I need to be in bed by 9:30. If you are like "Hey- I'll sleep when I'm dead! Right now I need to be out raging every night till bar close." Just know that there is a price you pay when you go against your natural circaidian rhythm. I'm not saying that you have to be in bed early every night forever, but if you are feeling like garbage this is an easy way to get a handle on your health. Once exercise, diet, and sleep are dialed in you will be more metabolically flexible and able to stay up late more often. If you find it hard to fall asleep and or stay asleep you will want to do a deeper investigation. It could be imbalanced hormones, infections, parasites, or a bunch of other things. Remember- you are trying to solve the mystery of how to best use your body. We need to cultivate positive actions. Also be open to the idea that the things that may have worked in the past may be detrimental to your success now.
If you aren't a curious person or are too busy to evaluate what your body wants, you might want to hire someone to take a look at where you are now and build a plan for you. 🤔😉
Potential & Vitality
Yes aging is real, but improvement is only hindered by your willingness to change. While I'm definitely not the dewey doe I once was, I can definitely kick more a$$ than I could in my twenties and fit into my favorite clothes again... for the most part. Those leather pants were really tight.