I am no exception to the holiday binge and feast! This year though, certain events deepened the delving into stress, wine and foods both rich and comforting: the sadness of my brother’s recent passing, hosting a dinner party for 12 in mid-December, and 5 days of Christmas in New Orleans.
Besides weight gain, brain fog, inflammation & pain running down my right leg…I’m getting liver spots on face and arms, and a growing dot of potential skin cancer on my face. Plus, a damn cold that’s hard to shake….
The good news: I know how to deal with it. I’ve been here before–after my step-daughter’s wedding in New Orleans 4 years ago–I came home, hit the wall, slid down onto the floor–a puddle of ill health. I overindulged every which way and didn’t know at the time, I was gluten sensitive. Through an elimination diet I got back on track quickly, went gluten free, discovered paleo and felt good.
At 57.5, I’m going to re-set my OS, again. I’m at a place where I need to make a statement to myself about personal addiction (sugar), over consumption, and rogue practices. The path to wellness is in my hands, and this time, I’m going to document the journey !
My goals are not small. Here they are:
1. Reduce Inflammation
Because inflammation in/throughout one’s body–joints, blood vessels, heart valves, and/or brain tissue–is well known to greatly facilitate diseases that can be prevented. And, it sucks to walk when your knees or hips hurt, or do stuff when your elbows or fingers ache.
Cut out sugar. Cut out Brunton’s chocolate milk (best on the planet), any chocolate with sugar, and gluten-free pastries (like Gluuteny’s fab chocolate walnut brownie—whoa!) And all those sugar-y temptations checking out at Trader Joe’s. And, farewell wine, cider, Tito’s vodka, rum and Jeff & Bonnie’s homemade wine (well, only on solstices and equinoxes!)
Reduce foods that jack up glucose. Significantly reduce carbs from: GF crackers, corn chips, potatoes, rice pasta, quinoa, beans, even oatmeal. I had to re-read that list….dang! Learn about the effects of food on blood sugar (glycemic loading) here.
Get a blood test for my CRP number, and reduce it. CRP stands for C-reactive protein. More on this below.
2. Rethink How I Think & Feel
Because thoughts are energy. This was clearly stated in 1937 by Napolean Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, where he distills the secrets to success of 500 highly successful people. (Interestingly, this was removed in subsequent editions as it was considered dangerous knowledge. Today’s brain science bears it out). And stress, most assuredly chips away at one’s health.
Daily: Breathe through my lower belly, relax my shoulders and release clenched butt muscles.
Daily: Let go of exceedingly high personal expectations; things over which I have no control; and, judgment. Worry less. Avoid toxic people.
Be kind to myself, and thereby others.
3. Exercise for Core Strength, Cardio, Flexibility and Balance.
Absolutely! 1x/week for 20 minutes, practice High Intensity Training (HIT) as prescribed by my warrior mentor (a retired SOCOM Major with a deep suit in biomechanics who trained the most elite soldiers). It’s easy–do it at home, 15 minutes once a week, no gear needed. And it’s hard. I’ll explain why in a forthcoming blog. The benefits of HIT are well described in Dr. McGuff’s book, Body by Science. Read the first three chapters if nothing more. I’ve done it before, over the course of 5 sessions in 5 weeks, I felt mighty and lost two inches from my waist line. Happiness and measureable results !
Mandatory (for me) 5x/week, Tai Chi Chuan
Optionals, as I feel like it:
3x/ week for 3 minutes, Standing on One Leg exercise. Short, sweet, hard.
More hill walking and more city steps with my dogs!
Start by Knowing Existing Conditions
It’s important to measure progress. It’s one thing to have more energy and feel better, and move into smaller clothes; it’s another to know one really important number before you start. See #4 below.
- I took measurements in 4 places: chest/breast line, waist, hips, and widest part of inner thighs. I used gardening twine and laid it against and a steel measuring tape.
- I weighed myself.
- I duly noted the pain in my right knee, and impressive lack of flexibility in my right leg.
- Most importantly, I just ordered a blood test online for C-reactive Protein (CRP). CRP is a well-established marker of inflammation in a person’s body. The resulting number tells you how much CRP is in the blood, but doesn’t reveal where. I’ll be doing this through Life Extension for $42. For a very good explanation of CRP, click here. Alternative and conventional health practitioners pretty much agree, that CRP can be dramatically reduced through diet and exercise, and in doing so, many disease conditions can be reduced or eliminated.
- Today, Friday, December 30, it starts !
Greater well being. Stronger muscles. Smaller body measurements. Self-esteem boost. Clear thinking. Healthy hormones. Darker hair. Hell, I’m going for energetic and unstoppable ! Krav Maga, see you in February !
Looking for a few brave souls to join me…..interested ?!! Join the Disqus discussion below, or shoot me email.
If you can handle fact-based evidence about food, real health and exercise, here’s my short list of authors and resources:
Book, Primal Body Primal Mind
Blog, 10 Food Myths: http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/top-10-nutritional-mistakes/
Blog Sugar industry exposed: http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/blog/
Dr. Doug McGuff
Book, Body by Science
Book and Cookbook, Practical Paleo. She starts out nice, then gets hard-hitting with food food science and great recipes!