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You might think breathing is second nature, right? You’re doing it right now as you are reading this. But did you know that there are different kinds of breathing and that what is called deep breathing can have important health benefits? Read on to learn just three of the most important reasons you should add deep breathing to your daily routine. continue reading
Meditation has a reputation for several health benefits but here are the top eight reasons establishing a regular meditation routine can improve your overall health and wellbeing. But first, what is meditation? It is defined as the regular process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. continue reading
I didn’t just lose 15 lbs in February. I probably lost 300+ lbs! I didn’t just release extra weight during my month of detox. I donated bags of things that I no longer needed that were taking up space in my home and practice. I started releasing emotional baggage that was weighing on me more the physical weight or the clutter combined. So why was this detox so successful for me? Here’s a summary of the things to which I attribute the success.
Mindset – Meditation, Momentum, Visualization & Gratitude
- Strengthen the mind/body connection through meditation
While I technically didn’t start the strict dietary changes until February, the process started back in September when I started meditating regularly. Meditating consistently has strengthened my mind/body connection. Previously when it came to food, my brain was making all the calls. It had lots of reasons for why I should eat whatever I wanted – I’ve had a hard day, I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, I’m celebrating. After I had been meditating consistently for some time, it was easier to “hear” what my body needed.
In January, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. and started to declutter. As part of her process, you have to physically touch everything you own and ask yourself whether it sparks joy. That exercise further strengthened my intuition and mind/body connection and the process spilled over to other areas of my life including diet and exercise. I started noticing what foods and movements sparked joy in my body – and what had the opposite effect.
2. Start with one small change to gain momentum
I am a recovering perfectionist. My friends had been urging me to start intermittent fasting, but I kept putting off starting, saying that I need to clean up my diet first. Finally one of my friends got fed up of the same excuses and demanded that I start within two days. She insisted I start narrowing the timeframe that I eat during the day without making any dietary changes. She got me in action. I started to notice that my clothes were looser and I had more energy. The small successes I was seeing inspired me to make more changes.
3. Visualization (imagination)
In the fall, another friend reminded me of the importance of visualization in achieving your health goals. I started imagining how I will feel when I achieve my health goals. I imagine how energetic and invigorated I will feel during the day. I imagine the excitement and pride I will feel when I do my first pull up. I imagine the joy of being able to go for a run with my son without knee pain. I imagine how strong, independent and happy I will feel to be able to do CrossFit with my kids when I’m in my 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. I imagine how it will feel to be able to wear the jeans I purchased in Italy years ago. I imagine myself as a person who enjoys eating lots of vegetables, being active and taking care of my mental health. I imagine myself knowing that I AM ENOUGH the way I am right now.
I also spent time appreciating my body and health as they were today. Every morning before I get out of bed and night before I go to sleep, I review the things for which I’m grateful. That often includes my health, that I haven’t gotten minor or major illnesses, my strength, the areas of my body that have no pain, etc. It’s important to balance being happy and grateful for what you have while striving for more.
Addressing My Insulin Resistance
I haven’t been diagnosed with insulin resistance, but I’m sure I was.
- Intermittent Fasting
By practicing intermittent fasting, I was able to address the insulin resistance which would’ve sabotaged any attempts to change my diet. I started by narrowing my eating window to 8 hours/day. Because I am not a coffee drinker, I drank water with a few drops of doTERRA Slim & Sassy to manage my appetite until it was time to eat. I learned that feelings of hunger are caused by a hormone, and will go away within 10-15 minutes even if I don’t eat. Check out this post from CrossFit Impact for other fasting tips. For more info about the benefits of fasting, I recommend the books The Obesity Code by Jason Fung and Delay Not Deny by Gin Stephens.
I started having regular acupuncture treatments to address my digestive system.
After all this preparation, I officially started my detox on Monday, 2/5.
- Eliminate processed foods
I eliminated sugar/artificial sweeteners, gluten, dairy and soy from my diet completely to significantly address any inflammation in my body. Initially I committed to doing it for two weeks with the intention of doing it for at least 30 days. My brain felt too overwhelmed by 30 days, so I tricked it by saying I would just do it for 14 days and re-evaluate.
2. Eat a variety of veggies
I also committed to eating at least 5 servings of vegetables per day and at was least 3 different colors. I felt like I had some issues with my gut health that was causing brain fog, anxiety and mild depression. Eliminating sugar and gluten and increasing the variety and types of vegetables helped me starve the bad bacteria that was causing the issues and feed the good bacteria that help keep me healthy.
3. Increase movement
I strive to go for a walk outside everyday even when I’ve worked out to get more energy and Vitamin D. I also have incorporated movement “snacks” through out my day. Every time I go by the washer/dryer, I do 25 jumping jacks. When I’m heating water for tea, I march in place. I do yoga stretches every few hours. I try to walk more instead of driving. When I do drive, I try to park farther away from the entrance.
4. Manage withdrawal
I used acupuncture and essential oils to minimize withdrawal symptoms. When I was very tempted to eat something processed, I used my meditation skills to unpack why I was feeling that way and other actions I could take instead. I started taking Epsom salt baths, going for a walk or reading a good back when I was tired, stressed, celebrating – instead of relying on food. I continued to take my supplements – multivitamin, omega 3s, Vitamin D, probiotic. I added the doTERRA detox blends – Zendocrine softgels and Zendocrine Detoxification Complex to support the heatlhy cleansing and filtering fuctions of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin.
The results? I have lost about 20 lbs – 15 lbs in February and am wearing clothes that are 2 1/2 sizes smaller. I have more energy and require less sleep to feel invigorated. I don’t have brain fog, and am experiencing less anxiety.
I started a Facebook group with a small number of friends who also wanted to focus on up leveling their health and used that for accountability and support. I also continued to go to CrossFit 3-4 times/week for the support that community provides for my overall goals.
Maintenance is usually the hardest part. I’m not there yet, but I will be setting myself up for success by continuing my daily morning and evening routines. My daily routines include:
- Gratitude practice
- Reading inspirational content
- Listening to personal development speakers
- Practicing Lisa’s mirror exercise – see minute 2:45
- Breathing exercises
- “I am enough” affirmations
- Making my bed
- Forgiveness practice
If you would like to work with me on up leveling your health, you can schedule an appointment online or by calling 815.814.1319.
There is a large variety of meditation to choose from. It isn’t all just sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut. Let’s explore types of meditation.
Types of meditation include Buddhist practices, transcendental, zen, mantra, chakra, sound, guided and active. How can someone choose where to start? Think about the type of person you are overall, the amount of time and dedication you have, and where your interests lie. What do you intend to get out of meditation? continue reading