My plan for the body & mind
It’s been the 8th day since I started my own personal plan to start feeling good about myself and just “BE”. Being at is the first day of the month, I found it fitting to post this blog about starting fresh and becoming rejuvenated.
As many of you know, it’s been a hell of a rollercoaster in my life since this year started, and when I say the year started with a ‘bang’ I literally mean it. Instead of seeing the colourful lights and patterns made by the new year’s fireworks celebrations, I was having a few light explosions of my own caused by my first seizure. After finally weening down most of medicines, I decided a couple of weeks ago to take back control of my life and how I feel about it. So this is what I came up with.
From food, to exercise, to just simple exercises I can do on my own or with others. I came up with some basic ideas to follow. I don’t want to call them rules as that would suggest I’m limiting myself, I’d rather start the plan with the idea of growth and understanding. Now, these ‘ideas’ are just basic lessons, some of which we’ve been hearing about all our lives, for example we should drink 8 or more glasses of water a day. Pretty basic right? Strangely enough it’s a truth we’ve all heard and proven but don’t really follow. Most of us walk around dehydrated throughout the day and mistake it for either hunger or the need for something else like coffee.
I’m not a huge believer in diets so I didn’t set out to research really healthy meals or anything, instead I found what works for me and certain foods that are said to give you more energy and last longer (what they call low GI foods) I also just took the basic lesson that cardio is good to get off that extra weight and chose exercises that I know I enjoy, so that I could stick to it. Like I said, it’s only the 6th day but let me tell you, I feel better already.
So here are the basic ideas that I’ve listed to base as the everyday things I should follow:
As soon as you wake up, do a breathing exercise sitting up in your bed. Slow breaths in and out. Clear your mind. Stretch your neck by turning slowly from side to side. Then continue moving down your body, rolling the shoulders, holding your arms out on the side and reaching as far as you can, then sitting straight turn your body from the waist up from side to side…you get the idea, continue stretching all the way down to your toes. It’s a great way to wake up.
Drink 8 or more glasses of water a day / at least 2L of water
Drink green tea throughout the day
It calms the stomach and also suppresses appetite
Calcium, Vitamin C, B and E
Now I could go into a whole spiel about what these vitamin supplements do for your body, but I won’t. The fact of the matter is that for me, these tablets make me feel good. Taking 1-2 a day will keep my skin clear, give me more energy and overall just feel better. You feel the difference after just a few days of taking them. Like our parent’s said when we were younger, don’t forget your vitamins 😉
Eat more greens
Another simple truth, repeated ever since we were children. Eat your vegies. Finish that salad. A great thing a very healthy friend of mine once told me was this: “I love eating veggies and salads…why? because I know they’re good for me” it’s so genius right? If you know it’s good for your body and you get better skin, stronger hair, clear stomach, why shouldn’t we feel good for eating something we know is good for us? You can start enjoying it more, craving it more. I grew up already loving veggies, so it hasn’t been a hard truth to accept. For others, I know it might be a bit of a hard start, but if veggies alone scare you, try dressing it up more. You can still have meat if you wish, a bit of fish or chicken. Personally I’m not suppose to eat too much meat because of inflammatory condition, but for the average diet it’s important to include a bit of red meat for your protein needs.
No Carbs After 5
There’s a thing going around called the ‘No carbs after 5 diet’ and while it sets out a whole plan of meals, I just take it for exactly what it’s called. No carbs – no pasta, rice, potato etc after 5pm. So dinner is mainly focused on veggies and a bit of meat. Easy. And understandable too, carbs can take a long time for the body to digest and add that extra weight we don’t really need.
High GI, Low GI
Take a look at these sites: http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/ , http://www.glycemicindex.com/ and http://healthyeatingclub.com/info/articles/diseases/glycaemic-table.htm for a list of basic foods and also places where you can learn more about what the Glycemic Index means for you and your eating habits. In my own experience, I think its awesome. Low GI foods will keep you running longer and you won’t eat as much. Give it a go and see if it works for you.
Eating in general
During the first week of my plan I followed what I shall ‘The discovery period’. I will not call this an elimination diet, I’m not going to follow some meal plan that I have to buy all sorts of ingredients for, half of which I don’t even know are available or not in my city. The discovery period to me is finding out what foods give me more energy and what don’t. Simple. Like the elimination diets basic rules, we ‘discover’ these foods but cutting out certain foods each day and then reintroducing them and noting any changes. For example, on day 1 I pretty much cut out all the foods I’m so used to eating – no red meat, no tomatoes, no nuts, no oranges, no pasta, no alcohol, no cheese…choosing a food to represent each food group (meat, acids, carbs etc) and then slowly over the next day reintroducing them and noting if I feel bloated, nauseated, tired or better, fresh, invigorated after eating each food. You can choose how you want to do it, just be sure to have a notepad nearby and being aware of what you’re eating. I tried to avoid eating out so as to not be tempted to just whatever. After this discovery period is over, you can that focus on the foods you found turned out beneficial to you, because everyone is different some people may be slightly lactose intolerant without even knowing it, while not as bad as others they might notice that they break out in pimples every time they drink too much milk or eat too much cheese. Try not to see this as a diet because it really isn’t. Nothing is taboo, you can try everything, you’re just learning what makes you feel sick and what makes you feel great. After that you can avoid foods that make you sick, and eat everything else. Earlier this year I explored veganism, and while I’m not a fully fledged one, I learned just how much food is out there. We neglect to see the potential of hundreds of meals out of veggies.
Lots of people might think detox is the best way to go, I can’t fully do that as autoimmune conditions don’t react well to them as far I know. You can choose to do this too, but I think it might be a little hard to just jump into it, things such as cravings will really have a pull on you and I don’t think deprivation is the best way to go in order to re-program your thinking towards food. Instead, at first opportunity after the detox you’ll want to eat all the things you deprived yourself of ( I know I did, I’ve tried this once before). Better to go slowly, slowly. But don’t get me wrong, I think detox can be highly beneficial and maybe at a later time once you get used to the idea of it you can follow it properly.
Exercise every 2nd day
At the gym, the manager had a good talk with us and told us about the crucial thing with exercise. While many of us concentrate on the fact that we are not getting enough, this only leads beginners to overwork themselves believing the more they do will make up for any lost time. This isn’t necessarily the truth. When you overwork the body and you’ve only just started getting back into working out, then you’re actually doing more harm than good. You’ll end up feeling tired, sore and sometimes you might even have an accident with the equipment. It’s important to build your resistance up. So starting with exercising every 2nd day, will get those happy hormones going (so you should feel great after each session) it will also keep you interested. If you go straight into exercising 6-7 times a week and for periods longer than an hour or an hour and a half, you’ll get bored pretty quickly and even worn out.
The best truth that I am sure of, is to choose exercise you actually enjoy. The best way to start feeling good about yourself, whether you want to lose weight, tone or just get those happy hormones is to engage in an activity or sport you love. Which in my case would be yoga, dvds, dancing, badminton, swimming, tae bo, going to the gym…try new exercise routines too. That way you won’t even notice the pounds shedding off and enjoy the moment. Start slowly every 2nd day, build up from 30mins each time to an hour and then an hour and a half.
I love doing DVD workouts like the Tracey Anderson method mat workout. I highly recommend this for females, she seriously helps with shaping and toning our bodies and her idea is to help give us the litheness of a ballerina, with the strength of a boxer – think smooth lines and sexy curves. You can seriously feel the areas in your body that the DVD target. I also choose to do on alternating days: swimming for an hour, playing badminton for an hour, going to the gym for an hour and a half (including 30mins of cardio on the bike/cross trainer, gentle warm up sort of yoga-ish including lower back, legs, butt, thighs and abs, and 30mins of strengthening work with light weights – never go beyond 3 pound weights because that will add bulk muscle, and I want to get toned not masculine lol and if the 3 pound weights start getting to easy for you, you need to control more, as quoted by Tracy Anderson in her DVD hehe)
Click here for my at-home routine DVD picks blog post to see other DVDs that are fun to work out to too. If you want to spend some days working out at home, a good tip I think I’d share is working out to DVDs with a mirror in front of you, that way you can see if you’re doing the movements properly and also get to know your body, you can watch it transform before your eyes within the first few weeks. I did this last year and lost like 10kilos in six weeks. Unfortunately gained it back start of this year when I got sick, but that’s why I’m getting back into it now.
Spend at least half an hour or more on something you love everyday
Think about it. There’s 24 hours in the day, we all work an average 8 hours a day (sometimes more but like I said on average) that leaves a lot of time to get at least sometime yourself. But instead of meaning to go sit on the couch and watching the telly or surfing the net. Do something you truly love. Finish that scrapbook you’ve been dying to do, start painting, write a short story, keep your mind working and get those creative juices flowing.
Have a routine
Not enough time in the day? Organise your life. Like children, adults need a routine too. It gives us a sense of expectations for what ‘s next and the freedom to take back the time we didn’t think we had.
Wake up a bit earlier to get a good breakfast down, with minutes to spare. You can spend that extra time recalling all the things you’d like to achieve that day instead of flabbergasting around not really achieving anything. Accomplishing something is important to all of us even if we don’t realise it. A sense of achievement is uplifting and gives us meaning. At the end of the day having a routine is crucial too. You can schedule to get enough exercise, your dinner, doing something you love and fit in another hour to sit down and reflect on your day. You can do this by recalling if you got everything you wanted done as you set out to do in the morning, and then sitting by yourself in a quiet space, closing your eyes and meditating. Not really into the whole meditating thing? It’s not some really complicated spiritual practice. While it can be spiritual, meditation is important just to calm the mind, to get rid of the clutter, and nonsense that our mind sometimes fills us up with before we go to bed (which adds to the idea of why insomnia can occur). There are heaps of meditation books out there and you can use them when you want to have a more guided relaxation experience. But just a simple everyday meditation where you try to just focus on your breathing will make you feel great. I know it works for me. I used it when I was working 12 hour shifts in a hotel that worked around the clock. It’s funny the things you can think of before sleeping, like I would think of that guest who was just so hard to talk to, or that lady who tipped me when I brought up her 10 huge suitcases to her room. The day has ended, while it’s good to reflect you can’t do anything about it until the next day. Enjoy the moment now. Or as my project is aptly called, just “BE”.
when you’re wrapping up the end of your day, either meditating or reading a nice book in bed, take time to think of all the things you are grateful for. Truly mean it in your heart. We all tend to focus on our worries before bedtime. Instead recall all the things you are thankful for. You have a shelter over your head. Your family. The food on the table. Your partner. Your friends. Whatever those things that you are grateful for, remind yourself how good you really do have it instead of focusing on what you don’t have.
Home Spa Time
Pamper yourself. I talk about it all the time in my blog but seriously it is amazing. Make a foot spa. Do a facial mask. Get your nails done. Do some aromatherapy while all this happening, listen to peaceful music. It’s YOU time, time for yourself, LOVE yourself by taking care of your body.
I hope you enjoyed my latest ‘feel good’ blog post and it inspired you to come up with your own personal, tailored just for you Project “BE”. Feel healthier and fitter, but not only that, love your life for what it is too. One recurrent theme throughout out all my feel good blog posts, is that you can enjoy life. You just need remember what it’s all about. Recall the things you love. Life isn’t just about work, we need to do it of course, but why not enjoy life in general, there is time to savour every moment of everyday. Peace and Love, Lari xoxo
Check out other related blog posts:
Exercise DVD Picks: http://www.islandmeetscity.com/2011/10/exercise-dvd-picks/
Following you dreams and Passions: http://www.islandmeetscity.com/2011/05/dreams-passions/
On gratitude, ‘Someone Who’: http://www.islandmeetscity.com/2011/08/someone_who/