Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vitality Challenge

 Model and Yogi, Christy Turlington

Are you tired almost every day, even after a full night's sleep? Do you struggle to have enough energy to perform your every day tasks?  Fatigue is not an unusual problem for women, especially those of us nearing middle age (cringe). Hormonal changes, raising children, caring for aging parents, and careers are all challenges we face, and in today's world, we are juggling it all at a faster and faster pace. Ladies, we are depleted, let's face it. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are on a merry-go-round that, if we ever get off it, we do so by careening through the air and crashing into a tree. We wouldn't know the simple life from a Mexican fruit bat.

Yesterday I received the May issue of  Whole Living magazine in the mail, and a caption on the cover says, "Spring-Clean Your Life."  So I think a challenge is in order. My sister is getting married Memorial weekend, and I have been meaning to lose 10 pounds. But let's not diet.  Diet is a 4-letter word, and we know diets don't work long-term. And we are not interested in counting calories or deprivation of any kind. In fact, eat whatever you want. Just keep a few tips in mind and implement these steps religiously:

1. Sugar will give you a boost of energy, but then you will crash. Sugar is aging and causes all manner of health problems in excessive amounts. If you want a treat, eat a good meal or substantial snack first, then have a small dessert.

2. No caffeine after 2:00 p.m.  It will interfere with your sleep.

3. Less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night results in serious sleep deprivation. Get your beauty rest!

4. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day but Sunday, which should be your complete day of rest. You can cook a nice Sunday dinner, but really, your husband can do that if you cook the rest of the week. Otherwise, no house work. Do something relaxing that you enjoy. Or do nothing. Just be.

5. Begin your fitness program with 5 minutes of moving warm ups, rather than static stretches. For 20 minutes, take a brisk walk, dance, do aerobics, use free weights, etc... Then cool down with yoga stretches for 5 minutes. I guarantee you will have more energy! And regular exercise translates to a better quality of sleep.

6. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. You will have more energy and less cravings all through the day. Make sure you are getting the recommended protein, whole grains, some dairy, and fruits and vegetables, eating as much organic and locally grown food as possible. Think whole foods rather than packaged and processed.  Do not skip meals. Four to six smaller meals is recommended over 3 large ones.

7. Coffee dehydrates, which is another energy zapper, so drink an extra glass or two of water for each cup of java. You can also get water from things you eat, such as juicy fruits and vegetables. Aim for the rule of 8 to 10 glasses of water daily!

8. Manage your stress. All of the above will help you do so, but add prayer and meditation to the start of each day. Light a candle, say a prayer, and read a page from a devotional booklet. Journaling is also a great outlet for get whatever is obsessively circling your head.

9. Spend time in nature every day. This is a proven stress reducer, and we are hard-wired to be calmed by the sights and sounds of God's creation. Try keeping a nature journal. Even if you are no artist, drawing is also therapeutic. Any hand craft, in fact, will keep you centered. And of course, gardening is a moving meditation. Get your hands in the dirt!

10. Spend more time with the people who are important to you and less time plugged in. Get off the internet, shut off the TV, get off the phone. Get the television out of your bedroom, and no screen time within an hour of going to bed!

There is our 10 step plan to increased vitality, contentment, and fitness! And hopefully, in the process, we will look and feel better, whether or not the pounds melt away. (It goes without saying, but if you smoke, it's time to quit!) Please let me know if you will take the challenge with me! Any wellness plan has a greater chance of success if one has a partner. So sign up for email notification of new posts, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

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