“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in .”
Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
One of the most common things I see in my practice is women over 40 who are absolutely seething about their weight.
They are very angry.
They have tried every diet.
They have gone to the boot camps and injured themselves.
They have spent a fortune and not gotten anywhere.
They know intellectually that they aren’t 20 any more, but they feel their bodies have betrayed them.
They are following the unfortunate equation:
High Expectations Minus Reality Equals Disappointment.
They have not learned my equation:
Your Body Equals Your Exercise Times Your Attitude Times Your Rest Times Your Nutrition. Multiply any number times zero and you get zero. That means you have to address all four areas.
If you fall into this category, here are a few observations that may help you:
1.For God’s Sake, Stop Short Term Thinking.
By now, you have learned that nothing worth having or doing happens short-term. Not a great career. Not a solid marriage. Not healthy, happy children. You would never strive for being “good” just for a week in your job, in your marriage or with your kids. You have come to understand that these things require consistency. Why would your body be any different? It’s not just what you did today, this week or this month. It’s what you do on a regular basis that counts. If you regularly overeat, guess what. If you regularly don’t exercise, guess what. On the other hand, if you make a habit of going to the gym, controlling your portions and eating real food not grabbed off the shelf and microwaved, finding non-food methods of dealing with your stress and you get enough sleep, you can look and feel like a different human being.
2.Create A Long-Term Plan For Your Body.
Find the best people you can get, actually listen to them and show up and do what they advise. Get the best doctor you can find to do an annual checkup. Get the best fitness trainer. Find someone who is actually thin who does not have an eating disorder to advise you about your nutrition. I say that because I am constantly hearing about nutritionists who themselves are overweight or who have an eating disorder who are handing out advice. You will know you are on the right track when you find people who are walking their talk. That’s a good sign because it means their advice can be followed long-term without losing your mind. Your best advisors will not be crazy, they will be actually healthy people. Who you choose to advise you could make the difference between you succeeding or failing. That’s because of mirror neurons. Spend enough time around someone and you will find yourself thinking and acting like them.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20
3.Move Every Day Of Your Life Whether You Feel Like It Or Not.
We women are all about our feelings. It’s easy to come up with the excuse that you are too depressed, tired, over scheduled or bored. The truth is you will actually feel better both mentally and physically when you work out regularly. Not exercising is as bad for you as smoking, and we hope you aren’t smoking. Realize that your chances of losing weight or keeping weight off once you lost it practically evaporate if you sit all day long at your job and don’t exercise (see my newsletter article of April 2011 at www.totalfitness.net). Women who sit for more than 6 hours a day have a 40 percent higher death rate than those who sit for less than 3 hours per day.
4.The Middle Way Is The Way.
Personally, I hate dieting. I dislike dieting so much that I have given up overeating. I don’t really feel like depriving myself in order to make up for any past indiscretions. At the same time, I have learned that being too strict on my eating makes me feel deprived. As I am always saying to my clients, if you are healthy and at a normal weight, you might want to follow the 80/20 rule. That is 80 percent of the time follow a very healthy diet. The other 20 percent of the time, allow yourself to have some treats. I drink wine occasionally, eat chocolate regularly. You can put me around any food and I don’t lose my mind because I am not actually missing anything. If you are overweight or unhealthy, strive for the 90/10 rule. That means try to stay on your eating plan 90 percent of the time. Focus, but don’t become so rigid that you throw up your hands and walk away from your efforts.
5.Create A Lifestyle You Can Follow Long Term.
Yes, I know you are a little busy. You have got your job and by now you may well also have a husband and a couple of kids. You have got to get real. As they say on the airplane, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Failure to take care of your basic needs makes you not only fat and frustrated, it means you will be more impossible for other people to deal with. If you don’t believe me, ask your partner, ask the people you work with and ask your kids. It’s hard to be the queen of your domain if you have nothing left to bestow, so you might as well put yourself on the list.
If Elle Macpherson can maintain her modeling career at age 49 just by exercising an hour a day, maybe you can find time to exercise four to five days a week, even if you don’t land on the cover of Sports Illustrated in your bikini.
I am currently 53 years old and have been in menopause for four years now. No one has offered to pay me any sum of money to model in my bikini, although I do wear one. I have worn the same size jeans since 2004. I know because I have jeans that are that old – a little tattered, but they fit just the same as they used to. I follow these rules myself and nothing has been cut off, filled in or surgically enhanced. They shiny hair you see in my photograph is actually my hair, as I still don’t dye my hair. I have a few gray strands, yes, but the health and vitality is self evident.
My mentor in healing, Sue Maes of Ontario, Canada, once said to me, “You are here to show people what is possible by natural means.”
From My Blog: Yoga To Heal The Adrenal Glands
by Catherine Carrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow my blog by visiting www.catherinecarrigan.com.
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The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys.
Each adrenal gland weighs approximately the same weight as a nickel, about 5 grams. These tiny glands are responsible for secreting our stress hormones.
Because both holistic practitioners and medical doctors agree that stress is the No. 1 cause of all illness, taking care of your adrenal glands is one of the most important things you can do for your overall physical and mental well-being.
During normal conditions, these two glands produce between 35 to 40 mg. of cortisol, a steroid hormone, on a daily basis. Usually our cortisol level goes up in the morning, reaching a peak about 8 a.m., and slowly decreases throughout the day. We make a major down shift in cortisol levels about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, which is why many of us need a snack and a break in mid afternoon, and our levels usually drop way down before bed.
In addition to cortisol, the adrenal glands also produce norepinephrine (noradrenalin) and epinephrine (adrenalin).
Along with our stress hormones, the adrenal glands also make androgens. The most well-known androgen is testosterone, the male sex hormone. Androgens are the original anabolic steroids and precursor of all our estrogens, the female sex hormones. For most women, the adrenal glands are the primary source for testosterone, which gives both men and women our sex drive.
After menopause, when the ovaries are curtail their production of estrogen, the conversion of adrenal-derived testosterone to estrogen becomes an important source of female hormones.
Therefore, maintaining healthy adrenal function is essential for hormonal balance as we age.
There are three stages of adrenal stress – alarm, adaptation and exhaustion.
Initially, when we are stressed, the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol and adrenalin. As stress becomes prolonged, our bodies switch from overproducing stress hormones to under producing stress hormones, going into a state of prolonged fatigue.
Cortisol counteracts insulin, the sugar-balancing hormone. When we are stressed, the body generates glucose from non-carbohydrate sources in a process called gluconeogenesis. Therefore, keeping our stress hormones under control is an essential step in maintaining a healthy weight.
Signs of adrenal problems include impaired energy production, insulin sensitivity drops, reduction in glucose utilization and in amino acid status due to enhanced gluconeogenesis, increased bone loss, osteoporosis, fat accumulation at the waist, increased protein breakdown, salt and water retention, general immune suppression, increased rates of infection and reduced vitality.
The vertebrae in the spine that correspond to the adrenal glands include T12, L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. In the body, the adrenals are located at the level of the 12th thoracic vertebrae. Therefore, back bends and any yoga poses that stimulate the lower back, such as twists, will help to restore the adrenals.
In the endocrine system, the adrenal glands are governed by the hypothalamus and secondarily by the pituitary. Therefore, all the yoga poses that balance the brain, such as the inversions headstand, shoulder stand, dolphin and legs against the wall pose, are also very important for balancing the adrenals.
It is believed that the HPA axis – the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis – is involved in the neurobiology of all mood disorders, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and alcoholism.
Therefore, a yoga practice that balances the brain and adrenal glands can go a long way to overcoming not only stress but severe mental illness.
I created this sequence of yoga poses to help you balance your adrenal glands. It takes about an hour.
Yoga To Heal The Adrenals
Yoga sticky mat
2 yoga eggs ( www.threeminuteegg.com)
Mexican yoga blanket for shoulder stand
2 metal chairs
1. Simple sitting (Sukhasana), eyes closed, drawing the attention inward, focusing on the breath. 1 minute.
2. Extended child (Utthita Balasana) to Cobra (Bhujangasana) vinyasa flow to warm up the spine, 1 minute.
3. Belly twist (Jathara Parivartanasana), knees bent, 1 minute.
4. Simple leg lowering (Urdhva Prasarita Padasana) 5 repetitions to
Leg lowering (Urdhva Prasraita Padasana) to Plow (Halasana), vinyasa flow, 5 repetations.
5. Fish pose (Matsyendrasana), 1 minute.
6. Pelvic lifts (Kandharasana) with yoga eggs at feet and between the knees, 1 minute, to Bridge (Setu Bandha) 1 minute.
7. Head to knee pose (Janu Sirsasana) 1 minute each side to Forward Fold (Pascimottanasana) 1 minute.
8. Dolphin (Makarasana) 1 minute to Headstand (Sirsasana) 1 minute.
9. Set up two chairs facing each other and a shoulder stand support in between the two chairs. Alternate between Bridge (Setu Bandha) on chair to Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) to Plow (Halasana) 10 minutes.
10. Supported fish (Matsyendrasana) 7 minutes.
11. Legs against the wall pose (Vipariti Karani) 7 minutes.
12.Corpse pose (Savasana) 10 minutes.