The Three Bears: Getting it Just Right
Once upon a time…
We all know the story of the three bears. Too hard; too soft; just right. Too hot; too cold; just right.
As a physiotherapist, my clients tell me how they overdid it and now need treatment. Then there is the other end of the spectrum, where people don’t do anything, and they hurt as well. How much is just right?
That is a challenging question to answer because everyone is different. I’ve talked about this before, as has Deepak Chopra. There is also research showing not only are we unique in what foods and exercises are ideal for us, but also what medications we respond to. There is an increase in a holistic approach to health, wellness, and healing.
I have yet to read The Perfect Gene Diet by Pamela McDonald N.P. I heard her speak and was intrigued to hear that because of how someone genetically processed cholesterol, eating a low fat diet could be harmful for that person while being good for another. Of course, there is the opposite as well: a high-fat diet can be harmful for one person and not another.
GETTING BACK IN TOUCH WITH OUR BODIES
So many people want a prescription of exactly what it is they need to do. The challenge is to individualize the program. We can follow general principles, but in the end we need to start listening to our bodies and what they are trying to tell us. What if you thoughy about a disease or a symptom as a signal from your body?
How do we listen to our bodies?
- When I am feeling tired and not sure if I should rest or exercise, I will start with exercise. As I exercise, if I start to feel better, I made the right choice. If I want to lie down and have a nap as I am exercising, then I stop and rest.
- If I eat something and very quickly feel hungry again, I know I did not give my body the nutrients it needs (likely no greens and therefore no minerals for my cells).
- If I eat something and all I want is more of it, then likely it is not doing me any favours. Milk chocolate is like this for me. I can polish off a whole box of milk chocolate hedge hogs in one sitting. When I have dark (70%) chocolate, a few pieces is enough. And I certainly don’t crave a second or third apple.
- If I start to meditate and fall asleep, I need more rest.
- If I start to have signs of a cold, I need more rest.
- If I can’t get out of bed in the morning, without my alarm waking me, I need more rest.
- If I am craving simple carbohydrates (sugar, chips, breads for example) I need more mediation, yoga, kayaking, or another healthy form of releasing stress.
- If I exercise and I feel sore and tired afterwards for more than a day, I overdid it and need to build up more gradually.
- If I want to have a nap mid day, I likely need fresh air, exercise, or fluids.
- If I am feeling uninspired, depressed, or easily frustrated, I need a holiday.
I have come to realize as an aging athlete, who used to do every sport at the all-or-nothing level, finding my just right has been challenging and rewarding. The challenge has been getting over the guilt of not exercising at mock speed and intensity. The reward has been a healthier, better balanced me. I love my yoga or Jillian Michaels’ 20-minute work out, intermixed with ice hockey in the winter and kayaking, running (intervals for 20 minutes) or cycling in the summer.
I find that I crave my green smoothie most mornings, and now enjoy kale, quinoa and spinach salad, and a variety of soups. Meat has become a garnish on my plate. Dried mango is my sweet weakness, as is my 70% Vega Maca chocolate bar.
Giving up my work-a-holism, has been a little tougher. Having other therapists treat clients and being able to say no to taking on more clients has given me more time for rest and/or working out without always feeling rushed. It has freed up some time for also pursuing other ventures like Univeraand writing.
Balance for me is dynamic. When I look at my health, I consider the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social. What have I done each day for each area?
Yoga can be both physical and spiritual. Journalling is emotional and spiritual. Ice hockey is physical and social. Work is social and intellectual. Writing is intellectual, spiritual and emotional. Any time I am out in nature, hiking, running, kayaking, cycling, I feel it is physical, spiritual, emotional and sometimes social.
Think about how you are listening or not listening to your body. Write them as I have above. Make a commitment to listen. Ask yourself if there is anything you would like to do but are not doing it for lack of time. Where can you make changes in your life? What are you saying yes to when you really want to say no?
If you are interested in learning more on this topic, come to my workshop, Three Key Strategies for the Busy Professional Women To Be Productive without the Exhaustion. REGISTER TODAY!