How important is it to stay in tune with the rhythms of your body? What are the essential issues that you need to bear in mind? How can you set up a ritual to achieve optimal health and fitness?
I must admit that I have not always taken great care of my body. I sort of look after it, but always seem to end up finding other things more important. Things like enjoying myself, eating what I love, drinking fabulous wine and lying about.
“The physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.” (Deepak Chopra)
I am totally at one with Deepak in the realisation that what we are is what we create. The state of our body is not random, we are responsible.
Back when I was running a Lighting Design Consultancy I took out a Keyman Insurance Policy. This would ensure that if something happened to me the practice would be able to continue, financially. I was required to take a medical test and answer a questionnaire about my health by the insurer.
The results of the health tests were good. I was a bit overweight, needed glasses and my hearing was going. My blood pressure was excellent and there were no worrying signs in my blood sugar tests.
I completed their questionnaire, including a family health history. I was then given a big surcharge on my premium because my two brothers both had type 2 diabetes. I had not but I was still being hit for it.
After a lot of ‘discussion’ the premium was taken off. They finally accepted that my brothers’ diabetes was the result of lifestyle choices, mainly too much beer.
We are responsible for what happens to us and we can do something about it.
My New Health Habits
I am developing a simple set of habits, or rituals, to bring my physical body in line with how I feel mentally and spiritually. I feel good about myself and my growth and I realise it is time to to feel that same about myself physically.
To achieve this I am doing the following:
1. Reducing My Sugar Intake
I tell myself I have a sweet tooth. What I have is an addiction to sugar. Over the past two weeks I have cut out the regular daily intake of foods that are just sugar. They are marmalade, mango chutney and milk chocolate. The effect has been remarkable. In two weeks my taste buds have shifted to the extent that I can now taste food. The sugar was masking the taste and telling me I had a sweet tooth.
I have not cut out sugar entirely, I think the body needs it to some extent. I have, though, cut out the excess sugar in my diet.
2. Reducing My Alcohol Intake
This is a difficult area. I have family members who are alcoholics so I have always been sensitive about the addictive effects of alcohol. I am not addicted but I like wine and beer.
I am reducing my intake as part of my sugar reduction. As I explained above, the excess sugar in the diets of my brothers, due to beer consumption, had significant health effects on them.
It is critical for my future health that this excess sugar intake is reduced. This does not mean, however, cutting it out. I have yet to develop a regime on this.
3. Alkalising More
Excess acid in the body is a killer. It is thought to be a contributory cause of cancer and arthritis, among other diseases. An alkaline body kills viruses and bacteria, so can be an enormous aid to a long, disease free life.
I am shifting the acidity in my body by introducing vegetable juices into my diet. The taste of these takes some getting used to but coming off sugar helps.
4. Reducing The Quantity Of Food I Eat
Until my late twenties I was fairly slim and light. The onset of a more sedentary life as I approached middle age, along with increasing prosperity saw a gradual and continual increase in weight.
The major effects of this for me are tiredness, stress on my joints and sleep apnoea. Apnoea means I snore badly and do not get proper rest. This has been dealt with by a sleep machine that, with air pressure, keeps my throat open at night.
I am not dramatically changing things but using techniques such as cutting my bread intake in half and adjusting quantities of most meals. Doing this I look forward to a transformed future in terms of health.
5. Taking More Exercise
Reducing the quantity of food I eat will help my ability to take more exercise and more exercise will help me reduce my weight and get more oxygen around my body. Both of these will make a significant difference to me.
I like to introduce exercise slowly, mainly by walking. When I get used to this I will start some gentle jogging, yoga and cycling. When my weight allows I will return to running.
I have done this before and I know it is a successful approach.
6. Adopting Ayurveda Techniques Of Eating
According to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian healing technique, everything can be classified according to one or more of six basic tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. If you take foods that correspond to these tastes, on a daily basis, your food will provide an assortment of health promoting nutrients.
Deepak Chopra points out:
“If the meal isn’t delicious it isn’t nourishing you. Enjoy your meal. If you are struggling with a diet that you think is good for you but you do not find it appetising, it will ultimately not be nourishing and you will not be able to stay with it for long.”
I have no evidence of the truth of this but I do believe that a balanced diet of tastes and colours is likely to ensure that I have a spread of nutrients and vitamins. I am putting this into practice on a daily basis.
7. Having More Juices
We have been using a powerful juicer for over a year now and we are very pleased with the results. This is a great way to reduce the quantity of food while getting the nutrients and being satisfied.
I have been veering too much towards orange juice, something that I am correcting.
We tend to have a lemon, sea salt and hot water drink first thing. This is followed by a green, vegetable juice for breakfast. Often in the late afternoon we will have a fruit juice that focuses on lemons, lime, grapefruit and a little orange. This is a good round drink with plenty of vitamin C, alkalinity and anti-oxidants.
8. Adopting A Siesta
One of the great traditions in Spain is the Siesta. I live in a rural Spanish town and the siesta is part of life and tradition. Everywhere shuts down at 2pm for 3 or or four hours and starts up again in the evening. People tend to eat late at night to take advantage of the coolness.
I have started a process of shifting to this lifestyle. The plan is to sleep from midnight to 5am, get up and work, do chores and other activities until 2pm. Then sleep until 5pm and relax, eat and have fun until midnight. This is 8 hours sleep split into two wit a break between work and relaxation.
This feels like a much more balanced lifestyle to me.
9. Drinking Lots Of Water
We need to drink lots of water, far more than we think we need. Often when we feel hungry, we are, in fact, dehydrated, or thirsty.
We get great water from the ‘Fuente Publica’ here. It is fresh water straight out of the mountains and it tastes really good.
I drink lots of it, and I realise I still need to drink more.
10. Making Meditation A Daily Habit
As I said at the beginning I believe that we create the life we lead. Having a balanced lifestyle is essential for great health. One of the ways to achieve this is to have a relaxed mind and a practice of spatiality. This connects us to a Universal Consciousness that brings us eternal wisdom on how to live and be.
My practice involves daily meditation to clear the negative energies from my mind, spirit and soul and accentuate my positive energies
I am introducing these practices gradually and i look forward to dramatically improved health in the months and years to come.