New year’s resolutions petered out? Don’t be discouraged! Many people struggle to maintain their new resolutions beyond the 30-day mark.
Old habits are often more than just habits. Our bodies and brains are very easily programmed. In March, I will be offering a free series of newsletters to help you utilize higher dimensions of consciousness to free yourself from programming and conditioning that gets in the way of freedom, creativity and optimal functioning. In the meantime, this newsletter is devoted to some helpful advice on how to overcome some of the most common obstacles.
A Time-Efficient Holistic Health Technique
A holistic approach to health involves body, mind and soul. It’s a challenge to get all parts of ourselves on board for what we need to do. Just setting an intent can cause old patterns to emerge. Let’s start with a simple holistic health tip that will help you slim your belly, calm your mind, lose weight, and feed your mitos all at the same time! It is a great way to support new intentions. It also reduces stress, and stress hormones play a big role in weight gain and fat reserves, as well as creating chronic disease. You can do it sitting or lying down, at any time of the day; even behind your desk, during your break.
It is a meditation technique called Mahamudra breathing. Here is how you do it:
- Bring your attention into the center of your lower belly. Take a medium to full breath into the center of the lower belly, and then on the out-breath, exhale, exhale, exhale, and while you exhale, pull the front of the lower belly back toward the spine, as if your intention is to get your navel to touch your spine.
- On the in-breath, the top of the hips roll forward and the front of the belly lifts up and puffs out. On the out-breath, the front of the belly is pulled back toward the spine, the lower back presses into the back of the chair or the floor if you are lying down with your knees bent. At the same time, tighten your anal sphincter. You’re pulling up on the perineum and literally reducing the space in the lower belly down to what feels like nothing.
- It is helpful to pull the pubic bone back toward the spine so that the lower belly collapses from the pubic bone upward, all the way into the spine, emptying out fully on each out-breath.
- Repeat 12 times. If you feel dizzy, then stop, and build up to 12 slowly.
Mental/Emotional Limitations: Breaking Old Habits
We all know how easy it is to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and most of us recognize that we are or can be addicted to certain foods. However, few people realize that emotions, too, are addictive. The cells of our body become literally addicted to the hormones that are released in emotional reactions. They begin to need more and more of this kind of stimulation, and we unconsciously over react and dramatize situations to produce it. And… guess what, these same hormones make us keep our fat, and make weight loss more difficult. Forget about getting rid of those extra pounds if you tend to eat more, or the wrong things, when you are emotional. This month, we have featured articles to help you.
• Kate Hudson has written an article to help you through your emotions. If this might be your challenge, read: ‘How to Work with Your Emotions’.
• Carla Marcelis provides guidelines to healthy eating in ‘Healthy Eating for Happy Mitos‘.
• Adam Fiore has submitted a successful case of cyber-addiction from his clinic.
• Julia Thompson explains how homeopathy can help with all manner of addictions in her article ‘Time to Break Free‘
All types of addiction get in the way of even the most resolute human. So begin with a bit of compassion for yourself.
Physical Limitations: handicap, injury – or just sitting in the office, car, or behind the computer so much that you don’t have the time!
Just as we start our exercise program and sign up at the gym, we slip on the ice, or twist an ankle skiing. Darn! You can still do a lot to keep fit even if you are immobile. You can do the Mahamudra technique or the following workouts sitting at work or at home (but not while you are driving – unless you are at a total standstill in traffic). There are numerous, no impact, core and abdominal exercises that can be done sitting. Always check with your physician or health care provider before attempting these, especially if you have special needs or are injured.
Here are a few links to sites that offer exercises to do in the comfort of your own home, office or chair:
12-Minute Seated Core Workout Video
4 Abdominal Exercises To Do in the Office
Setting the Bar Too High. More is Not Always Better.
Pushing too HARD, or too LONG, can unleash inflammation that only ages you faster. New research shows that you can effectively tone, shape muscle, and burn fat at an accelerated rate for up to 72 hours after your workout, in as little as 15 minutes, at any age. In fact, many studies have shown that one hour of cardio is to be less effective than 15 minutes of intensive exercise and some cool down or walking. The key is to pay attention to three metabolic signals to help you optimize your efforts during those 15 minutes. Here they are:
This triggers the after-burn. A 2002 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology shows that intensive, short, smart workouts that get you breathless elevate your metabolic rate by up to 21% in the 24-48 hours after. Breathlessness activates triggers which release catecholamines which in turn instruct your body to break down stored body fat and burn it for energy. That means an elevated level of fat burning for days — so make sure you get breathless.
Go for the Burn! And Increase Your HGH levels
Are you old enough to remember Jane Fonda’s “go for the burn” exercise mantra? Scientists used to think the burning sensation was due to the buildup of waste products. But, as recently as July 2009, the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed this burning sensation to be the sign that simultaneous fat loss and muscle growth have been triggered. Increased HGH, your naturally-produced youth-enhancing hormone responsible for wrinkle-free skin, more energy, strong bones and an attractive body shape, also helps eliminate the “bat wings” of the upper arms, too, ladies.
Squeeze Your Muscles and Increase Testosterone
A May 2008 study by Hulmi et al. shows this triggers testosterone production; important both for men AND women. Testosterone helps women strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis, while relieving stress and anxiety. For men, it builds nicely sculpted muscles and a powerful physique. Squeezing your muscles while you huff and puff, activates myokines. Myokines enhance fatty acid oxidation in the mitochondria, others accelerate the mobilization of glycogen from the muscle while simultaneously up-regulating insulin receptors and lowering serum insulin levels. Myokines also directly oppose the inflammatory cytokines, attack foreign invaders and trigger apoptosis of cancer cells!
There are numerous High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs available on the internet. The ones that involve self-determined rests are shown to be the best: going at a maximum intensity, then taking a moment to rest before starting again.
False Beliefs (too out of shape, too injured to take advantage of the powerful ability of exercise to turn back the clock)
You can let go of that belief! Studies show that you can increase your mitochondrial efficiency and performance through as little as 15 minutes a day, and at any age. Here is a link to a fellow who took up cycling at retirement (at 67) and continues to increase his health, performance and the state of his mitochondria. His mitochondria and performance increased between the ages of 102 and 103.
Trying to Do It All on Your Own
With a little help from my friends… anything is possible! Setting achievable goals and sharing them with your closest friends provides accountability. That little bit of support, the knowledge that those who care about you know what you are trying to do, is often the one factor what will help you stay on track.
Good luck with your resolutions, and keep tuned for upcoming blogs to help you change old patterns.
Wishing you a very healthy, Happy New Year!
Judyann McNamara – ND, DHom, CCH
Originally a physicist and biomedical researcher, Judyann has had a clinical practice for over 15 years, has held conferences since 1984 and has been a teacher of courses in physics, health sciences, homeopathy, holism and spirituality since 1975. Visit her profile page in our professional directory to learn more or click here to read more posts by Judyann.