So, you want to wake up every day feeling strong, energized, motivated for the day ahead, and to sustain that vitality through the day. You want to look back at each week, month and year with satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment.
What you don’t want is to keep feeling more and more run-down, and less and less moved to live each day to its max. You want to end your trend of being distracted and disturbed by a growing collection of individual health troubles—maybe low energy, high blood sugar, poor sleep, excess weight, body aches or headaches, to name a few—that are adding up to an overall feeling of…well, old.
What to Do?
Certainly there’s no shortage of advice out there for you to follow: Eat this…Don’t eat that…Take this pill…Take this vitamin…Try this herb…Do this exercise…See this specialist…
None of these—including today’s popular *******-free diets (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, etc.)—create change at the most foundational levels of your health, though.
If you want to get at the deep roots of your particular health problems (which are, you’re right, compounding into bigger, more acute health issues each day), spot-treating won’t do the trick.
Avoiding foods that your body can’t easily handle doesn’t solve the problem; it only sidesteps it.
Herbal or other supplements used in the modern conventional way of spot-treating symptoms may bolster your system against the health imbalances you’re experiencing, but they don’t eradicate the underlying causes of those imbalances. When you stop taking those supplements, the imbalances are likely to recur.
When the foundation of your health is unstable, your health overall is off-kilter. It’s impossible to be truly healthy—in Ayurvedic context, for your health to be in balance—when you are building a lifestyle upon imbalance itself.
Then, as one imbalance is built upon another through your daily unhealthy or healthy habits and lifestyle choices, your body brings your attention to those imbalances—by giving you symptoms.
If you only spot-treat the symptoms or flat-out ignore them, the imbalances continue building up. Eventually, a crash is inevitable. Your genius body will do this to take you down to ground zero, forcing you to rebuild from scratch (preferably with healthy foundations in place this time).
You don’t have to wait until the crash, however. You can start today. And the foundations, being the basics, are surprisingly simple.
Where to Start
Mary came to me after years of dabbling in this diet or that, taking that supplement then this, and visiting a variety of specialists from energy workers to MDs. She was full of information—and fully confused about which step to take, which advice to follow.
Mary was chronically low on energy, suffered from a dense “brain fog” and couldn’t focus on a project long enough to make any noticeable movement toward her dream of a business helping others live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
To do that, she knew she had to get there herself.
First and foremost, we honed in on Mary’s daily habits, the entry-points into the foundations of health. She committed to changing just three daily habits that have now changed her life.
Now in her early 60s, Mary has more energy than she has had since her 30s. She has a clearer mind and is not so easily distracted, flitting erratically from one task to the next as she used to. And her focus is greatly increased, so she is making headway toward her retirement dream of helping others learn how to create health in their own lives.
“I don’t buy into the tall-tale of having to feel old just because I am old!” she jests.
Ayurveda would agree: aging doesn’t have to mean feeling “old”—progressively worse and worse, with fatigued energy, foggier cognitive function, crumbling motivation or a mounting discord of discomforts and ailments. That may be the norm of modern civilization, but it isn’t the rule of nature.
How to Re-Set the Foundations and Create Healthy Habits
In a scrambling pursuit of “healthy habits”, here are those three foundational steps to health that you may be neglecting:
First and foremost, focus on WHEN and HOW you eat. Sit down and relax to eat three meals each day, with no snacking in between meals. Your largest meal is at lunch. Dinner should be lighter and eaten early in the evening. Your beverage of choice: warm water.
When it comes to considering WHAT to eat, keep it simple. Simply base your diet on fresh, whole foods. This means the majority of your diet should be comprised of unprocessed, unrefined foods without additives or alterations—in other words, foods that are in their natural state before you prep them into meals.
Give yourself a few hours of digesting time between dinnertime and bedtime. Turn in early for the night so you can be asleep by 10:00 p.m. Rise with the momentum of the rising sun, around 6:00 a.m. or earlier.
Why It Works
When you change these three healthy habits in your daily life, you’re shifting the foundation of your health—balancing and stabilizing your biorhythms, your metabolism, your blood sugar levels, your energy, your emotions.
When you change this habit your body can stop relying on external inputs of snacks or consistent grazing for energy, and instead dip down into your internal fat storage to burn that fuel, which is a natural function of fat. Fat offers a long-lasting, stable supply of energy, which you’ll experience as stronger energy, greater stamina and more enduring focus throughout each day. Blood sugar levels naturally stabilize through this process.
The fresh, whole foods you consume offer optimum nutritional value—including, in Ayurvedic context, more prana, or life-giving energy. Giving yourself a few hours between meals allows your body to fully digest and assimilate the nourishment from one meal before you put more in.
When you have changed these three basic healthy habits, your days are punctuated by rhythms that are supported by nature—the greater nature outside, and the human nature of your body. For example, when you wake before 6:00 a.m. you’re waking with the momentum of the rising sun externally and the peak of activating cortisol internally. You eat your largest meal around midday when the sun and your digestive strength are both at their zenith for the day.
Tips to Successfully Change Your Habits
To start one of these healthy habits, of course, you have to overturn an old one. This always takes effort.
If your body is currently programmed to snacking, erratic mealtimes, later bedtimes, later rise times or foods that offer low levels of nourishment, be prepared to run up against a lot of resistance as you find your footing on these three crucial steps to living a healthy life.
Give yourself time. Give yourself patience. Give yourself several weeks. Give yourself one step at a time. And give yourself the gift of accountability—reporting to a friend or family member to keep yourself on track.