7 Ways to Wellness - Part 3
Welcome to part 3 of the 7 Ways to Wellness series! This article explores and offers an approach to bring everything you've learned so far together. Even if you have started the 7 'Ways to Wellness' preparation, it's a good idea to do this week of R & R as it gives your body a really good kick start in the right direction and may make continuing your journey into health, wellness and mindfulness easier.
Starting anything new comes with its challenges! You may not have been living the healthy life you dreamed of, but how you were living and what you were eating is what you became used to so you know it well, and in many ways, it was comfortable. It was easy, it was normal and that means it was safe. Taking a step out of your comfort zone is big and really deserves acknowledgement, help and support. It’s important to note though, when looking for a Wellness Practitioner or Counsellor for help and support, find someone who’s aim it is to teach you to drive and hand over the keys. Any big shift or change in life essentially has to come from you. For it to be sustainable, lifelong and continually evolve as you do, it needs to come from within.
Another point to consider when making a lifestyle change is it will often attract attention from others – something not everyone wants. People may start to comment, ask questions and can be quite curious. This can often be unwanted attention. It can hold us back from doing the things we want as we are afraid to fail in front of our peers. I suggest if people take an interest in your new lifestyle changes then simply answering ‘I’m just trying something new’ is all you need to say. If you are working with a Wellness Practitioner then you have someone to discuss your fears and worries with when they arise and they can often be resolved within private sessions.
You may now be following the 7 Ways to Wellness practices and feel quite comfortable with how you are progressing. You may have even tweaked it a little as you become more body aware and are more comfortable communicating with your body’s needs. Mindfulness towards your food preparation, what you eat and how it makes your body feel may come a little easier and more natural. If so you may be ready to give the '7 foods to work toward permanently eliminating from your diet' in part 2 a go. If that's the case, following this little preparation will help. This is my most effective and favoured way of bringing these healthy lifestyle practices into life. It’s a fresh start approach to rest the digestion - and you – and begin with a clean slate. (Or in this case – a clean plate!)
7-Day / 7 hours… My ‘7 Ways to Wellness’
Choose a date, mark it in the diary, name it something inspiring and commit yourself to a week of R & R or in this case ‘rest the digestion’. (‘My Body Loving Week of R & R’ works for me!) Accept that no week will be perfect. There will always be something on and that’s okay. For 7 days only, we want to rest our digestion as much as possible without actually fully fasting, yet reap some of the benefits a fast may give you. For 7 days only I recommend completely eliminating a few foods. During this time, commit to as little as possible, only do gentle exercise and movement such as yoga, Pilates, swimming or walking, and make sure you get plenty of sleep. Limit time on computers and in front of the TV if you can, and turn your wi-fi off at night to ensure quality sleep.
During the 7
days choose a 7 hour eating window. My recommendation is 12-7pm or 11-6pm. You
want to be eating the heaviest meal of the day when the sun is at its highest
peak. This is the time your body naturally wants to consume and digest food.
There are 24 hrs in a day. When you only consume food during 7 of those hours you are giving
your body 17 hours to focus on other important
tasks, such as utilising nutrition for health and balance.
Consume your minerals and vitamins outside of this window, ideally upon rising. You should also continue with your warm lemon or lime in water in the morning. This will saturate the body with nutrients, flush the digestive organs and ward off genuine hunger.
For 7 days only avoid eating the following foods:
- Corn – except fresh organic.
- Peanuts – inc peanut butter!
- Coffee and any caffeine. If it says ‘Decaf’ it’s out. ‘Caffeine free’ is ok.
- Sugar including, dried fruit, fruit juice, honey, maple, sauces & marinades…
- Soybean products.
- Red meat.
This is a 7-day rest and healing phase. During these 7 days you will find the body is able to tend to and start to heal areas that it may have previously struggled with. You may feel lighter, fresher and more energised or you may feel tired and want to rest and sleep. Do what feels good for your body. It also introduces you to intermittent fasting, a practice that I am hugely passionate about and that I urge you to continue. I have been intermittent fasting under the instruction of my mentor and friend Hillary Han for a couple of years now and have experimented with a number of different ways. I have found this method to be by far the best. Clients have also responded well and find this method easy to do and more sustainable. It’s flexible as it’s a 7hr window on any given day and can be adjusted to fit social occasions. I will be writing more about the benefits of intermittent fasting on my blogging journey so be sure to look out for those in the near future!
Increase water intake! 2-3 Litres minimum. You need to be flushing
the system and hydrating. Also any green juices freshly made from local organic
produce is ok and highly recommended. Go for veggie juices over just fruit. A good hydration balance by a qualified Kinesiologist can really help you absorb water and feel hydrated if you struggle with dehydration.
Get outside and get some sunshine! 20-30mins per day bare minimum! We need light and a little sun exposure for a good dose of vitamin D. Sunlight is also essential for our Pineal Gland which has an essential role in wake/sleep rhythms. If you want to have energy throughout the day and a really good night sleep then getting out in the sunshine is a must. Plus I don't know anyone who didn't feel uplifted, energised, peaceful and more connected after being outside and soaking up a little sun.
It is also important during this time to increase your consumption of the good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seeds and oil and maybe a few organic nuts. Go easy on the nuts though. No more than 6-8 at a time. Good fats will give you energy, feed your brain and sustain you.
You can have salads, steamed or roasted vegetables, or a little fish or chicken. You can even add some steamed rice to salads, but go for the darker varieties such as coral or black rice. If you have been lucky enough to find a natural, gluten free loaf of bread that you love, a piece of toast with eggs, avocado and some greens may appeal. Be careful of packaged foods as you really want to avoid any additives or preservatives. There are lots of tasty spreads and relishes you can make with some fresh or dry roasted veg, nuts and oils. Ultimately though, you want to keep it as simple as possible for this 7-day period.
Once you’ve finished your 7-day R & R, it’s important to be mindful when introducing those foods back into your diet. Following the steps below will help you.
1. Introduce one food each day and take note of any physical or emotional reactions or irritations.
2. If a food causes a reaction, this doesn’t mean it’s out forever. It may mean your gut needs more time to heal.
3. Try to just leave out the foods we’re working towards permanently eliminating. This is the biggie and it’s a great time to start.
Now that you’ve experienced life without gluten, soy, fried foods, corn products and soda or bubbly water, why not just keep going, and with mindfulness each day, focus on how much better you may be feeling mentally, emotionally and physically.
Lastly I want to touch on that thing we do when we’ve been really good for a couple of days or weeks, when we decide to 'treat' ourselves. This is a common habit that many people fall into the trap of. Treating yourself is often with a food you loved or still love, that is usually processed, deep fried or full of gluten. This is emotional eating. Unfortunately, it can hold us back and can keep us stuck in old eating habits. Now I will confess, I loved hot chips, and giving up my little hot chippie here and there, ouch! I didn’t want to do it! But over time, and as my body was fuelled with nutrients, the desire to keep going back lessened. Eventually eating them would make me feel so unwell (a blessing in disguise). Now it doesn’t even cross my mind. Plus, I love to make my own ‘hot chips’ at home with butter and fresh herbs from the garden.
Yes, it’s okay
to treat yourself, but treat yourself every day! Take a bath, meditate, get a
facial or make some organic raw chocolate. Walk into your local organic health
food café or store and sample some of their amazing gluten free deserts. Find a
new favourite treat. You will be surprised how much money you’ll save from
eating less take-out, processed and snack foods and that means indulging in
full body treats and not just foods.
Questions? I have added a link here to some commonly asked question and also feel free to comment your queries and questions on this Q & A page and I will get to them as best I can.
This preparation was created with the intention of giving you somewhere to start and something to always come back too. I recommend doing it whenever you feel 'off track' of your health goals and wellness plan, if you feel out of sorts or disconnected from your body, if you are lacking energy or feel exhausted, or after any surgery or medical procedure. You're body will recover faster and you will be able to think more clearly. Doing it 3-4 times per year as part of your health and wellness plan is always going to give you an opportunity to observe your body, see where you may need to direct some care and attention, up your health, vitality and energy and just give your digestion the rest it needs.
path to healing is sophisticated and takes time. With any big lifestyle
changes you need to allow 3 months and then reflect on the changes and
improvements in that time. Holistic healing may take more time, however the
results last a lifetime and the benefits that it pays are tremendous! As always, contact me for further support, or to book your appointment today.
Jo - Pure Soul Wellness