Did that just happen? Did I just go on live television to share my passion for healthy living?
Yep. That just happened. And it was amazing!
SO many things to say but I want to share with you more details about this program and my passion for it.
So, in case you haven’t noticed yet, 2016 sucked. A lot. We all know this. This is not a controversial topic. It has been a year full of divisiveness and loss and pain. So, LOTS of stress with SO MANY external forces that we have very little or NO control over.
So, that’s been on my mind – How can we be better equipped to manage life in 2017? What can we actually DO? That – coupled with the fact that I spent many years in Corporate Human Resource and have been “wired” to think in terms of “systems”. One thing you learn VERY EARLY ON when you study organizations and the way the operate is this: every system is perfectly designed to get the results that the system is designed to get. If you have inferior systems, you’re going to get inferior results. You may change your approach to the system or you may change what you think you want out of the system, but if you’re not at least WILLING to look at the way your systems function, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment – over and over again. I’m seeing this now with all these 2017 new years resolutions. I think resolutions are great – whatever you have to do to get fired up – but if we start charging up these resolution hills with nothing in hand but a task list and an utterly exhausted frame, my guess is – we’re not going to get very far.
So, all these forces (and I use that word deliberately) led me to create “Project Body Karma” – a health coaching philosophy and “roadmap” for how to build and reinforce your bodies’ own internal stress fighting machine. None of this is earth-shattering information. It is so simple. It is all about going back to the basics. Look at your body as a breathing, living, awesome, functioning system – from the top down. Strengthen this system – reinforce it. Strengthen your foundation and who knows what you can build?
HOW? I’m glad you asked!
We do this by examining our relationships with several basic fuel sources (which I’ll get to in one second)…
Couple quick notes that are CRITICAL to understand in this discussion:
- Your body is BUILT and is WIRED to constantly seek HOMEOSTASIS – which is just a big word for balance.
- The body has an equal and opposite system for everything that may put it out of whack. Whatever you put into the body, the body has an antidote for it. It just does. So – the more you knock your body down, the more it tries and tries and tries to stand back up and right itself. It must have ORDER and BALANCE.
- BUT – Before we can truly understand the POWER and IMPORTANCE of our choices, we need to understand what happens to the body under stress. We all know what stress “feels” like and that’s how we tend to refer to it as – a “feeling”. But stress is REAL and it DOES manifest itself physically in the body.
So, I thought the best way to describe the actual physiological effects of stress would be: to give a real live demonstration and explanation of what happens to your body during a real life/real time example of a very stressful event – a live television show (which is where I talked about this for the first time!) Yeah. That’s called DIVING IN HEAD FIRST. That’s called feeling the FEAR and just doing it the hell anyway. So here’s how that went down:
- I was introduced after coming back from commercial and guess what happened? My brain FREAKED out and signaled “DANGER/STRESS”! (We all know that feeling – it’s the “Fight or Flight” syndrome)
- Next: my brain stem immediately dispatched a messenger – in the form of a hormone – to literally EVERY SYSTEM in my body – and the message was “BRACE FOR IMPACT. SOME SERIOUS SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN”
- Next: since I’ve never been much of a flight”er” – my body chose, instead, to “fight”. I did not “flee”. Good for me.
- Next: my body immediately prioritized what resources it thought I would need for this fight.
- My body knew I would need extra energy (fuel) so my blood was pumping and since it was SUPER stressful, my body threw in a little extra adrenalin for some energy. So – with all THAT going on, my body was getting a little warm. And since my body is wired for BALANCE – it sprung into action to cool me off – in the form of – beads of sweat running down my back and sweaty palms.
- Please also understand that, in addition to what WAS happening, there was a bunch of stuff that WASN’T happening during this time. The body – in stressful events – only plays the short game. It isn’t concerned at all with the long game.
- Because my body was only concerned with the immediacy of this event, it also slowed down activity in other areas – my digestion slowed down, my immune system was compromised and all the “maintenance” and restoration work my body does had slowed WAY down. There weren’t any anti-aging hormones speeding to my face (which was a SHAME because I’m sure I was in HD) AND my hair didn’t get getting any thicker or shinier. My fingernails didn’t grow. Yep. Stress sucks.
BUT HERE’S THE THING YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT STRESS:
The night prior to the live event, when I was rehearsing it – in my kitchen – with no cameras and no lights and no ACTUAL LIVE TV EVENT – just my furry kids who already think I’m brilliant – there was literally no way I could screw that up – that shouldn’t have been stressful at all. But – guess what? – the responses in my body were the same. Because I was IMAGINING it. I was imagining what it would be like. Our brains can’t tell the difference between a real-time actual event and what we just PERCEIVE to be that same event. And it’s those types of perceptions and crippling worries (both real and perceived) that accumulate over the years and we continue to add layer upon layer of these dysfunctional systems on top of our already taxed systems and it’s THAT slow building stress (related to work or finances or personal relationships) that is literally KILLING us.
Now, when you paint THAT kind of picture – because – make no mistake – I’m not going to be gentle here – THAT’S WHERE WE ARE – then this Body “Karma” approach is designed to wake you up, educate you a little, and get you in touch a little more with what your body needs. And when you look at it from THAT standpoint, it becomes a little easier to be KINDER to your body. CUT YOUR BODY SOME SLACK. And now I’m going to drop some of my “Homer” wisdom here – ready? Ok, here we go:
IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MANY INCREDIBLY AMAZING 2017 RESOLUTIONS YOU MAKE – IF YOU CHARGE UP THAT RESOLUTION HILL WITH A POORLY FUNCTIONING, CONFUSED, FRUSTRATED, EXHAUSTED MACHINE – HOW THE HELL IS THAT GOING TO WORK??? HOW FAR DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GET?
But – WAIT – there’s HOPE!!!! (Major shout out to my girl Carrie Fisher here….No, I’m not ready to talk about it yet…)
The good news is – a little kindness goes a long way so now let’s talk about what you can actually DO to start to feel ALIVE again. Because this program is about waking up those systems, figuring out how to make them operate, and then taking that body out for a spin and seeing what you can do!
A – ACCEPTANCE
- There’s a REASON why this is first and there’s a reason why it all starts with the brain (your information system) and that is this:
- YOUR BRAIN IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
- I could give you scientific data that actually supports support this statement but we all know what this means. We are human beings and not only do we have the ability to have thoughts but we also have the great luxury of having thoughts about our thoughts. It’s been my experience that my brain feeds me some pretty shitty information in the form of “You can’t…you shouldn’t…you’re too this….you’re not enough that” and so on and so on. If that’s your experience as well then let me say this: there are A LOT of voices in this space. A lot of voices in the health and fitness space. EVERYONE has an opinion about what YOU need to be doing. I’m saying this: YOUR VOICE is the only one that TRULY matters. In the end, YOUR VOICE is the one that is going to guide you to success – whatever “success” means to you. So – the way to start to get “right” with that voice – is to practice ACCEPTANCE. You need to ACCEPT where you’re starting from RIGHT NOW in order make your best ally in this process YOURSELF.
- If you’re thinking to yourself, “C’mon, Marcia, easier said than done”, I would argue that you ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.
- Here’s how I know that: because I know that most of us dole out endless amount of love, tolerance, patience, acceptance, and compassion to literally EVERY PERSON IN OUR LIVES – and probably some RANDOM STRANGERS too. So, you can do it – just turn a little bit of that right back on yourself. Be your best ally.
L – LIFE SOURCE. This is WATER. Nothing is more foundational and necessary for our survival. Water makes up the fundamental building material of our cells. On a cellular level, there is NOTHING that can strengthen and soothe your systems like WATER. We can survive for a while without most things – we CANNOT survive without water. Fuel yourselves with it. Guzzle it if you can. If you can’t get there right now, AT LEAST drink 16-20 oz. of water first thing in the morning. Wake up your systems –your heart, your lungs, your brain – just let them know you’re ready to start moving around. If you did NOTHING else but just this one thing next year – you would notice a difference. Remember – we lose quite a bit of water overnight – we’re dehydrated – take a bottle of water to bed. Sit it on your nightstand, get up, pound it down. Tell your systems you’re ready to take on the day.
I – Insulation source. This is FAT. What is your relationship to your fat source? The LAST thing you want to do – is bog down your system with a lot of trans fats and saturated fats. The easiest way to explain it is: unsaturated fats are more readily usable as an energy source. And isn’t that the goal – energy!! That means more UNSATURATED FATS less SATURATED FATS and hardly ANY TRANS FATS (and you need to read your labels here, kids, because those TRANS FATS ninjas are sneaky). Avocadoes. Almond Butter. Coconut Oil. I cook exclusively with it. (I’m playing fast and loose whenever I use the term “cook”). And I can literally put an avocado in almost anything. So good!
V – VITAL? These are external substances that aren’t VITAL to your existence:
- Other drugs, etc.
There’s a reason for the question mark after the “V”. It’s meant to be a question. These substances aren’t VITAL for living (although I know MANY people who would argue with me about the vitality of wine..:) and if you introduce too many of these too often, it can be extremely taxing on the body. I am the LAST person in the world who will give you a temperance lecture, believe me, so please understand that this is not about “you can’t have a beer” or “caffeine is bad”. This is about taking a look at that stuff and how taxing it may or may not be on your system. As a LIFE LONG die-hard caffeine addict, I have much experience in this area. What I’m saying is this: if you have an important relationship with one of these substances and the mere thought of giving it up or “cutting way back” makes you have one of those physiological responses I described above? You might want to pay attention to that. If one of these sources become VITAL to your existence, that’s a tough battle to win. Still totally winnable – but may the path may be a little more steep and rocky.
E – NERGY source (Sugar/Carbs). Be willing to examine your relationship with sugar. The last thing you want to overlay, on top of an already taxed, annoyed energy system that continues to work overtime and you don’t reward it AT ALL – is yet ANOTHER series of sugar rush, sugar crash…sugar rush, sugar crash. That’s what we call an insulin roller coaster. So – be willing to take a look at how your primary energy system functions. How can you be KINDER to this system? For example: you can either have 1 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup OR 50 blueberries. It’s the same number of calories or “energy units”. Same calorie number but a much different physiological response in your body. Your body needs much less insulin to process the blueberries, thereby greatly reducing the strain on your energy systems.
And the beauty of my program is that it will be done for you. Meal suggestions, movement suggestions, mind/acceptance suggestions. I can guide you through your bodies’ systems (we’ll take a field trip – it’ll be fun!) and we can start to dissect where you might be having dysfunction within your systems. Let’s talk and laugh and feel ALIVE again! Let’s start 2017 with a freaking fighting chance!
That’s it! So EASY to feel ALIVE! Water, Fat, Caffeine/Booze/Tobacco, Sugar and – oh – just ONE MORE THING.
I want to leave everyone with this challenge and I’m feeling pretty strongly about this thing:
We ALL have someone in our lives who we have said the following about: “Oh, I love (blah-blah) SO much! I would do ANYTHING for (blah-blah)! Right? If we’re lucky – we have someone like that – and we know we actually MEAN it. You actually have that person’s back. My challenge to you is this:
MAKE THAT PERSON YOURSELF
If that thought is scary to you – just sit with it for 5 minutes, maybe an hour, maybe a day. And then just try it. Move heaven and earth for yourself. Seriously. Shore up your own internal systems. Think of looking in – and then you can more easily and less stressfully – start to look out.
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your thoughts and questions as well as celebrate your progress as we all become ALIVE in 2017!!
**For those of you who saw me on KATU, send me an email with “HOMERUP” in the title and I’ll have a screaming deal for you!
Let’s get started!!