Image courtesy: https://allevents.in/blog/international-yoga-day/
I realized the importance of treating my body with respect when I hit forty. It's not like I really abused it before - I did pay attention to what I ate etc. The issue was stress got the better of me and I was plagued with a host of inconvenient symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, racing heart, pain in my joints that would come and go at will etc. For the longest time, I could not accept that these physical symptoms were caused by my state of mind rather than some physiological condition. I went through a battery of tests and nothing was wrong. My doctor sat with me for an hour and gently explained that stress is the number one reason for doctor visits and can manifest in any random physical way imaginable. I still didn't believe him. Then one day, I called our family medical consultant and explained what I was going through. He heard me patiently, asked questions and then said something that finally made me understand:
1) If you have a pathological condition causing some issue, it will get worse with time
2) All my symptoms occurred randomly - there was no noticeable pattern to when, how, and what I felt. One day it was pain, another it was a feeling of lightheadedness, another it was a racing heart. The only thing that was consistent was the insomnia. This indicated, he said, a feeling of not having my life under control.
Finally a light bulb went on - that was it!!!
And that's how I began my journey to heal my mind. Little did I realize that that would lead to a pleasant side effect.
I want to make it clear that this journey has neither been easy nor short. It started in early 2015 and it took dedication. If you feel suboptimal in your body, are stressed out, or are just plain unhappy, you can turn things around - but only if you are wholly committed to it. That's the only rule. In my case, I was desperate to feel good in my body again. I had begun to accept that the aches and pain I was feeling was a sign of my growing old, or hormonal issues or some such. The fact is we're living much longer today - so the more we take care of ourselves, the better our enjoyment of our longevity. Below are the steps I took to get my life back.
1) I started with reading. I read all kinds of positive, uplifting books on philosophy, spirituality, and healthy living. Reading helped me feel better.
2) I talked about my fears with close friends. I remember a conversation I had with one of them who was also going through tough times health wise. She said "What's the worst thing that can happen?" I replied "I will die". And somehow that helped. Speaking out my irrational fear helped me feel lighter.
3) I started going on long walks almost daily. These helped calm me down and have a slice of joy that comes with being out in nature every day.
4) I looked deep and hard inside myself. I made some decisions - found a new job, started a skin care line. Those gave me renewed confidence and added a freshness to my life that was enjoyable.
5) I was beginning to feel a lot better after a year of this. What took it to the next level was a Surya Namaskar or sun salutation challenge I accepted with a couple of coworkers. The challenge was to complete 108 cycles of these yogic poses in six months. I started slowly and built up to 60 cycles I'm still not at 108 but that's less important for me now). I do these stretches almost daily at 36 cycles. I have realized unbelievable benefits from this.
A few things to keep in mind when you are experimenting with weight loss. Your body weight fluctuates within a day. Use a good digital scale and an app like this to keep track easily. The green line indicated where I want to get to - that's the lightest I've ever been in my adult life!
Dont try too hard - like yourself no matter what your weight is. Being thin and shapely is something you mostly want to do for others, not yourself. Your goal must be to feel good about yourself - trust your instincts.