New Year, happy? I am, but I also feel an overriding pressure of inertia. Like feeling the need to study for an exam and you just do not want to. Holidays are over and it is time to get back into the routine.
Just prior to Thanksgiving, a holiday carrier wave, propagated by society, culture, collective consciousness, or whatever you call it, always rolls in. A spell, that bestows upon us a sense of freedom. Starting with altered work schedules, sprinkled with company parties and family gatherings. The holidays are a time when we are given, and we give ourselves, permission to replace our daily living patterns in pursuit of festivities. This is an appropriate quote by Mason Cooley, “Good parties create a temporary youthfulness.”
Well, now the party's over, and I feel older. Slower start in the mornings, lazier, a few extra pounds heavier (not muscle), more body aches...more dull. My prolonged permissive dietary indulgence has pushed my insulin reactor pattern more into dominance. Now after eating, I feel the allure to fall into a slumber or the need to consume something stimulating. I can mitigate this insulin reactor effect by choosing a meal with a perfect P:C ratio. But I feel inertia around making healthy choices. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back on course.
I’m calling it inertia, but we could just as well refer to it as lack of motivation, or not feeling enough energy to push through the fatigue. What would cause this decreased energy? Consider that the major end product of energy metabolism is carbon dioxide (CO2). The hypoglycemic person does not efficiently metabolize fats, while the hyperglycemic person is inefficient with carbohydrate metabolism. Both will have lowered energy production and thus lower CO2 levels in their blood stream. Proper diet and nutrition goes along way to help correct this imbalance.
Exercise will also effect CO2 levels, and very quickly. As exercise is initiated, it increases blood flow rate and temporarily lowers CO2. But when CO2 is already too low, this extra reduction makes us feel even worse. Do the math, why would you want to do something that makes you feels worse? This is the underlying dynamic causing the inertia and why it becomes a challenge to exercise. Fortunately, after the initial reduction of CO2, if the exercise is strenuous enough, CO2 will increase. And with it renewed vitality.
Some individuals have their chemistry so far out of balance that even physical activity required for daily living is an effort. They feel constant fatigue and not fun to be around. They do not even like being around themselves. Here is more math for you. Which exercise plan do you think would be easier for this person? Treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes, 4 times a week, or ARX for 6 minutes a week?
Low CO2 from improper diet, lack of exercise, or a combination of under-efficient metabolic pathways, makes it harder for us to get our head on straight and clean up our act in the new year. I believe we use the New Year’s resolution as a way to combat this situation. We set a goal, a brand new start, and hope it conjures up enough will power to over come the inertia.
Somehow the more grand the resolution the more meaningful, and therefore more worthy of our commitment to the goal. This has made detox programs so popular. Your kitchen becomes a concentration camp. How silly would it be if our resolution was to drink just one more glass of water a day? Interestingly, there was such a study
published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. The results showed statistical benefit for people wanting to control their weight or reduce dietary intake of sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. The truth is, our bodies are always detoxing. Just set up the right parameters and the self cleaning oven begins. Just how fast do you want to push it?
Are you going to take baby steps or set the bar high? Good baby steps suggestions are actions that restore your usual living rhythm. Start eating again at the same time of day. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. For me that means going to bed a little earlier. Over the holidays I stayed up watching TV or doing other atypical activities. It’s amazing the negative impact of short cycling your sleep. When you start to feel like yourself again, then re-evaluate how you want to proceed.
If you decide to do a detox, I suggest one that is relatively easy to implement. This will help to overcome the inertia issue. You will still get great results and then you can use the small success to help fuel a more aggressive goal if you feel the desire. Ask me about the liver cleanse program Selina and I have used. It was easy and we got great results.
Now it’s time to discuss some deeper considerations. What more can you do to ensure your success? What will you measure to evaluate your level of success? Well, we first need to define what success would be. I’m fairly certain most people will use weight reduction as their metrics of accomplishment. That’s fine if you just want to lose weight. Just stop eating. But I suggest you do not lose weight to get healthy. It is far better to get healthy to lose weight. There are many people with a perfect BMI and still suffer from chronic disease and die before their time.
Establish your baseline of health. This can be done with comprehensive lab-work and a metabolic evaluation we do in our office. Low iron, thyroid issues, electrolyte imbalance, blood sugar control, inflammation, and so much more, will undermine your best efforts. What good is it to win the battle but lose the war?
P.S. A quote to start the New Year:
“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!” - Joey Adams