Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Journey to Me-Dom

Where have I been???  Vacation!  :)  Now back to business!

Last week I decided to focus on my poor sleeping habits.  We know that sleep is important for virtually every single function our bodies complete in a lifetime.  In fact, just last week I was privileged to hear the results from a research study recently completed that shows the importance regulated sleep has even when it comes to cancer, specifically breast cancer and the recurrence of it, and in balancing our cortisol levels at night.  (If you are interested in listening to the results of the study click here.)  My problem is not falling asleep really as much as staying asleep.  I decided to focus on relaxation techniques specifically by instituting a ritual at night designed to calm and relax me and to also hopefully instill a bit of the old "Pavlov's Dogs" type of response by training my brain to understand that this ritual is a sign that it is time to go to sleep and stay asleep.  (To read about my new nightly ritual click here.)  Now, I can't say that I'm not waking up at all at night these days because of course I still am here and there.  My ritual cannot control for noisy neighbors, howling winds, pets climbing on you, or uncomfortable temperature changes in the room.  That being said, the power of suggestion can be an extremely competent tool in conquering the stubborn brain and I have been sleeping for longer periods of time than is typical for me and more deeply than usual and have even found myself feeling sleepy earlier in the evening than I'm used to.  Is the last part due to the seasons changing?   Possibly, but Pavlov knew what he was doing to those dogs when he rang that bell, and I know what I'm doing when I start slathering a product onto the soles of my feet and that specific scent wafts into my nostrils.  Is it the scent that starts me towards a night of restful sleep or is it the process of slowing down, completing a relaxing regimen, and thinking about being asleep that does the trick?  I'd say it is probably a bit of both.  Massaging the bottoms of your feet certainly doesn't hurt either.

So, I consider my last little self-experiment a success and a step in the right direction when it comes to living my most authentic life which leads me to this weeks challenge.  At some point in my 38 years I read somewhere that a good way to get yourself to eat foods that you might not normally enjoy eating is to add hot sauce to them to mask and enhance the natural flavor.  Hot sauce is also known for speeding the metabolism, assisting in the digestive process, and as a bonus is a condiment with fewer calories than many other options available.  Now you know that I have made other changes to my diet recently with the addition of eggs and cottage cheese (to read about my egg and cottage cheese challenge click here) and are aware that I have the worst eating habits ever.  While the edition of eggs and cottage cheese to my diet is a step in the right direction it also throws my protein/fruits & vegetables/carbs balance way out of whack.  It is important that I start to introduce more vegetables back into my diet, specifically green leafy vegetables.  Now I happen to enjoy green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale now and then and don't really need to add hot sauce to them to convince myself to choke them down.  However, anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE HOT SAUCE!!!!!!!!!  That's right!  I admit it!  I'm a spicy food junky!  Where other people have a sweets weakness I have a buffalo sauce, jalapenos, chilies weakness.  The idea of adding hot sauce to foods I already enjoy just to remind me to eat them more often to me is like "YES PLEASE!"  I'm totally there!  Now if the idea of hot things makes you cringe you have to understand that it is an acquired taste.  You have to start small and work your way up.  You also have to understand that people who enjoy spicy foods love them because there is a flavor associated with them that you can't find anywhere else.  It isn't about having something to prove and ordering the butt blastin' sauce just because your buddies are watching and might think you are a wimp for ordering an enjoyable medium or hot sauce like a normal person.  It's about the perfect blend of heat and vinegar and yumminess that tickles your tastebuds in just the right way.  So if you stay away from hot things try them again and start slow.  As you acquire the taste for them you will work your way up to the perfect heat level for you and that is where you should stop.  If you are the kind of person who is just too stubborn and couldn't be paid to try a hot sauce then that's fine.  It's more about the idea of adding foods into your diet that are good for you and jazzing them up in a way that makes them more palatable without adding calories to ensure that you will continue to eat them regularly.  It's the additional calories you really have to watch out for so just find a flavor that works for you even if it comes in the form of dry spices and then eat up.  For me specifically, by adding a green leafy vegetable into my diet daily it puts me up to 4 small "meals" per day (the word meal is a stretch.  The word serving would be more appropriate.) which is another step in the right direction on my journey to living my best life.  As always I invite you to join me by following along, participating, or even tweaking my challenges to meet your specific needs as you travel along your own journey to living your best life.  This is my journey to Me-Dom.

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