Our Most Successful Clients Adopted These Top Lifestyle Changes in 2021Luke Coutinho
As 2021 draws to an end, we decided to look back and reflect on the journeys of our clients over the last year. And these are the top lifestyle changes that had a phenomenal impact on their health and recovery. Want to know more? Watch this video until the end.
Delve deeper into the details of each of these lifestyle changes and how you can incorporate it below.
Slow down. Chew every bite. Don’t forget to bless your food with gratitude and energy.
Nutrition goes beyond what you eat. It is also about how your body absorbs and assimilates your food which depends on how well you chew it. Fast-paced eaters, take notes. Most of us think that digestion starts in the stomach, but it starts in our mouth. The more you chew your food, the more your teeth break it down into smaller particles. Your saliva has two main enzymes – amylase and lipase that enhance the digestion of carbohydrates and fats in our mouth.
When you rush through eating your food, you do not use your teeth effectively to break it down into smaller particles. It causes large chunks of partially digested food to enter your stomach and cause acidity, indigestion, gut inflammation and bloating.
Want to master the art of chewing? All it takes is dedication, discipline, commitment, and practice. Start with one meal, eat mindfully without any distractions, bless your food and express gratitude. Eat one bite at a time. Chew every morsel well before you move to the next. Do not rush. Now practice, practice, practice – until it becomes a habit. Experience the magic yourself. Learn more here.
Eat a rainbow plate. Eat for a smart immune system, lower inflammation, energy, and vitality.
Your body consists of trillions of cells that seek nutrition from the food you eat. Macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals from balanced meals boost your immune system to fight inflammation, swelling, bacteria, infection, and viruses. Remember, the more colorful your plate, the better your immunity.
One rule to follow when it comes to this is simplicity. Keep your meals simple, wholesome, and diverse. Some of the most effective nutrition strategies revolve around incorporating grains, pulses, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils, and ghee, among other readily available foods.
Divide your plate into three quadrants. The largest quadrant can consist of starchy and non-starchy vegetables, the second-largest quadrant of animal or plant-based proteins, and the smallest can contain carbohydrates from grains and cereals. So, eat a rainbow for two out of three meals at least.
Adjust your portion intakes according to the requirement of your body, medical condition, and weight goals. Keep your medical professional in the loop. Need more tips? Read this.
Move, move and move. Build discipline and maintain consistency first.
Ensure your workout regime involves mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and mental fitness. Rest and recovery are magic when it comes to exercise, growth and repair. Prioritize them.
Movement is medicine only when done the right way. In integrative and lifestyle medicine, we focus on adequate exercise/movement. Yes, exercise or movement helps improve blood circulation and stimulate your lymphatic system (the garbage disposal unit of our body) to get rid of toxins. But overtraining can cripple your overall health just as much as undertraining can. And it is even worse when coupled with under-sleeping.
Recovery is everything. Unfortunately, many young people today are falling for the trap of overtraining and under-eating, often undermining the injuries and harm it can inflict on their bodies. How does one tackle this?
Make recovery and rest a part of the plan. You exercise more, you rest more. It is not cool to skip sleep to go for a morning run or sweat buckets in the gym. Even pro athletes do not train every day. Rest days are a part of their training schedule.
Follow circadian rhythm living
In our line of work, we deal with end-of-life patients, cancers, rare syndromes, metabolic diseases, diabetes, hormonal disorders, lifestyle and autoimmune conditions, and much more. What has worked powerfully for them over and above their medications/treatments is aligning their lifestyles to the circadian rhythm. When put onto the circadian rhythm cycle, the intelligence of their body begins to kick in and works to identify, repair and fix.
Humans are products of nature, and we thrive when we live according to the cycles of nature. If we go against the circadian rhythm, even the best treatment, medicines, doctors, nutritionists, spiritual healers, or yoga experts will not work effectively.
Here are the nine rules of circadian rhythm living that you can follow
- Wake up with the rising sun and connect with nature.
- Avoid using technology or gadgets immediately after waking up.
- Avoid drinking coffee or tea for the first three hours of your day.
- Eat only after sunrise.
- Consume maximum calories for breakfast and lunch and minimum for dinner. Let dinner be the leanest meal of the day.
- Eat your dinner during or before sunset.
- Keep a two or three-hour gap between dinner and bedtime.
- Maintain the same sleep and wake up every day.
- Dim all lights and disconnect from all the gadgets two hours before sleeping.
Download our book on A New Way of Living – Circadian Rhythm here.
Sleep in a pitch dark room to improve the secretion of your sleep hormone, melatonin.
Be consistent with your gadgets and digital detox. The emission of blue light from them delays the onset of sleep. So, limiting your screen time to at least an hour or two before bed is necessary. When you switch off all lights half an hour before bedtime, it signals your body that it is time to fall asleep. These lights suppress the secretion of your sleep hormone, melatonin. So, ensure you sleep in a pitch dark room to help enhance melatonin secretion. Here are a few pre-bedtime rituals you can follow.
Practice left nostril breathing to relax before bed.
What is left nostril breathing or Moon breathing/Chandra Bhedna? Our left nostril (Chandra Nadi) corresponds to the moon, which is thought to be very soothing and cooling. Left nostril breathing thus helps you relax and cool down, a prerequisite state required for deep sleep.
Steps to follow:
- Sit crossed leg on the bed or floor. Ensure your back is straight, the chin is parallel to the ground, and the shoulders are rolled back.
- Make a pranayama mudra with your right hand by pressing the index and middle finger of your hand towards the base of your thumb. It is called the Vishnu Mudra.
- Now, use your right thumb to shut the right nostril. (If you are left-handed, use your left thumb and shut the right nostril).
- Inhale through your left nostril while keeping the right one closed.
- After a full inhale, close your left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. This comprises one round. Now, try the other nostril.
- Practice 10-15-20-25 rounds of this breathing just before sleep.
- Keep your eyes closed for deeper relaxation.
- Learn more breathing techniques for better sleep here.
Make your to-do list for tomorrow before you sleep.
Don’t forget to set an intention or make your to-do list for the next day before you sleep. A to-do list helps you stay organized and makes your tasks for the next day seem more manageable. Having a clear outline of the goals and striking them off the list can be rewarding. Did you also know to-do lists improve your memory, increase productivity, and work as great motivational tools? These have worked brilliantly for our clients. We hope they work for you too.
Remember, YOU are UNIQUE. Stop comparing yourself, how you look, or what you have with others.
One commonality between those struggling to remain happy and maintain optimal health is their constant habit of comparison. Comparison with others can push you on a downward spiral because it is the biggest thief of joy.
Understand that –
- You are a unique individual. There are NO two YOUs.
- When you look at the latest fad diets, follow them, and don’t get the same results as the chiseled-bodied celebrities, know that you are built differently. The needs of your body will never be the same as anybody else’.
- When you spend time comparing yourself to others, your self-esteem continues to drop. Every second you waste comparing, you lose your own time to evolve.
- Comparison causes residual resentment and bitterness to eat into you like rust. It can cause you to age rapidly because you are stressed and hard on yourself all the time.
How to stop this vicious cycle?
- Make a list of all your positive traits and achievements. This will increase your self-esteem and subtly shift focus from what you don’t have to what you do. Acknowledge it, make it count.
- Rewire out your mindset and work with your beliefs. The grass is always greener on the other side. How about you nurture your own garden patch to get there?
- Have a crystal clear vision of your goals. You may wish for your future to be different. But you can still work with what your life is right now. Accept that first and march forward.
- Gratitude helps you refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel difficult at first, daily practice helps. Simple ways to cultivate gratitude regularly include:
- Offer gratitude by saying “Thanks” to someone. “Thank you” is a magical and powerful word. When said genuinely, it has the power to change the energy around us.
- Write a thank you letter or a gratitude note or email to someone.
- Write three things you were grateful for at the end of every day. It is a powerful practice before sleep as it shifts your mind from a state of stress to calm and peace.
- Maintain a gratitude journal and pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings, reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for.
- Say a gratitude prayer before sitting down to eat a meal. Do it as a family ritual to involve your family members too.
- Use prayer to cultivate gratitude if you are religious.
Do you remember how that last hug from your loved one felt? Or if your last meal made you happy? We are moving very fast, on autopilot every single day. So, we miss out on the little things that have the greatest impact. Mindfulness is the one powerful practice that can help plug this gap.
It doesn’t necessarily mean isolating yourself in a room, chanting affirmations, or meditating for hours. It simply refers to a state where you focus on the present and become fully aware of where you are and what you are doing. It is a superpower you already possess. All you need to learn is — pause, take a step back and channelize it.
Everyday mindfulness moves your approach from reacting to situations to understanding them and taking necessary action. It makes daily living more enjoyable and less stressful. It also teaches you to not let regrets from the past or anxiety about the future affect your present.
Want to learn how to do it? Join our 29-Day Mindfulness Journey Here.
Learn the art of acceptance, letting go, and forgiveness.
Acceptance and letting go – when it comes to any stress in your life, these are the two solutions. These are easier to say but difficult to practice because our fears and insecurities often become roadblocks. A powerful exercise you can try is to take a pen and paper right now and write down everything that is stressing you out in your life. When you reflect on things you have written down, you will realize that some of these will be in your control, while others will not. This is how acceptance and letting go can help you.
Similarly, forgiveness is easier said than done. But it is a gift of peace that we give ourselves. It involves letting go of our ego and pride. It may take a lot of self-work, but in the end, it is worth the effort. Even if the person who hurt you remains unaware of the damage they caused and move on, you will not remain affected and pulled down by the emotions.
- Write down the names of people you are struggling to forgive. Besides their name, mention the hurt they caused you. It will bring you clarity about the cause of your anger, the inability to forgive, and give you strength to forgive.
- Close your eyes and center yourself with deep breaths.
- Visualize having a conversation with each of these people, expressing your hurt. Feel all your emotions.
- Once done, confess that you want to forgive them despite finding it very difficult because you want to move on.
- Now open your eyes, go back to your list and write: “I have forgiven you from my heart.”
- Tear the paper and throw it away.
It may seem like an illusion, but these visualizations move the feeling of forgiveness to your subconscious mind and redeem yourself from the emotions holding you back.
Surrender to the power of silence and reflection.
Reflection is one skill that can change every aspect of your life, whether you are trying to improve your health, lose weight, recover from a disease, cope with heartbreak, or anything. When you harness the power of reflection, you learn to take responsibility for your actions.
Most of us move through life very quickly and forget to take five or ten minutes to reflect every day and ask ourselves – how is my day going or how am I feeling? We constantly move from one activity to another in a mindless way without realizing our day is a gift to us. If you don’t have time to reflect on that, you are worn out all the time. You are so connected outwards and constantly seeking validation from others that you miss an inner connection. When you reflect on your day, you will find several blessings to offer gratitude for.
Another exercise to enhance reflection is to wake up in the morning and set an intention for the day. Is it avoiding sugar, going for a 30-minute walk, completing a long-pending task? Complete this loop by reflection at the end of your day. If you finished the task, pat yourself on the back. If you made mistakes, reflect on what you can learn from them. Try this and let us know if it worked. Check out or 17-day Power of Reflection and Gratitude Journey here.
No matter how chaotic your mind is – when you meditate, you relax. Meditation helps you move from your sympathetic to your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest mode). It isn’t complex, but people complicate it. They expect closing their eyes will make all thoughts stop and wait for peace to arrive.
The objective of meditation is not peace but to introspect and look inside ourselves. Many run to the mountains to meditate. Good for them, but we need to be truthful to ourselves.
If you set the right intention, you can meditate in the middle of the most crowded city in the world. Keep it simple and practical. If you do not want to meditate, sit in silence for five to 20 minutes. When you harness the power of your subconscious mind, you will experience a sense of clarity like never before. We have come across people who enter deep meditation and decide to change their careers because they realize their true purpose in life and their interests.
You have a purpose in life too. Remember, you don’t need to go around the world to find it. Start in that one chair every day by starting your meditation.
We hope these learnings help you too. And as we set foot into 2022, we wish for it to be the year where you and your families embrace lifestyle. Yes, take medications if you have to, but do not let that blind you from making lifestyle changes and giving your body the basics of nutrition, rest, recovery, emotional wellness, and movement. Even medications cannot work effectively without lifestyle changes. And while you practice your faith, we also hope you make LIFESTYLE your religion.
Here’s wishing you a holistic, healthy, and happy new year.
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