Mindful Healing

From burnt out to feeling calm and energised…

mum-asleep-on-floor

I don’t think I realised just how burnt out I was from a full on 3rd school term, and a pretty intense year so far….until taking some time out in the school holidays with the kids and after 2 weeks STILL feeling like not only had I stopped the adrenalin treadmill but I had fallen flat on my face and I was finding it very hard to get back up!

Have you ever had that feeling?

Even though I had been nurturing myself with afternoon meditations that I have to admit had turned into afternoon naps…and trying to get more sleep, get out into the fresh air, gentle exercise, reducing work, eat healthy meals….I still felt low on energy and I was craving sugary treats!   Luckily I had some other strategies up my sleeve which really helped and I’m keen to share them here!

I went to see a Chinese Medicine Practitioner for chinese herbs and acupuncture….it had been a while for me and this just felt sooooo nurturing and like the beginning of my energy levels coming back (Thanks Steph)!  Each time I drank the herbal brew I would have the mantra ‘ nourish, I am nourishing/nurturing my body!’ and I could feel a difference!

Then I caught the throat infection that the kids had had (just when I thought I’d escaped it!) so my next strategy was to visit a naturopath and that was really eye opening (thanks Nyree)!  To see on a screen my own blood cells and really see that they are not getting enough essential fatty acids, or B12 or magnesium etc made it seem essential to start making some changes and take some healthy supplements!

I was a bit scared when Nyree suggested that I reduce my sugar, caffeine and refined carbohydrates intake but it made sense and that day I bought the I Quit Sugar Book https://iquitsugar.com/ and That Sugar Film Book http://thatsugarfilm.com/ !   Initially I wasn’t sure but these authors convinced me within a few pages..mainly because they are all about taking a gentle approach and being kind to your own body!   So I decided I’d reduce sugar and bread but still have black tea, fruit and a tinge of honey in my chai – and pasta and rice with the kids at dinner time…..gently, gently….

I cannot believe how much better I feel after 8 days… I am truly feeling more energy internally and it is a total relief to get off the sugar high and sugar low roller coaster ride!  What has amazed me is the kids were really interested in the That Sugar Book and as a family we watched the That Sugar Film – very entertaining and sooo eye opening!  So now even the 4 teens in our house haven’t complained about no dessert being offered even though they haven’t changed their diet that much!

What has helped so much to keep the sugar cravings at bay (thanks Nyree) has been to add in lots of healthy fats, and to make little treats that have very little sugar in them but are filled with coconut oil and cacao and nut butters (A fave is here at http://divascancook.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-fat-bombs-keto-diet-recipe/ with Rice Syrup being the sweetener)…as well as a range of herbal teas (licorice root and spiced dandelion!        Also I have found that eating healthy fats without sugar and refined carbs, my appetite sensors are back and I am feeling really full after each meal!  Buying an abundance of healthy foods and eating very mindfully has really helped me to appreciate all this amazing food rather than feeling deprived!

The other thing that has helped greatly in this process is to keep up with the acupuncture and herbs…and to see my mindfulness coach twice through this process.  For me it was a BIG, no, HUGE realisation (thanks Kareen) to see that I was using the sugar and caffeine to keep me going….to give me a false sense of energy, to push myself to do more work!  And so going through the coaching process has really helped me to step back, go at a slower pace, relish life more, listen to my body and rest or change what I’m doing if it needs to!  It has really helped me to become a better , kinder and friendlier boss to myself!

So it’s early days yet – but I just wanted to share with you what has really worked for me when feeling really burnt out.  I’m enjoying the benefits of being off sugar so much I have joined the I Quit Sugar 8 week online program https://iquitsugar.com/ if you would like to join me?

I feel so grateful that we have so many amazing local practitioners who can become our support team and really help us to nurture and nourish ourselves.  I’d love to hear what has worked for you?

And I’m wondering where you are at now?  Do you need any extra support?   A key focus in my coaching with clients is on self -care and deep nurturing…sometimes we teach what we most need to learn, no?

If you would like to get in touch with me about the coaching I do I’m at sara@mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com or www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com

Cheers, Sara 🙂

 

 

Riding the Craving Wave

I’ve been trying to lose the weight I put on during the stressful move interstate.  First I increased my exercise mainly with a Fitbit (a great pedometer that puts all your results onto a phone app).  And felt better for it but only lost weight in the first week.  Then I tried tracking my foods with Weight Watchers ( http://www.weightwatchers.com.au/ ) in a way I was familiar with and it worked last time …..but no change in weight!!  Even though at least I felt healthier and was back to eating when hungry!   

Luckily I went to a Weight Watchers meeting a couple of weeks ago and got a very small handbook on Simple Start where they advocate just eating healthy & filling foods for all you meals, as much as you need to feel satisfied with high fibre & high protein to fill you up – and only have 1-2 small treats for the whole day and so far so good it seems to be working! 

I think the other reason I’m able to limit the sweet comfort treats is a strategy I have been practising from the Weight Escape book, (http://www.theweightescape.com/ ) linked to the Act Mindfully movement ( http://www.actmindfully.com.au/ ) for the last 2 months.  SLOWLY I have been learning to mindfully observe & investigate the cravings….   Even though it seems obvious now, I hadn’t actually linked my daily mindfulness practice to my attempt to eat healthier foods…..and things started to feel better when I combined the two. 

So first I resolved to eat mindfully every meal, at least for a moment was the goal (see earlier blog) – but then Much Much Harder was to pause and actually pay attention to the CRAVING wave that happens around certain foods.  To really investigate how strong is the craving, how long can you resist it for, if you give into it how much do you give into it, how does it feel when you do? Immediately afterwards and 30 minutes afterwards?  

I was shocked at how hard it was to feel the craving and not give into it!   We really seem to be biologically conditioned to eat high energy dense food and to eat too much of it when it is there!  There was a part of my brain that really felt like the world would end if I didn’t get that sugary treat or go back for seconds….and immediately after giving into it there was the sweet relief of NOT having to fight the craving anymore….but  then I noticed that 20 mins afterwards I felt sleepy, lethargic, didn’t feel so energised and wanted another sweet treat to get going again!   So initially it was a devastating process to realise how easily I gave into my cravings…I felt very weak-willed and a couple of times was very nearly about to give up!  By my determination to be healthy now and into the future kept me going and as others say….you have to know what you are NOT doing….to learn to do it differently… I guess that’s really what mindfulness practice is all about….observe deeply what happens, then deep learning and deep change can happen?

After 2 months persistence I am still feeling the craving…but my brain is learning that giving in doesn’t necessarily make me feel better….it’s getting easier to ride the wave and come out the other side without having given in….or at least NOT give in enough to lose a bit of weight!  The weight escape book is reassuring in saying we’ll always experience the craving….and we’ll often give into it….but we can learn enough mindful self control to be healthy….so here’s hoping I can keep riding the craving wave!