This guest post by Lynn Louise Wonders suggests we tap into the wisdom of our own bodies during this transition (and after.) Read it carefully – it’s so good that I wish I’d written it! Enjoy!
By the time we hit the age of menopause, we start to realize that the body seems to have a mind of its own.
We can no longer bake in the sun working for that golden tan without paying the steep price of leathered skin.
Gone are the days of noshing on an entire bag of chips and bouncing to the gym the next day to work it off easy-peasy.
The upside of this slippery slope is that we can begin to realize and REVERE the fact that this body has not only a mind of its own but a wisdom. An intelligence.
With hormones gone awry, metabolism halting with a screech and a growing desire to be deeply connected and respectful of what our bodies are trying to tell us, many of us middle aged women are seeking a holistic weight loss solution.
We don’t want the stimulant diet pills or the plans where we eat only pickles for weeks where we lose a lot of weight only to gain it all back later.
We don’t want to spend hours daily pumping iron and racing on the treadmill (okay, some of us love that! but many of us don’t, right?).
We are seeking a softer path.
A path that is easier on the joints and meanders flexibly within our very full lives.
We have teenagers, careers, community projects, meaningful hobbies, relationships to nurture.
We want to FEEL good in our bodies.
We want our eyes to shine and our skin to be clear with a glow from the inside that comes from leading a healthy, well-balanced life.
There are so many lifestyle changes that can be made in order to observe a holistic plan for wellness and weight loss. It all begins, though, with learning to mind the body. Want to give this a try?
Sit where you are. Look up from your computer or device and gaze around you. Try to just notice. Pay close attention to the objects and sounds in and around the room you’re in without labeling anything. Without analyzing. Without judging anything as good, bad, pretty, ugly. Just notice it.
Now, close your eyes. Feel the seat underneath you, the floor under your feet. Allow your body to sink into the support there.
Notice sounds in and around the room. Don’t react. Just notice.
Begin to notice your breath. Notice how it comes in and out of the body on its own accord. Feel the sensation.
When you practice this non-judgmental noticing with a healthy dose of deep reverence for the wisdom your body is eager to share with you, you will begin to hear guiding messages from your body.
If you eat something… say… a big hunk of bread… and you notice 10 minutes later your belly is really bloated… there might be some information to notice there.
If you notice your lips are cracked and dry no matter how much moisturizer you put on them… there is likely a message there to uncover.
Many times we need a health practitioner to help us figure out what messages our body is sending us. Sometimes we need supplementation of particular vitamins or minerals. And sometimes if we listen, pay close enough attention without giving way to frustration with the messages (a.k.a. symptoms) we might just feel our way to a new direction.
If our bodies feel stiff and tight from sitting all day, some stretching and moving is in order. But how often do we continue to sit and sit and sit because we have a work deadline or we just ignore the body’s signals?
Same thing with releasing excess weight for women over 40.
If we are carrying excess weight the body has some information for us. In order to release that excess weight we have to tune in to what the body needs first and foremost.
Holistic weight loss for women over 40 begins with a profound choice to slow down, tune in, breathe deeply and mind your body. Listen…. really listen. Look for the softer path…
Along my own personal journey and in my coaching programs with women over 40, I see that when we are at the great pause in life, our bodies and perhaps even our spirits are calling us to do this differently. With mindfulness we are able to make different choices.
Here are 7 ways you can create a softer path after the pause to support healthy weight release:
Begin a daily practice of mindfulness as described above. Sit for 10 minutes each day. Leave the eyes open for the first minute and then close the eyes. Observe, notice sensations, sounds, smells without judging or evaluating. Bring this mindfulness practice into daily life – grocery shopping, driving, meal preparation and especially at meal time.
Seek out the dark leafy greens, fiber-rich fruits and veggies as central to your meals.
Step away from sugar, wine and white flour.
Get a dose of Omega 3 at each meal to ease inflammation in the body (wild caught salmon, walnuts, flax-seed)
Create a healthy sleep regimen – 8 hours of slumber in a cool, cotton nightie and a dark cool room each night. Remove all electronics from the bedroom.
Take a brisk walk 20 minutes every day. Make this a standing date with yourself. Look up at the tree tops, swing your arms, smile as you savor your aliveness.
Learn to relax and respond rather than react. Number 1 and 2 are a start for cultivating this practice. Add in purposeful relaxation time. Massage, hot baths, guided meditations, a restorative yoga class.
You are in the most incredible stage of life. Listen to your body’s wisdom. Relax into your true self.
Lynn Louise Wonders is a licensed professional counselor and a holistic mind+body coach, helping women over 40 redesign their lives. She offers a wide array of holistic services, programs and products through her online marketplace www.wonderswellness.com and live in-person at her brick-n-mortar location Wonders Wellness Center located in metro Atlanta, GA.
Check out Lynn’s Facebook pages: Wonders Wellness and Wonders Yoga and Counseling
Her Twitter handle is @lynnwonders