It took me nearly a month to muster the guts to publish this article. But, following the massive response to my article earlier this week on the effect of sleep on fat, mood and brain-function, I knew it was time to come clean.
I’m fat. I’m tired. I’ve fallen off the lifestyle wagon.
When my mom was a kid, she was a paramedic and she used to tell stories about how many of the best, most-caring E.R. docs and nurses were chain-smoking, overweight, beer-swilling party-fiends. They’d kill to save lives, but, at the end of the day, have nothing left to save themselves.
It seems there’s a tendency among those who live to help others to neglect their own needs. As a leader in the healthy-living biz, I’ve known and worked with people like this for years. And, though I could sympathize with their plight, I always felt I stood apart from them in the way I lived my life. Which is why it was so difficult to admit…I had finally joined their ranks.
Over the last few years, my sleep habits have fallen apart, my exercise, yoga and mindset practices have become erratic and, at times, nearly non-existent. My body has paid the price in terms of fatigue, weight gain, loss of strength and flexibility and chronic pain.
My mindset, though bolstered by an amazing family and a career that totally jazzes me (yes, I am that odd guy who loves Sunday nights, because they mean I get to go back to work full-time), has also struggled under the weight of inactivity and being chronically over-tired. But, like they say…
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
Now, I’d love to blame my “fatiredness” (sweet, just created a new word) on my circumstances. Over the last few years, I’ve endured major orthopedic surgery that I am still rehabbing, a bizarre muscle-wasting virus and some other challenges I won’t get into here.
At the same time, my career evolved in wonderful ways and I’ve realized many dreams. But, those very successes brought with them way too many opportunities to abandon the healthy habits I valued so deeply. And, I gave in.
Man, it’s hard to wear your humanity on your sleeve when you’ve failed at something you’ve held so dear for so many years!
I’d love to blame circumstances.
Really, I would. But I can’t. Because I know circumstances don’t determine my reality, my response to circumstances does.
So, now it’s time to come clean, to choose to respond differently, to take control of the vitality I’ve given up and rebuild my mind-body with the same zest that has fueled such wonderful growth in both my family and my career over the last few years. And…
I’d like to invite you to join me in this journey.
Call me crazy, but I have a feeling I am not the only one riding the fatiredness wave.
In fact, if you believe the statistics…
- 66% of Americans are now overweight,
- 33% are obese,
- 54% of Americans are concerned about the amount of daily stress they suffer,
- 40-million Americans endure some form of sleep disorder and,
- While 90% readily admit exercise is critical to their long-term health, 85% don’t join gyms and a huge chunk of that 85% don’t exercise at all.
The cumulative effect is staggering in terms of pain, suffering, anxiety, depression and even money spent and lives lost. I know the effect has been increasingly brutal on me. But now…
It’s time to let the lifestyle-evolution begin!
The good news is, because I have overseen the lifestyle transformations of hundreds of people, from soccer-moms to CEOs to movie-stars, over the last ten-years, integrating the best of Western science with Eastern practices, I already know what to do.
My challenge now is to reintegrate these practices into my life in a way that will ensure the greatest likelihood of long-term adoption and a lifetime of profoundly improved physical and mental health.
I’m 42 years old, so my approach is necessarily different than it would’ve been when I was 22 or even 32. It needs to take into account the demands of my family, my career and the lifestyle I am committed to continuing to build.
So, what are the major elements of my lifestyle-evolution.
- Sleep transformation. Many of you have already read my article last week on the effect of poor sleep habits on your weight, mindset and cognitive abilities. Sleep problems also have a pretty major-league destructive impact on your long-term health and risk for disease, anxiety and depression.
- Exercise & movement. Exercise is the master key and the catalyst for improvement in all the other categories. It can improve sleep, reduce pain, increase strength and flexibility, encourage weight loss, increase energy, reduce risk of disease and enhance mood.
- Mindset training & stress-management. My blended study of mindset training from both an Eastern and Western standpoint has revealed a set of techniques that, practiced daily, induce a physiological state that dramatically improves your ability to handle stress, helps you sleep deeper and longer, improves your mood, reduces your risk of heart disease and seriously boosts your cognitive abilities and mental-edge.
- Optimal nutrition & weight-loss. I’m not talking about dieting here, but rather fueling the body for optimal health and, then, in conjunction with the other activities above, watching the weight fall away. To me, this is really the only sustainable way to approach nutrition. Not for the moment, but for life.
[I’ve left-out career integration, spirituality and family here simply because these elements, for me, are very much where I need them to be, so my focus is more narrowly tailored]
An invitation to join me in this journey.
I know, both from personal experience, from observing my clients and from published studies that the likelihood of succeeding at significant lifestyle evolution is hugely increased when supported by a team of people who not only guide and inspire you, but are right there in the trenches with you.
So, partly out of the desire to create a giant worldwide team of lifestyle visionaries and partly out of my own desire to succeed powerfully and quickly, I would love to invite you to join me in this experience. To participate fully in my lifestyle evolution and experience dramatic, lasting change in your mindset, your body and your health.
Here is what I am going to do.
I cannot possibly share everything I’ve learned over a lifetime of study, but I can reveal some powerful blocks of knowledge in a very condensed format. So, every Monday, from now through the end of December, I am going to publish an article that addresses each of the above four elements individually and:
- Reveals the research behind each major element above,
- Shows the impact that each element can have on your mind and body, both when neglected and when managed intelligently,
- Presents a set of immediately-actionable tools, techniques and practices that, adopted and integrated into your life, are capable of delivering breathtaking results remarkably quickly and, in the last two articles…
- Teaches you how to cultivate, create and stick to new lifestyle habits, and
- Lays out a highly-detailed, incremental, 6-month high-impact lifestyle evolution action plan.
By the end of the month, we’ll all have learned a lot. But, even more importantly…
We’ll be armed with a comprehensive set of new deeply-transformative practices.
Then, on January 1, 2008, rather than welcoming a new year with resignation and repeating the same resolutions we’ve failed at year after year, we’ll join together to launch our lifestyle-evolution team.
And, we’ll reconnect on the blog every Monday to share our experiences, challenges and triumphs and provide inspiration, education and accountability.
So, there it is. I’ve confessed, I’ve unburdened, I’ve committed to redefine the state of my body and mind. And, I’ve asked you to come along for the journey of a lifetime.
If you’re in, let me know, either in the comments below or just drop me an e-mail at “jonathan [at] jonathanfields [dot] com.
Oh, and please remember to subscribe to the blog, so that you’ll be sure not to miss the critical Monday dispatches or any of the other posts and articles I’ll be sharing along the way. And, feel free to tell everyone you know to come on over, subscribe, read the dispatches and join the fun!
As always, thanks for your kindness. Share your thoughts below…
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