The Toughest Muscle To Train: Your Brain

It is estimated that humans have over 6,000 thoughts per day.  My husband will tell you that’s more like an hourly estimation in this house 😊 but the total isn’t relevant, it’s the percentage of thoughts based on the truth that we need to care about.

We tell ourselves some pretty hairy stories.  We say things about ourselves that we’d never say to anyone else. Which one fits you?  I’m not good enough.  I’ll be happy when I lose 10 lbs.  I don’t deserve to get that promotion.  He, she or they will love me if I look better.  How many of the 6,000 thoughts per day do you have about yourself and how many of those are self-deprecating and why?  Seriously, why?  How’s that working out for you?

Somewhere along the way, you were told something terrible that you believed.  And then the ego went and searched for dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of data points to reinforce those limiting beliefs but did you ever fact check them? Where is the proof that you aren’t good enough or that you aren’t capable of being happy right now?  Go ahead and dig it up…I’ll wait.

You can’t find it.  The truth is that those stories were never true.  And you cost yourselves dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of joyful moments because you allowed the story to continue to breathe.  What waters, grows, right?  So just as you chose to believe the story, choose to believe the opposite.  You are good enough.  Perfectly good in fact.  You are happy now.  You DO deserve that promotion.  Your love is meant for someone else.  Whatever the story is, it’s time to change the narrative.  The meaning.  The choice starts and ends with you and it’s a lot easier to flip the switch than you think.

Retraining your brain takes some commitment but it’s not hard once you know what to look for.  My clients have these principles woven into their coaching programs because I firmly believe that the mind/body/soul approach to health and wellbeing is the only way to make lasting changes. So get started, you’ve got too much living to do to waste any more time on these old, dusty stories…

It’s All About Energy

Broken down into it’s simplest point, your body needs energy in order to survive.  As a car requires gasoline in order to go anywhere, your body requires energy in order to carry out it’s biological functions ranging from breathing, eating, digesting, performing – they all require energy.  Reading this post – requires energy.

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created, it must be transferred or converted from one form or another. And this is where we introduce adenosine triphosphate or ATP.  ATP is the molecule responsible for energy and it relies upon macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) as it’s source for energy.  To continue along the car analogy we can think of carbs as the high performance octane, fats as the mid level grade, and protein as regular grade.  They all serve a purpose.  Settle down, I’m not giving you permission to double your carb intake! 🙂 

Carbohydrates get a pretty bad rap in the health and wellbeing industry but they play a very critical role in the human body.  In fact, they are your body’s MAIN SOURCE of energy and the most efficient at producing ATP.  It is because of this that the body preferentially breaks down carbs first, then fats and THEN protein only if the other two fields are depleted.  Carbs fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles and the central nervous system.  In fact a diet that is too low in carbohydrates can cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, nausea, constipation, difficulty concentrating (brain fog), bad breath and even vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Fats are also important in the body.  At 9 calories per gram, they are the most concentrated source of energy (double carbs and protein which are each 4 calories per gram).  Fat is the transportation macro.  It helps to transport fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K and supports their absorption in the intestine.  Fat also supports cell growth, protects your organs and helps to keep your body warm.  Fat also helps to produce hormones.  Fats aren’t soluble in the blood so their stores can be difficult to access.  That is why they aren’t relied upon for large amounts of ATP but a backup in case the carbohydrate supply is limited.  Lastly, not all fats are created equal, but that’s another post for another time.

Proteins exist in every single cell of the human body.  Protein helps to repair cells, generate new cell growth and is a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in the blood.  Protein helps to create antibodies that fight off infections and illness.  Proteins are really important to maintaining healthy, strong muscles and tissues.  Proteins CAN be used to produce ATP however proteins are required for so many other functions within the body that they are not prioritized.

In summary, it’s all about energy.  In order to sleep, you need energy.  In order to eat, you need energy.  In order to breathe, or walk or run or cook….you need energy.  Hopefully with today’s blog you have a slightly better understanding of what each macro’s role is in the production of energy that fuels you throughout the day.  As always, I’m here to discuss.

What Is An Intention?

An intention is a direction you want to head toward.  A feeling you want to achieve. A desired future state. An environment other than the one you are currently in.  How you want to act and/or feel.  Choosing what to focus on.  When deciding you want to change, or move things in a different direction, the intention is the first stop on the journey.  Goals come next.  Don’t jump ahead.  Intentions are cornerstone.  They are what you come back to when you feel your mind wandering – when you begin to engage in the dangerous and destructive practice of comparison, envy or jealousy.  Bring yourself right back to what you want.  Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel?  Only you can answer those questions. It’s unique to you, your journey and your story. 

I prefer to set my intention first thing in the morning – like a roadmap for the day, week and month ahead.  I remind myself each day, right when I wake up, what my intention is, and I surround myself with people and activities that lead toward my intention (and try not to engage in anything that doesn’t, although some of that is outside of our control!).  My intention is by definition, mine so I don’t care who likes it or who doesn’t because it’s not for them.  It’s for me. 

There is no shortage of resources out there to help you navigate intention setting but the leading expert is probably the Chopra Center.  They wrote “5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions” and detailed the do’s and don’ts but in my personal opinion, depending on your current state of mind, you could risk overthinking your intention and it loses it’s authenticity and meaning.  Don’t overthink.  Simply sit still and allow the thoughts to come to you.  Answer the questions listed above and write down the first things that come to your mind.  Those are the thoughts you experience most often, the things that are of utmost importance to you and therefore the groundwork for your intention. 

Next is applying the intention.  Put it into practice.  How do you go from dreaming about a different path, to walking on it, or better yet – paving it?  Easy.  You make it part of the fabric of your day.  You wake up declaring that today is going to move you closer to that intention.  That if you stray from the intention, you will do your best to return to it.  That every choice you have, leads you in that direction and you leave simple reminders either on your phone or taped to your computer monitor as reinforcements.  Soon, the intention will just become part of who you are, part of the new you, and present in your actions.