Get Out of Your Own Way – and Get Healthier Now

I just returned from Serious Business, the leading conference organized by Neill Corporation, and the brainchild of Debra Neill Baker and Carol Augusto. This year’s theme was “Get out of your own way,” a powerful reminder that despite our best intentions, we are sometimes our own worst enemies…  

One of the keynote speakers was Ben Greenfield, who spoke about habits to enhance health and longevity, as reported in the book Blue Zones. This resonated with me particularly strongly as I recently read the book Ikigai, which touches on the same theme, and am in already struggling to keep some of my New Year’s resolutions.

The list of healthy habits below may not be new information, but I know I get in my own way, and needed the reminder. Here are Ben Greenfield’s healthful recommendations for cleaner, better, longer living.

  1. Don’t smoke. (If not for longer living, do this for better skin)
  2. Avoid sugar and vegetable oil.
  3. Eat dark colored fruits and vegetables, like purple cabbage and blueberries. (And put them on your skin too!)
  4. Eat legumes.
  5. Implement 12-16 hours of intermittent fasting in your routine, to help your body “clean up the trash.” That may mean giving up breakfast…
  6. Go to the gym, yes. But beyond that, incorporate low impact movement every day. (Walking or gardening come to mind) 
  7. Ensure you have a strong sense of community. (When is the last time you called your best friend?) 
  8. Possess a strong life purpose, what the Japanese call “ikigai”
  9. Ruthlessly eliminate the sense of hurry to minimize stress.
  10. Engage in a spiritual discipline, religion, or the belief in a higher power.  
  11. Remain reproductively useful. (Yes, he did tell the audience to have more sex) 
  12. Drink a little every day, mostly wine, preferably red.
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How Ada Stays Healthy, Happy and Sane – Part 2 of 3

In the first section of this three-part series, I spoke about the strategies I use to increase my daily productivity. Here are ways that I make sure I stay healthy and well-groomed amongst the busyness of my travels and day-to-day schedule:

– I put grooming appointment on my to-do list just like I do work projects. That helps me stick to them and take care of myself. I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself. And looking good and groomed impacts how I behave. Same with my exercise routine. 3x per week, every week.

– Red lipstick. I mention this often – red lipstick makes me feel pulled together. Powerful. Beautiful. Ready for whatever the day has in store for me.

– I have been tracking my calories for 2.5 years with LoseIt. Every day. I log my exercise, what I eat and drink, and look at the numbers be green or red. It is a constant reminder that everything I consume is a choice. And just like tracking my time helps me work smarter, tracking my calories helps me make smarter choices and maintain my goal weight.

(Note: Read Part 1 and Part 3 of this series.)