Optimize your nutrition – feed yourself like a baby.
Any good nutritionist will tell you that all of the processed and chemical-laden foods are aging us. The stuff is pumping our bodies with hormones and pesticides that our bodies weren’t meant to process. Our systems end up working much harder and longer in order to protect our critical organs from the poisons.
As you think about how to eat, think about how you would feed a newborn baby… only the best. We think carefully about what goes into their mouths, opting for vegetable purees and whole grain cereals.
Try it yourself! Switching to a mostly organic and whole food diet (and if that’s not possible, ditch the fast and processed foods in favor of food that you can prepare yourself) will help you to feel better and allow your body to focus on what it needs to focus on, rather than protecting itself. Read labels on the food products you buy, or better yet, focus most of our grocery shopping on fresh foods that don’t have labels on them! Fruit, veggies, and meats and fish from humanely treated animals.
Give yourself the encouragement – just like that positive feedback you give your kids.
As we have aged and gone through years of school, we often focus on what we’re not. We didn’t get the A because we’re not smart enough. We didn’t make the team because we’re not fast enough. And it doesn’t end there – we beat ourselves up til there’s no energy or motivation to move forward. And when we actually do achieve something formidable, we take it for granted and move onto the next challenge. We don’t do the opposite of beating ourselves up – we don’t celebrate or dole out any positive feedback.
Carol Dweck wrote one of my favorite books on life – Mindset. In it, she talks about how to praise the process, whether you are talking to a child or anyone you manage (and that anyone includes you!). Instead of focusing on intrinsic talents, you give encouragement on the effort being made. “I like how you chose multiple colors for your drawing” instead of “great drawing!” Or “I really appreciate how hard you worked on that pitch” instead of “amazing pitch!”
If you start giving yourself some well-earned pats on the back for efforts that you make, and even for accomplishments achieved, you will find it so much easier to pave your path forward. You’ll be energized by your own work!
Exercise – dance, move, run, skip like you’re back on the playground.
Remember when you were 19, ahem 21, years old and hitting the clubs on a regular basis? Or even just the fraternity party down the road? How much fun was it to dance all night long? Or even before that, remember skipping as a child or riding your bike til your legs were about to fall off?
So fun. Exercise can continue to provide you with that amazing child-like energy. Find activities you enjoy, friends you like and time in your day. Incorporating regular exercise into your life will chop years from your life.
If you despise exercise, just turn up the music in your kitchen in the middle of – or at any point during – your day. Blast your favorite song and just move! At our house, we have regular dance parties, and the kids LOVE it. I love it.
Laugh – the average child laughs 150 times a day… the average adult, five.
We take ourselves too seriously. With so much to get done personally and at work, we are totally objective driven, often failing to stop and smell the roses, and worse, to laugh at the funny stuff.
Create time where you can laugh. Book dinners with girlfriends to talk about the absurdity of certain situations. Go to a comedy club. Roll around and play with your kids who naturally incite laughter. Not everything is a serious matter!
You’ll work your ab muscles and create joy at the same time!
Play – entertainment value is critical for keeping us young.
When was the last time you took a ride on a skateboard or played Scrabble or sang at the top of your lungs… just for fun? Yes, there are the moments on the spin bike or the run through the park, but my guess is those happen for exercise.
Give your bike a whirl outside with no particular destination. Rollerblade after you’ve exercised. Hula hoop. Dribble the ball around and play HORSE. Tennis. Give play no purpose other than fun!
Try out a few of these tips and see how you age in reverse. I have seen it work! Happy unbirthday to you!
Karen Elizaga is a lifestyle coach and founder of Forward Options. At the start of many client engagements, clients are exhausted, droopy and often look older than they are. They begin coaching with the intention to achieve their goals or make meaningful change in their lives, and an unintended byproduct is that they have more energy and enhanced youth! It is visible.