Lifestyle Changes

Can Lifestyle Changes lead to more Energy?

Feeling Fatigued All the time

Have you ever dreamed about doing more with your life? I know some of you might be asking how does someone have the energy to be a part of a rock band, raise kids and work fifty hours a week. I know for many of us this may seem like a dream, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

For me, it was hard to keep simply going throughout a work day. For many years while I was at work, I would go out to my car and take a nap over lunch to function throughout the day. I would also drink 5-6 cups of coffee a day just to survive the day. At meetings, I would feel so jittery that I would be ready to jump down someone’s throat if they didn’t agree with what I was talking about.
Things didn’t change for me until this year to be totally honest. Yes, I work at Mandala Integrative Medicine, but I fell into that classic trap of not taking the time to care for myself. I still have bad days now and then, but I am much more productive now than I have been in years.
My love of Cheese and how I paid the price for that love
Ever been in a toxic relationship that drained all your energy and made you feel sick? That’s how it when I ate cheese. This has been the hardest thing for me to change. I know I am sensitive to dairy, and yet it has been so hard for me to eliminate cheese from my diet. Why? The fastest way I ever lost weight was getting on a low carb and high protein diet. In that diet, I could eat as much cheese as I wanted. While on that diet I noticed that had foggy brain, lacked energy, would have headaches and a constant runny nose. In other words, I was in a toxic relationship and refused to get out of it. The problem for me was always considering what was I going to do with a hamburger? No cheese? Really? What about a pizza? So no cheese on that either? In the words of Chandler Bing: “Oh My God!”
So it’s been many “half-hearted tries” before getting to this point, but I can honestly say that I am now dairy free. I feel more alert throughout the day since I have gotten rid of dairy and especially cheese from my life. Yes, there are cheese substitutes out there, and many of them are not very good. In the end, though it’s not about having a hamburger without cheese it’s about having energy and the ability to focus on things that I want to in my life. I want energy to have fun with my wife and new baby.
Understanding that Avoiding Foods that don’t work for me are only a part of the Lifestyle Change Process
Yes, it’s great that I finally got off cheese, but it’s not enough. However, that was only a good first step. Another part of the process is also understanding why am I even thinking about making all these changes? What are my hopes and dreams? How am I going to live them? How will I avoid my worst nightmares which would be ending up being dependent on a caregiver or loved one to help with things I take for granted right now like going to the bathroom. Or even worse I could potentially end up with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease if I kept living the life I was living.
The 2nd part of the lifestyle changing process for me has to do with mapping out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Yes, energy is good, but on what things will I direct all this energy on? I needed a plan to focus this new found energy. What is my life going to look like in five years? How was I going to make that life my reality? I know this sort of living is what is going to keep me active and also want me to wake up in the morning and face each day with vigor. Creating life goals were the only way to keep myself going on this path.
The truth: I just love food.
A part of me is nervous about how much I truly love food. When I say I love food, I love all kinds of foods. I love the sweet stuff, the salty stuff, the fried stuff, full of fat stuff, and even some quinoa mixed with lentils. I simply love food. In the end, though, loving food isn’t the problem. The problem is how I love food. Historically, I looked at food as an indulgence. As something I can’t get enough of rather than looking at food as a source of nourishment. Now I am looking at food as something that will replenish my body and not something that is an avoidance of what all that I have to accomplish throughout the day.
What I have learned
I have learned that it’s ok to love food, and it’s ok to indulge every once in a while. I have also learned that this love affair is ok when I don’t allow it to become a toxic relationship. Just like someone who is an energy sucker, it’s important to realize that certain foods can do a similar kind of thing to your body and mind. It is particularly the case when you have a sensitivity to a particular kind of food. Cheese is my kryptonite, but an overall lifestyle change involves much more than just taking out one or two foods out of my life. It requires a deep understanding of what I want from my life and how to maintain my health. To do all that, it will require lifestyle changes that will take some time for me to adjust and alter.

It’s also why I had a huge calling to initiate the Mandala Lifestyle Program. Here at Mandala, we do not look at weight loss as a goal, we look at lifestyle changes and altering habits as the end goal. Balancing food and life!

If you are looking for ways to alter your habits and lifestyle, then attend one of our free Lifestyle Program events – every Wednesday at 6 pm. Call our office for more details!

Farrakh Khawaja
Co-founder and Director
Mandala Integrative Medicine