Do you feel like you’re always battling against fatigue and a lack of energy? Is the stress of daily life wearing away at your digestive system, joint health, and mood? Have you missed work lately because of back pain, stomachaches, or just that feeling that you couldn’t go on another day?
In today’s culture, a lot of us end up feeling this way. I know my life as founder and president of Cinco Vidas and CV Skinlabs here in New York City is often extremely stressful, with too much to accomplish and not enough time to get it done. I do my best to set limits, remain committed to my health, and take time away for rejuvenation, but I still often feel overwhelmed and wired too thin.
Enter Dr. Lipman
Luckily, I visit Dr. Frank Lipman at his practice here in NYC, Eleven Eleven Wellness. I see him for acupuncture treatments, as well as for and his guidance on recovering from burnout. But for those of you that can’t see him in person, his new book Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again is the next best thing! I read it cover-to-cover in four days, even though it’s designed to be takes in “daily beats,” which makes it so doable and practical. Inside those pages I found so much insight into this new uniquely “American” condition-a syndrome the Dr. calls “Spent.”
It’s not just about the way I was feeling a couple of months ago after launching a new business. It’s the way most of us are feeling in today’s world as we try to keep up with all the demands on us, including family, careers, home care, financial challenges, social media, ailing parents, and more.
When someone is totally spent, Dr. Lipman explains, the body is trying to tell us that it’s time to slow down, rest, detoxify, repair, replenish and restore. Symptoms of “Spent Syndrome,” as he calls it, include apathy, depression, insomnia, brain fog, lowered immunity physical aches and pains, and digestive problems.
The Six-Week Solution
In his book, Dr. Lipman presents a six-week program to help change your eating habits, find a way to work daily exercise into your schedule, detoxify your body and mind, and support those who are trying to clean up our environments. Supported by evidence from scientific studies, the program recommends a gradual removal of certain foods as well as the addition of yoga stretches and movements.
“When you’re running on empty, the first step can be the hardest,” said Dr. Mehmet C. Oz. “In Spent, Dr. Lipman provides 42 options to jump-start your body and keep it cruising.”
What I Learned
Here are the 8 “beats” that helped me the most:
- Create a sweeter life: Even though I gave up white sugar and artificial sweeteners a long time ago, it was great to see this as the first step in Dr. Lipman’s program. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are corrosive to everyone’s health and well being, but they can be particularly toxic to those who are stressed and burned out. Dr. Lipman explains that many of us are addicted, even though we may not realize it. I appreciated his list of all the ways sugar appears on labels, and have made a copy of to keep it in my wallet. He advises readers NOT to eat any of the following versions. And for those of you Splenda lovers-even though it claims to be made from sugar, it is made from chlorinated sugar. (Ew!) Small amounts of stevia, agave and xylitol are acceptable. Other than that, avoid: brown sugar, sucrose, glucose, maltose, succinate, molasses, date sugar, beet sugar, grape sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, fruit juice concentrate, sorbitol, barley malt, caramel, carob syrup, maltodextrin, dextran, dextrose, sorghum syrup.
- Reinvent breakfast: Have a smoothie. Aside from green smoothies that I love to make with all green veggies, I am hooked on Dr. Lipman’s Sustain shakes, made from pea protein. I mix them with fruit and almond milk and they’re yummy! Check his site for all shake recipes here.
- NO gadgets after 9:00 p.m. daily: I did not realize how stimulating television, computers, and cell phones are and how much they were affecting my sleep. I’m more well rested after adopting this beat.
- Take breathing breaks: Throughout the day, I now take a few mini-breathing breaks to help fight sugar cravings and stress. It’s just a matter of focusing on the breath for a few minutes.
- Bath before bed! This is the ultimate form of realization for me. Nothing to do but just relax. I love taking baths with Dr. Signha’s Mustard Bath to help detox.
- Gluten-free diet. According to Lipman, gluten is the devil and is addictive. He feels there is no greater drain on energy than gluten, and also that it’s a big offender when it comes to triggering inflammation, which can lead to many diseases. Taking gluten out of the diet, even for a short time, helps the body to rest and heal.
- Sleep well. Sleep is the number-one way to restore people who are Spent. Keep the room between 60-65, and keep it dark or wear a sleep mask. Since noise is an issue for my in NYC, I started to wear ear plugs and it’s made a huge difference. The main thing that helps to restore healthy sleep, however, is go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
- Laugh: It’s just as important as sleep to heal Spent. I talk about how restorative laughter is in my book, When Cancer Hits. Studies have even shown that laughter elevates mood and boosts the immune system.
If you’re feeling like so many of us are these days-like we’re just overdoing it and getting old before our time!-you owe it to yourself to get this book. If you do, let me know what you think.
Have you read Dr. Lipman’s book? What did you think? Have you noticed changes in your life?
Photo courtesy The Yoga Shala via Flickr.com.