Now that I’ve successfully finished my 7-Day Wake Up at 5AM Challenge, I’ve decided to embark on another self-experiment: Waking up at 5:30 am for 30 Days. (Today is Day 1.) After 7 days in a row of getting up while the skies are still dark, I’ve realized that I truly thrive in the early mornings. I enjoy waking up earlier, feel like I get more done rather than popping up out of bed at 7:30am or 8am, or whenever, groggy and out-of-sorts, already feeling out-of-time before the day has truly begun. There’s also a study that talks about “the role chronotype has on proactivity.” The key to successfully building new habits, I am realizing more and more, is self experimenting.
I am a massive self-experimenter.
Honestly, this is one reason that I believe will keep me alive and healthy for a longer time than if I just passively let life happen to me. If you know me, or have followed me on Instagram or have been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’m constantly experimenting on myself.
Carnivore. (Today is Day 41 of a 60-day nose-to-tail carnivore challenge.)
Fasting. (On Feb 3, I finished my fourth annual 7-Day Fast for Autophagy/Cancer Prevention)
No alcohol. (I’ve gone 41 days without a sip of wine. Yes, I’m pretty stunned at how clear-headed I feel in general. Really helpful in the depression department to abstain from drinking most of the time.)
Morning and sleep routines.
Even our full-time RV Life (when we got out of our comfort zone, sold our house to start anew) was a massive self-experiment, something I’m realizing in hindsight.
With each experiment and challenge done, I feel more courage to try new things in my life, more willing to get out of my comfort zone. As a result, I can see the benefits on both my mental and physical health, plus increased energy and confidence.
I wish I had tried this much earlier in life. But this year, as I turn 48 years old, I am determined to reach more goals than I ever have, by building on all the good habits and routines (via self-experimenting) to becoming limitless and unstoppable. Yet at the same time, to forgive myself and have the utmost of compassion for self when I fall off track. Combined with self-compassion, there is always the gentle reminder to get back on the train with a forward trajectory and growth mindset, never to let too many consecutive days go by to slide back into mediocrity again.
There is always a new day to begin again!
I am all about optimizing my life, performance and health. Now at my age, in my late 40s, completely free of prescription medications, I am surprisingly more happy, mentally and physically healthier and youthful than I ever was in my 20s and 30s. The future looks brighter even as I age.
An Accidental Discovery
What I am realizing the most is that what you eat and drink (and when you don’t) is the most important contribution to your mental health and energy levels. This was an accidental discovery that came about when my husband found out he had cancer at the end of 2014. That’s when we began using keto and fasting to help shrink his tumors, along with the chemo and radiation he was doing. I had begun to notice the connection between food and mood back in 2012, when I mostly cut out flour and sugar from my life, following more of a Paleo/Primal approach.
Simply cutting out gluten and sugar most of the time helped me ramp off all meds for depression, anxiety, bipolar type 2, ADHD and asthma (back before 2012, I had asthma so bad that I was on Prednisone almost every month, and was a regular at the ER, getting nebulizer treatments). But when I got into ketosis along with my husband at the end of 2014, both of us measuring our fasting glucose and blood ketones every morning, as well as the ratio between the two numbers (GKI – glucose: ketones index), my mental health became significantly better. Because I was now burning ketones and managing my insulin (also diagnosed with “prediabetes” in 2014), I wasn’t on that rollercoaster I used to be on when I constantly fed myself refined carbs at almost every meal. Like bread, pizza, pasta and noodles, cake, cookies, pies, french fries, hash browns, pancakes, donuts, bagels, pastries, croissants, dim sum, rice, tortillas, wraps, juice, smoothies, soda, sweetened coffees and teas, and more.
And when I tried carnivore eating in 2018, it took my mental health into even better levels. So this year, I’ve been, along with my husband and another good friend (who has type 2 diabetes) trying out a 60-day nose-to-tail carnivore way of eating as a way to start off the new year right, and also as a reset, an elimination diet, to set the tone for the year. I plan to get blood tests done to check insulin and inflammation levels as I wind down my 60-day carnivore experiment. Then go back to a more keto/paleo/primal way of eating for a few months, followed by more blood tests. Talking to my nutritionist, we decided that this would be a good way to tell which way of eating is better for my individual body at this time, based on my own biomarkers. I’m looking forward to making more self-discoveries about my own body and health in this way!
This year I plan to become even more healthier than I was last year.
Also with the food and fasting down as a foundation, I’m finding I have more energy, confidence and stamina to stack on even more positive habits into my life. This year, I also plan to become more of a writer than I have ever been — to finish my novel and find more courage and confidence to submit more writing to publish and share. I’m taking on more experiments and challenges to face, to acclimate myself to rejection, failure — to ultimately become more resilient and mentally healthier.
Life shouldn’t decline with age. Instead I plan to go out with a freakin’ bang. Happier and healthier with each experiment attempted!
Photo by Nathan DeFiesta on Unsplash