How old are you?

How old do you feel?

When I first started teaching yoga, there was a quote by Joseph Pilates that would circle the studios I taught at, "you're only as young as your spine is flexible." That quote made a lot of sense to me early on and a persuasive conversation about why I may have many core strengthening, forward, and back bending ques in a sequence. While I would never argue with Joseph Pilates 
(I'm a both-and kind of gal), I'd have to say you're only as young as long as you're not inflamed. 

Have you seen this meme going around? The Golden Girls and Sex In The City Reboot cast are the same age here. 
I'm definitely on the nutrition-based cellular regeneration, biohacking train.  On biohacking, I'm loving Kayla Barnes Instagram, check it out. 

Is inflammation a buzzword? Back in the day, I used to think it only pertained to knees; however, "back in the day" may have been in my twenties. Inflammation to me in my 40's is about gut and brain health. The question is not about the inflamed joint, but what is inflaming it and how can I heal. 

Over the holidays, I like many people filled my plate and had a cup of cheer or two or three; y'all know I like some Prosecco. I'm feeling it. Not just in my waistline but my energy levels and mood. Honestly, I could care less about the waist; gathering and feasting with friends is part of memory-making that makes life sweet at the end of the year. The slippery slope for me is when my body gets used to excess, and it starts to crave more spiking cortisol, making me sluggish, not motivated to move my body, and weepy; who wants that? Not me! 

I'm starting a program with Josh on  Thursday called 75Hard. While it's not for everyone, this enneagram 3 is always up for a good challenge regarding health and wellness. 

75Hard Rules

  • Follow a diet: The diet can be anything you choose, whether it's Whole30, vegetarian, plant-based, pescatarian, gluten-free, Paleo, no sugar, low-carb — you choose, but there has to be a physical improvement in mind. This doesn't necessarily mean weight loss, but the diet change has to make you feel better in some way. Maybe you want to eat less sugar because you know it upsets your stomach. Or perhaps you want to go plant-based to lower your cholesterol levels.

  • Two 45-minute workouts; one has to be outside: There are no specifics about the workouts, how intense they need to be, or the type. You could do a strength-training exercise at the gym, then take a 45-minute walk outside. You can run outside for 45 minutes, then take a yoga class. You can even work out longer than 45 minutes. You choose, but the outdoor workout has to happen, whether it's raining or -10 degrees out. The point is that you can't always control the weather, just like you can't always control things in your life.

  • No alcohol, and no "cheat meals:" No cheat meals means you can't stray from the diet you chose. That means if you say you're giving up sugar, you can't have one tiny bite of cake, or else you need to start back on Day 1. The point is to teach you how to stay focused on the goals you set.

  • Take a progress picture every day: Looking back at the photos will help you see how far you've come and keep you on track if you want to give up.

  • Drink one gallon of water: This will teach you that the simplest tasks can sometimes be the hardest to do.

  • Read ten pages of a book (audiobooks don't count): This has to be a nonfiction book, so you can learn something and grow your mind.
I'm curious if the 75Hard will become a lifestyle I crave. I'll be honest; I can't see my life without a cocktail or two on the weekends. But  I'll trade my indulgences with clarity and stability of mind, mood, emotion, cellular regeneration, inner and outer strength for a 75-day sprint. I'll keep you posted.

Are you doing any energetic reset? It's part of my 2022 intention to fill up the self-care cup first to give from abundance and not deplete. 

If you're a yoga mom like me, I want to encourage you to find something to commit to. Sometimes a little challenge where someone else brings the structure and holds the space can help us come home to ourselves. When you're loving and serving your family daily and teaching multiple classes per week without a regular recipe for your self-care, imposter syndrome can set in when you don't feel like practicing what you preach. Sometimes when we've neglected our needs for too long, it can feel almost impossible to jump back in; the shame spiral is real. 

Send me a message if you want to do the 75Hard alongside me. I'll cheer for and check in on you. My friend Lesli Marshall has been documenting her progress, and it's been inspiring. I'll have her be a guest on a January Friends on Friday Instagram Live so you can hear her experience first hand. 

Before I sign off ...

If you are curious about getting to the roots of inflammation because I know it can feel like the Wild Wild West out there, I'm inviting you to listen in on a Zoom call Monday, January 17th at 8 PM CST. No camera is required and feel free to post your questions in the chat. Interested, CLICK HERE

Summer Swaps for Mental Health

Have you had a day, a week, a month, a year, or years where you don’t feel the way you want to? 20 years ago, I thought something was very wrong with me. I was not feeling like myself; my thoughts were unwanted but very real, and I’m sure someone reading this can relate to a similar situation. 

I was 24 years old, had just moved to a tiny town, weeks postpartum from having my first baby by emergency C section. I was highly unprepared and completely overwhelmed by what was about to happen. 

Up until the birth of my first son, I didn’t have a reference for most physical struggles, let alone mental health struggles; I hadn’t had any extreme illnesses growing up or surgery. As far as a lifestyle, I wasn’t raised on fast food or dining out, and my mother wasn’t super keen on medication as a first reach. Even in my teenage years, the party life wasn’t for me. I was naive, and my system was pretty clean, but on August 8th & August 9th, 2001, for the first time in my life, I was pumped full of drugs, cut open, handed a baby, and sent home to go live my best life a couple of days later.

Almost immediately, I realized I didn’t feel how I thought I would feel, in fact, the opposite. I wanted to be happy, but all I could do was cry. I wanted to cherish my time with my little one but visions of the unthinkable would haunt me. 

I can see so clearly now the kind of support 24-year-old Jessica needed, and I have a lot of compassion for her because that was mentally one of the most challenging times in my life. 

Because of fear and shame, I didn’t want to tell anyone how I was feeling. If you are reading and relating to this without support or a therapist, please get help here

Glory to God, a month or so after my son was born, Oprah had a special episode on her show interviewing mothers and a doctor educating on the stages of postpartum depression and what it can look like. I reflect on that episode as the beginning of my healing journey and interest in the healing arts. Because of that episode, I found peace that what I was experiencing, although not easy, is common and that there were ways to get help and ways to prevent it. From that point on, I became aware that the gut-brain connection impacts mental health, that food can be poison or medicine, that eliminating harsh chemicals would lessen the toxin overload to keep hormones in harmony. I started with exercise and sweating, eating clean, eliminating inflammatory foods, getting the correct about of fats and protein, replacing my household cleaners and personal care items. 

If you're looking for functional ways to support your mental and physical wellbeing, I encourage you to follow Dr. Mark Hyman an activist for functional medicine, real food, nutrition, and wellness.  I've bookmarked his posts about mental health for you, click here

If you are planning a family, pregnant, postnatal, or mid-life, it’s not too late to become the gatekeeper of your body, mind, spirit, and abode. This Summer, you can still take steps to eliminate the harsh chemicals from your life and replace them with plant-based alternatives. Click here for a few ideas that can help meet you where you may be right now.