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Like you, many entrepreneurs feel that once they reach their 40s, their lives as businessmen and women are in full swing. You have been on the market for enough years to make a name for yourself, your company is known, and it already has a solid customer base, and you have employees who depend on you, on your decisions and on the success of your business for their livelihood. Your family, the people who have given up on seeing you home often or on spending much time with you, is being compensated and now depends on you, even more, to deliver on the promise of a bright future.
And what does all of this mean to you? That it is no time to stop, no time to slow down. If anything, this is the time to make even wiser decisions, to up your game, to consolidate what you have done so far. This is what you should be doing. Now let’s see how you are actually feeling and how your body and mind are entering this new phase of your life.
1. You should be energetic and up for any new challenge. Instead…
… you have less and less energy. To get to this point, you had to pull a lot of “all-nighters.” How did you recover? You stuff a donut or a bear claw down your throat and gulped a large coffee in the morning. And maybe the next one followed shortly. You experienced sugar crashes throughout the day, but your body managed to pull you through.
Now, it makes sense that as you age, your body will no longer perform like it did in your youth. One sleepless night can weigh as heavy as a wet blanket, and you find yourself dreaming of a vacation in bed more than anything else.
WHAT TO DO: You have a very busy schedule, and this is not going to change anytime soon. What is more, it could get even busier. The only thing to do is get as much from your energy recharge as possible. This means quality sleep and eating things that energize your body instead of eating into your resources for a simple digestion process. You need types of food that cause the quick release of hormones such as cholecystokinin which acts as a hunger suppressant and that do not cause the release of sleep-inducing brain hormones such as melatonin.
2. Your brain functions should be optimal. Instead…
… you are moody, you feel groggy, and fatigue is slowly starting to make a nest in your mind. Even if you start cutting out most other non-job related activities, you still get left with the business, because you cannot give up on this one. How long do you think it will take before taking care of business becomes too difficult? The good news is that this is nothing new. Your cognitive functions have started to decline since you turned 18. Ouch!
WHAT TO DO: This is a problem to anyone who does not want to end up making rash decisions after years of hard analytical work. You can find some useful tips in Dr. Lipman’s book on fatigue among people in their 40s, Revive!: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again.
3. Your body should run on motivation alone. Instead…
… it starts failing you. Ten years ago you used to sleep with your head on the desk. Now, a night away from your special pillow leads to days of excruciating neck pain. Your muscles are sore if you miss the elevator and have to go up the stairs, and you could not catch a cab if your business depended on it.
WHAT TO DO: Some light workout sessions to get the blood pumping, the adrenal system working and your immune system up and running should do the trick. Nothing fancy. Just light cardio.
4. You should have a few tricks up your sleeve to cope with stressful situations. Instead…
… your prior methods no longer work. What you used to do before no longer helps. And it is frustrating.
WHAT TO DO: It is time to learn some new tricks, naturally. Intermittent fasting is a good idea because it comes with a full set of rules: what to eat, when to eat it, and when to avoid certain types of food. This is a form of educating yourself on nutrition and on how to make the best of all your body’s processes.
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5. Your business numbers should be the ones going up. Instead…
… You have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol – and the damned things just keep going up no matter the efforts made.
WHAT TO DO: Clearly, you are doing something wrong. What most people do in this frustrating situation is to get annoyed and feel like their bodies are doing it on purpose. Which is ridiculous, to say the least. You know why you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol, but sometimes, fixing these things requires more than a weak commitment and high expectations. Take a breather and get back to it.
Many of my friends were in this situation, and they all reached a point where it all seemed useless. No matter how hard they tried, their blood pressure and cholesterol refused to go down. My advice is to keep at it and keep working with your doctor. Not all bodies respond the same way to medication and food. You just have to give your doctor enough time to find out what is causing this and to fix it. It may take some time, and this is the time you need to be investing.
6. You should be able to handle stressful situations better by now. Instead…
… stress and its underlying factors, which once made you more productive, are now weighing you down. As you grow more tired, you become more aware of the stress, and it is no longer an adrenaline producing situation, but a heart rate raising, cholesterol popping fiend. In 2012, psychologist Kelly McGonigal gave a TED talk on how to perceive stress as your body trying to get to ready for a challenge. She analyzed the results of studies that looked at the correlation between stress and death with the addition of a crucial factor: the perception of stress as being harmful or not.
She mentions that stress is your body’s way of getting you ready: increased blood being pumped through your veins makes you more alert, the sweat on your forehead is actually a sign that the body is trying to cool down, bringing you to a more comfortable temperature. Understanding your body’s reactions and creating a positive stress response can actually make you more resilient to a stressful situation.
However, when you are already tired, and you feel extreme discomfort from all of the ways in which your body adapts and cannot look past them, this is when stress becomes harmful. As the heart continues to pump more blood, your vessels constrict, leading to the well-known heart conditions brought on by stress.
WHAT TO DO: Mind power can stop a stressful situation from becoming a source of anxiety and of future medical problems. Relaxing or accepting stressful situations is tough, especially if you are already exhausted and worn out.
7. A successful person looks good. Instead…
… you look less and less and less appealing. Is your skin looking saggy? Has it lost its shine and youthful glow? It is because of the decrease in collagen. Surely you have heard about it on TV as numerous creams are promising to work miracles and get your skin looking fresh and new. In reality, as you age, the body produces less and less collagen. This leads to cellulite, stretch marks, and wrinkles. Your face looks wornout, and so does your body.
WHAT TO DO: Stop eating so much sugar! You cannot stop aging, but you do not need to speed up the process. According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, the sugar you eat goes into your bloodstream and latches on to proteins, forming new molecules scientist have called advanced glycation end products (AGE). These molecules attack the ones in their vicinity, collagen being among the most vulnerable.
8. Being the boss means making your own hours and taking good care of yourself. Instead…
… along the years you have contracted minor health conditions that allow you to be functional, although they come with a degree of discomfort. You feel your presence in the workplace is necessary and you never take the time to deal with them. I am referring to stuff like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, old psoriasis or vitiligo with a nervous onset, or even worse, type 2 diabetes. All of these conditions are made worse by stress, lack of rest and improper alimentation. You thought you would get to the part where better management of these problems could be done, but you keep pushing it toward retirement.
WHAT TO DO: Controlling what you eat can help you better manage the symptoms of these conditions. From having a regular transit to letting your body be less vulnerable to stress factors or better controlling your insulin release, intermittent fasting can work wonders in this respect.
A workout program should be in place by now. Instead…
… you still shiver at the thought of hitting the gym. Only thinking about it is making your tired body sore and you cannot summon the strength to include this in your program for anything.
WHAT TO DO: You do not have to be in your 40s to hate the idea of working out. It’s hard, time-consuming, tiring and it sometimes does not even help at all. Why would you want to add something like that to your already busy schedule?
Because you actually need it. I do not like to preach what I never practice, and I am not the kind of person who spends hours in the gym… anymore. The whole idea is to do a quick and efficient workout and not struggle hard to punch in the hours at the gym. Personally, I like how HIIT works, and it is the right answer for me. However, some people may respond well to other types of training. The important thing is to take the idea of working out for hours and grinding your bones at the gym out of your head. It may be the one stopping you from looking and feeling your best.
10. You should be years away from having people criticize your food choices and urge you to make some changes. Instead…
… this is already happening. People have started telling you that you eat food that is too fat, too salty, too sweet. It is annoying more than it is helpful and you do not understand the sudden change.
WHAT TO DO: Listen to them, of course! Most chances are you have started eating fattier, saltier, sweeter foods and did not realize it. Salt, sugar, and processed fat have a tendency to pervert your taste buds. As you consume more intense artificial flavors, your cravings for this type of food will only increase. You will no longer feel subtle flavors, and you will not feel full until you get the kind of taste you crave for. In reality, the fullness and taste parts are not even connected.
So when your loved ones draw attention to the fact that your eating habits are not as healthy as they should be, you should take heed. This may just be the wake-up call you were waiting for.
Now that you have this clear picture, what can you do?
Your blood, tears, and sweat are at the foundation of your business. As it is starting to grow, your health starts to go under. This is the generic deal made by all entrepreneurs. If you like to make something from scratch and watch it grow it will take its toll on you. And most people are willing to pay the price. Or so they think. In reality, as you progress, things get more demanding while your body can comply with fewer demands. The solution? Be smart about it.
You can still have your thriving business and a healthy body if you make the right choices. What to eat, how to control your body, what not to do. Have you ever heard the “You are what you eat” phrase? (pause for hysterical laughter caused by the cliché). Well, hold on to your hats because it is truer than true. Everything you put in your body causes a chemical reaction. Whether you are causing the release of the hormone that tells you that you have had enough to eat, or you are on a sugar roller coaster, or when your liver turns sugar into glucose and the rest to fat. Something is constantly happening in your body, and I know what that something is.
If you could put your body under a microscope, you would understand how all of these things are affecting you. You’d see why you are tired and what foods are making it worse, you’d see what substances energize your body and which ones are actually eating into your energy supply. You may not have this magic microscope, but I do. All my experience and all the information I have gathered in nutrition and biohacking is put to use to make you more productive, more efficient and, first and foremost, healthier.
How does a 30-minutenutrition call sound? How about a nutrition call in which you can get valuable and actionable information to improve your health and your physical performance? And these are things you too will be able to swear by.
Call now, and you may even have the most useful phone conversation of your life!
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This article is part of a monthly series all about hacking your diet.
If you like this post check out How the Establishment Destroyed Your Health and How You Can Get it Back and How to Optimize The Time You Spend Buying and Preparing Meals.
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