By Kay Newton
We never stop learning. After 60 years on the planet, I am now on a quest to live longer and healthier. With it, two new words recently came across my path. Autophagy and fascia – both have been life-changing.
Autophagy – The Art of Eating Oneself
If you have ever entered the diet world, and 85% of women have, you will have heard of Ketosis and Intermittent Fasting, yet probably not the word autophagy. My theory is that because autophagy is a natural body process, there is no money the billion-dollar diet industry can make from it!
We have known about autophagy for thousands of years, yet it wasn’t until 2016 when scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel prize for his work did we take note. Using fungi, Yoshinori proved what we already knew. He showed the world exactly how autophagy occurs in the body at a cellular level.
In layman’s terms, autophagy is when you fast for enough time that the body has to look for energy within itself. It has to eat what is available and begins by cleaning out the unwanted, useless, and old bits of the cell. It is a maximum spring clean on a minute scale, an internal exfoliation with huge benefits.
Autophagy is seen as the body’s natural way of getting rid of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and Alzheimers.
As we are all unique, there is never one size that fits all. Finding out how your body reacts to space from eating is a personal journey. For example, autophagy usually occurs around 16 hours of fasting, yet your metabolic rate can affect this. Fasting is not a diet (thank goodness), yet there is a fine line between reaching autophagy and starvation.
Starvation has never really been my problem. I have always loved food and preparing meals. Despite eating what I feel is healthy, a lifestyle focused on veggies, nuts and fruit, little dairy, meat and fish. For the past 20 years, I have held onto extra weight and suffered from chronic inflammation.
My weight has caused me much frustration, more so as my husband is thin! We eat the same meals, yet I also walk regularly, sleep well, am usually a positive person, but still, the midlife midriff would not budge. “Stop eating fat, eat no sugar, go keto, it’s easy just exercise more and eat less” were constant messages from medical professionals. Nothing worked – I hated myself.
Once I eliminated the word DIET and focused on understanding my body from the inside out, the weight shifted. I have found a 19 – 5 hour fasting lifestyle suits me. I fast for 19 hours and have a window in which to eat for 5 hours. I prefer to eat a late breakfast and lunch without an evening meal.
Fasting is a lifestyle, and it does not happen every day. I work on tricking my body when it least expects as I know shift and change keeps it healthy. If there is a dinner invitation, you will find me there!
As I hit 12 kgs lighter, I have noticed many changes. My hair is shiny, nails strong. I still sleep well, yet at a different level. I have more energy, and most of all, my body no longer constantly aches. As the pain subsides, I move more easily which leads me to the second word – fascia.
Fabulous Fascia – The Body’s Cobweb
Ask anyone to mention body parts, and the words will come flowing forward – Bones, muscles, tendons, organs, yet what about fascia? For example, when dissecting bodies, fascia used to be discarded, in order to get to the organs. In the past it has been neglected and overlooked, now we are beginning to understand its importance.
Fascia is one of the largest and most sensitive organs of the body. It is like a giant cobweb interlacing all areas of the body, below the skin. It is multidimensional and multidirectional and acts as a connective and protective framework. Fascia encloses, yet separates and supports muscles, bones, organs and the deeper layers of tissue.
When fascia has knots, it restricts the natural movement of the body. A restriction in one area can show itself in a different place. Without alignment, the body cannot work effectively, which often leads to pain.
The pain in my body over the years, particularly my back, has been excruciating. Painkillers only masked the problem. I took them as sweets until I became severely allergic. Fear took the pills place, a slight twinge, and I would stop in my tracks. The more I stopped moving, the rustier my body became. It was a never-ending downward spiral.
After spending costly hours visiting medical professionals, alternative health practitioners, exercise classes and a masseuse, I understood my main issue was fascia. As synchronicity has a role in my life within the same week, I found myself at Casa del Karma at the Natures Way Retreat.
Saskia Griffith’s has spent most of her life finding answers to resolving her pain issues created from her love of extreme sports. Saskia’s travelled around the world, learning many alternative therapies. Her experience and knowledge have led to the creation of the Realign method. It is simple and effective. Ibiza was the perfect place to learn the basics and the foundation for ongoing private weekly Zoom lessons from the comfort of my home.
The Realign method has taken me by surprise. I have never thought about how my body occupies space in the world (internal and external). There are spaces within me that I didn’t know existed. There are parts I have neglected or never used to their full potential. It is an exciting exploration of myself from the inside out.
I am more aware of how a few simple actions can become new lifetime habits. For example, I have short legs, now I know how to sit comfortably on a chair. (The first in 60 years!) I have toes that anchor me to the ground and a rib cage that can support my neck when used correctly.
As I use my body naturally, new confidence arises. Pain has a different understanding, one without fear. I listen to what my body is telling me and adjust the space. It is liberating.
Fascia and autophagy have become familiar daily words in my life. My quest for longevity, to live my sixth decade as fully and as healthy as I can, is by no means over. Yet, the difference two words can make within the space of six months should never be underestimated.
Why not let the Mutton Club know what new words you will live by in 2022.
Kay Newton is the Midlife Strategist and lives a simple lifestyle by the beach in Mallorca, Spain. In her 20s, Kay owned a guardianage business looking after the holiday homes of the rich and famous and used toxic cleaning products daily which led her to partially destroy her lungs. Kay now lives in a chemical-free environment, owns one lipstick and no perfume. She’s a speaker and author who’s written three books (How to Clean Your Home Organically: De-stress Your Surroundings | The Art of Midlife Stress Busting: Seven Steps to Declutter Your Mind Without Pills or Potions | Tips and Tricks for Stress-Free Downsizing: A Step by Step Guide to Moving On) and she helps women over 50 get their mojo back. Find out more about Kay at www.kaynewton.com and on her Facebook Page.