“The body needs its rest, and sleep is extremely important in any health regimen. There should be three main things: eating, exercise and sleep. All three together in the right balance make for a truly healthy lifestyle.” - Rohit Shetty
You’ve got to love a New Year and all the resolutions that come with it.
“I’m going to take better care of me!”
“I’m going to lose at least 10 pounds so I can fit into that Wedding dress I saw at such-&-such Bridal Boutique!”
“I’m going to up my wanderlust game and try Italy this time!”
…and off course, the “I’m going to diet and lose weight!”
Now I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t been nearly as aggressive with my exercise routine in the past couple of montgs after being completely railroaded by unexpected illness at the top of 2017. Thankfully I’ve managed to keep the 30 kilos I lost off since reaching my goal weight 3 years ago, and pride myself in no longer having to shimmy my way into a good pair of skinny jeans that come in my size. I am a consistent size 12 – have been since before I had my kids, and am good with having worked my way back to that 12 after ballooning to a size 20 in my post-baby weight.
What I haven’t been consistent about however is ensuring that I get some good sleep. That’s right people! We are reinventing our sleep patterns too because no one wants to walk around looking like a zombie without that 7am coffee.
Today marks three months since I quit the hectic caffeine intake, inspired by rampant results of high-ish blood pressure for a consistent six months. I was that woman doing everything from Tim Horton’s to Starbucks to Costa Coffee – every hour almost just to keep up with my very active life. Then the doctor gave me the ultimatum: “If your blood pressure isn’t lower by your next visit, we will have to put you on blood pressure medication!”
So away with the coffee cup and back on with the sneakers, and an insatiable appetite for all things yummy – still. I do not believe in dieting to get results. I do believe in getting a good balance of portion control, cardio a few times a week and am working on my sleep. While I enjoy working through the wee hours of the night, the scuffle between daytime fatigue and an endless list of tasks that require mind over matter was never a sustainable way of living my life stress free. Because I’m encouraging every woman I meet to do better by themselves, here are a few nuggets that will get you on track to living your version of a healthy lifestyle:
1. Do not fear the doctor. The doctor is your friend. I know some of you don’t like to go visit the man or woman in the white coat simply because the long wait in the waiting room is annoying. Seriously, all that for the doctor to tell you what you already know – that your tonsils are inflamed!? I know, I get it. But an impromptu visit that came from just not feeling quite right last year, resulted in the discovery of a pretty big ovarian tumour! I thank GOD for listening to that prompting and since then, if I start to feel physically off, I happily march into the physician’s office just to make sure there’s nothing lurking under my skin and needing treatment.
2. Even a short brisk walk makes a difference. Quite literally, you don’t need to run a marathon or swim 50 laps to feel like you’ve exercised, but you do need to at least get off your couch and get your feet to hit the tarmac - or something Walking, or running for those stronger on their cardio game, is free and effective. All you need are a few minutes of raising your heart rate and you’ve ticked your physical exercise box.
3. Those carbs are evil. I love them - ask my Instagram feed and it will let you know! But I can’t have them in excess. Unless you have a super metabolism, carbs make for a great candidate for portion control. Do yourself a favour and mind your carb intake.
4. Make time to decompress. Easier said than done for most women, I know. But if there's anything I’ve come to appreciate, it’s the need to wind down, take a step back from the hectic nature of life, and do something that ministers to my soul. Let’s face it; how else do you figure I get all this writing done? I love writing down or typing away my thoughts while seated in a corner of a coffee shop with some artsy artwork on the walls. I quite enjoy putting some headphones on and doing nothing but listening to some Gospel music or inspirational messaging just to shut the noise out. From time to time I’ll treat myself to a facial before dedicating an afternoon to a good book while in the comfort of my bed. Whatever your thing is, it’s important for you to take time to decompress, relax and give your mind a break from all the hectic thinking and planning that consumes most of your days.
5. Appreciate the outdoors. Didn’t realise how reinvigorating the outdoors were until I recently went on safari back home. My current location is hot all year round – like beyond 40 degrees Celsius at peak. So there is not much walking about and enjoying the outdoors that happens out here. To compensate, I go out for a run or walk come evening time. That’s my walk and pray time where I also take a second to appreciate just being able to feel the wind on my face, or the ability to watch the sun set. No matter where you are, make getting some fresh air part of your routine – I’m pretty sure your senses and blood cells will thank you!
Wellbeing – “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.” We all want that, don’t we? Off course there are several components to ensuring decent wellbeing including maintaining wholesome relationships, increased capacity to work harder and see our dreams made manifest, availability of resources that contribute towards our ability to actually do what we want to do – and so on! My bottom line however, lies in the notion that if I am to enjoy a healthy life, I’ll have to put forward a good bit of effort it, I'm getting older so I'm having to compensate for creaking bones, fatigue from constantly juggling a million things and so on. But maintaining that balance is key and it takes commitment. So there it is folks: point to ponder? Do you have any goals this year to do better than the last where your health and overall wellbeing is concerned?