Health – the most important thing in the world right now.
One good thing out of the many good things, (not all has been bad) that’s come out of the Coronavirus pandemic is how it has spotlighted the dangers of living with underlying lifestyle diseases. The Covid pandemic highlights how important it is to pay better attention to our health by eating better, avoiding stressors, prioritising sleep and exercising. Lifestyle diseases are diseases caused by the way a person lives. They include obesity, T2 diabetes, hypertension – metabolic syndrome, heart diseases (the number one killer worldwide), some cancers, and illnesses caused by alcohol, smoking and drug use. The good news is, paying better attention to your diet, regularly exercising and aiming for 7-9hrs sleep a night will greatly improve your health. Lifestyle diseases can be prevented (and some reversed) with good nutrition and exercise.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates 400bc
Spring Clean Your Relationships
Before you attempt to bring in the new, you must first sort out the old. A best way to ensure your journey is relatively smooth is to start with a spot of spring cleaning. By this I mean getting rid of or being aware of everything that could potentially block or stall your progress. If you’re someone who comfort eats, unhappiness with someone or a situation is bound to make you dive for foods you should be staying away from. Adding a bad diet to stress and sleep deprivation will challenge your health.
If your relationship with your spouse is not in a good place, it will affect your health. To really thrive in 2021 you have to do a spring clean of relationships that are not serving you. Be greedy for joy and selfish for happiness. For some, this could mean walking out of a bad relationship and for others it could mean taking steps to repair a bad relationship. The fact that you’ve put years into a relationship does not mean you should remain unhappy in it and ruin your health. Whatever be the case, you deserve to thrive in good health, don’t let your relationship with your spouse or partner sabotage your efforts to improve your health. A loving partner should actively seek to support your efforts to improve your health. And if your partner isn’t doing so, he or she should not be a stumbling block.
If you have friends who are constantly cheering you on to slip, or who tell you you’re okay as you are (when you’re clearly not), then it’s time to move on from those friends. Think about it. Friends who have similar challenges don’t want to be alone, it’s no fun. Misery loves company. Your success makes them feel bad about their lack of efforts. Bizarre as it may sound. When people aren’t working as hard as you, they have a tendency to feel pressure and tell you you’re doing too much. They make snide remarks just because they don’t have the strength to do what you’re doing. Only you can decide what’s too much or not. Go with what feels right and healthy for you.
Here’s the thing, Homo sapiens are naturally wired to resist change – to take the path of least effort. Change is initially energy consuming. It is less taxing to remain in a rotten situation than trying to change it. To put it simply, it’s easier not to change.
Be courageous, push such people to the side. The world is full of healthy people who will welcome you with open arms, find them and stick with them. They will support you on your journey.
“If you want to lose weight permanently, it makes no sense to follow those who lose weight only to gain it all back.” – Tom Venuto
Is your job soul destroying? Does your work make you overeat or eat the wrong foods? Eating is a pleasurable experience, the tendency to overeat to seek the pleasure that’s nonexistent at work in food is common. If it’s your job that’s the stressor in your life, then maybe it’s time to switch jobs. I know in these difficult times, that may be easier said than done. However, how long do you think you can last in that job if your health is challenged? It’s either you address the issues you’re having at work or you look to do something more fulfilling that isn’t having a negative impact on your health.
In contrast, if you love your job but it’s sedentary, that’s easier to rectify. Get up and move! Schedule time daily to move. This could be tea time, lunch time or after work. It doesn’t have to be up to an hour. Short breaks throughout the day will help improve your health.
Spring Clean Your Mind.
Lifestyle diseases occur when there’s been a long lapse, when we haven’t been eating mindfully, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and avoiding stress. Because this happens over a prolonged period, a lot of people think it was beyond their control. This makes them form beliefs to excuse their lapses.
Spring cleaning your mind involves taking responsibility for what state your health is in. For example, the fact that you have a family history of T2 diabetes or Hbp is not the reason why you have it. With regards lifestyle illnesses, genetics reveal tendencies, they don’t determine the outcome of our lives. You (as an adult) are where you are today because of the choices you made or make daily. Not the choices your parents made. Yes, we are a product of our environment, but allowing your environment to negatively affect your health is a choice you make.
Whatever beliefs and biases have held you back to date, it’s time to kick em out of your life! YOU are the one in charge and YOU have total control. Don’t rigidly hold on to beliefs that hold you down. Take responsibility, get out of your restrictive mindset and remember, your thoughts will direct your behaviour.
Spring Clean Your Strategy
Foolishness is doing the same thing over and over again without lasting results. Apologies if this sounds harsh, I’ve been there. You might have struggled in the past to get in shape, not because you’re a failure at it, but because your strategy is not right for you.
You know the saying, “experience teaches at the cost of mistakes”? Lack of results should be your feedback – priceless feedback to turn you in another direction. One of the most common mistakes people make is extreme dieting for quick results. I see people do this over and over again. They go on diets to loose a lot of weight quickly and when they can’t sustain it, they get discouraged and feel like a failure. Here’s a fact, extreme dieting will slow down your metabolism because it’s unsustainable. Consequently, you will put all the weight back on and more.
You need to develop a physical and mental strategy that is sustainable. Remember, this is a journey for life. Think of your body as a luxury car, treat it well. The ride must be “reasonably” comfortable. If it isn’t, you’re not going to want to continue. If you don’t give up, you can’t fail. Find a strategy that you can stick with for the long haul.
Spring Clean Your Sleep
Sleep and good health go hand in hand. Insufficient sleep has a negative effect on health and wellbeing both mentally and physically. Research shows that people who get less than 7hrs sleep a day, store more nonessential body fat and struggle to lose weight. The more hours you’re awake at night, the more the temptation to put food in your mouth. Your hormones will be all over the place. Ghrelin, the hormone that regulates appetite will be in excess when you’re not getting enough sleep – this means you will constantly feel like foraging for food. And, Leptin the hormone that lets you know when to stop eating will be depleted – which means you won’t know when to stop.
Constant sleep deprivation causes poor food choices. If you’re constantly making poor food choices because you are not getting enough sleep, your metabolism won’t function properly, you’ll put on weight and struggle to shed it. A good book to read about sleep is Why We Sleep by Prof Mathew Walker.
Helping women achieve their weight loss dreams is my passion. If you would like to be coached and supported on your journey, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram.
Jumper: Zara 🔸 Leggings: Abercrombie & Fitch 🔹 Boots: LK Bennet