I was talking with my friend Katie at work the other day and she was commenting on how lucky I am because I look fit and healthy. I often get told that or that my metabolism must be really fast, well hell no, my metabolism is the same as any woman aged in her 50s. I work at staying fit and healthy – sometimes it’s easy and sometimes not so much…
Anyway, back to Katie. She was saying that she felt unhealthy, overweight and tired all the time. She said that she often was too tired to cook a meal after work and would swing by the local take-out on the way home.
She also said she didn’t have much time for exercise (so many people tell me that – but really it’s how you choose to prioritize your time – we all have the exact same amount of time in a day, I have another friend, Emma, who is a single mom and she throws the baby in the buggy and goes for a jog with her every morning. Me – I used to enroll my daughter in swim class and then go do laps).
Katie also told me that she has a 500ml (roughly a pint) of flavored choc milk every day around mid morning to get her through to lunch time. She said she felt almost addicted to it, wanted to cut it out, but felt unable to do that and wanted to know if I could give her some tips on how to stop.
My response was – well don’t. She looked really astonished at that and I said, clearly you have a bit of an addiction to the sugar and chemical additives in the milk, so if you just stop you will end up craving it, buying it and feel like you have been defeated. I suggested she try to go one day without it – not change anything else, just try for one day. Then I said if that works then try every other day to cut it back and see how you go. I also threw in that if she could work in a walk at lunchtime or after work, that would also be good.
Three weeks later Katie came looking for me and said, hey you know what? that actually worked… she managed one day, realized that it was doable and then she cut back to every second or third day. Then she grinned at me and said – I’ve cut it out altogether – I don’t need it and I could quit it! She had also lost a little weight and felt better about herself because she proved to herself she could make that one single change. And she had taken up going for a regular walk at lunchtime AND after work! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I was at my blogging workshop yesterday with a bunch of people and this woman came up to me during the break to ask my advice on health and diet. She told me she’d just started a new diet… and wait… no I said, that’s the thing; don’t go on a diet! And there you have it – one of the main reasons why women struggle with their weight. They go on all sorts of diets, lose a little weight, then head straight back into their regular (and generally unhealthy) eating habits and pile the weight back on and get miserable and depressed and think it’s way too hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So we chatted for a bit and she was asking if she should cut out carbs or go gluten free. I told her we all need carbs (probs not as much or the type most folk consume) and you only need to go gluten free if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease (preferably diagnosed by your Health Practitioner, rather than self-diagnosed or from asking Dr Google!). When thinking about carbs aim for wholemeal versions of standard foods i.e. wholemeal/whole wheat bread; rice; flour and pasta. If you don’t like wholemeal, then mix it up a little – use half white/refined flour and half wholemeal… play around with it a little and you will get used to the different textures and flavours.
I was then asked what my secret was for being reasonably slim, athletic looking and healthy. And I said, there is no secret… eat mostly fresh and be mindful of how much you are eating – keep a food diary to track what and how much you eat – there are even phone apps you can download to help with tracking. Add in some form of exercise – something you like or at least can tolerate
types of exercise you can do on your own or grab a friend or two
walk (try to get your heart rate up a bit if you can)
dance (this one is not for me – absolutely no sense of rhythm!)
swim (or water aerobics) in the local pool or in the ocean if you live near one
run or jog or shuffle real fast (or a combination of all of that)
zumba or some other form of group exercise/activity
yoga/pilates – we all need to be a little stretchy!
join a team sport in your neighbourhood
head to the gym – there are so many around, I go to a 24/7 coz I like an early morning start; there are even ladies only gyms – without mirrors, so you don’t have to watch yourself in all your unflattering lycra glory 😛
…just move, when you can, as often as you can and as much as you can 🙂
And bit by tiny bit you will find you can change your lifestyle, improve your health and start to feel better…