I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.
To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.
I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!
But most of all I need to hug my dog George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.
Are the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people. I read an article last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.
Physical health and emotional health are intertwined. As humans how we eat, how we exercise and how we feel are all connected. Most people know that having a sugar binge will lead to a sugar “high” and then you crash back down shortly afterwards.
For sustained energy you’re better off having a handful of nuts or a banana (yes there is sugar in fruit, however there’s lots of other nutrients and fiber too!!).
Food can affect our emotions and our emotional well-being too. How many times have you overindulged on the weekend, either a junk food binge or too many wines out with the girls? (mmhmm hand up guilty on this one…) Then come Monday morning you drag yourself awake feeling terrible and promising to eat healthy, drink more water and haul your ass out the door for a walk/run/swim/hit the gym?
But what can I do?
Good question. What can you do? Everyone talks about “everything in moderation” and for sure that cliche has some merit. However, what does moderation actually mean? And how do you ensure you are being “moderate” in what you choose to consume? Here’s one simple tip:
Keep a food diary– it really does help keep track of everything you eat and drink on a daily basis (including that one, sorry two or was that three glasses of wine each night?) try it for a couple of weeks and you’ll surprise yourself for sure!!
Then you can use your food diary outcomes to change up what you eat and how you eat and you can easily spot things that you can swap out or cut down. For example, if you find you have a choc bar every arvo, swap it out a couple times/week for a small handful of nuts or piece of fresh fruit. If every morning you have a super large full-cream vanilla coffee latte – swap it out for low-fat coffee a couple of times/week. Glass or 3 of wine each night? Aim to have a couple of wine-free nights, swap it out for mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Making small changes makes you feel less deprived and more likely to stick with them and maybe even increase the changes over time! And remember:
create the change you want to be!
Love and Emotional Health (for me)
ok, this one is surprisingly tricky. It’s all very well for me to say that you need love in your life to improve your emotional well-being. It’s a loaded concept and far too easy to criticise. Many of us have been or are alone without a significant other in our lives – so it’s always painful to hear that love is important and necessary to stay emotionally healthy, but it kinda is…
But you know and I know that love is not just from the husband/wife/partner in our life. It’s also our family, friends, child(ren), pets whether that’s a dog, cat, goldfish, goanna (an Aussie lizard, go google it, I’ll wait…).
Animals and small children give us unconditional love and that’s the kind that makes us feel wonderful and that all is right with the world even when it really is not. My daughter is just as loving and adorable at 26 as she was as a tiny child, I look at her and am amazed at how awesome she is and how lucky I am. So, go hug your child/children or your fur-baby, whichever, whatever – it’s all good.
I also have my therapy dog George and I share his love with the students and staff at work, with dementia patients and with random strangers I meet out walking him (love and exercise – mmhmm, I’m in heaven!!) Here’s a pic of George for y’all to make you smile.
Get on over to his fb page Georgie-boy on fb for more joy and happy, then come back here for my final comments on love.
Love – that is all
So, now for my final comments on this blog post. Y’all know I’ve been in a relationship that has had some serious stops and starts and it’s caused me a fair amount of anguish and my living it all out in social media means everyone pretty much knows my business, so I have no secrets – not sure if that’s a good thing, but that is how it is for me.
Yes, we are back together. Yes, I know some of my friends worry about this. Yes, I know what I am doing. Yes, I know how the story may end (hey I’ve been living it for the last year!) and No, you don’t have the right to tell me how I should live my life. I love my friends, but you cannot make my decisions for me. You can choose to question my decisions, but I’d truly appreciate you keeping that to yourself and having respect for my choice, even if you think it is not the right one.
And me? I always choose love and you know what? That is my happy. He asked me if I had put this photo on fb and I’m like nah, but it’s killing me and he laughed coz he knows I put it all out there – so here, this is us…
I’ve decided to start-up a part-time health coaching business. I often give advice to friends and family on their health and fitness goals and I love helping people reach their goals or motivate them to get healthier.
I’m going to name my business after my blog HealthyWildand50plus and I’m setting up a Facebook page to promote it as well – the page is still new and I’d love your feedback, here’s the link – healthywildand50plus on fb
I’ve had to do all the legal things that are required here in Australia to start a small business, including getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering my business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Need to make sure I have everything legal and above-board before dipping my toe into the small business world!
I’m aiming to offer an introductory consultation, either face-to-face or via Skype and then folk can either leave it there or if they want to hire me as their health coach I will offer a number of options and ask them to commit to three or six months. Health and fitness change does not happen overnight and I am hoping to work with people who are committed to positive change in their lives, but who need guidance, ideas, motivation and support to get and keep going!!
I’m coaching my niece Donna at the moment… giving her encouragement, motivation and a fair dose of nagging to keep her moving every day. Messaged her yesterday asking how’s it going and she’s like “yeah, nah, lazy, lazy” So I messaged straight back with “your treadmill loves you, it misses you, get back on it!” 10 minutes later she sent a pic of her running on her treadie – with her tongue hanging out! Cheeky but funny! I’d put the pic of her on it here, but she’d probs not really appreciate that!! So here’s another pic for your entertainment.
I’m also working with her on her eating and dietary habits, how to shop clean and healthy, ideas for cooking healthy meals and she’s for sure going with it – she’s now sending me pics of the meals she’s putting together!!
Can’t be a post without an update on exercise. This is a pic of my morning run at Lake Monger in Western Australia – beautiful location, pretty scenery, lots of wildlife and loads more runners/walkers/dog exercisers than on my usual run.
This morning I had a running buddy, which is always nice. I do love running alone, but it’s kinda special having someone to run with – especially if it’s someone important in your life. He doesn’t usually run, so it’s pretty cool that he came running with me, like willingly – there was no coercion, seriously none at all!! >.>
Love Life update – well sort of, maybe, not really – but you know, life = complicated, messy and generally confusing if you ask me!!
Well things are for sure happening here in my love life – but for now I’m being all coy on y’all and will only say “watch this space”
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…