Taking care of your health is a choice
Ignoring your health lately? We’ve all been there, done that. We’ve eaten too much, or just too much of the wrong stuff (chips? chocolate? both?), drank too much (beer? wine? pop?) or made other bad choices, legal or not. It’s so easy, and the good/bad stuff is all around us. If you’re like me, you may do a lot of unconscious eating. The package of cookies (don’t buy it) is on the counter (at least put it away) and taking just 2 (which can become 4 in no time) happens like a mini-miracle, all by itself. But it’s not just about eating, or drinking, it’s also about driving more than walking, sitting more than standing, lounging more than stretching. Let’s face it, just about anything that’s fun can be exactly what packs on the pounds or the cholesterol in our blood or whatever doesn’t serve us well. The good news is that it doesn’t take all that much to undo the damage and make the choice to better health. However, it IS a choice that we have to make in order to feel great instead of just ok.
Feeling bloated and fatter than you want to be? We know what to do—smaller portion sizes, more fruits and vegetables, fibre galore and lots and lots of water. Easy. It just takes being conscious about what’s going in our body. “A moment on the lips spends a month on the hips.” is a phrase that I heard one man tell another at a conference sweets table. That surprised me because up until then I hadn’t realized that it’s as difficult for a man to resist his sweet tooth as it is for a woman. With pictures of Channing Tatum’s abs on magazines covers, there is almost as much pressure on men than women now to ‘present well.’ I wouldn’t say it’s equal to the pressures women face, but it’s climbing all the time. We all want to look good, but that extra piece of pecan pie sitting in the fridge has a voice all of it’s own. Mine even called me from the freezer and it tastes just fine that way.
Feeling sluggish? We also know what to do…..stand more, walk more, shake it up a bit. Put on your favourite tunes and pretend you’re Beyonce or Usher. Just shake your booty, as they say. Dance as if no one is watching and likely no one is or no one cares. A partner or kids?They’d probably love to see you having a good time. Maybe join in. Go for a walk. You don’t need to train for the next marathon—just move.
Feeling stressed? There’s a lot to be stressed about. Most people feel job pressure, or pressure of a possible job loss. There may be an unreasonable boss with unreasonable demands. A highway commute? That’s super stressful for most. Many people are dealing with aging parents or unruly teenagers or little ones ready to go exploring off the table or onto the table, depending on their age. Get outside. Look around. Smell the daisies or, in the winter, go window gazing. If you go for a walk at sunset, you can easily look in your neighbour’s windows from the sidewalk (not up close). Admire their new cat or plant and see how they’’ve arranged the furniture. Be a little nosy if it gets you walking around outside. Play some music, call a friend, get a massage, go look at the funny birthday cards in a store. You’ll laugh for sure, and before you know it, you’ve chosen good health and a good mood for yourself. Eat an apple and you’re really on your way.
Try these easy steps to a healthier you…Start small and go from there!
1. Drink water often-at least 4-8 glasses each day.
2. Move more. Walk at least 20 min. a day. If you’re driving, park the car farther away so you have to walk. If you’re taking transit, get off one stop sooner so you can walk the rest of the way.
3. There isn’t bad weather (sort of), just bad outfits. When it’s cold, dress for it. Hats, mittens, scarf—just like when you were a kid.
4. Stand up. Don’t sit at your desk or watch TV for more than 30 minutes without standing up and moving around.
5. Stretch. Slowly, luxuriously, carefully, but stretch. It’s one of the best things you can do for your body.
-by Reva Nelson, author, Risk It!,Bounce Back!and the newly released memoir (amazon.com) about backpacking through Europe in the last year of the Sixties, ‘Hippie Chick Abroad’.