Is striving for wellbeing wearing you out? There is nutritional and fitness advice buzzing around us at every turn: instagrams full of disgustingly pretty girls touting Bootie Tours, F45s, 38X, Biggest Loser, Crossfit to name but a few. Then there are exclusion diets, starvation diets, cleansing diets, paleo diets….It’s all too darn daunting, most probably unsustainable and worse still, off-putting and demotivating.
As our kids move into their teen years, we all thought we’d have more time for ourselves, however from what I can see, the reverse is occurring. More time can mean more pressure for hours at work, new jobs, expanded jobs, higher paid jobs, higher status jobs…we’ve all got to prove ourselves, pay those school fees, buy that investment property and there is no retirement in sight! That dream of becoming a grey nomad will never eventuate.
And crikey, to add to the list, aren’t we supposed to be reducing our stress levels with mindfulness, meditation and yoga? And oops how about working on our relationships and communication strategies in our hormone charged households?
How can we have the time to commit to hugely expensive exercise programs, source those organic products we know we should be eating, prepare multiple meals for all those food intolerances/fads/new regimes?
I reckon it’s much less stressful to bury the head in the sand, and hope it all just disappears!
So I have concluded that instead of hitting it all with a big stick and battling “old dog” habits which will more than likely lead to nothing but self flagellation, perhaps a more moderate and functional approach might work for many.
Yes, we all need to exercise daily (20 minutes minimum), but don’t worry about a big time and money investment. Instead find ways to sneak it into your day. How long does it take to find your keys, get in your car, find a car park and buy the milk? It might take 5 minutes longer to don your runners and walk up the hill, but you’ve just had a workout instead of stressful drive.
Recycle those leggings and shirt and have them ready in a pile for next time, don’t worry about taking a shower, and don’t let your hairdo become and excuse (I call it a hair injury).
Turn down that lift to the bus stop and walk, walk the stairs and NEVER take the lift/escalator. The 20 minutes of required exercise is fine divided into 2 x 10 minute zones.
Feeling foul and exhausted? – “exercise” those demons and energize with a quick 10 minute adventure on foot in the spring air. Two birds killed with one stone because there’s your active meditation at the same time. Take your partner or your teenager and you’ve ticked your communication box and killed a further bird. Do it in the sunshine and there’s your vitamin D dose as well.
What about those diets….unless you have a medically diagnosed intolerance or allergy, my humble view is to take it easy, reduce the levels of bad stuff you consume whilst increasing the levels of good stuff. All the extreme advice at the moment may well be turned on its head shortly anyway – look what happened to low fat diet, better known as the biggest nutritional disaster of the last century. If in doubt, see a qualified Nutritionist.
Starting with the most minimum pantry and fridge, the ditch list is as follows: white sugar (replace with honey, muscovado sugar, natural sweeteners such a coconut sugar), the bad canola oils and marg (replace with good old fashioned butter and coconut oils), ditch the packets of biscuits and chips and replace with jars of nuts mixed with craisins.
Easy pantry and fridge additions: fermented foods - cider vinegar (with the “mother” – have a tablespoon each day 15 minutes before dinner), sauerkraut (maybe not a crowd pleaser), Kombucha (a carbonated drink from the register at Harris Farm, can be used to replace a glass of wine? Might be asking too much – just scull it as you walk home!). Greens and plenty of the leafy sort – add to everything including toasted sandwiches.
At the end of the day, life’s short so let’s make exercise a friend, not an obligatory acquaintance and let’s not make food our enemy. Much less stress that way!