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There is some debate as to whether bananas are good...

There is some debate as to whether bananas are good for humans although they undoubtedly are for monkeys

"I’ve read fruit is high in sugar..." my colleague muttered and continued on walking past my desk. Puzzled, I stared at my half eaten banana; should I listen to my empty stomach and continue gobbling down my 11am morning snack or wait for lunch, and try an alternative food? I decided to run it past my trusty and knowledgeable pal, Google. However, with so many views and opinions on offer, the answer wasn’t so clear as to who I should believe and what direction I should follow. Wellness. It’s one of the most talked about topics in the media today but quite frankly I am confused!

I imagine that there is a group of people who sit around a table each week and consider: what shall we launch on the media today? "Carbs are bad" versus "Good carbs are good". "Exercise more and record it"; "Recording your exercise can be bad"; "Alcohol causes heart disease; "One glass of wine can be good for you"… Added to this, we have celebrity idols and influencers that also promote and advocate certain "healthy lifestyles".

Phew! I find it hard to keep up with such a multitude of different messages. Don’t we have enough to think about in our busy days trying to balance work, exercise and nutritional food without having to check what the latest trends are?So, why do we eat healthy foods? Why do we exercise? Due to our unique circumstances and objectives, these questions will resonate differently with us all and can provoke many answers. 

  • There are those who want to reduce stress.
  • Those who want to lose weight.
  • Those that want to put on weight.
  • Those who want to get fitter.
  • A particular interest group are those at risk of diabetes.
  • Some simply enjoy exercising and the endorphins it releases.

However, we must realise what works for one individual may not necessarily work for another.What would happen if I were to say "If you eat this food or complete this exercise it could make you live longer and you could look better"? What do we think the majority of us would do? By simply associating a product/service or activity with the ideal of living longer and the "fountain of youth", people would want to participate. No wonder the wellness industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing, most promising markets, generating $3.72 trillion globally*.

I understand our lifestyles are changing. We live in an era where researchers and experts are constantly revealing new interpretations of what we need to do to stay healthy and disease free in order to enjoy longer and more fulfilled lives.

Let me be clear, raising health awareness is extremely important and I believe there are people striving to fight against unhealthy and stressful living. But I do wonder whether we’ve reached a point of information overload? I’m not a dietician or a doctor. I am confined to an office workspace spending hours indoors with little opportunity to allocate time to eating well and getting exercise. Therefore, I want to go back to basics. I want to propose something called "Sustainable Moderation". In simple terms, are you able to maintain a lifestyle that is balanced and which incidentally includes exercise: healthy living while also working to pay the bills? It’s not new but it’s something we can all adopt and is likely the most achievable and sustainable strategy.

So, while continuing to read and listen to new reports on health and wellbeing can be a positive thing, let’s not get bogged down too much in working out what’s on the "good or bad" lists. We need to experiment within our own boundaries to see what works; personalise your exercise and nutrition that fits in with your lifestyle.

I’ve tried to incorporate this concept and want to share some of my tips below:

  1. Get the basics right. Drink water regularly. Simple, right? But with our busy schedules, how many times have we gone 3-4 hours without drinking a drop of water? Easy to forget but essential for our body.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Let’s start applying some logic to how we approach our healthier lifestyles. When deciding if a food is good for us or not, generally processed products with long lists of additives need to be carefully chosen. (If they are incomprehensible then we are not in a position to make a choice).
  3. "15 or 21 day challenges?"Are we really going to build or sustain a six pack in this time?
  4. Moderation is key. Take the treat if you really want one, just not every day! If we starve our bodies from most things, it’s only a matter of time before we break & binge!
  5. Keep moving. Technology has become so advanced we can communicate without ever having to move from our desks. When was the last time we moved from our seat in a given day? Rather than use the phone, make a habit of getting up and walking over to speak with someone face to face.
  6. Different objectives: Accept we are all different and will have different goals and schedules to meet. Just because a friend competes in a super triathlon, it doesn’t mean you have to. If there is simply no time in the day to fit in exercise; think creatively!
  • Is it possible to walk / light jog for 20 minutes at lunch? If not then..
  • Try get off the bus/train one stop before your house? If not then..
  • Try using the stairs instead of the lift.
  • It doesn’t seem like much but by implementing small changes including any of the above it can boost your mood and shake off the stress from your day.

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* Research released by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI))* (Global Wellness Economy Monitor, January 2017)

 


Date: 29/03/2019