by Lisa Martin
We have already reviewed the importance of scheduling appointments with your health-care provider(s) and creating your own personal nourishment plan that includes smaller, more frequent meals and plenty of water. Here are a few more ideas to help you rejuvenate a happy, healthier you.
Make Meal Planning a Family Event One of the simplest ways to keep your health on track is to plan your meals. Many of us wake up with two questions on our minds: “what should I wear today?” and “what should I make for dinner?” Running in the door at dinnertime having to come up with that constant “six o’clock solution” creates stress and leaves us open to less-than-healthy answers.
For many people, last-minute meals often mean hitting the drive-through on the way home or ordering take-out meals several times a week. While a bucket of chicken or a pizza can be a great treat, as regular fare it is hard on your body and can be hard on your wallet. Try calling a family meeting when everyone can be there and ask your family if they are willing to take a more active role in dinnertime planning and preparation. Get clear on everyone’s time commitments, and then come up with a “dinner agenda” for the upcoming week. Draft a shopping list to ensure all the ingredients required for the meals will be available. In spite of the extra work, your family will learn about nutrition and will be able to participate and enter their particular favorite foods into the menus. Best of all, you won’t have to face that awful question at the end of every long day—“Hey mom, what’s for supper?”
Move for the Joy of It Okay, you know that exercise is good for you. You know that regular exercise reduces stress, decreases cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, strengthens your immune system and improves the health of your heart. Even though you know all this, it is still challenging, if not downright impossible, for you to fit regular exercise into your life. Many of us have started “exercise programs” with the best of intentions, only to find ourselves three months later wondering what happened when we recognize that somehow the exercise program has been squeezed out of our agendas. You only have to look at the crowds in the fitness classes in January and compare that to the turnout in April to know that you are not alone.
There are several reasons exercise programs ebb and flow. First, if the exercise program feels like a “should” you likely won’t keep it up. If you are trying to “fit it in” rather than commit to it as a priority, you likely won’t keep it up. If it starts out too big—like telling yourself you are going to go to the gym three times a week or three mornings by seven o’clock—there’s a high probability you won’t keep it up. But most importantly, if is not joyful, you definitely won’t do it. If you want more physical activity in your life, try looking at exercise differently.
List the activities you loved to do as child. What kind of movement was fun for you? Remember the things you used to do as a young girl, when you weren’t concerned about “getting in shape” or keeping off the pounds. What activities were a part of your life up until your schedule became “too busy” for exercise?
To bring joyful movement back into your life, try starting with small steps. Commit to doing whatever it is you love to do for a short amount of time each day. You might also want to try changing your view of what an “exercise program” is. Turn up the music and dance in your living room, just for the joy of it. Or walk along the ocean or in the park by your home and smell the fresh air and enjoy the scenery. When you focus on the joy of exercise, it no longer feels like a “should;” it becomes something that you really love and want to do.
Keep in mind using a balanced approach when committing to your wellness. Resist the temptation to go to the extreme—overeating versus dieting, excessive exercise or none at all. Listen to your body and your intuition; they will guide you as you move toward better health.
© Copyright 2006. Lisa Martin. All rights reserved.