As we honor Mothers this month, we shift our focus to women’s health. The term women’s health generally conjures up thoughts of annual pap smears and mammograms. And even though these are really important parts of women’s health, I’d like to talk about how we as women can stay healthy amidst an onslaught of TV ads and magazines telling you what your body should look like and feel like (and don’t we get bombarded with so many “Eat for your shape” and “How to lose the weight in just the right places” gimmicks and advertisements ad nauseam?)
Some of the fittest people I know are also the unhealthiest. I believe health is a way of being, not a way of looking. How do we as women keep our bodies, but more importantly, our beings healthy and vibrant in an information age with so much misinformation and body shaming?
Here are my 3 top health tips:
- Mindfulness – What is mindfulness? Simply, it is awareness of what we do, and why we do it. When you exercise, ask yourself why you’re doing the exercise you’re doing. Or when you choose your snack or your meal, are you aware of your reason for it? Is it habit, a convenience, or because you believe in the health benefit it offers? It may be because it brings you great joy. Whatever it is, identify it. There are no right or wrong reasons, but by simply being clear on the choices you make will be taking one step in the direction of a healthier you.
- Commitment – Health is a commitment. We make moment-to-moment small choices every day…Do I take the stairs or the elevator? Do I eat a salad or a bag of potato chips? All these moment-to-moment choices add up over the course of a day and the course of years. The answer isn’t to make the best choice 100% of the time, but simply to make the best choice most of the time. Commitment means you’re in it for the long run, so if you make a lesser than optimal choice now, you know you that over the course of your long commitment to health, you’ll balance it out with better choices.
- Self-care – We as women tend to be the caretakers of others. We tend to put our families and their schedules and demands ahead of our own. Yet, this can leave us feeling depleted and exhausted because we never take the time to take care of ourselves they way we do others. To be healthy, we have to create balance. This includes balance in the way we giveour time, and how we takeour time to replenish our energy stores whether through exercise, or taking a night off, or getting a massage. Self-care simply means taking care of your own needs the way you take care of others’.
It is easy to believe health looks the like the superfit woman on the cover of Women’s Health magazine.But to be truly healthy, we are balanced in our food choices, in our exercise regimes, and in our attitudes about our bodies. We are not leaking and losing our energy with exercise or food obsessions, or self-body shaming, or self sacrifice for others. Instead we are creating balance in all aspects of our lives and have enough energy and vitality to live