Saturday the 11th of June marks Global Wellness Day. Yeah, we know, there's about 15 causes assigned to any given day, and with 365 of them a year, that's a lot of plights to care about.
But wellness is important. In fact, it's paramount. Without good health and a well population, all other sectors don't matter. And right now, Australia is not well.
It's not news that we're fat (yes, we -- statistically speaking, more people reading this will be overweight or obese than not). In 2014-2015, 63.4 percent of Australian adults were overweight or obese -- up from 56.3 percent in 1995.One in four Australian children are overweight.Heart disease is our biggest killer. And we visit fast-food outlets 51.5 million times a month.
Though we're not here to judge. Life gets in the way and sometimes despite all good intentions, wellness takes a back seat. Sometimes you have to pull an all nighter, we get it. But it's worth noting that 24 hours of continuous wakefulness induces impairments in performance equivalent to those induced by a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, so don't do it too often, be careful with your actions the next day and learn to value your sleep.
And at other times you might water yourself a little too well and still have to face life (kids, work), the next day. It happens! That's why it's wise to employ practical tips when drinking, like eating before you start drinking, never drinking on an empty stomach and making sure you drink a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink will ensure you fare better the day after the night before. Also, avocado is a godsend for hungover tummies.
Hangovers and late nights aside, there are small, everyday steps we can put in place in all aspects of life to be well. Wellness encompasses all manner of topics -- diet and food. Exercise. Sleep. Even relationships. To be truly well, you really need to devote time to each.
Shorter, more intense workouts are better and are also easier to fit into a busy day.
Starting the day, or more realistically a few days with morning exercise is not only physically satisfying, but at the psychological level it provides a sense of achievement you can take in your stride for the rest of the day. Planning easy, healthy breakfasts you can make in the office kitchen not only saves cash, it kick starts your metabolism and boosts your energy levels.
Quitting alcohol for a period (or at least cutting down) will present you with some very surprising findings. You will sleep better, your chances of getting cancer decrease, you'll lose some of the excess baggage, your liver will thank you and your skin will glow. Just think, with less booze in the belly you'll have more room for good ol' H20! A study shows that drinking water causes a small but significant increase in energy expenditure, or the number of kilojoules that your body burns. Weight loss from drinking water? Sounds good!
Better news still is that you don't have to slog it out in the gym for hours on end to get fit. Unless you are training for a marathon or a specific health need, exercising for longer than 45 mins at a high intensity increases your risk of injury. Shorter, more intense workouts are better and are also easier to fit into a busy day. It's about being realistic, being kind to yourself and not being influenced by what others are doing -- run your own race. In fact, experts advise to un-follow fitness accounts on Instagram. A pro told us he was training one of the most famous women in the world and even she would say, 'I was on Instagram all morning and I feel awful about myself'. Can't get to a gym? Try an online program you can do in the comfort of your trackies.
When it comes to diet, you don't need to jump on a radial bandwagon or fad diet. Quitting sugar slowly as opposed to cold turkey is much more realistic. According to accredited practising dietician Natasha Murray, 75 percent of the sugar we consume comes from processed foods like soft drinks, cereals and cakes. The other 25 percent comes from what we consciously add to food. So start by choosing smaller serves of these foods and drinks or try to save them for special occasions instead of cutting them out altogether. Also, look at what other healthy people are eating (instead of following marketing hype). Healthy eating is about balance -- meaning that a few squares of chocolate or some ice cream does not banish you to the junk-filled world of guilt and self-loathing.
To be truly well you need to have healthy relationships. And you'll of heard it before -- relationships need work. Making time to meaningfully connect with the people we love is critically important, so carve out a little time each day for each other, and look for the joy in life. Joy is often the first casualty in a busy, stressful life. It is important to resolve to have fun and enjoy your relationship. Put a few dates and activities in your diary. No matter what else is going on in your life, do not remove these.
Lastly, sleep. Sleep is the foundation on which all other aspects rely. It's more important than food! If you struggle with sleep, employ steps to a better night's rest. Avoid vigorous exercise after dinner as this can wake the body and brain up for a few hours, keep bed for sleep (and sex), avoid watching television or screens in bed, make sure the temperature is right (not too hot or cold) and keep a fairly consistent bed and rise time, trying not to nap. Keeping the lights dim in the evenings and having access to bright sunshine in the morning will also help.
Feeling motivated yet? Change starts with you, no one else can do it for you. Take it from Carli Jay. At 28 years of age she was morbidly obese at size 24 and decided she didn't want to live like that, or risk death. Her joints would ache throughout the day, throbbing headaches were a daily occurrence and she was falling asleep at her desk. She worked a 50-60-hour-a-week job, which was exhausting and was consuming around 4000 calories per day -- over double the daily recommendation for a woman. She made the commitment to herself to lose half my body-weight the good old-fashioned way -- through living the healthy life -- getting active, eating well, getting good nutrition, plenty of sleep and taking care of herself. And she lost half her body weight by doing just that.
With Jay as inspiration, we wish you well this Global Wellness Day.