Healthy Living Made Easy
Health and Well-Being
How to start a healthy living plan
This is a page dedicated to helping you get started on a healthy lifestyle plan. We are bombarded with images of what we should look like, what we should or shouldn't eat and what we should or shouldn't do. It all seems daunting, this striving for better health.
Sometimes the hardest thing is getting started and that only gets harder as one gets older. Personally, now I am over 60, I find I simply don't have the energy to spend hours on a boring treadmill in some gym.
Within the article I hope I show you that it doesn't have to hurt to be well. Included here are not only some simple forms of exercise, but also suggestions on nutrition, and on looking after yourself in mind, body and soul.
I hope this article shows you that well-being is NOT out of reach, that it need not be daunting and that by making small changes you can improve your health.
Please note, all images and text used here is my own. Most images are from my 'Tranquility' series unless otherwise stated. Please respect my copyright to them and to all material used here. Thank You.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Healthy Living is Holistic
The Whole Me
You can't consider HEALTHY LIVING without considering the whole person: Holistic Health is the philosophy that physical, mental and spiritual or emotional aspects of life are interlinked and of equal importance to a balanced healthy life.
HEALTHY LIVING means looking after yourself in mind, body and spirit. It means recognising yourself as a unique person, as a whole person.
For the purpose of this lens I consider the key components to be:
the physical body
the human energy system
and you have to take care of all of these, all of the time.
ILLUSTRATION: FROM MY 'ABSTRACT' SERIES
Getting Set for Healthy Living
Ready ... Steady...
It may seem obvious but the first thing you need to do when you are aiming for improved health in mind and body, is making the commitment. For most of us, that means changing our mind-set. We need to reprogrammed our belief systems. For centuries, and especially for women, we have been programmed or conditioned to put ourselves at the bottom of any list of priorities. Now you must accept and believe that it is NOT selfish to spent time and energy on looking after yourself. Indeed, the healthier you are in mind body and spirit, the more you will have to give to others.
From this point on, you give yourself permission to care for yourself as well as you care for others.
Time to Take Stock - ...go...
Having made the commitment to explore ways of improving your health, now is the time to take a look at yourself and your lifestyle.
What is it in your life you would like to change?
Do you want to look better?
Improve your relationships?
Feel less guilty or less angry?
Increase your self-wrth?
Or perhaps you want to attract more abundance into your life.
Be completely honest, after all the only person who will know is the one you see in the mirror every day and it is precisely because we cannot fool ourselves for long, that we end up carrying so much baggage around with us.
This is NOT an exercise is guilt. This is meant to be an honest exploration of where you are at this point in time.
My Journal and Pen
- Keep a Journal.
It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't even have to be grammatically correct. It is YOURS, for your eyes only.
In the front page of your journal start laying out those things you want to change and why.
- Keep a Food Diary
On a new page, write down what you think is a typical menu for your week. Look back and note down what you have eaten and drunk all week.
From now on take a new page per week and write down every single thing you eat and drink. It is important you note the drinks including juices and sodas we so often dismiss as insignificant. If you possibly can, try to take note of how each food group makes you feel. For example, if you have a lot of dairy products, do you feel slow and sluggish? It is all about getting to know your own body.
As you read what you have written it will become clearer things you might like to change in your diet.
- Note all your physical activity.
What do you do in a typical week? Include how many times you climb the stairs, chores like housework and washing the car. Have you gone for a walk, if so for how long? Been swimming? Had sex? Laugh ye not, it is one of the very best ways of keeping fit.
From now on you are going to note how you do more.
- Note what you have done for yourself?
Have you been in the habit of taking time for relaxation, perhaps just a scented bath or a simple meditation.
From now on, set down all those times that are just for you.
The Importance of the Aura, Chakra and Meridian lines
The Body Energy System
You, the human, is more than a physical body, a mind and emotions. Even if you are unaware of it, you cannot see it, you also have a complete energy system that loosely consists of the aura, the chakra and meridians that join them all. It gets called all sorts of things but essentially it is life force energy that I choose to call it the Body Energy System.
If you want to be really well, you cannot ignore the existence of this energy system. Indeed some would argue that it is within the energy system that most dis-ease starts.
Here I have put down a summary of what is a longer article of mine published in Health Mad (the link can be found below).
The essential facts are these:
The Body Energy System is linked most closely with the endocrine system of the body, that system that maintains haemostasis or balance - chemical, emotional and physical.
It consists of :
The aura - This is an energy field that surrounds out from the skin out, in seven layers.
The chakra system - There are many chakra in the body but the seven major centres range from the top of the head to the base of the torso.
Meridian lines which form connections. These are what are used in acupuncture.
The Central Core which links it all together. - This runs almost but not quite in the line of the spine from the top of the head down through the base of the torse. It can be manupulated beyond the top of the head and down below the feet as energy connections to the Universe above and Earth below.
ILLUSTRATION FROM MY OWN COLLECTION BEING COVER OF COURSE BOOK "YOUR Life in YOUR Hands."
Don't dig your grave with a fork and knife.
Diet and Nutrition
Pointers to get you started on healthy eating
It is such a clique these days, but we really are what we eat. The most common cause of imbalance in the body is the food we eat. Even the way we produce food generates health problems that we are mostly unaware of. Many of us feel, if not exactly ill, then not exactly fit and healthy either and much of that can be laid right at the feet of diet.
Another article of mine on HealthMad goes into more detail, but here are a few pointers to get started on eating more healthily.
1. Buy local produce, organic if possible.
2. Avoid processed foods, ready meals and canned foods. Frozen vegetables are much better if you cannot get fresh.
3. Grow some of your own. Why not try growing some of your own vegetables in season? (see article on container planting)
4. Drink lots of plain water, filtered from the tap is fine! Honest.
5. Check labels for origins and for contents.
6. Cut back on salt.
7. Cut out all soda and cola drinks.
8. Reduce your intake of alcohol.
9. Cut out sugar but don't use artificial sweetners, use honey instead. (see article on HealthMad)
10. Cut down on wheat and dairy products.
11. Cut down on red meat.
12. Eat at least five potions of vegetables and three of fruits per day. (see article on HealthMad
ILLUSTRATION: FISHEYED HERBS FROM MY "ABSTRACT COLLECTION"
Fresh Air and Exercise
I know - you have heard it all before...but... one thing essential to the body for harmony and well-being is light. Full spectrum light that you get outside. Light stimulates not only the production of essential vitamins (especially Vit D) but it also stimulates the pineal gland that lies deep within the skull. I'll explain the full endocrine system in another lens, but for now, among other things the pineal gland governs our sense of well-being. It is underproduction by the pineal and pituitary gland that cause much of SAD and why so many people feel a dip in their spirits during the darker winter months.
All of this preamble is simple to state that you need to spend at least 10 minutes outside every single day. It doesn't actually have to be sunny, but it helps.
And while you are out there, why not take a 30 minute walk, or potter in the garden? It is all exercise and it need not be painful and strenuous unless that is what you like. Proven studies show that walkers are as if not more healthy than joggers (no joggers nipple for a start).
The word EXERCISE makes everyone cringe - but actually exercise is everything you that is not sitting or lying still. It is anything that uses up calories, that gets your metabolism and your circulation going.
Using that spin you might consider:
taking the stairs instead of the elevator - even for a couple of floors to start with.
walking the kids to school - if is is practical.
taking up dancing, or yoga, or tai chi, or wall climbing, or surfing, or cycling, or... the possibilites are endless.
run up and down the stairs at home
hold a couple of baked beans cans in your hands and flex your arm muscles
while you are sitting, raise and lower your legs, rotate your ankles
while you are standing tighten every muscle you can, one at a time. Repeated tightening and releasing muscles produces wonderful results.
These are only a few suggestion, I'm sure you can think of many more than don't have to be daunting but will all add to your sense of well-being.
ILLUSTRATION: KEVIN ON HIS LAID-BACK BIKE FROM MY 'TOWPATH' COLLECTION.
What you see depends on what you're looking for.
Starting to Like Yourself
Working on Self Esteem
Everyone, even the loud mouths, don't like themselves. No-one actually believes they are ever good enough. How we deal with that is how we are. Each of us face issues and often the first step into healing, into becoming healthy and balanced is identifying the issues. However, there are some tips to get started to liking yourself better.
1. I am what I am - does not give you free rein. It does not mean you can be horrible to your parents, friends or strangers just because what it gives you is confidence and surety; it gives you acceptance of who and what you are. Of course there is room for improvement, it is called life, and it is what we are all here for, to be better people, to learn life lessons and leave the world a better place. That doesn't mean saving the world, it means being the best person you can be and being at ease with who you are.
2. Look after the physical - eat a healthy diet, get some sort of exercise, walking cost nothing, is easy to do and takes only as much time as you are willing to give it. Look after your skin and your clothes.
3. Pick the clothes that suit you best, not necessarily what is in fashion. Society today is very free, and imagine, you may even set a trend by what you choose. I see too many young girls with rubber tyres of fat on display from cropped tops. They don't suit them so why are they wearing them? Whether they know it or not they will get as much ridicule from their peers for dressing inappropriately. Layers look wonderful, and they are slimming. You can still buy the cropped top but with a layer underneath it, you will look and feel a hundred times better.
4. Buy clothes that fit. Clothes that are slightly tight show up the bulges making you look fatter than you probably are. Trust me I know, I just have to look at my photo. In fact it is a good idea to take a photo of yourself in your new outfit when you are buying it. It is easy to do with digital cameras and gives you an accurate image of exactly how you look in, much better than in neon-lit mirrors.
5. Emphasize your best feature. For me it is my ears and my eyes so I wear nice earrings and have learned how to emphasize my eyes.
This is not a definitive guide to increasing your self esteem but I hope it gives you a place to start.
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
There is a thought in your mind right now. The longer you hold on to it, the more you dwell upon it, the more life you give to that thought. Give it enough life, and it will become real. So make sure the thought is indeed a great one.
Meditation and Visualisation
One way of looking after yourself is tapping into the most important resource you have: your mind. You can use your mind to introduce so many positive things in your life. You can do this by the simple use of affirmations, but you can activate this type of positive intervention by learning meditation and visualisation.
Essentially the brain consists of two parts, the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. The left side is the logical side. It is the side that works things out in a lineal fashion, it needs to know WHY. The right side is the intuitive side of the brain. This side of the brain makes giant leaps, it reaches the answers without knowing how it came to it. The right brain speaks to you in symbols, synchronisity and visually - it has no words. It is usually subservient to the left brain which CHATTERS constantly.
In meditation - you are aiming to stimulate the right brain into activity which, 9 out of 10 means boring the left brain into submission.
A Simple Meditation Technique
1.Find a quiet place in a room where you will not be disturbed. Take the phone off the hook if necessary.
2.Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands relaxed in your lap.
3.Take three really deep breaths, fill your lungs completely and empty them completely.
4.Close your eyes.
5. Breath in through your nose, breath out through your mouth.
6.Take your awareness, your attention, to the centre of your chest and just watch yourself breath.
7.Note how some breaths are short, some longer. Note how you breathe in, and pause, breathe out and pause.
8.Let yourself establish a circle of breath.
9.Count up to 10 deliberate breaths like this. If your attention wanders just gently bring it back and start at one again.
As you become more accustomed to meditation you will find you manage this quieting for longer and longer periods.