June 12, 2014
Living healthily is hard work.
In my life so far, I’ve studied full-time for some years and worked full-time for some years – and sometimes, even a combination of the two. I think this describes most people who live in our Westernised society and who are fortunate enough to have work. If we’re not working full-time, we’re making up for it with other things – like being a part-time worker, part-time Mum – or working alongside study.
When you spend 70% of your life making ends meet, it’s all-too-easy to settle into a less-than-healthy groove. Every day is like groundhog day – you get up at 7, start work by 9, finish at 5, then get home by 6:30, make dinner and finally sit down at 8pm. Two hours later, you’re in bed.
And, when you’re living this on-the-go lifestyle, it’s very difficult to make time for good health. It’s just easier to pick up a couple of pizzas than to cook a vegetable curry from scratch. And at the end of each day, you don’t want to go to the gym; you want to go home.
A little while ago I had a health scare which turned out to be nothing at all but which spurred me to make a change in my lifestyle which I’m grateful for.
I’ve found that the only way to make myself healthier is to make it easier to make the right choice at any given moment. Here’s what I do:
- Every weekend, I carve out two hours to cook healthy meals for the week.
Now, this doesn’t have to include every evening meal from Monday to Friday. I’m not planning my week of eating. All I’m doing is cooking a BIG pot of healthy food (my favourites are quinoa stuffing for peppers, which is easy peasy, and chickpea curry.) I then use these meals at those moments where I’m hungry and I just ‘don’t have time’ to make anything healthy.
- Every time I do the grocery shopping, I make sure I buy healthy snacks.
These could include vegetable chips (you can make these from scratch too – I’ve made chickpea chips and dry-roasted broad beans before but am yet to try other vegetables), healthy dips, carrots to make carrot sticks, falafel, etc. That way, I have no excuse to eat chocolate in-between meals, or munch on processed crackers because I’m feeling fanciful.
My sesame falafel.The one without any sesame seeds on it is so that I can see how cooked/browned they are when I'm frying them!
- When I’m out at a café or restaurant and I’m tossing up between two things, I (try to!) always choose the healthiest.
For example, a fresh fruit juice with breakfast instead of a hot chocolate. These are split-second decisions; but life is made up of millions of split-second decisions.
- I’m systematic about my body.
Whether it’s a monthly massage (a must for me), a fortnightly facial or a weekly yoga class, there is no excuse for not making time for wellbeing. And personally, I find that the easiest way to fit ‘me-time’ in is to be systematic about it. That is, you devise a routine, and you stick to it. For example, taking the dog for a walk at 7pm every night – going to a local yoga class every Saturday morning – or scheduling monthly pampering sessions and keeping them in your diary. The same goes for your health. Everyone should be going for regular skin-checks (once a year at the least), and for women, having regular breast checks (or checking your own if you’re confident doing this.) Do it all the time, at scheduled times, and it will get done.
If you’re reading this and thinking that you haven’t had a mole scan or breast check in a while, schedule one. You needn’t even pick up the phone - most mole scan clinics have online appointment-booking available. Then, at your next appointment, schedule the following one.