Wellness in action is a journey that I have loved and guess what… it’s not rocket science! It’s simple common sense based on 4 health essentials that anyone can achieve.
My wellness in action journey has changed my life and I so want everyone to feel as good as I do right now. Of course, there have been challenging times as I unhinged myself from old habits, but today I enjoy a clean healthy DIET, take regular EXCERCISE, make time for REST & RELAXATION and remain committed to a CHEMICAL–FREE life.
I put this blog together to share some home truths about ‘stuff’ that might shock or challenge you because ‘what you don’t know WILL hurt YOU‘, so my hope is that you open your mind, be conscious of what you eat, drink and think and then take action to kick-start your ‘Wellness in Action‘ journey.
Your BODY is a Temple
This is where my journey began. Once I appreciated how amazing my body truly is, the journey to optimum health was a no-brainer and I believe that without this understanding, this whole process would have been a hit and miss event. To be honest it has taken me until my late 50’s to wake up and listen to the nagging feeling I had about my weight, what I was eating and the amount of alcohol I was drinking. I wanted to be conscious of what I was putting into my body and understand why my old habits were just not serving me. Fortunately, my partner was on the same page, so together we started to shift our thinking, take action, and begin our ‘Wellness in Action‘ journey.
Quick Fix Diets
When I look back over the past 30 years, I was always looking for a quick fix. Our summer house was full of exercise equipment that we hardly ever used, the bookshelves were breaking under the weight of health and diet books and we had a pile of DVD’s that didn’t even get out of the cellophane wrapping!
Over the years I scoured the internet looking for answers but often ended up overwhelmed. I jumped from one health fad and diet to another. Always with good intentions to lose weight and eat a healthy diet, but old habits kept dragging me back to my comfort zone and leaving me fat, unhealthy and unhappy.
I also had this nagging feeling that alcohol was controlling our lives and I know I am not alone in thinking it was ‘normal’ to have a bottle of wine between us most nights and even more at the weekends!
1. Start with your DIET
Breaking FREE from sugar
Now, I want to take the pressure off here because I didn’t tackle everything in one go. This journey was over a period of around 12 to 18 months, starting with a focus on sugar and processed food and then naturally progressing to the other essential elements to better health.
It was this little Kindle book ‘What Can I Eat On A Sugar-Free Diet‘ that got me started and excited about shifting our focus. This Quick Start Guide (you can buy it on Amazon) offered some practical ideas on how to give up sugar and once we started following the easy recipes we quickly started to feel pretty good.
Neil bit the bullet and cut out sugar in tea and coffee, which was really tough for the first few weeks, and we immediately stopped eating high sugar foods like ice-cream.
Interestingly we’d got into making fruit smoothies every morning but this actually led to ridiculous weight gain and it was the little Sugar-Free book that highlighted the problem. I know juicing can be a great addition to a healthy diet, but it did not have the desired effect for us.
Food Glorious Food
The next natural progression was surprisingly easy to do. We had already been looking into the benefits of eating a PLANT-BASED diet so the next step was to QUIT MEAT and get focused on plant-based food. Owning chickens and seeing them running around the garden certainly helped, and we were amazed at how quickly we began to feel better on a meat-free diet.
Something that really helped to inspire me was to start a Pinterest Board where I found loads of recipe ideas that I still use today – ‘Food Glorious Food‘ . I can say hand on heart that we do not miss eating meat or fish and there is no doubt in my mind that we are better off as Vegetarians, but I recognise it’s not for everyone. We still enjoy eggs from our girls along with a little cheese, but if this is still a step too far, at least aim to have 3 or 4 meals a week, meat-free to give your body a rest. I have to say that initially quitting meat was all about improving my health, but today it has morphed into a huge concern about animal cruelty and now this is what is behind the massive growth of Vegetarian and Vegans across the globe.
Elephant in the room!
We were starting to feel better but there was still an ‘elephant in the room’ that was leaving us unhappy and off balance. We’d started questioning whether we were drinking too much so the timely arrival of a book from a good friend called ‘Kick The Drink… Easily, by Jason Vale, was the wake-up call we needed to complete the final piece of our lifestyle shift. We must have been ready to ‘hear‘ what this book had to say and it shocked us to think that we might well be addicted and maybe it was time to stop! As with any addiction we had a period of withdrawal and I won’t lie, it was uncomfortable for a few weeks but, not ‘needing‘ alcohol has been completely liberating, saved us loads of money and is one of the best decision we made for our long-term health. I really recommend it!
So, the combination of eating a plant-based diet, cutting out alcohol, exercising every day, and feeling able to sleep at least 7 – 8 hours every night has all helped to kick-start our metabolism and help us to feel GREAT.
The weight steadily melted away and I’ve dropped from just over 12 stone (76kg) to 8 stone 13 (56kg) and went down 2 dress sizes (size 14 to 10). Neil went from just under 15 stone (95kg) to just over 11 stone (70 kg) and his trouser size went from 38inch to 32! So we’ve both lost around 3 stone (19kg) each and now have no problem maintaining our weight and both feel absolutely FANTASTIC. In addition to the weight loss, our sleep quality has improved massively and that in turn has improved our stress levels and mood. My skin, hair and nails are in tip-top condition and I’m not sure why, but I stopped biting my nails? We have NO digestion issues, no aching joints and feel content and happy. So what else can I say other than it’s amazing and we will never go back – this is who we are – healthy, happy and gorgeous!
My Wellness In Action plan in a bit more detail
What I quickly realised is that it’s all about simplifying what you eat. Cut out the bad stuff that makes you FAT and saps your energy and you begin to feel better. Please remember you are quite likely to be addicted to some of the ‘bad’ foods like sugar so initially, you might well feel rubbish for a few weeks, but keep going and you WILL come out the other side. This wholesome approach is really simple, but for some, it might feel tough to start with because of sugar or processed food cravings. My advice is to approach this with a long-term view and maybe do as we did, which was to attack one thing at a time and just know that we are living proof that this approach works. It’s NOT a diet, it’s a lifestyle shift that is for life not just for a few months, so keep going even if you have a bad day, just get back on the wellness train and keep going.
Start with an awareness of what you are eating and understand how ‘bad‘ foods are impacting your body and more importantly, how you feel. This will get you tuned into the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. We discovered loads of ideas and inspiration online via my Pinterest board with lots of recipes to tickle our taste buds, introduce us to new and interesting ingredients and different cooking methods.
All I can say is if you are not willing to go ‘all out veggie’ then just keep as much meat and processed food OFF your plate. Replace your diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes and pulses and watch how that kick starts your wellness focus. I realise this approach is not for everyone, but even REDUCING your intake of meat, bad carbohydrates, sugar etc. will go a long way to helping your body heal from the years of fighting foods and empty calories that you may have been consuming.
Where you can, buy organic and bring as much colour to your plate as possible. Three good meals a day will ensure you don’t go hungry and if you need a snack choose simple things like nuts, fruit, or even just water and your body will LOVE YOU.
Did you know that the Gut is now recognised as your second brain? This explains why it’s so critical that you eat the right food, reduce stress, exercise and get enough sleep. I know you know this, but are you truly invested in YOUR health? Have you considered that a skin condition, headache, joint pain, depression, mood, stomach upset or lack of energy all starts in the gut? Fix your gut, reduce oxidative stress and include my wellness pillars and many of these ailments, including things like type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure most likely will improve without the need for drugs.
You can also supplement your diet to ensure you are getting enough micro and macronutrients in your diet and this article will give you a straightforward approach to supplementing your diet. A supplement I highly recommend is Protandim for biohacking wellness at a cellular level. Protandim is potentially the most extraordinary therapeutic and preventative breakthrough in the history of medicine and I take it every single day.
Drink enough Filter WATER
Once you appreciate that your body needs to stay hydrated you will want to ensure you are drinking the recommended quota every day. It’s a fundamental part of your journey to wellness in action, and I can’t stress this point enough.
We hear the benefits of eating good quality food and how important it is to improved health, but have you considered how important it is to DRINK good quality filter water? One of the first investments I made was to purchase an UltraStream Water Filter Machine so that I was drinking the very best water on a daily basis. I avoid drinking from plastic bottles and just LOVE the smooth taste of the water that comes from my Ultrastream Water filtration system.
Drinking 6 – 8 glasses of filter water or other healthy drinks like herbal teas, will boost your overall wellness to another level and is something you can do without too much effort, once it becomes a new ‘habit’.
I would also seriously consider reducing or better still QUITTING alcohol. It dehydrates you, puts huge toxic load into your body. Get alcohol free and watch your health fly into the stratosphere and get your life back!
2. Wellness in Action – EXERCISE
Keep things simple and consistent
I know I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the UK that is ideal for walking and hiking but wherever you live there is no excuse not to get your boots or trainers on and WALK yourself to wellness. Overthinking and complicating exercise has been the biggest downfall for me over the years. Signing up for classes, buying useless gym equipment or trying to commit to a DVD home exercise program, just didn’t work and it ended up costing me not only money but wasted my time. It wasn’t until I started walking seriously that I realised not only is it FREE but the added benefits of being at one with nature is good for the soul and really improves your well-being.
Interestingly our focus on walking longer distances started when we lost our beloved dog, Sam. Walking without a dog was tough, so we avoided our usual walks on the Malvern Hills and began to explore local villages and surrounding countryside. We slung our backpacks on our back armed with an OS map and found so much beauty and points of interest right on our doorstep. We found it easy to walk good distances and this exercise helped us start to lose weight, and de-stress.
The reality is, you can walk anywhere, anytime, so it’s got to be the simplest and cheapest way to keep fit! Read this article ‘Walk To Health and Wellness‘, to get you started.
Of course, you might prefer heading to the gym or take dance classes but whatever your level of fitness, add walking to your activity as it’s kind to your joints and will build up your stamina and core strength as you walk further and faster. The key is to walk with purpose staying connected to your surroundings. Even if you live in urban surroundings find a local park or simply walk out your front door, turn right or left and stride out for 15 minutes and back for 15 minutes. Try to get a little breathless and ensure you get a decent hike in, 2 to 3 times a week.
3. Wellness in Action – SLEEP & RELAXATION
Sleep is essential to your health
Having enough sleep is essential for your body to heal and repair, which is why you need at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep a night. I can’t stress this enough as part of your wellness focus. Once we had improved our diet, got our exercise sorted and ensured we were ‘sleep ready’ when it was time for bed our life really changed. Of course, removing alcohol and caffeine was a massive help, but it’s not critical to making sure you sleep well.
Stretching, Mindfulness and Essential Oils
The other part of ‘wellness in action’ is relaxation, so please don’t underestimate the power of Stretching, Meditation or Mindfulness, Breathing and burning Essential Oils to help relax the mind and body. Getting stress under control is critical to your long-term health so find something that will help you relax. Personally, I have a simple stretching routine that I do each morning and love the feeling it gives me to start my day. It helps to quieten my mind and with flowing movement and breathing I feel ready for my day. You can look for local classes, but I simply looked online and found a great Tai Chi warm-up routine on Youtube and have used that as my daily stretching routine.
If you feel more comfortable doing YOGA, Pilates or Tai Chi then great, just make sure you give yourself a slot each day, preferably in the morning to quieten the mind, move the body and breath, but just fit it in to suit your lifestyle.
Burning Essential Oils can also help with reducing stress and getting a good nights sleep. Burn Lavender before you go to bed and maybe use this time to sit quietly and meditate. Again don’t overcomplicate meditation just allow yourself time to be still for 5 or 10 minutes concentrating on your breathing.
4. Wellness in Action – CHEMICAL-FREE
Keep your HOME free of Chemical and Toxic products
This is a no-brainer to me, but it won’t surprise me if you’ve never considered how some cleaning and personal care products that sit on supermarket shelves are compromising your health. These TOXIC and potentially harmful products are in my opinion slowly affecting the overall ‘wellness’ of you and your family and as soon as I realised this, I took control and switched to safer alternatives. You will find some interesting and thought-provoking articles on this site to help you ‘get it’ and hopefully take action. Committing to the smallest reduction of toxic exposure will benefit you and your family in the long run. Once you understand the reality of what is actually going on, take action to consciously shop for safer products that are environmentally friendly and safer to use.
The key to Wellness In Action is learning what your body needs to heal and restore itself. This will yield longterm healing and ongoing wellness. Live a toxic-free life using natural and botanical based products, support your health and overall wellness with a clean diet, regular excercise and make time for relaxation.
I hope you check out my other articles that are all focused on helping you on your wellness in action journey to a healthier lifestyle. I know it’s all about timing, so don’t give up. Keep searching, keep questioning keep trying and if necessary keep re-starting, because the rewards and sense of wellbeing are totally worth it.
Don’t be a passenger in life! Be the driver of your journey to ‘wellness in action‘! Feel free to share this article with those you love.
To your health and wellness.