Google ‘wellness’ and you’ll find more than 90 million internet sites linking to the topic of health, beauty, fulfilment and longevity.
Past years have seen an unprecedented increase in the popularity of this topic, ranging from individual focussed wellness solutions to a wide variety of wellness offerings on a corporate level.
These interventions all share the promise of increased health, engagement and return on investment. You are guaranteed to find a wellness program that promises to change your life for good.
Not all wellness programs can back their promises with results of a better life or increased productivity.
If you look beyond the obvious details of wellness programs, paradigms or methods, wellness in general pivots on four dimensions namely: Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and Physical.
These four areas are at the core of human functioning and determine the state of all other areas of human ‘wellness.’
To be ‘well’ requires the skilful management of all four areas with a change in one dimension influencing all others. Most people in today’s world are over committed on mental and emotional dimensions and under developed on the spiritual and physical level.
I recently attended a pharmaceutical launch in Johannesburg where the guest speaker, a subject matter expert and researcher on cardiovascular health, advised the audience that if they wished to gauge how healthy you are, all that is needed is for you to stand naked in front of a mirror, jump up and down, then evaluate by asking yourself, ‘does this look healthy’?
He was obviously referring to weight as an indication of physical wellness. Weight management is a very important topic today.
Sayings like ‘you are what you eat’ emphasise the importance of food intake management and controlling our eating. It’s something that millions of people struggle with daily and is a million dollar industry.
Healthy weight is mainly measured by your Body Mass Index (BMI), which takes your weight and height into consideration.┬á
Other factors considered in determining one’s ideal weight is your age, body type and gender.┬á Weight management and the challenges it poses to individuals varies with different forces influencing and driving behaviour, lifestyle and eating habits. There are many different ways of managing one’s weight; you only have to look at the health and lifestyle section of Exclusive Books to see the many diets that are on offer.
But do they all work and deliver on their promise of a better body, flatter tummy or bulging biceps?┬á
Most of us have a story to tell of desperate attempts to lose weight, quick results and then the disappointment that comes 12 months later when you are back to square one and in some instances worse off than when you started.
Diets are all too often nothing short of bad products and poor solutions ÔÇô Fads that clever marketing campaigns and smart packaging place as wellness solutions in our minds.┬á
Hidden weight traps, bogus shortcut diets, “too good to be true” weight loss capsules, miracle creams ÔÇô you name it, they have been done to death. So when it comes to dieting discretion is required not only in terms of what you eat, which diet you choose to go on and which fad you are not going to be fooled by.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a substitute for sugar and used in many products today.┬á It is sweeter and cheaper than sugar and after consuming, it switches off the brains natural appetite control and you consume much more than your body needs.┬á
It is regularly found in fizzy drinks, ketchup, biscuits and cereal. HFCS is not the body’s first choice of energy and mostly gets metabolised into fat. Trans fats are often found in crisps, biscuit and in French fries.┬á Trans fat is in a wide variety of foods and can’t be eliminated from your diet completely, but cutting back on Trans fat items makes a big difference.
Trans fats can cause diabetes, weaken your immune and can increase your risk of cancer.┬á Trans fat increases the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood, lowers your good cholesterol and increases the body’s lipoprotein, that increase the risk of heart disease.
Most healthy eating guidelines eliminates HFCS and trans fat and is based on one or a combination of the following principles: low calories, healthy choice of foods, portion control, low GI, low fat, sugar free foods, foods that compliment your blood type and foods that build lean muscle to mention a few.┬á
Healthy eating is based on an understanding of your personal circumstances and your body’s metabolic reaction to different foods. These individual characteristics matched to a combination of healthy eating principles, supplements, optimum fluid intake and mild regular exercise will all contribute to healthier lifestyle and a leaner fitter you.┬á
A healthy lifestyle including healthy eating habits gives your body the opportunity to detoxify and cleanse itself, increase your energy levels and improve overall physical well being.
Ensure that your wellness intervention, in this case healthy eating is supported by a medical professional, based on science and research and customised for you. Make sure that progress and success is measurable and well documented and monitored to ensure continuity and on-going improvement.
*LIZE PIETERSE works at the Wellness Connection, in the Village and can be contacted on 75577360.