By Virginia Eaton — Everyday I receive questions from people asking about the best way to be “healthy” and the short answer is, “it depends…” Being healthy requires that all the various components that make us human to work in concert—from the bacteria that live in our guts to the chemicals that make our hearts beat and brains think. Here are a few of the most common questions that I get asked and if you email me your questions, I will add them to list and when space permits, answer them in this blog.
Q: Which weight loss diets work best?
A: Diets do not work—you knows this already! You will hear me say repeatedly that unless there is a medical necessity, diets are wishes and you cannot wish yourself skinny. The way you lose weight without damaging your insides is to eat real food and as long as you avoid processed food, counting calories is unnecessary.
There are no drinks, pills, or special ‘prepackaged meals’ that will sustain a healthy weight loss. Any advertisement that tells you that you can lose weight quickly is essentially saying, “We can damage your body’s chemistry in a blink of an eye”. Think about how long it took your body to accumulate the extra weight—if someone told you that you could earn a PhD in a one-week online course would you believe them? Of course not! Some things just take time and buying into weight-loss marketing is wishing for an outcome rather than actually making the changes that will create a healthier you.
A: I am asked this question often and there is no single answer. My preference in a perfect world is to have an intense workout in the morning and a light workout in the afternoon. Unfortunately, ‘perfect’ doesn’t happen very often but the boost in energy that comes from a two-a-day workout is pretty incredible!
The body’s metabolism tends to be higher in the morning and declines later in the day making afternoon workouts a nice metabolic nudge. Rather than being too concerned about morning versus afternoon, just focus on getting a workout in everyday.
Q: Why should I take yoga?
A: Yoga is a fabulous way to get a whole body workout that builds strength, and improves flexibility and balance. You will get to know your body better as you move through different yoga poses that engage your core muscles and learn to move in rhythm with your breath.
Even a gentle yoga class will improve the range of motion in your shoulders, hips and back and will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. For me, the beauty of yoga is learning to breathe whilst the body is in challenging positions and then remembering this ability to breathe in the real world as life throws down challenges and I find myself in emotionally contorted or uncomfortable positions—this is the purpose of yoga.
Being healthy and fit means finding your own personal balance and if you feel like you have achieved that balance, then keep on doing what you’re doing! But, if you are like most of us, struggling to find that constantly changing balance of the right food, right exercise, right amount of social and alone time, then I challenge you to try something different.
So do that yoga class, or try eating a salad with your lunch or taking a walk before you head to work and see if that one thing can be the beginning of other positive changes in your quest for balance.
Virginia Eaton is the co-owner of Class: The Body Pastiche opening soon in Oakhurst