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I think about this a lot in the context of this blog. While we all want to be healthier and live better lives, when you get down to brass tacks, for most of my readers that translate to weight loss. So when I write about home workouts or share a healthy recipe, I’m always thinking about how this will help you get what you want – better health and a leaner physique.
So why is that? What else do women over 35 need to focus on to be healthy and lean?
Why are sleep and stress management/happiness so important? Not only do they play a key role in managing hormones (which is a HUGE part of maintaining a healthy weight), they also impact gut health, mental health, and longevity. Interestingly, sleep and stress management/happiness also influence diet and exercise. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to eat poorly. When you’re under-slept you crave junk food and have zero energy to workout. These four markers are incredibly interrelated but also independently have the most influence over your health and weight.
So now you might be thinkings – oh great, now I’ve got two more massive undertakings I need to control in order to be lean and healthy, meanwhile, I’m barely making any progress in the first two areas. I give up!
Here are some examples of how this works:
- You have a newborn baby (congrats!) and guess what – sleep is not an option. You’re up every two hours to feed and you’re a walking zombie. So what do you do when your sleep lever is out of whack? Dial up the levers you can control, like your nutrition and maybe even a long walk outside every day which covers exercise and stress management. Hopefully, happiness is covered because, hello, you’ve got a baby!
- What if you’re at a stressful job and working crazy hours? No time for workouts, so what can you do? Dial in your nutrition by getting your groceries delivered or hitting up the Whole Foods salad bar after work every night and making 7 to 8 hours of sleep a non-negotiable.
- Say you’re traveling on vacation and you want to enjoy the local food and not worry about eating healthy. No problem! Enjoy your food and just make sure you’re staying active (walking counts), getting plenty of sleep and enjoying the experience of being unplugged from your life back home so your SMH levels are elevated. You might even find that your desire to over-indulge is gone because you’re so happy and chill from all the great rest you’re getting on vaykay.
You see? It’s not about being perfect at all. the. things., it’s about understanding what the right balance of healthy habits is going to best serve you based on what you’re going through in your life (good or bad).
My Own Journey to Wellness Over Weight Loss
But as I’ve let this idea of holistic wellness roll around in my brain, I start to see evidence of how powerful it is. I think back to the times I was the leanest and it’s generally when my wellness was most in balance.
How to Change Your Focus to Wellness
- Need better sleep? Check out this post on how to sleep better and read this if you need help recovering from a bad sleep.
- Need to improve your diet? Here’s a great resource on rebalancing your diet so it’s hormone friendly. It’s not for everyone, but it could be for you.
- Need to move more? I offer my favorite workouts right here and none of them require a gym membership
- Need to reduce stress and get happier? That’s a bigger topic to tackle but start with maybe taking a break from social media or learning to manage your stress more effectively.
Want a great resource for digging deeper into this idea? I loved this book. It’s packed with actionable steps and scientific evidence that taking a balanced, realistic approach to each of these areas of wellness is far more effective than trying to be perfect at one or two.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.