-Wellness Misconceptions Series- Part I
These are the wellness misconceptions that I hear from my sister that I have to debunk..
The picture above, is of my small sister who is in her early 20's. She is a gorgeous lady slaying the game in her career as the Creative Director of Backdrop Agency but sometimes she upsets me. She doesn't see the importance of wellness; she thinks I exaggerate it. I love her so much but I get concerned when we start talking about it. As her big sister, I try to get her to join me in this wellness journey despite her being beautiful and super petite!
For the longest time, I have tried to get her to join me at the gym and I even offer to pay but she sees no point because she is happy with her weight. However, I keep telling her that fitness is not only about being physically fit, but its about your mental state and general well being. She normally just stares back at me like I am being over the top. Just like her, we can look good on the outside but that might not be the case of what is happening on the inside. Her misconceptions about wellness inspired me to write this post and I am happy to address them because many people share these sentiments as I did too at the beginning. There are so many misconceptions to address but since I don't want to overwhelm you on a Friday, this article will be called 'Part I of the Wellness Misconceptions' series and others will come in the future.
5 Things My Sister Says...
1. "I eat fruits because they fill me up and I don't have to cook"
Most people seem to think that fruits can supplement an entire meal. This is not true. Fruits are healthy snacks, not meals. They are supposed be taken either before a meal, or after. In my article called Carbs Carbs Carbs, I explained that fruits are also classified as simple carbohydrates because they have natural sugars; and whereas they also have vitamins, they don’t have all the nutrients to fuel your body.
Always remember that in every meal, you need 5 nutrients to achieve optimum health; Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals and Water. Unless there is a fruit that has all 5 nutrients, avoid replacing your meal for a fruit.
2. "I only drink water when I am thirsty and hungover"
Oh my goodness! Water is life and I can’t even stress that hard enough.
The rule in wellness is that you are not supposed to allow your body to get to a point of dehydration unless you are working out; and even when working out, you are supposed to keep sipping some water. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. If you are dehydrated, it means your body cannot function well. You start to feel weak and most times, you crave something sweet to give you that quick fix.
In fact, most times we confuse thirst for hunger and end up over eating, yet all we needed was a glass of water. Next time you are hungry, try to drink some water and you’ll find that you were thirsty 😊 (no pun intended); this helps in reducing the portions in your meals.
Drinking sufficient water also benefits your skin and helps prevent wrinkles; a major bonus! Major key alert
3. "I don't go to the gym because I don’t mind my body shape: Gym is for people battling weight issues" (mi si mind)...
This is the wrong mind-set. In my article where I talked about summer bodies, I talk about how this perception can actually demotivate someone who wants to start their fitness journey. For those who are comfortable with their weight like my sister, remember that fitness doesn’t only refer to being in good shape, but also refers to a person’s mental state as well. I also tell her all the time that just because you are in good shape naturally, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch what you eat.
When we work out, it increases the circulation of blood to all the cells in the body, bringing life enhancing oxygen and nutrients while carrying away toxic waste. In our generation, most lifestyles involve long and extended periods of sitting down either in the office or in front of the TV, or catching up over happy hour (I am also guilty of this). This isn’t good for our bodies because our bodies were created to move. If we are not using them in the way they were designed to be used, this can make us feel irritable, fidgety, and anxious (also guilty). Our muscles become flabby when we are inactive and this affects our mental state.
Mental fitness can only be achieved if your body is functioning well. You can help relax your own mind and eliminate stresses by exercising regularly and eating right. And trust me, I speak from experience.
4. "I only eat when I am hungry"
Again, this is the wrong mind set.
It's advisable to have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day to achieve optimum health; I try to live by this rule and it works. On a good day, I'll have breakfast, a mid- morning snack, lunch, early & late after-noon snack, and dinner. This sums up to 6 meals. I’ll talk about this in detail in the upcoming posts but I try to at least have breakfast, lunch and dinner. The snacks in between are supposed to keep your hunger at bay so that you don’t overeat. If you don’t eat breakfast most chances are that you had a big meal for dinner and your body is still digesting it when you wake up. If I am so busy, I try to prioritize my breakfast because its the most important meal of the day.
5. "I don't work out consistently because it's painful"
Fair enough, this happens to everyone; the sore feeling is inevitable but you can manage it. The trick that has worked for me, is to manage my workout by keeping it light so that the next day I am not too sore. If you haven’t been working out or you are starting for the first time, I tell my friends to start slow. If you start slow and light, you won’t be in as much pain the next day.
Most people will push themselves so hard when they start because they are in a hurry to look a certain way. I used to do this and the next morning I would walk as if I don’t have knees. Instead of rushing to squat 60kgs because you want to sculpt your thighs, start with even 10kgs or your own body weight. The first time I tried to squat heavy weights I was bed ridden the next day, I had to call in sick. It’s never that serious 😊.
The attitude that has worked for me with regards to fitness, is to take it slow until you feel like your body can go an extra level. “Pole pole, moss moss, twazienda, moss moss , haraka haraka haina baraka”. Only push to your limit and don’t compete with people at the gym because you don’t know their fitness level. Try to be your best cheerleader and compete with yourself.
Also, if you are sore but strong enough to go for a light jog, this can reduce the soreness and relieve your muscles. Leon Weche (a.k.a Superman) who is one of the best fitness trainers in Kenya, wrote an informative article on the difference between rest and recovery. He explains that rest is the time spent sleeping and not training or exercising; and recovery is where you do a light workout to relieve your muscles, like a simple jog or even yoga! 😊
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~Buddha