March 8, 2012

The 3 Things I Know About Women

Although we still aren't there yet...we
have come a long way...right?
Happy International Women's Day.  Of course, when the day comes that we don't have an International Women's Day is the day we are truly equal. Until then, we will save some time each year, on this day to meet, talk, and eat cake. That is what I did today.

I was kindly invited as the keynote speaker for an event honouring women. The theme was (as you may guess) Women's Health and Wellness.  So I sat for a week thinking about my topic (feeling kinda tired of the same old health promotion crap) I decided to list as many things I know to be true about women...all women. Of course, men could also fit in here, but that isn't the subject matter today.

So as it relates specifically to women's health, I chose the three things I know to be true about women.

1  Women continue to be the caregivers of society.
Whether you side with the nature or nurture argument, women tend to take care of families, patients, students, clients, in all forms of helping.  As much as it is great for one's health to care and help others...it can be hazardous to one's health if they don't allow time to care for themselves.  You cannot care for others well unless you care for yourself. No one is going to hand you a "get out of jail free" card at the end of your life when you are old and rickety; chronically diseased or in pain all the time because you dedicated your life to the care of others. You must take care of you.

Book time in your day planner and stick to it like you do other important dates or meetings. Respect your meeting with yourself and don't let yourself down.  Spend 30 minutes a day in physical activity, try and eat one more veggie and get to bed a little earlier. Schedule time for fun and laughter...to enjoy social time with friends. You will be a better caregiver for it.
Self explanatory really....

2  Women age.
Of course, men age too, but it isn't about them right now. Women age and things start to change and whatever you did to manage weight in your youth may not be working for you as much now. What happens? We blame ourselves for our lack of success instead of thinking maybe the prescription for weight management or health may change as we age. It most definitely does!

For example, exercise cannot be used as a weight loss tool anymore. If you have always relied on the power of exercise to allow for a not-so-healthy-diet...I got news for you....and it ain't good. You  must alter your mindset to think of exercise as an important tool for aging well and healthy. The key is nutrition for weight management through menopause (oh that time in life I am sooo looking forward to....NOT!). Now is the time to focus on a diet that will allow for weeks of no exercise while you maintain your weight at the same time (and for all you fitness buffs out there that can't imagine that...do I have a deal for you). If you can find a balance in nutrition,you can maintain your weight (a.k.a. looking good naked into your older age) and NOT exercise like some crazy exercise junkie anymore!  Note: an aging marathoner isn't a good look for anyone.

3  Most (if not all) women participate in daily negative self-talk.
There is not one woman I have met who doesn't point to a body part and say something disrespectful about it. "I hate my floppy arms!", "My thighs are huge!", "OMG I have a gigantic muffin top!" ...it goes on and on. Our bodies, as the research suggests, respond to our thoughts. If we habitually talk negatively about ourselves, we may be changing the biochemistry of our bodies. Whatever we think about we bring about (at least according to "The Secret")...and I believe it. 

Let's face it...being a woman is hard frickin work at times...but I would never trade it for the other option.
I honestly don't know how they (the other option) gets around with their junk on the outside.
 

One of the most impactful health practices may be to change one's thinking from the nasty and self defeating to positive and self loving. Instead of walking out the door in the morning and thinking your hair sucks (.) note one positive thing about your appearance (i.e. "I have beautiful eyes")...and repeat it to yourself on the way to work.  The next week, add another positive thought (ie. "I have beautiful eyes and a great sense of style")...and repeat it to yourself. Keep adding another positive thought each week and you will be on your way to making a positive change.

Again, what we think about the most or invest or time and attention on usually shows up...use this "law" to your benefit and start thinking you rock your own world. It may sound ridiculous at first, but that's only because you are so used to the other way of thinking.  We all need to take a step back from our health goals, our desires to change, and our feelings of despair when we don't and pat ourselves on the back for what we are doing now. I guarantee you do a few things each day that go towards good health right now and are probably not aware of it.  "You're so money, baby, and you don't even know it!"....anyone? Movie?

Celebrate that. Celebrate yourself. And be sure to give yourself the time to be healthy and well.

Have a happy Women's Day, sista!

K

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