There are so many books, video clips and articles on healthy, stress-free living, promoting a healthy, slimming diet and exercise routine. Some encourage cross-training, kickboxing, whole body workouts while others advice a more sedate and serene approach like Yoga, Pilates and Taichi. Jumping on this bandwagon of health-conscious living are the pharmaceutical companies coming up with all sorts of “herbal cure-alls” to treat ailments ranging from migraines to high uric acid and arthritis. They come in different forms: in sachets, tablets or added on to our coffee, tea or fruit juice. The aim is ostensibly to cut down on sugar overdose, too much salt in our diet or ensure that we ingest the required amount of fiber or veggies to balance our nutrition.
There’s the South Beach Diet, Beverly Hills Diet, Atkins Diet, the 16- hour Intermittent Fasting diet, the Ketone Diet. There is also the “If it fits your Macros” Diet. You set your own goals, determine how much fat, protein and carbs you need and go on from there. It’s a natural, healthy, balanced way of eating just the right amount of carbs, fat, fiber and lean protein to be taken every three to four hours to match the digestion and absorption time of food into one’s system. Discipline is the key: we just need to eat moderate amounts of each food group to ensure that we are not deprived of other nutrients. This also ensures that we don’t crave for the food we can’t have. When we crave for a certain food and we deprive ourselves, it’s not sustainable over the longterm. And what happens when we sit at an all-youcan- eat buffet table, see the desired mouth-watering food and smell the glorious flavours? We go overboard and eat too much of it till we get so full we could hardly move. Then we feel guilty for over-eating! The main point is what whichever diet you choose, it must be sustainable.
Then there’s the other side of the equation: exercise. For those of us who can’t go to the gym for some reason, there’s always brisk walking, swimming or jogging. We might even play some tennis regularly or do some dance exercises. Thrice or four times weekly is all it takes. Our aim is to burn the calories and keep an active lifestyle. Fitness trainers say the equation for keeping to one’s desired weight is 70-30, meaning 70% diet and 30% exercise. And it makes sense. If we starve ourselves so that our cells do not get adequate nutrition but do not exercise, we will lose weight but our muscles will sag hideously. And we would look way older than we really are due to the sagging facial muscles. On the other hand, even if we exercise 5-10 hours a day but do not control our food intake, we will not be as healthy as we had wanted to be.
Stress also plays a big role in our quest for a healthy, fit and well lifestyle. Relationship problems, financial hardships or other issues that disrupt our equilibrium can cause us to over-eat or just lose our joy and zest for life. Some even spiral indefinitely into depression and anxiety. A good therapist can do wonders if this is the case.
Which brings us to the eternal truth: we need to anchor our lives on our Almighty God. When we lift our problems to Him and trust Him completely, life becomes happier, more enjoyable and full of meaning. As Christmas draws near, may we always have Him in the center of our hearts and lives. May we not forget that He is the reason for the Christmas Season.