health

The one worry most women just can't shake.

The one thing at the front of my girlfriends’ minds: how stressful it can be to live a healthy lifestyle.

Think about all the women you know, and think about what stresses them out the most.

Family? Yes, of course. Work? Yes, it’s a given.

But there’s one thing that is always at the front of my girlfriends’ minds. One thing that they’re endlessly talking about, and texting me about, and panicking about.

It’s their health. Or, more specifically, how stressful it can be to live a healthy lifestyle.

As much as I think every single of my lady friends is perfect, each one has something that she’d like to change about herself. Being more toned, eating the right foods, feeling energised and in control.

Everyone always wants to be fitter – one of those exercise powerhouses that can run a half-marathon and still not be particularly tired. And everyone wants to be one of those people that wake up in the morning to a green smoothie and a bowl of organic muesli..

The only problem? Our expectations are far too high. We stress out, and we beat ourselves up far too much if we fail. And if we do fail? We’re so discouraged by it all that we fall back off the wagon, and go back to eating badly and not exercising, so that we feel even worse about ourselves. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Blackmores. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

If you’re hoping to change up your diet or exercise plan, here are a few ways to try and do it without stressing yourself out completely…

Gradually start incorporating more of the good stuff and less of the not-so-good stuff.

1. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel completely

It’s not a great idea to wake up one Monday morning and decide to suddenly change EVERYTHING about your diet and exercise regime. You’ll be destined to fail if you switch from eating treats all the time, to instantly depriving yourself of anything and everything tasty.

While it’s fantastic to change bad habits, try to simply and gradually incorporate more of the good stuff and less of the not-so-good stuff. Drink more water. Load up your plate with more veggies. Pick a salad instead of a sandwich every so often. Get off your bus a few stops early to walk a bit more. Leave your car parked at home over the weekend and try to walk everywhere instead.

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Slowly but surely, your body will start to feel better. You’ll have more energy and you’ll start craving things that nourish you rather than make you feel bad. And you’ll just keep getting better and better with looking after yourself.

2. Commit to just one new thing

Rather than making yourself a vague promise to “get fitter” or “eat better”, think of one thing you’d really like to try, and actually make it happen. Specific goals will mean you’re much more likely to actually follow through with them.

So maybe you’ve always wanted to try Zumba classes. Or maybe you’re keen on taking up stand-up paddleboarding. Or perhaps you’ve never been a particularly strong swimmer, and 2014 is the year that you actually take up swimming properly?

Rather than making a vague promise to ‘get fitter’, think of one thing you’d really want to try and make it happen.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be exercise-related, either. Maybe you’d like to try making more healthy recipes. Or baking your own bread. Perhaps you’d like to get really good at meditation, or simply spend more time outdoors in the garden.

Investigate your dream and commit to it by locking out a particular evening or Saturday afternoon in your calendar, every week. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel when you actually commit to something and stick to it. And gradually? You can keep discovering more things you love. Without the stress levels.

3. Pinpoint your sources of stress, and work towards fixing them

This one’s an easy one. Hop on over to the Blackmores website to do their five-minute stress quiz, which will pinpoint your sources of stress and give you recommendations on how your stress might be managed.

Not all of us are able to recognise exactly what’s stressing us out, and so this is a fabulous way to determine exactly what you could do to make yourself – and everyone around you! – happier.

Here are some alternate ways to introduce some active healthy changes:

What is your biggest worry when it comes to your weight?

With stress being a health and wellbeing concern for many Australians, Blackmores has stepped in to help by developing a Stress Quiz at blackmores.com.au/stress enabling you to complete a personal stress assessment and see how your stress levels compare to the rest of Australia. On completion of the quiz you will then be directed to relevant tips and resources on how to manage stress and help find balance in your life. Blackmores Naturopaths are also on hand for personalised advice via our free Advisory Service 1800 803 760.

Blackmores offers a range of products to assist Australians in finding balance including – Blackmores Executive B Stress FormulaBlackmores Sleep Sound Formula & Blackmores Digestive Bio Balance and Blackmores Sustained Release Multi + Antioxidants

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Blackmores Stress Research, Based on a nationally representative sample of 1,524 Australians aged 18+ carried out by TDE research, October 2013.

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