5 HAPPY AND HEALTHY TIPS

5 tips simple tips towards being happier and healthier

I am the last person in the world to tell people how to be fit and fabulous, but I can give you five tips that help me accept myself and the Midlife woman I have become. It's not about lying on the couch eating peeled grapes (though that does sound good), it's about finding simple things that work and feel right for you - not for the people around you, but for you personally. So, here's my five tips:

1. COMPETE ON YOUR OWN TERMS

Why is it we think we have to be what others expect us to be? Why do we strive for perfection when we know we'll never achieve it? Why do we envy the success of others? Why do we push ourselves relentlessly to be something we're not?

I don't have the definitive answer to any of those questions, but I do know that we need to work to our strengths. When we find what we like and we figure out how to incorporate that into our idea of health and well being then we are on the road to success.

2. FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY DOING

I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I hate running, I am completely resistant to the idea of joining a gym and I really can't justify the weekly outlay for a personal trainer. So, none of these things are going to work for me if I want to make changes to my fitness levels. What I needed to do was find something that I enjoyed and stick with that.

I'm not sure that I really love any type of physical exercise - I am more of a sitting around reading a book kind of gal, but even I can acknowledge that I'm going to become a couch potato if I do that all day. I enjoy a walk in the fresh air, so I've made that my preferred form of exercise. I aim to do it every day and it's not all that onerous because I actually like doing it.

3. APPRECIATE THE BODY YOU'RE IN

Comparing a 50+ year old's body to the bodies that are waved under our noses every day on the internet is a destructive and disheartening exercise. Even comparing ourselves to the Midlife Goddesses who we see still looking gorgeous at 60 is going to be self-defeating. That small minority of genetically blessed women are extremely fortunate (and probably work quite hard to stay that way). For the rest of us, we have the bodies God and our genetics have seen fit to give us and that's what we have to work with.

We need to appreciate our shape and size and work within our limits. Some of us are naturally slim, others not so much. Some of us are natural athletes, others not so much. Some of us are ageing really well, others not so much. Berating ourselves for not being one of the "blessed" doesn't help. Instead, it's time to accept our physical bodies and work on making them the best they can be - not perfect, just healthy and happy.


5 tips simple tips towards being happier and healthier

4. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

If you know in your heart that the weight is creeping up, if you know deep down that you're not eating or exercising the way you should be, then it's time to stop and figure out how to fix that before it's a mammoth task. The sooner you listen to what your gut is telling you, the sooner you can take steps to improve the situation - and the easier it will be to turn it around.

Ignoring those creeping pounds, ignoring the midrift bulge, ignoring the fact that you sit all day and don't move enough is not going to help in the long run. It's easier to go for a walk when you're only carrying a few extra kilos, it's a LOT harder when  you have to lift an extra 15 or 20 kilos off the couch and get it moving.

5. DON'T LET THE TURKEYS GET YOU DOWN

Give yourself a break. Don't let the perfectionism that is waved in your face day after day make you give up. I know I'll never be 20 (or 30) ever again. I know I'll never run a marathon, I know I'll always love hot chips, I know I'll never weigh what I did at 18. Acknowledging these things takes away some of their power and the guilt that goes with them. It frees me up to decide what I can do and what I can be.

I can be fit, I can be healthy, I can choose good food over takeaway the majority of the time, I can live with a few extra pounds on my hips - but not much more than that. I can make changes to my diet and exercise before it's a burden and too hard to get motivated. I can cut myself some slack and recognize I'm doing my best - and in the process I can stay happy and healthy.

Are you being kind to yourself? Are you happy and healthy? If not, what can you do that helps without beating yourself up?

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32 comments

  1. Yes...to all of it. I have started walking every day and some days I don't get as far as I'd like, but I try not to judge. It's not easy. ;)

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    1. It's especially hard when you don't enjoy exercising isn't it Kim? I find walking is the easiest way to sustain some kind of movement in my day - but is probably not enough any more unfortunately.

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  2. I'm still trying to come to terms with my body after having my son 2 years ago. Losing weight has been an issue for me due to my back injury. I've lost 35 lbs in the past 3 months with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Orange Juice. I am feeling better as far as energy and metal wise, health wise is better just not as far as my back goes. I do get out with the children at least 1 x a week just to say that I'm not a couch potato and to hopefully get some exercise.

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    1. I think you've done amazingly well to lose 35lbs Lavonnia - I'd be happy to lose half that! I think getting outside with the kids and going for a walk is a great way to give them some variety in their day and to strengthen all those muscles your back needs to support itself.

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  3. I very much agree with having to find something you like so you stick with it because you enjoy it. Never liked running either and several tries with the gym ended shortly after joining. For me Karate / Martial Arts is the one thing I've sticked with through thick and thin.

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    1. I did Tai Chi for a while Alexandra - not as energetic as martial arts, but the discipline of the movements was good and it was fun to achieve the correct patterns. Shame I didn't keep it up after the first year or so.

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  4. 5 nuggets of wisdom, you mean! This is what we all need to read and internalize. Mid-life is about finding out who you are and liking who you are! I love every one of your tips, but the first one should be the mantra for us all.

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    1. I am so strong on not competing with unachievable expectations Melody - those few gorgeous women who are waved under our noses in ads are really not the norm and we need to let them be beautiful while we get on with being the best version of ourselves.

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  5. Oh, this is so good, Leanne! Motivating without being discouraging. I needed this for my 60+ body!

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    1. me too Diane - it's about accepting your age and stage and loving what we have - but also doing our best to maintain it :)

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    1. Thanks Pam - I know you're a great advocate of looking and feeling the very best you can at this time of life :)

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  7. Thank you, Leanne. I needed this today.

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    1. My pleasure Laurie - your post inspired me to think about adding a pedicure to my bucket list - so we helped each other!

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  8. Hi Leanne! All good advice for us all. And yes, health and happiness go hand in hand. Recognizing that we aren't who we used to be--but looking forward to the future is so very important. Thanks for these reminders. ~Kathy

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    1. It's like your month at the beach each year Kathy - appreciating the opportunities and blessings and not letting ourselves slip into a couldn't care less frame of mind.

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  9. After losing 30 pounds with Weight Watchers and not being at this new weight since my 30s, I do see pudge, curves, loose skin and other pesky visual issues. But guess what? I wore a midriff top to yoga today (i have high waisted yoga capris I wore them with)! Not sure if stares from women were glares, but the longer looks from men were...interesting. I'm happily married so I don't really care-=in fact hubby constantly encourages me to bare my middle! I caught a glance in the mirror during yoga and I liked what i saw for the first time in 35 years. My yoga teacher told me I looked like a teenager. I have more of a curvy two-pack going in my upper ab area (that's why lower abs are covered). I didn't want to be hot in yoga class so I just did it. It was so freeing! Been loving you posts lately, Leanne! (Terri from Second Wind Leisure)

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    1. I would love to have seen you in your crop top at yoga Terri - you looked pretty amazing in your photo with your old teacher so I bet you rocked your outfit! I'm not quite there yet, but if I lost 30lbs I'd definitely be thinking of baring a bit more skin!

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  10. These are such great tips. It's about being comfortable with who you are, because, quite frankly, who else can you be?

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    1. The trouble is that lots of people try to convince us that we can be some unreachable level of perfection - but we need to remember that we are who God made us to be and work on being our best version of ourselves - because you're right - who else can we be?

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  11. Walking is my favorite exercise and since I have 2 dogs and live in an apartment, I have no excuse. I enjoy being a little competitive when I'm in a class but have to take it easier than i used to.

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    1. I think walking will always be the only form of exercise that I don't mind doing and that is reasonably accessable and therefore doable. My problem is that I need to go further and faster for it to start making a dent on these extra kilos that have crept on Rebecca :)

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  12. These are things that took me awhile to learn. I have finally realized the only way to be happy is to be at peace with the person I am and things that make me happy. It is too hard trying to please other people.

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    1. You are so right - I took a long time to learn it as well! People pleasing is a killer and we need to take responsibility for our own happiness and leave them to figure it out for themselves.

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  13. These are excellent tips for everyone to remember at any stage in life. They're applicable to me now in my 60's, but they would be equally applicable to a teenager. Thank you for linking up at The Blogger’s Pit Stop. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

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    1. I think the teenagers and millennials figured it out way before we did Carol - I'm still getting my head around some of the stuff they just seemed to have absorbed by osmosis!

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  14. I love these tips, Leanne. They are very sincere, heartfelt and doable. I especially like your focus on working to our strengths and not killing ourselves to meet the unachievable expectations of others.

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    1. I am so tired of trying to compete with everyone Donna - now I just do what feels right for me - it may not be all that I'm capable of, but it's what seems like enough and I am finally satisfied with that.

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  15. Great post Leanne, we all tend to be very hard on ourselves and I certainly agree that working out what works for you is critical, but challenging when there is so much 'noise' around.

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    1. There are so many people telling us how to do more, more, more aren't there? I'm now doing what feels like sufficient and being content with where I'm at rather than jumping through other people's hoops.

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  16. Very good points... and "real" information... I like that. :)

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  17. Wise words, Leanne. I'm a big advocate of appreciating our bodies for all the amazing things they do for us and gently shifting focus away from how we look. When you're taking those walks, it can be almost meditation taking in the sounds and smells and sensations. Thank you for the reminder to be honest with myself, but not too judgmental. Progress, not perfection.

    ~Christie

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