Lynne Franks shares her thoughts on creating a healthier lifestyle
Creating a healthy lifestyle
“Do you realise that it was almost exactly a year ago when you were here telling me how tired you were, with all the same symptoms?” asked naturopath consultant Sharyn Singer when I visited her recently at her Oxford Clinic.
I sat there stunned while Sharyn asked me if there was something special about late February for me other than the fact that we are coming out of winter. I genuinely couldn’t answer her but I recognised that someone who works as intensely as I do without watching my food intake or exercising sufficiently at my age of 61 is heading for disaster.
I have always had an emotional eating problem and when I am working hard, as well as like most women, juggling my personal relationships and responsibilities, I tend to overeat and snack excessively. Sharyn reminded me that I am a typical ayurvedic pitta type who uses a lot of adrenal energy and if I don’t eat the right diet, I will simply burn out.
When I lived in California a few years ago, I would regularly book myself into the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego for a week where I would live on wheatgrass, juice and colonics. I would bounce out of there after a few days with a clean liver, sparkling eyes and a huge amount of energy. Living now back in the UK, I realised that I am simply not detoxing my bad habits often enough, which has become even more important as I have got older.
I start the day well with a mug of hot water, a little squeeze of lemon and a slice of ginger, usually followed by my morning juice of cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger and beetroot. But recently I have become very busy again working in London developing some wonderful new projects for women. It involves a lot of meetings with several business lunches and dinners each week combined with eating on the run and late nights catching up on my computer, feeding myself with crackers, nuts and chocolates. It means my routine is erratic, with my exercise sessions and my Five Rhythms dance sessions irregular at best.
Sharyn’s good advice rang in my ears as I left her office, encouraging me towards a change in lifestyle, as she had a year earlier. She recommended I start the day with miso soup or some kind of protein such as eggs, fish or turkey with vegetables alongside my favourite vegetable juice, keeping to light protein and vegetables throughout the day, while giving up the chocolate, wine, coffee and most of all wheat, once and for all.
As someone who doesn’t particularly like cereals in the morning, it seemed a great idea. I went home and decided to look back at a well-thumbed book of mine that always seemed to reflect what I needed to read at the right time.
The embarrassing thing is that I actually wrote this same book, GROW: The Modern Woman’s Handbook, which goes to prove that firstly I don’t walk my talk often enough. Secondly, I have all the knowledge inside me yet still need to be reminded of my need to let go of bad habits by a wise soul such as Sharyn or Debbie Laniado, the excellent nutritionist whom I’ve also recently seen. Debbie examined my blood under a microscope and measured my muscle to fat ratio, with somewhat worrying results.
So I thought I would share some of their suggestions with you:
For one week, write down everything you consume, including meals and snacks, beverages, cigarettes, alcohol and recreational drugs. Observe how your energy is. Do your joints ache? Do you have a headache? Do you have a bad, metallic taste in your mouth? Are you bloated? What, if any, other symptoms do you have?
During the second week, experiment with some of the healthier options available. Make a note of the difference in the way you feel, and decide which changes you’re going to incorporate into your new, health-conscious daily routine.
To find out more about workshops by Sharyn Singer and her colleague Anna Mason, visit colouryourhealth.com. Debbie Laniado can be contacted via debbielaniado @googlemail.com.
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