Hello, dear Soul-Searchers! I hope you are all safe and well.
In my last post, I talked of body-positivity and the necessity to take care of our bodies and minds at the same time. Today, I will share with you my idea of a holistic, balanced and healthy lifestyle. Before I begin, I want to clarify: this post is entirely based on my own personal experience and journey while battling and winning over PCOS in the last one year. Hence, it is subjective and not at all claiming to be a medical prescription. I am only sharing what worked and is still working for me. So, let us begin.
1. Eliminate Added and Refined Sugar
Refined sugar is harmful for us, if taken in excess. So, I tried eliminating it from my diet as much as possible. I am both a tea and a coffee person. I started drinking my tea and coffee without sugar. I have a sweet only occasionally (maybe once a week).
2. Eliminate Processed and Packaged Food
My gynecologist told me the cons of consuming processed food, more so food packaged in plastics and with a longer shelf-life. It is advisable to eat our food as fresh as possible and not in plastic containers. I only occasionally eat my favourite piece of Blackforest pastry (maybe once a month).
3. Say No to Plastic
I stopped using plastic containers. I have switched to steel water bottles and travel mugs, ceramic coffee mugs, steel plates and bowls and so on. Well, we all know how destructive plastic is for the environment anyway. It also extensively harms our bodies. So, it is high time now that we put a stop to its usage.
4. A Glass of Detox Water in the Morning
It has been more than year now that I start my morning with a glass of detox water. Well it only sounds fancy, it is not actually. I take a glass of lukewarm water and add either: lemon juice or a pinch of turmeric or some Amla (Indian Gooseberry) juice or some grated ginger, to it. That simple, yes! But it is almost elixir-like.
5. Not Caffeine but 1 Banana/ 5 Almonds
Immediately after I drink the glass of detox water, I either have a banana or 5 overnight-soaked almonds. It breaks the nightlong fast and kick-starts our day. Believe me when I say it is so tempting to reach out for a cup of tea or coffee, the first thing in the morning. But it is not healthy or nutritious for us. Instead, pick up the banana or the almonds from the next time.
6. You Do Not Need Any Expensive Gym Membership or Equipment to Get Fit
Yes, you read that right. For the past 1 and a half year, I just went for a morning walk and did body-resistance exercises at home: without any equipment, for 30-45 minutes, 6 days a week. Thanks to the internet, we can find numerous videos online which show us how to use our body weight for building strength. They need not be extremely challenging from the very first day. We can always build up our routine as we go ahead in our journey. Remember, you must enjoy the exercise routine, not slog through it. Although there is no said best time of the day to exercise but I most prefer it in the mornings after I have my detox water and superfood (banana/almonds). It energises me for the entire day and kinda sets me on a routine.
7. Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes Everyone Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
First, if I told this to my college-days self, I would have just laughed it off. Late-night movies, binging on junk, well, my body has seen a lot! And I think most of us can relate to this lifestyle. I learnt it the hard way. And I will tell you today that sleep is very important for our body and mind. It is healing and therapeutic. Experts usually advise us to get a goodnight’s sleep for 6-8 hours at an adult age. However, I have realised that after 6-7 hours of proper sleep, my body wakes up refreshed and calm. So, it is advisable to observe how much sleep your body requires, without using any alarm clock that is. BTW, try this experiment on a holiday; you don’t want to miss out on work!
8. Eating Local, Seasonal, Fresh and by the Clock
I eat at fixed hours of the day, unless there are emergencies. I eat my breakfast within 2 hours of waking up. I usually have 2 breakfasts, if you may: (a) the detox water, a banana/5 almonds, another 3 glasses of water after workout, and (b) a good wholesome breakfast after I bathe and freshen up for the day.
I have a mid-morning snack at 11:30 am. It is basically a fruit/ dry fruits and a cup of green tea or black coffee without sugar.
My lunch happens around 1 pm- 2 pm. This is no rocket-science. Eat local and seasonal. Keep your plate balanced. That’s it!
I have an evening snack somewhere between 5:30 pm -7:00 pm, however it suits me. I eat when I get hungry. Avoid eating too much oily, fatty, processed and packaged food at this time. It is advisable to keep healthier options at home, such as: fruits, dry fruits, poha, upma, suji, bhel, jhalmuri, shakes, and so on. So basically, things which you either cook fresh or eat fresh. (The italicised items are popular Indian snacks.)
9. Drink Your Water
Well, we all know this but choose to ignore it willfully. Drink 3-4 litres of water everyday. It is advisable to keep a dedicated 1 litre water bottle for yourself and keep in mind to finish it 3-4 times a day.
10. Compartmentalise Your Work and Life
Keep your work and life balanced, and mostly separate. Meditate if you like. Listen to some music. Keep a hobby. Talk to your family and friends. Read your favourite book. Unwind once in while.
Every morning I write down my daily to-do list. It helps me keep a clear picture of work needed to be done that day and not waste time mindlessly. This helps me give my 100 percent at work and also unwind and have some me-time after work is over. I usually do something fun in my weekends. My Sundays are no-work day. This way my body as well as mind are well rested and ready for the next week.
Well, I think I covered most of it. I hope it helps you and inspires you in atleast some tiny way. I was overweight in August 2019 and struggling with PCOS and herniated lumbar disc, which primarily happened due to my weight and lifestyle. In the past 1 and a half year, I changed my lifestyle for the better. I lost more than 10 kgs and have reached my ideal BMI. I am and I feel much healthy now. My PCOS is corrected. I do not have pain in my lower back anymore. I can walk up flights of staircase without getting tired. Most of all, I feel happy. And I did not practice any fad diet. I did not feel as if I had to work hard for my goal. In my holistic journey, everything happened organically and gradually.
And you know what, there are people who still tell me: you look too thin now. 1 and a half year ago, they told me: You look too fat. So, do you see? There will be always be someone to tell you how thin or fat you look. But you should know that it does not matter, at all. The only thing that matters is how you yourself feel. Do you feel healthy? Do you feel happy? Talk to you soon. Till then,