Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Surely you have heard the saying Slow and Steady Wins the Race. The story of the tortoise and the hare embodies this. The story starts with a race between the tortoise and the hare. The hare was overly confident and decided to take a break, only to have the tortoise win because he plodded along. Plodding along will get you there in the end. The aim is to never give up.

I lost 17kg without setting foot in a gym or running. Due to my chronic back pain I am limited by what exercise I can do. I had to give up running and going to the gym about 10 years ago because of health issues caused by a congenital heart condition. But those limitations have not stopped me from exercising regularly. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I focus on what I can do.

Focus On What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t

I can walk! I walk my border collies nearly every day, approximately 3 – 3.5km. My son and I usually walk them together, and we use that time to talk. The bond we have developed from our daily walks is incredible. We really miss that when one of us is away. The obvious other benefit is seeing how much our dogs love their daily walk. We’re really lucky to have fabulous parks and beaches nearby that are dog friendly.

Slow and steady wins the race.  I may not be able to run, but my daily walk with the dogs has lead to my successful weightloss.  Photo shows Christina Henry with her two border collies on the shore of a lake
Slow and steady wins the race. I may not be able to run, but my daily walk with the dogs has lead to my successful weight-loss.

Regular exercise is the key. It doesn’t need to be high impact or energetic to have health benefits. Even a low impact exercise like walking, swimming or yoga has multiple benefits. Starting with a short walk and slowly building up over time, you will see benefits to your health and well being such as weight loss, improved stamina, and better mood. I also increased my incidental exercise by parking further away and climbing the stairs at work instead of taking the lift.

I use a Fitbit tracker to keep track of my steps, and aim to walk 10500 steps a day. Some days I walk more, some less, but at the end of the week it averages 8 – 10,000 steps per day. I find it is a good incentive, and being in Fitbit challenges spurs me on to walk more.

The key to develop a healthy exercise schedule is to do something you like, do it regularly, and set yourself goals such as walking further, climbing 4 flights of stairs a day, or walking for 10 minutes every hour. Over time you will see the benefits

Slow and steady wins the race.  Regular exercise is the key to long term weight-loss.  Even a daily walk has benefits.  Photo shows a man on the shore of a lake in the mountains
Regular exercise is the key to long term weight-loss. Even a daily walk has benefits.

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Getting Support With Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Get support when you are making healthy lifestyle changes

Don’t Try to Do It Alone

This article is about getting support with healthy lifestyle choices. When starting out on your journey of self improvement, whether it is for weight loss, improving fitness, learning to cook or another healthy lifestyle choice, reach out for the support of others. Healthy habits are easier achieve when you have the support of others

The reason why I was able to succeed in losing 17kg this time as apposed to all the other times I’ve tried, is because I had support. Firstly, I was part of a program that matched me up with a coach. I was able to choose out of a dietician or an exercise coach, and I chose a dietician. Secondly, my brother was also on a journey to lose weight and we have supported each other through this.

Why you need Professional advice

Having professional advice regarding my diet was a game changer for me. Even though I’m a Registered Nurse with a background in health, I really had no idea about a healthy diet. I learned so much from the dietician, in particular the dietary requirements for over 50’s are a lot different than a younger person. She gave me advice about incorporating more vegetables into my diet, and cooking food in a healthier way. I would definitely recommend that you consult a dietician because they are experts in nutrition and weight loss, and are trained to be your coach.

So many times I felt like giving up, but I felt accountable to my coach. She would phone me every three weeks and was so positive and encouraging that I felt I couldn’t let her down. I’d hear her voice in my head urging me to walk up those flights of stairs even when my feet were aching and I was breathing like a steam train! My successful weight loss is mostly due to that constant support – when I felt like giving up and was full of self doubt, she pulled me through and gave me the confidence to succeed.

Support from non-professionals

Every time my brother and I spoke on the phone it was the same kind of encouragement. We gave each other advice and praised each other’s achievements. I wouldn’t have stuck to it if it weren’t for those two people. My brother used the keto diet and intermittent fasting to achieve his weight loss. We acknowledged that we could still support each other even though we were using vastly different ways to lose weight. No one method suits everyone, and that is another key reason why consulting a dietician is important.

I also had encouragement from a few of my work colleagues which was really lovely. Only a few people at work knew I was trying to lose weight. It actually took months for anyone to notice – I had already lost 10kg before people really noticed the weight loss! I thought it was funny how unobservant a lot of people are. Getting that praise boosted my self esteem, and made me so much more confident in myself.

Find Support Where You Can

My dogs have been great motivators as well because they are border collies who need walking no matter what. If you’re not lucky enough to own a dog, try buddying up with a friend for regular walks. If you normally meet for coffee, try get it to takeaway and drink while you have a stroll.

So my message today is, get support, even if you have to pay a professional or join a program. Lack of money or time? Find a Facebook group or online community that is based on weight loss, exercise, or whatever your area of self improvement is. It’ll make a huge difference.

Don't try to do it alone when you make a healthy change.  Read about getting support with healthy lifestyle changes.  Healthy habits are easier to achieve when you share the journey.  Image is of two young females with arms interlocking, backs towards viewer
Don’t try to do it alone when you make a healthy change. Read about getting support with healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy habits are easier to achieve when you share the journey.

Other Resources

I have found the following resources helpful and they are mostly free:

The first port of call should be your GP. Any weight loss or healthy lifestyle program should only be started after consulting your own doctor. Please read my Disclaimer here – this website is for informational purposes only.

For more inspirational articles on living a healthy life, read the following:

All healthy lifestyle articles can be found at this link.

Advice on a healthy diet can be found here, as well as healthy recipes.

Please comment and share this post if you enjoyed it.

Updated 26 September 2020

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Just Change One Habit at a Time

Many people feel daunted by the prospect of getting healthier because the goal seems so hard to achieve. For me, I wanted to lose 10kg. I thought that goal was going to be impossible to achieve. It came down to breaking a bad habit. Just change one habit at a time as this will lead to more success. Small changes in your habits can lead to big outcomes.

I had noticed that the common thing for the slimmest people I knew, was that they ate salad for lunch. One of my colleagues brought a massive salad to work – the size was like a family sized amount to me – and she was really slim. My lunch consisted of sandwiches, a large muffin, a full sized yoghurt and some fruit! So I started by eating a large salad at lunchtime instead. That one habit change meant I swapped a meal consisting of high calories, with one that had healthy vegetables and was only around 150 Calories.

Swap an Unhealthy Habit with a Healthy One

Changing any unhealthy habits, including weight loss, stopping smoking, or reducing alcohol intake, begins with one habit. My one habit was swapping out my lunch with a healthier option. One of my relatives changed drinking beer with a vodka and soda and started losing weight. To stop smoking, many people stop the habit that they do along with the smoking. For example, if they normally drink coffee and have a smoke, they stop drinking coffee and that can help them stop smoking because there isn’t that trigger anymore.

My healthier lunch - a salad and Kombucha.  Swapping my lunch to this one helped me lose a lot of weight.
My lunch nearly every day

New habits can be gained as well. I started walking up the 4 or 5 flights of stairs at work. At the beginning I could barely breathe at the end of it and my heart was racing for the next 15 minutes. Over time I have improved my stamina, to the point that my husband and I could walk up to 19000 steps a day on our recent holiday to Japan, and climb Mt. Mison while we were there.

So if it seems too hard at the beginning, start by just changing one habit. Start a new healthy habit by swapping one thing with another. It can lead to other changes and the end goal will become that much easier to achieve.

Small Changes You Can Make Today

Some examples of small changes that you can make today, that will lead to a healthier lifestyle:

  • Take a salad for lunch instead of getting take away food,
  • Walk the stairs at work instead of taking the lift,
  • Have fruit instead of a muffin or cake for morning tea,
  • Eat breakfast instead of waiting to eat until mid morning,
  • Don’t eat after dinner,
  • Eat a snack sized chocolate instead of a full sized bar,
  • Don’t drink soft drinks. Drink water instead.
Just change one thing.  How small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.  Motivation to change one habit at a time and achieve long lasting success.  Image shows a man looking over a lake in the mountains.
Just change one thing. How small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Motivation to change one habit at a time and achieve long lasting success.

If you enjoyed this short article, more information is in the following:

All healthy lifestyle articles may be found at this link. Please share and comment if you enjoyed this article.

Updated 26 September 2020

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Losing weight is a Marathon not a Sprint

You may have heard the term Losing Weight Is a Marathon Not a Sprint. For long-term weight-loss, a slow and steady decrease in body weight has been shown to lead to a more successful outcome long-term. Many “diets” cause rapid weight loss but this is because of severe reduction in calories and restricting whole food categories. The weight-loss cannot be sustained long-term because the body has been starved of vital nutrients.

This month marks one year since I weighed my heaviest. I have lost over 17kg and managed to sustain the weight loss for 6 months. I didn’t use any fad diet or expensive program to do it. In this blog I will be sharing tips on how to lose weight as part of this blog, but for now I will just say that to lose weight, you need to keep at it. Rapid weight loss using fad diets that cut out major food groups do work, however I believe that they can’t be sustained long term. Using my own experience, I managed to lose weight many times in the past, but as soon as I stopped “dieting” I put that weight straight back on, plus more. My yo-yo weight was not healthy.

Seek Professional Advice Prior to any Weight-Loss Program

I am not a dietician, and I urge anyone wanting to lose weight to see their doctor, and a dietician before doing so. Once you get some professional advice, start your weight loss, and stick to it. I was losing about 500grams per week which is a safe, steady way to do it.

I did get professional advice – my doctor had to give me medical clearance. A free program sponsored by the Queensland Government called Get Healthy gave me all the professional help I needed. My eligibility was due to me being at high risk of developing diabetes. Even if you’re not eligible for their programs, there is a lot of free information on their website. My weight loss success was even featured in their website – see my story here.

The photo that spurred me to lose weight - at my son's graduation in 2018.  I was at my heaviest
This is the photo that spurred me on to lose weight. It was at my son’s graduation in 2018

My final decision to lose this weight forever came about after my son graduated and I saw how hideous I looked in all the photos. I had bought an outfit in Malta and had saved it for this special occasion but when I saw how I looked in it I was deeply ashamed of just how big I had become. Now every time I look at my son’s graduation photos I am reminded of just how far I’ve come. Sometimes that’s all it takes to start you on your journey.

Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint.  How to achieve long lasting weight-loss.  Image shows a young woman working out
Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. How to achieve long lasting weight-loss.

Where to go from here

If you enjoyed this article, there’s more valuable advice here:

For recipes and advice regarding a healthy diet, follow this link

For articles on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, follow this link

Update 24 June 2020 – It’s now well over a year since I reached my goal weight and I have sustained the weight loss using the same principles. In the last year I’ve had several health issues but I’ve stayed at a healthy weight despite being limited in my ability to exercise. If you’re struggling with your weight, or you’d like to mention a method that has worked for you, please comment. It’s an issue that a lot of people battle with and I’d love to support you on your journey.

Please refer to my disclaimer and note that I advise you to get medical advice before starting any fitness or weight loss program. Best of luck on your journey.

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Midlife or Prime of our Lives?

Midlife or prime of our lives?

The Joys and Challenges of Midlife

The Midlifestylist blog covers some of the joys and challenges of midlife. Midlife is the period in our lives between the ages of approximately 40 to 60. I have experienced many of the milestones of this period of our lives – health issues, divorce and remarriage, work-life balance, loss and grief, traveling, creating a home, and many more.

At our age (40’s and 50’s), we have friends who are having their first baby, as well as friends who have grandchildren. We can be in different stages of life. You may have chosen career first, or just not found the right person to settle down with earlier, so are just starting off married life together. Fertility problems may have delayed that first child too. On the other hand your kids might be off your hands and you’re experiencing freedom from school fees and weekend sports for the first time. You also have more cash to spend on travel, yourself and your home.

Midlife is an exciting time and one which brings challenges too. Some of us may have to care for aging parents, or even have some health problems ourselves. We’re looking at retirement in the no-too-distant future and funding that so that our finances support a lifestyle that lasts 20 or more years.

Midlife or Prime of our Lives?  The Joys and Challenges of Midlife.  How to make your midlife years the best years of your life.  Photo of a middle aged couple
Midlife or Prime of our Lives? The Joys and Challenges of Midlife. How to make your midlife years the best years of your life.

More for Midlifers

You may enjoy these articles on Midlife:

For a comprehensive list of all midlife articles, click this link.

I hope this resonates with my readers and would love to hear of some of the challenges and joys they experience in their lives. Please feel free to comment if you are facing different issues to the ones mentioned, and you may see an article about it in the future!

Post updated 26 September 2020

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