“Am I normal?” The theme for Women’s Health Week 2016 is all about finding out what is normal for you. We are all different, so we need to interpret general nutrition and health guidelines with care. This week I am sharing tips to help you assess what is normal for YOU.
Connecting with you
The Eating for You mantra is:
Know your food
Know how to introduce and live with change
The most important part of your health and wellbeing journey is knowing yourself. This assessment is about comparing yourself to you, not someone else. For example:
- How well do you feel today?
- Is your body weight healthy for you?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you eating in a way that suits you?
On one level this step seems simple, because you have always been you. But have you really been you? And have you always been tuned into what makes you healthy and happy?
Mindfulness is the key to reconnecting with yourself. Making time to pause during your day and checking in on your energy level, your appetite or whether you need to take a stretch or move. During Women’s Health Week 2016 you are being encouraged to trust what you know about yourself.
Eating for You provides a step-by-step approach to introducing mindfulness into your day, through simple reflections and practical suggestions, such as keeping an eating and lifestyle log, writing a shopping list and replacing negative self talk with words of compassion and encouragement. I particularly encourage you to use “could” instead of “should”, and when you are committing to a new choice use “I will” instead of “I will try”.
Say “could” instead of “should”, and when you are committing to a new choice say, “I will” instead of “I will try”.
Working with your healthcare practitioners
Healthcare practitioners assist us in knowing ourselves by helping us to interpret what general guidelines for health mean for us personally. Healthcare practitioners also support us to make choices that best suit our health and lifestyle needs. This is why I always recommend seeking advice and support from qualified healthcare practitioners.
As I have mentioned before, there is no regulation of nutritionists, so people who are not trained in nutrition and health are able to give advice. Accredited Practising Dietitians are the only healthcare practitioners who are trained and accredited to specialise in nutrition. They give personalised nutrition and lifestyle advice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Naturopathy qualifications also include nutrition, but the degree of nutrition training and expertise differs between practitioners. TCM is a registered profession, so practitioners are appropriately trained and keep up to date in their practice. Naturopathy is not registered or accredited, but naturopaths need to be appropriately trained to register with private health insurance companies
The Women’s Health Week 2016 survey indicated that up to 60% of women did not have access to, or understand, critical health information. I always recommend that you prepare a list of questions to ask your healthcare practitioners. This way you can find out the information that is of greatest importance to you. Sometimes you may not know what questions to ask. In this situation I suggest that you share this with your healthcare practitioner by asking questions such as:
- “I am not sure what this information (test results, risk factors, diagnosis) means for me?”
- “How does this information influence my lifestyle choices (what I eat, how I exercise, what medications I take or other treatment options)?”
- “What can I do to enjoy better health and wellbeing?”
During Women’s Health Week 2016, take the opportunity to get to know yourself and redefine what normal is for you.
Knowing yourself occurs by tuning in with your own mind and body—taking notice of changes in your energy levels, your mood or physical sensations such as pain, temperature or bloating. Your healthcare practitioners offer support by helping you to interpret health information, and making it relevant to you. During Women’s Health Week 2016 take the opportunity to get to know yourself and redefine what normal is for you.