Healthy apps to keep you on track
I love September! The summer heat is cooling off, the kids are back at school and it feels like the second opportunity of the year to have a fresh start.
I’ve always been a little challenged on the domestic front, but today we made it to school nice and early. And when I say “nice and early”, I mean they were still opening the gates. It was a good start and the girls leapt out of the car with nervous smiles on their faces.
I’d forgotten how nerve-racking the first day of a new school year can be, especially when you’re a tween or teen with the jumble of hormones that brings. Navigating friendships, learning new subjects, physically growing their bodies and transitioning from girls to women — it’s a crazy time.
I learnt long ago that keeping myself steady was one of the best things I could do for my kids. There are plenty of times when I haven’t; I’ve lost my temper and emotionally wobbled, but I like to think I’m generally keeping it together. The problem with being a parent is that you’re so often making sure everyone else is OK that you forget to make sure you’re OK. We call it “backburner syndrome”. But sometimes prioritising yourself is the same thing as prioritising your kids. A healthy, happy version of you is a good thing for everyone at home (and at work)!
For me staying steady means healthy eating, lots of water, fresh air, some exercise, sleep, family/friends time and not getting too stressed or busy. For nutrition I follow exactly the same principles I give my clients. During Nutrifit, I teach the basic nutrition fundamentals (as well as an extra layer of advanced insight) for eating in a way that helps to balance blood sugar, energy and mood. I do tailor the plan to everyone’s specific health goals but the foundations are the same. I rarely stray from those and despite nutrition trends that come and go, I still believe it’s a mainframe that works well for almost everyone.
The key to healthy living, or rather maintaining healthy living, is setting up your routine and environment to make sure that it’s easy. If you’re cooking from scratch, there will always be a level of food prep, but it shouldn’t have to rule your life. Likewise, exercise and stress-management tools have to be realistic to be helpful. At work all my clients have easy meal plans, access to the Practice Better portal which allows for photo food journaling (helpful for some people in the early days) and easy appointment/programme management. If you’d like to join me for our next intake, we start Nutrifit again on September 15. All info is online at waterfrontwellness.bm. However, I thought I’d also share some key apps that for me (and my clients) make managing health and motivation so much easier. If you have favourites that you think are healthy-living essentials, do let me know!
This app comes from Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella) in the UK and if you want one good all-rounder, this is probably it. Amazing plant-based recipes (you can add a side of protein sometimes if you are not vegan), trackers for water/exercise and some pretty good meditation stuff. There’s a constant stream of new options as well as the ability to save your favourites. I find the steady stream of new ideas keeps things interesting.
Plan to Eat
Plan to Eat is a recipe archive and meal-planning system. You save recipes into your profile (the easiest way to do this is import the URL from any recipe link online that you like) and then drag and drop them into a planner. Then you highlight the number of days you want to shop for and it makes you a list. For Nutrifit clients, all the Nutrifit recipes are already there to make it easy. But it’s a brilliant resource that anyone can make use of. You can also add friends and share/swap recipes within the resource.
For those of you who like fasting, BodyFast is simple, easy and has several free plans. I like the countdown element as you approach your eating window as it indicates when autophagy (cell renewal) has kicked in. I don’t think fasting is for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend a fasting-only approach where you discount the quality of the calories you do eat. However, I do think it’s helpful for some people! (Come and see me to chat about it if you like!)
Balance: Meditation & Sleep
Meditation has amazing benefits. Apple is providing access to Balance free for a year, as a commitment to better mental health and wellness for their users. (Watch the expiry though as it’s $70 to renew, so you need to decide if it is worth it.) I had tried other apps where the voice chopped and changed and was sometimes annoying. The sound of the person’s voice is everything! Balance has a male and female option. I loved the male voice (after the initial “hello” which sounded robotic) and it’s been a very soothing experience. It’s simple, organised and gives you just enough science to help you understand the benefits without being overwhelming. You also maintain a meditation “streak” like the DuoLingo language app (but without the threatening e-mails …. If you are a DuoLingo user, you will know what I mean). I find streak maintenance motivating!
A period tracker for the ladies — or maybe also for the partners who want to know when to be extra nice to the women in their lives! This app helps you to track and manage your period. Super simple. No surprises and helpful for planning life if you know that you need a few days to treat yourself more gently.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram