Gulp. Summertime. The living aint so easy

It’s crisis time the length and breadth of the land.


Because the shops have unpacked their bikinis. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been out recently (or you’ve blocked them out, in which case you definitely need to address your selective blindness).

Everyone loves the advent of summer. The fish – actually, the whales – are jumping along the southern Cape coast, and cotton is replacing the fleecy clothing of the last few months. The mornings are lighter; the evenings last longer; and jasmine is dropping its heavy scent along hedges. Sparkling wine seems a better drink than pinotage.

The problem is a totally predictable one: we’ve all put on weight through the winter, and we’ve all got a year older and wobblier, and the pale-faces amongst us have developed an unflattering sort of blue cast to our skins.

While we’re still in the transition stage (it was freezing upcountry on Tuesday; it’s predicted to rain in Cape Town today; the only ones smiling are you Durban types who have summer all year round), join me, please, in getting a grip. Let Health24 lead the charge to a healthier, more gorgeous summer.

It does involve a bit of focus, obviously:

  1. You’ll need to get some exercise.
  2. You’ll need to lose the hot ‘n’ hearty eating habits in favour of something that’s a bit more focused on what’s crisp and crunchy, and ultimately better for you.

And then you also need to not lose perspective. Nobody ever loved someone more because they lost 5kg (but it’s easy to get bored with someone who obsesses about what they look like). Feeling strong and fit and healthy and energetic is its own reward (you might remember that from last time you were strong and fit etc.). Strong and fit comes from being active; feeling healthy and energetic comes from eating mindfully. The fact that you look better (in and out of your clothes) is a delicious bonus.

And here’s the real challenge for the next weeks: your overall wellbeing doesn’t just happen: it’s a function of how you live your life – whether you concentrate on your meals or grab them in passing while you do something else; whether you get quality sleep; whether you smell the roses. It’s not New Age nonsense: there’s loads of evidence confirming that living consciously enhances every dimension of your day. It’s life-changing. Literally.

(Heather Parker, Health24, August 2008)

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