Every day I see women who are seeking help and support with their health and happiness, especially their reproductive health. We modern women tend take on the world as well, as the universe, and consequently our wellness can fall by the wayside. As we put others and everything else first, we forget to love and nourish ourselves. Getting your body ready for pregnancy is a great opportunity to change tis. We can (and we need to) prioritise ourselves in order to make room for others, such as little mini versions of ourselves we call children. By setting a good example of work-life balance and good health with a positive attitude now, you can pave the way for a ‘future ‘You’. To get you started and perhaps spark a little motivation (we all need a little nudge sometimes), here are my top 5 easy and essential tips for getting your body baby ready.
You are what you eat –old news, right? Well, it is all too true and our diet (I prefer the word ‘lifestyle’ to be honest) lays the foundation of our health. Before there was immense pressure on our health system forcing doctors to push numbers through, the first line of medical intervention was to change ones diet. Nowadays people expect to be fixed yesterday, so GPs are doing what they can to meet their patients demands, which generally means a script and a pill (or many). We need to get back to basics and feed ourselves properly in order for our health to flourish as there is no magic bullet for optimal health.
How to clean up your diet and focus on nutrition: Research has shown that fertility diets are predominantly plant-based, rich in wholefoods and balanced, as close to nature and the earth as you can manage. Eat a diet that consists of whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds get a balanced intake of protein, carbs and good fat. Reduce packaged food, always read labels (steer clear numbers and ingredients you don’t understand), cook lots and pre-prep your own meals to avoid the convenience of take-out. And of course, drink lots of water. Don’t forget to treat yourself too. Mmm, raw chocolate anyone?
RELATED: 7 Truths Of A Plant Based Diet
You know you are what you eat, but you need to make sure your gut is in good, working order so that you’re able to effectively absorb all the nutrients from the food you’re consuming. . Our digestion is basically the powerhouse and our gut is like a second brain (as well as our emotional centre). It is not just about what you put in it, but how you support and nurture the health of your gut too. Did you know that more than 80% of your immune system is located in the digestive tract? This means you need to make your health gut a major focal point if you want to achieve optimal health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we are all about looking after the spleen and stomachs transforming and transporting function. The food and drink we put give our spleen is turned into vital energy (Qi) and waste, but if our diet is poor and unbalanced, the spleens function is weakened and in turn digestion becomes sluggish. It also impairs our ability to absorb nutrients and so you can’t get the most out of your food.
How to nurture your gut heath: Eat with the seasons. For example, if it is winter, eat warm and cooked foods. Also what what’s local and fresh. If you experience digestive issues, a good pro-biotic can help to rebalance your gut flora by putting the good bacteria back in. Be kind and gentle, eat mindfully and it will feed your soul too.
The trick here is to find what you love doing that gets you moving, whatever it may be. There is no one exercise that fits everybody. We are all made to be imperfect and beautiful individuals so it is important to respect that and listen to what your own body wants and needs. We don’t have to kill ourselves 7 days a week, for hours at a time. Half hour to 45 minutes movement every day is enough. So find your sweet spot and make the time for it, not excuses to avoid exercise. Honour you and what makes you happy because there is nothing like releasing those natural endorphins to make you feel on top of the world.
How to best incorporate movement and exercise into your week: It may be an hour walk before work. It may be that delicious power Vinyasa yoga. Or a solid HIIT workout. Maybe boxing? Running? Team sports? Home aerobics? Whatever makes your heart sing (and race) – do that!
RELATED: How Pilates During Pregnancy Can Be Good For Your Health
Our mind, is perhaps the hardest to master. It can be difficult to recondition our thought processes and really stay on top of our thinking in both what we put out as well as what we bring in. Thoughts become reality and it is easier to spiral into a negative thought vortex rather than challenge it, reframe it and think positively. It all starts when we get out of bed in the morning. What kind of day will you have?
How to nourish your mind health: Set yourself up by being thankful and reminding yourself what you are grateful for each morning and this will have a flow on effect in all areas of your life. Daily rituals including positive affirmations and journaling, or simply writing 3 good things that happened that day will help the PMA (positive mental attitude). A magnesium supplement is great to help with stress, sleep and hormone balancing and your mind (and body) will thank you for taking one. Clinical trials and scientific research has also shown the positive effect acupuncture has on emotional and mental health so don’t be shy in getting outside help too. Oh, and make sure you sleep! Aim for a good amount (7-8 hours a night) because when you sleep, your brain is detoxified from all the neural waste that builds up during the day.
I am a firm believer of taking charge of your own life and self-empowerment. I also believe we are not perfectly built specimens. We can break down, and do occasionally need help. As practitioner, I see the wonderful benefits of acupuncture in my patient’s health and happiness first hand. I’m such an advocate for regular treatments to help bring you the balance you need. During acupuncture, physical changes occur biologically which can help to reduce stress and tension, improve sleep, increase circulation as well as calm and revitalise you. It releases neuro-transmitters that can regulate the nervous system and it increases positive brains activity. Furthermore, it can help to regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing hormones, supporting ovulation and thus improve fertility.
How to incorporate acupuncture and body work into your week: Why not start by booking yourself in for a treatment with a local Acupuncturist? Do your research first, check their qualifications and see if you can get any good recommendations. But then go and try it out for yourself! There are other ways to treat you and your body well also; walking bare foot on grass or at the beach to ground you and reconnect to the earth, getting a massage, or meditating and even a simple chat over a cup of tea with your girlfriend can help reset you. As long as you’re being proactive, you will only benefit in your health and happiness.
Do you have a question for me? Ask away via the via the comment section below :-).
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Based in Adelaide and with a double degree in health science, Carla helps to treat a wide range of health issues via Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Her passion and specialisation lies in Women's health, treating issues such as PCOS, endometriosis and natural fertility. Carla takes a holistic approach with each of her clients, to restore balance and promote an overall and long-term state of wellbeing.
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