Health and fitness coach Olivia Williams shares lifestyle changes that can ward off weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and attain good health
The secret to success in every area of life is simply good health! And what I’ve come to realise is, at the heart and foundation of any great community lie the health disciplines and principles of its people. If health is not at the forefront of the individual’s knowledge, an entire community would perish (Hosea 4:6). It’s vital for people to be in good health for any community to survive.
Taking care of your spirit, soul and physical health has never been more urgent in the challenging days we’re currently living in and, as the seasons change, it’s time to be extra vigilant about our health as the enemy is walking around ‘like’ a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:-8-10).
As the cold temperatures and grey skies appear, we enter into ‘flu season’. We also tend to lose those good summer habits, like eating more salad, exercising, and drinking more water. It’s tempting at this time to curl up inside the house with some cultural comfort food, while reflecting on Black history.
Eating a pot of starchy carbohydrates soup can make you feel good, but it can also leave you feeling very sluggish and can cause your blood sugar level to spike, followed by a ‘crash’ and urge to eat more of the same.
Highly processed sugar can be found in the cultural foods we eat and drink, and have been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and other lifestyle-related diseases. Have you ever considered how much sugar you consume? A 330ml bottle of ‘Supermalt’ contains over 3.5 tablespoons of sugar; ‘Nourishment’ contains over 4 tablespoons; some well-known jerk sauces have over 8.5 tablespoons, and a 100g loaf of hard dough bread contains over 2.5 tablespoons.
Did you also know that diabetes is one of the fastest-growing health threats to the Black population? Research suggests Black people are three times more likely to develop this disease. It’s a serious disease with potential harmful effects, such as kidney failure, nerve damage, stroke, heart attacks, skin conditions… and it has even been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies have found a link between glucose and fat. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugar, called glucose, and when the sugar has nowhere to go, it turns into fat, and too much fat inside your cells can literally interfere with your insulin.
Insulin holds the key to your cell; it’s the key that has the power to open or close out glucose, which your muscle cells need for fuel. Without insulin present, glucose simply builds up in your blood.
Unlike natural sugar found in fruit and veg, which is dependent on its ripeness, processed sugar found in some of our favourite cultural foods has chemicals and acids added to it.
The good news is that through nutrition and exercise you can avoid these traps, so remember to follow my Top Ten Tips:
- Reduce the consumption of processed sugar
- Reduce the consumption of excess salt, eg. avoid crackers and too much seasoning
- Read food and drink labels (or ask someone to check for you) to save you from the hidden sugars
- Get fresh air and natural sunlight — we need vitamin D in response to our skin’s exposure to sunlight — and drink plenty of water daily
- Eat lots of garlic; it’s a diuretic and helps prevent blood pressure from rising too high, and it’s a great anti-inflammatory medicine
- Aim to exercise for 20 minutes five times a week
- Get a proper amount of sleep and relaxation daily
- Eat more ‘living’ foods (such as natural fruit and vegetables) instead of processed foods, and include more protein rather than starchy carbohydrates in every meal
- Take a look at what’s currently in your cupboards and fridge. Be honest with yourself and remove any food or drink that may hinder your progress. It’s much better and easier to remove temptation than see your hard work and progress ruined by poor choices
- Schedule exercise in your calendar as you would your weave, nail, gym, or medical appointments. Exercise is a great stress reducer and it has been proven to ease depression and anxiety. If you are not exercising and don’t know what to do, visit scriptfit.com
Olivia Williams is founder of ScriptFit, a qualified health and fitness coach, personal trainer, weight loss and exercise specialist, nutritionist, and public speaker. Visit www.scriptfit.com for more information