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Tips for a Healthy Life
by Gwen Boswell

Via the media, we are constantly reminded about the power of good diet. ‘Put the best fuel in your system and you will get the best results’ and all that. The benefits of a balanced diet, drinking lots of water and incorporating these with regular exercise are tenfold. They are a longer life expectancy (but please cut the 60-a-day and stay away from fast moving buses), high energy, losing the odd chin or two, increased motivation, a leaner, toned body and great looking skin. I know the list is not exactly tenfold, but there are additional bonus points to be included for the smugly superior feeling that comes with being surrounded by chubbier, more sloth-like people than a slim, fit you. In my calculation, this brings the total nicely up to ten.

There is no doubt that it is very important for us to drink lots of water and once I read somewhere, "Be like Elle McPherson and drink five litres of water a day" and as I definitely wanted to be like Elle McPherson, (that skin, those fabulous long legs) I decided to give this a go. I even put in extra effort too and doubled my daily intake to ten litres! But after a few weeks I became rather despondent, as I couldn’t see any physical difference, my skin didn’t glow, my eyes sparkle, nothing. Believe me, monitoring the progress was constant too, as where ten litres of water a day is involved, there is a lot of toing and froing passed the bathroom mirror. Others may want to try the ‘Elle’ experiment, but I was rather disappointed, especially given my extra endeavour. Never mind glowing skin, you’d think with the additional five litres a day, there would even be some expectation that my legs would have grown a bit longer – well at least one of them anyway.

Highly promoted these days as part of a balanced diet, is for us to eat 5 vegies and 3 fruits on a daily basis and not just during the first three weeks of every New Year. I know only too well how hard maintaining a balanced diet can be, as we all have to face the stresses and strains of life and weak moments are around every corner. However, we must be strong and remain resolved. Only the other day for example, when shopping for papayawhip coloured shoes to go with that special dress, I suffered the devastation of having to settle for blanched almond, even my self-discipline was put to the test. I opened the fridge door and reached in with all good intentions to do something exciting with lettuce, but noticeably my hand quivered as it swished passed the chocolate peanuts.

Finally, exercise. We know it’s crucial for our general health and it’s great when people, no matter what their age or size, take up the gauntlet and attempt it in some form or another. A word of warning here though people, and far be it for me to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. Firstly gents, please consider something other than cycling as your first choice when commencing your ‘fit for life’ programme. I’m sorry, but there are negative aspects associated with squeezing 24-stone into Lycra cycling apparel and be in no doubt that under the given circumstances, black Lycra is not slimming. For the ladies my tip is, if you use walking as part of your new fitness regime, a little more effort will be required other than swapping your strappy sandals for trainers and pedometer when walking the 20 metres from your car to Marks’ food hall.