12 habits of healthy women
I believe great health is every woman's birthright. Why is it that some women are glowing with health and vitality, while others are in a daily battle with headaches, bloating, acne, PMS or overeating?
I believe the difference often comes down to the day to day routine. Some women radiate good health because of simple everyday choices based on a deep understanding of what their mind, body and soul need to maintain good health.
From working with women for many years and asking them about their health, these are 12 habits I've uncovered:
1. She makes time for herself
What is life all about if it's not to explore and do the things that you love?
Healthy women know that life is meant to be fun, and they seek out fun and adventure each day, even if it's in their own backyard, or on the couch reading a favourite novel.
Making time for yourself everyday helps you to feel positive about your life and interact with others in a confident and cheerful manner. Having fun and feeling positive is very good for your health.
2. She educates herself about health
Healthy women understand the importance of regular menstruation, keep a track of their cycles, know which foods can cause PMS and which nutrients can improve periods.
Healthy women stay away from fad diets because they know they're not sustainable over the long term. Nutrition can be a confusing topic, so it's important for you to discern what's advertising and what information is from a reputable source.
Remember that not all foods suit everyone, so it's always best to seek out information that is specific to you and your health condition. It doesn't make sense to take health advice from your best friend or from a instagram influencer.
3. She prioritises sleep
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing and healthy women make sure they stick to a regular bedtime and get 7 to 8 hours sleep most nights. When we're asleep our body is doing essential work in digestion and repair.
Stress causes poor sleep in women of all ages. So many women put off sleep to get more things done in their day. Insomnia lowers quality of life day to day. If you are experiencing insomnia 2 or 3 times per week it's essential to get to the source of the problem and restore healthy sleep.
Poor sleep can contribute to brain fog, obesity, heart disease, irritability, low mood, mistakes and accidents.
4. She knows that exercise doesn't have to be painful
Bootcamp anyone? If that's what you love, then go for it! But you don't have to push yourself, and strain and sweat to be healthy. Too many women think of exercise as a punishment for enjoying food.
Exercise should be a joyful part of your everyday routine. Walking with friends, dancing, tennis, a gentle cycle around your suburb or nature path are all fun ideas. What is your favourite exercise? Do more of that!
5. She pays attention to her symptoms
Healthy women ask themselves what's caused their headache before reaching for a painkiller. Often a neck stretch, fresh air, some slow deep breathing, or a glass of water will soothe a headache.
It's important to know what triggers symptoms in you. Did you notice that you felt bloated after lunch today but yesterday you felt OK? What could be the difference? Is it something you ate, or have you had a stressful morning? Our body sends us messages all the time.
Some common symptoms are headaches, bloating, gas, pain and constipation. Understanding how to interpret those messages can be life changing. Once you start to pay attention to your body, you can start adjusting the way you eat, drink, sleep, move and rest.
6. She knows when to push herself and when to rest
Stress! In a world where we revere people who seem busier and more successful than us, the healthy woman understands balance. She is not fanatical about her work, health or exercise and enjoys time out and treats in moderation.
From working with many women in my clinic I can report that most women have far too much on their plates and their stressful lifestyle is a major contributor to their illness.
Women commonly deny that they are stressed because it's important for us to believe that we are comfortably juggling everything. Do you feel that there aren't enough hours in the day to get through everything on your list? Do you experience brain fog? Do you feel anxious when you're running late? These are signs that you are doing too much!
Constant stress leads directly to adrenal overload, insomnia, digestive problems, hormonal conditions and autoimmune conditions. When I work with women with any health complaint, I always start with assessing the amount of stressors in their day to day lives.
Balancing your to do list with time for rest is an important step towards good health.
7. She eats fresh, home-cooked food
The healthy woman loves to cook and invests time finding new healthy recipes. Recipes don't have to be complicated, meals that are simple to prepare can be just as healthy.
Cooking is an important life skill and thankfully also an art that is becoming popular again through cooking shows and celebrity chefs. If you don't love cooking it might just be that you haven't learnt how. Cooking is a very satisfying way to use your creativity and put smiles on the faces of your family and friends.
Investing in, or borrowing a great cook book is a good way to begin your knowledge of cooking and healthy eating. There are even flavour thesauruses to explain which flavour combinations work well together.
I don't have one myself, however many women swear by the Thermomix for quick, easy, healthy midweek meals.
8. She is organised
Eating well is easier when you're prepared. Healthy women are organised and have a wide range of nutritious foods on hand in the kitchen.
I often hear women say that they don't have time for breakfast. This really just comes down to being more prepared. Making breakfast takes no time at all if the ingredients are at your finger tips.The healthy woman has her fridge and pantry stocked with ingredients to make muesli, porridge, omelettes or mushrooms on toast for breakfast.
Take away meals are great for those nights that you just don't feel like cooking, however eating take out for dinner is rarely a nutritious option.
9. She doesn't snack
Whenever I ask a women who is at a healthy weight what she snacks on, the answer is pretty much always the same: "I don't snack". Instead she eats 2 or 3 satisfying meals per day. This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the occasional treat, however cutting out snacking for the majority of the week has many benefits for your health.
Snacking leads to health problems such as weight gain, type II diabetes and other conditions related to blood glucose regulation such as PCOS, psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Snacking between meals slows down your digestive system and can cause constipation and a host of digestive symptoms.
10. She has a strong support network
Relationships are important and healthy women prioritise strong relationships with friends and family. It's the quality of relationships that's important and not the quantity. Hundreds of likes on a facebook post can't compare with an hour with a good friend.
Loneliness is a big factor in poor health. Loneliness is a risk factor for many mental health conditions, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and dementia.
If you don't have many friends, consider joining one or two community based activities such as volunteering, tennis, lawn bowls, business networks, community gardening, P'n'C, or a choir. Meeting people who share common interests is a great first step to making friends and building a support network.
11. She is comfortable in her own skin
A healthy woman embraces her body because she understands that no matter what it looks like on the outside, it's the vehicle that she uses to get around in every day.
I highly respect the work of Taryn Brumfitt who is behind the Body Image Movement and is bringing the idea of 'embracing yourself' to the world. Taryn's message is "your body is not an ornament, it's the vehicle to your dreams".
12. She seeks help when she needs it
There's an old Dutch proverb "sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot". This is a reminder that it is much easier to fall sick than it is to get well again. Healthy women are all about prevention and that's why they look after themselves every day.
If something is worrying you, don't wait for it to become a big problem before you ask for help. It is not normal to have symptoms every day. Your body should feel light and energetic. You should sleep well and wake up with excitement for the day ahead. You should be able to eat a wide range of foods without experiencing digestive symptoms.
It's essential for all women to seek out a great female doctor who has a good understanding of women's health. If possible, take the time to find a GP who is willing to work alongside your naturopath and is open to taking a natural approach to your health.
Women's Wellness Program
When we work together as part of my Women's Wellness Program, I explain these healthy habits to you in more detail and make them specific and relevant to you. I endeavour to help you enmesh these habits into your day to day life, even if you feel you don't have the time or money to make changes.
We work on these habits over 14 weeks, while having 5 one on one consultations to look for the root cause of the health challenges you are experiencing. I work with women with a range of digestive conditions, menopause and hormonal conditions and offer a free discovery session for those who want to find out more.
I'd love to see you soon!
Hi! I'm Simone Jeffries. I am a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and certified wellness coach.
I welcome men and women to consult with me at my Surry Hills clinic, or online from anywhere in Australia.
The information in this blog is from my Bachelor of Health Science degree, experience from working with women in my clinic, and continuing research.
This blog is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please seek assistance for any medical concerns.