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Woman coming out of shower


Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change. ~Richard Branson

Sooo…this past Sunday, I did what I do at the start of every week: I considered what I can do in the upcoming week towards achieving my health goals. As is so often the case, my health “evaluation” was triggered by the simple ritual of taking a shower…

There`s something about standing in front of a mirror naked that immediately makes you evaluate your health status (the same thing happens when I try on clothes in a store). As I looked at myself from side to side, thoughts of what I will do differently next week surfaced and I quickly put a mental plan in place. What did my observation say? You guessed it: I could lose a little weight, my stomach could be flatter, my legs and arms could be more toned…….

Thus, this week’s health plan was born. Given I`ve lived a fairly disciplined life, including to keep the rheumatoid arthritis under control, I`m not doing too badly. Still, I practice regular self-evaluation and reflection—especially regarding health and business goals. As such, there truly is always room for improvement.

Now, before I share my goals for this week, I do realize that self-assessments based upon body image, can be dangerous, as they are so often informed by many external factors. Beauty and cultural standards have damaged and hurt people in terms of how they view themselves for far too long. Thus, we need a strong and positive self-image to counter or at least challenge those standards before they corrupt our thought patterns, mental health and self-esteem. So I bear in mind the cultural factor that may be influencing my self-assessment.

In essence, two strategies that have worked for me in the past formed during that “naked reflections” session in the mirror <smile>. Please remember that these are things that currently work for me. You should check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine:

Drink More Water

I need to drink more water. Not only does it hydrate your body and play a significant role in key bodily functions, but it also staves off hunger when you should not be eating and flushes your body of toxins. If you’re retaining water, perhaps contributing to excess weight, drinking more water helps your body to release the water you’ve been retaining. I once heard a colleague say that we`re so used to putting food in our mouths every hour or two that we no longer can properly distinguish between thirst and hunger. Thus, having disciplined times for eating and drinking helps alleviate the problem of catering to feelings that we may incorrectly analyze when we experience them.


1. Keep water close to you: Have the desired amount of water nearby during your day. I bring a large glass and a pitcher of water to my office first thing in the morning and drink throughout the day.

  1. Drink during certain times: If you`re like me and have to be driving on the road for a part of your day and prefer to minimize use of public washrooms, you may want to drink most of your water when you`re in a comfortable environment for ease of access when nature calls. I’m also mindful to stop drinking about two hours before bed as having to go to the washroom will break my sleep cycle.
  2. Enhance water flavour (slightly): Water can be boring in terms of its flavour. Some might argue that it is flavour-less. To resolve this issue, you might consider including a small amount of juice in your glass (very little) just to give the water a hint of flavour. Lemon juice, apple juice and apple cider vinegar are some of the flavour enhancing elements some people use. Other people add pieces of fruit or extracts, such as vanilla or almond, to their water to flavour it. Still others, drink their water as herbal tea. All of these are great ideas. Whatever works for you, as long as you`re drinking adequate water each day.
  3. Set a water intake goal: What`s a good daily amount of water to drink? Many sources say that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day, sometimes referred to as the “8 x 8 rule”. However, other factors may influence hydration needs such as exercise, weather and climate conditions, health status (eg. vomiting, diarrhea, bladder infections, urinary tract stones), as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding. Though I can usually achieve the 8 x 8 rule if I put my mind to it, I’m not rigid about it. Unless there is a medical reason for doing so, I encourage you to build your way up to your ideal daily water intake and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it right away.
  4. Minimize buying sugary drinks: I usually don’t keep juice in the house. This way, if I’m thirsty, I have to drink water. Sometimes, I challenge myself by determining not to have food or a treat at a given time unless the daily water intake is achieved.

Walk More

I decided I need to start power walking in the morning again. As summer is virtually here, the weather is great such that I really have no excuse. The circuit I walk around my neighbourhood is 45 minutes. The benefits of walking are numerous. I’m particularly seeking to increase my heart and lung fitness, better ensure that my blood pressure and cholesterol levels stay within the healthy range (I’ve never had a problem with these areas but I’m more conscious of it given their increasing prevalence in society), increase my muscle strength and endurance (yes, I would like toned legs, calves and rear end!) and reduce my body fat, which is the main goal that arose during the naked reflections session! Interestingly, walking is also said to improve joint and muscular pain or stiffness. As someone who used to suffer immensely from rheumatoid arthritis yet continued to do brisk walks as a form of exercise, I did not really find that walking helped as much as I would have hoped. In my case, I really had to detox and change my diet to achieve the relief I was seeking.


1. Walk early in the morning: I have adopted the philosophy of many great thinkers in that the most important things should be done first, setting them as a priority in your day. As such, I start walking at 6:00 a.m. The sun is just coming up, its generally quiet and there is less of a chance that some other issue will grab your attention, thereby preventing you from fulfilling this important health task.  The sun also gets hotter later in the day, which can be uncomfortable for outdoor exercise.

  1. Get to bed early: This tip is mostly relevant if you agree that it is a good idea to walk or do your exercise of choice early. Getting up early to exercise is a voluntary discipline. I really don’t have to do it; I choose to do it. As such, its so easy to skip it and sleep in if I don`t get enough sleep the night before. Another notable benefit I obtain from an early bedtime is avoiding temptation to eat late. If I stay up late, I will eventually get hungry and be tempted to eat at an inappropriate time.
  2. Manage peer pressure: Again, this tip is related to walking early and going to bed early. I find that people often don`t understand your goals and may encourage additional activities that jeopardize your health goals. On this point, I am constantly challenged by people who want to talk on the phone when I should be in bed. It takes strong conviction and discipline to avoid these types of challenges. I try to minimize my interaction with people who are not goal-oriented and similarly disciplined. I also have an alarm on my phone set to tell me when not to take any calls, the duration of which are likely to go past my bedtime.
  3. Develop your health convictions: At the risk of over-simplifying the process of developing “health discipline”, I think it really comes down to how badly you want to achieve the desired health goal. I work continuously on strengthening my conviction and beliefs about health, including by regular reading and listening to health-oriented information. I also regularly visualize myself in a healthy, fit state, as well as recite daily health affirmation(s).
  4. Personal development: While walking, it can really help to engage in a secondary activity, such as listening to a positive or motivational recording, meditation, or prayer. Not only does this help to make the time go by, but it also increases the sense of accomplishment I feel from the walk. Obviously, these secondary activities can be done while doing many other forms of exercise.
  5. Other opportunities to walk: Walk to work or get off the bus one or two stops earlier in order to walk the rest of the way * Take the stairs instead of the elevator * Park farther away from your workplace and walk to and from your car * I also take every chance I can to obtain items for my elderly father using the stairs.

We hope this general information is helpful. Again, we encourage you to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Profile Photo Andrea P. Kelly is a Lawyer and Notary Public at  with practice focus in Estate Planning and Administration, including wills, estates, trusts and powers of attorney. Her battle and victory over rheumatoid arthritis using natural health alternatives was a pivotal, life changing experience. Andrea`s desire to help people find solutions to life`s problems, particularly those suffering from chronic illnesses, was birthed as Whereas she spent the first part of her career helping people to die well, she now wants to help people to live well.


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