I often hear people complain about tummy aches and bloating. They tell me that whatever they do, by the end of the day their tummy seems swollen and sticks out. The most obvious reason for this, although not many people tend to consider this, is a wheat intolerance. Unfortunately wheat intolerance is difficult to diagnose and comes with other symptoms such as fatigue and headache and often people find the thought of cutting out wheat just a huge task. Of course it is important to eliminate more serious digestive problems and food allergies, but on the whole wheat intolerance seems to be quite a common problem (reasons for which are unclear).
If you think that you may be struggling with this then really try and cut out wheat of your diet to assess if you feel better. We tend to rely on bread and pastas in our busy lives for a quick lunch or dinner, but even people without a wheat intolerance say they feel so much better cutting down on or even cutting out those foods. My common rule of thumb for healthy eating is “eat what grows on the planet” instead of man made foods. Especially if you are trying to keep an eye on your diet, this is a good strategy. So try and eat more (brown) rice, new potatoes and perhaps substitute bread for rye bread and avoid eating these foods late in the evening. In the morning start the day with porridge or scrambled egg. Lastly, make sure you take care of your portion sizes. There is a delay in your tummy being “full” and that message being translated in the brain, so make sure you don’t overeat.
Although I would like to say that I am 100% excited about getting fit again and it is all a piece of cake, I have to disappoint you. Getting back into exercise after a break is in every way as hard as I remember it to be. Juggling a baby and a whole lot of other balls in the air makes prioritising my personal health and fitness near enough impossible. And the times I make space for it, I have to be careful to not be overcome with a form of guilt. I know this trap so well and I have seen it thousands of times, yet it is difficult to avoid falling for it. I would highly recommend doing “Something” rather than “Nothing”, even if it is for nothing else than a change of scenery and proving to yourself that you won’t give up. I managed to get out for an interval run last Sunday, despite having a list of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I wasn’t out for long, I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I felt such an achievement when I got back (plus re-energised and fresh). Reluctant to let go of my goal to get my fitness back, I have been looking for other alternatives that are quick and relatively easy to access and I have found yoga to achieve a variety of healthgoals.
I know people who swear by yoga, but for some reason it has never been my cup of tea. As your body and training requirements change with age, I have found that my muscles are more stiff and I certainly never take out much time to relax and focus. I thought I would try yoga and give it another go. Of course it would be great to go to classes over time but for now I am doing a 20 minute AM Yoga session or a 20 minute PM Yoga session (AM/PM Yoga DVD, by R. Yee & P. Walden) at home. It is supposed to be for beginners but -despite having exercised all my life- I find it nicely challenging. It certainly doesn’t feel like it is all “an easy way out” or an excuse to relax. Instead my body loves the stretches whilst my mind slows down enough to take stock and focus. It is excellent exercise for posture too and a welcome change from pounding impact from power walking and jogging. It has been a hugely valuable addition to my training activities and I feel the benefit for a variety of health goals. And with only 20 minute sessions, it’s easier to fit in.
If you are looking for an exercise session that ticks many boxes, give yoga a try. It will train your posture, especially core stability and flexibility, whilst slowing down your mind.