How to improve 4 key areas of your life

Forget Dr Google and opinionated friends. Soak up these expert tips about four key areas of your health and wellbeing, instead.

What the experts wish you knew


1. Health

No niggle is too small
Usually avoid the doctor? Don’t. “If something is worrying you, even if it’s tiny, it’s still better to speak up,” says Sydney-based GP Dr Ginni Mansberg. “If it’s really small, you can take the wait-and-see approach, but if it’s still there after a few weeks, make an appointment.”


When weight loss fails
Having trouble shifting the extra kilos? Chat with your GP to see if there’s an underlying medical cause. “Doctors are great if you have a condition responsible for your weight gain or slow weight loss, like hypothyroidism or polycystic ovaries, as the usual weight-loss rules don’t apply,” she adds.


Most people need more sleep
“People say they don’t have enough time for sleep because they’re busy – wrong answer,” says Dr Mansberg. “You actually need to make the time for your health. Aim for at least seven hours every night and tell yourself, ‘There’s no time for chores or work tonight – I’ll be too busy sleeping’.”


Exercise more, stress less
“Exercise is another area that people let slip,” says Dr Mansberg. “What this usually means is that they don’t see themselves as enough of a priority to allow themselves time to exercise. Exercise is the best stress-busting half hour you can possibly give yourself, so believe you’re worth it.”


2. Career

Multitasking is overrated
When you try and pack too much into your life, you lose the ability to keep all the balls in the air, explains Caroline Cameron, author of The Great Life Redesign. “Instead, choose what you’re going to focus on in any given moment at work and give it your undivided attention. Ironically, this will actually help you get more done.”


Balance is a myth
“No matter how hard you try, you’ll never achieve an equal work and life balance. That’s impossible for anyone,” says Cameron. “The smarter alternative? Create an integrated life where you invest time and effort in things that are truly important. Make different parts of your life complement – rather than compete with – each other for best results.”


Goals equal happiness
Sounds simple, but it’s true – focusing on what you can achieve in your life and your career unleashes positive, powerful emotions, which ultimately affect how well you do your job. “Satisfaction, fulfillment, self-belief, wellbeing and happiness all release endorphins, which are the body’s feel-good chemicals, so develop ways to experience these every day,” says Cameron.


Confidence equals success
“Self-confidence is fed or starved, depending on how you feel about yourself,” says Cameron. “A number of years ago, I lost 25 kilos with WW and the positive impact on my career was immediate. It gave me the confidence to challenge myself and, most importantly, enjoy everything.” People who feel whole and accomplished tend to set higher standards for their activities.


3. Food

Ditch the fast diets
“Fad diets often involve cutting out whole food groups, which means you run the risk of lacking essential nutrients the body needs to function at it’s best,” says Dietitian and WW Program Developer, Nicole Stride. "‘Quick fix’ diets are usually too good to be true. They will rarely result in success long term, that’s why it’s more realistic and sustainable to make small changes over a longer period of time, that way you gradually build healthy habits that suit your lifestyle rather than drastically changing your current behaviours."


Food is energy
Understanding the reasons why you eat is important, as it helps you see how food plays a role in your life. Take time to enjoy food in a mindful way, as this helps you to appreciate food on a different level. Food is not there to compensate for all the things you don’t have in life, but it is there to energise you so that you can go out and live your life.


Eat cake occasionally
You don’t have to be perfect all the time! “Try to avoid ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking when it comes to eating as it can set you up to have an unhealthy relationship with food where you position things as good or bad,” says Stride. "It’s fine to have the occasional treat and enjoy these kinds of foods in moderation.”


Carbs are not evil
Carbohydrates are the brain’s preferred source of energy, and you may notice that you have better energy levels when you spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. "Choose wholegrain sources of carbohydrates over refined grains cause they have a lower glycaemic index. Wholegrain breads and cereals, oats and wholemeal pasta are great options to try," suggests Stride.


Know more, weigh less
The saying ‘knowledge is power’ couldn’t be truer when it comes to buying products at the supermarket. Unprocessed foods, such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats, fish and eggs, are excellent options. But when reaching for processed and packaged foods, it can be harder to know if you are making a good choice. The WW app makes it easy to access nutrition information on the spot to help make your decision.


4. Weight

A healthy weight is vital
“Being in a healthy weight range helps lower the risk of many chronic diseases and associated health complications. These include diabetes, heart disease and some cancers," says Stride.


Consider your shape
Many people believe that the number on the scales is the only thing that matters. “However, it’s best to consider your weight as one measure of health not the only measure of health,” says Stride. Your waist circumference and body shape are other important aspects. People who carry excess fat around their abdomen have an increased health risk compared to those who deposit fatty tissue on their hips, thighs or bottom.


Effort equals success
Fallen off the weight-loss wagon 1001 times? Don’t let it bother you. Get back up and keep going. Approach your goal with a ‘I want to be healthy’ attitude and weight loss will follow. Brainstorm a plan, set realistic goals and monitor your progress to stay motivated. Just try again. That’s all it takes.