Which #onechange will you make?

This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife 2018.

It’s our ongoing mantra: to create positive change in your life you need to start small. So, what will be your #onechange?


Who are you? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy?

These questions aren’t easy to answer. They’re far too big, far too complicated. When we feel like it’s time to create change in our life, rather than try and answer the Big Questions, it can be more effective to start breaking them apart.

How do you do that? We asked Rachel Service, founder of Happiness Concierge, for some guidance.

Notice your niggles

You might know you want to create some change – but you’re not sure what, and how. To figure out which areas of your life need attention, start noticing the issues that are front of mind on a regular basis. They won’t be hard to spot once you start paying attention – they’re re-occurring themes.

“Listen to the themes of your life,” says Rachel. “When we say something is justfine, or we don’t mind it, these are things you need to pay attention to,” she says.

Once you can identify the things that keep cropping up – issues to do with work, your living situation, fitness, or friendship group – then you can identify those areas as your focus points.

“My biggest piece of advice,” says Rachel, “is to start small, start something, and start now.”

Create an ‘I want’ list

Here’s where the breaking down begins. Rachel recommends completing an ‘I want list’ (free to download from her site).

Filling out this list – noting down in ideal terms how you want to feel, what you want to have, and what you want to achieve – helps to bring your desires into focus and segment them up in a realistic way. Via this list you can give your future vision a timeline, actionable steppingstones, and identify the long-term habit or habits that will get you to where you want to be.

And don’t be put off if you have to complete the list several times in order to get closer to what you really want. Rachel admits to filling it out five times herself initially, skipping from what she thought she ‘should’ want to what others expected of her. Drill down until you get to something that feels closer to you; a future vision stripped of external influences.

Lower your expectations

This may sound like a negative – it’s anything but. One of the reasons we ‘fail’ to keep resolutions, or make long-term changes in our lives is because we aim too high to begin with. Jumping straight to ‘I want to set up a global company’ or ‘I want to own my own house’ or ‘I want to have a body like my boxing instructor’ is too big a leap. Start small, then take consistent, incremental steps to achieving your long-term goal. For Rachel, who’s working on her fitness, that’s simply identifying where she’s packed her gym clothes after moving house. These small steps will give you the momentum you need to make the bigger change possible.

“The best salespeople say you should always make your next sale just after the last one, because of the momentum,” says Rachel.

“As our confidence grows, and we gain momentum, we’re more likely to tackle the bigger things,” she explains.

“Happiness Concierge wouldn’t be what it is today if I had planned to create a global training company. Where would I start? But I said – ‘I want to speak onstage somehow’. So I told people I wanted to do that, and then they started asking me to do things.”

Make sure you’re doing it for you

When identifying an area in your life where you’d like to make #onechange, it’s important to keep asking yourself who you’re doing it for.

“I encourage people to ask, ‘Is this activity giving me joy’? Or am I doing this activity out of a form of loyalty or service to others? If it’s the latter, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be motivated to continue to do it,” says Rachel.

“So many goals are for other people. What do you actually want to achieve? Make it about you,” she asserts.

Rachel recommends filling out a Life Audit in order to identify the activities, people and environments that bring joy – and those that drain you. Take yourself out for coffee and fill it out privately, to clearly map out how you should be divvying up your time.

The real power of #onechange

Now here’s the kicker: once you’ve identified areas of change, pinpointed the small steps you can take to build momentum and grow in the right direction, the best thing you can do is stop thinking about yourself.

“If you swap your focus to what can you do to help other people, you actually get a lot more done,” says Rachel.

If you can find a bigger reason to commit to your #onechange – like thinking about the positive effect it will have on your friends/partner/family/community/the environment – not only will you up your motivation (because purpose fosters motivation), you’re more likely to be creating positive change in the world too.

This article was originally published here: https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=1/2018&article=start-small

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Top ten tips for a healthy back

Back pain affects up to 1 in 4 of the Australian population on any one day and is one of our most common health conditions. It can happen at any age and last days or even years. 

Here are our top ten tips to keep your back as healthy as possible:

Exercise regularly – While walking, swimming, pilates and yoga are all excellent ways to strengthen your back and improve flexibility, any activity is good for you. Choose something that you enjoy to help you maintain your physical activity long term.

Keep active and avoid long periods of bed rest – Even when you have pain, gentle movement will help settle your back and strengthen your muscles. Your physiotherapist can tailor an exercise program to suit your fitness level and give you advice on where to start.

Learn correct lifting technique – Correct lifting can help prevent injury and avoid back pain.

  • When lifting a heavy object position your body directly in front of it to lift and turn with your feet, not your back.
  • Carry the object close to your body.
  • Bend your knees, using your legs – not your back – to bear the weight.

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle – Carrying excess body weight can put additional pressure on your muscles and joints, which can lead to pain. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will help you achieve a healthy weight.

  • Enjoy a wide variety of foods from the main dietary food groups every day.
  • Limit saturated fat, added salt and sugars, and alcohol intake.

Don’t Slouch – Slouching doesn’t necessarily cause discomfort, but over time it can place strain on muscles and soft tissue.

Posture pointers:

  • Don’t let your head slump forward
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, not hunched
  • Don’t cross your legs
  • When standing, distribute your weight evenly on both legs.

Quit Smoking – Smoking can reduce the blood supply to discs between the vertebrate, which can lead to disc-degeneration. You can find information about the ways to quit smoking at icanquit.com.au

Take breaks when driving – Take regular breaks when driving long distances. A firm seat provides better support and a rolled-up towel behind your back at waist level can provide extra lumbar support.

Adapt your work environment – Tips for sitting at the computer:

  • Use an upright chair that has good lumbar or back support
  • Position your monitor so your head and shoulders are relaxed
  • Keep your mouse close to your body
  • Don’t cradle your phone between your head and your shoulder
  • If your work is more manual and requires the use of tools:
  • Avoid working where the floor is cluttered, uneven, wet or slippery
  • Use long handled tools where possible
  • Perform a variety of tasks, changing position frequently.

Learn techniques to help manage stress – Relaxation is a crucial part of easing the pain caused by muscle tension. While you cannot always avoid stress, you cna learn to reduce and manage it. Learn to identify the signs of stress, identify its source, connect with friends and family who care, and make time for relaxation. Simple breathing exercises can also help. Try breathing in through your nose while counting slowly to five, then breathing out to five. Keep doing this for three to five minutes.

Seek a medical opinion – Most back pain disappears within days of weeks. If your pain persists, gets worse or you experience any other symptoms (like feeling unwell), see your GP or other qualified healthcare providers.

Myth Busters

Myth #1 – Moving will make my back pain worse

Fact – It is essential to keep moving. Muscles that are in spasm, due to pain, relax when gently moved or stretched. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the move.

Myth #2 – A scan will show me exactly what is wrong

Fact – There is a growing body of research that shows that not only do results of scans correlate poorly with symptoms in people with back pain, but also that most people without back pain have changes on scans that do not cause any symptoms at all.

Myth #3 – Pain equals damage

Fact – Recent research has changed our thinking of pain. Level of pain has little relationship with damage to the spine and more to do with your unconscious and conscious interpretation of the level of threat the pain represents.

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.
This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

What we can learn from exercises around the world

This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife 2018.

Whether it’s speedy ballet-based workouts in London or laughing sessions in India, exercise trends always develop for a reason – and they usually say something about who we are as people. We take a look at fitness trends across the world and the important lessons they can teach us.

Exercise trends come and go as people across the world try out different methods of keeping fit. Right now, global exercise trends fall in favour of wearable tech, body weight training and high-intensity training (HIIT) – but customised, mixed-discipline classes continue to rise.

Whatever the trend, there are lessons to learn from new (and old) methods of exercising. Here are the ones we’ll be applying to our future workouts.

India’s Laughing Yoga
Lesson: don’t take things too seriously

Bangalore in India has been described as one of the best laughter cities due to its sheer number of laughing yoga clubs. This laughter therapy combines simple flexibility exercises, yoga and pranayama (a practice which focuses on controlling the breath). And it’s not just one type of laughter on offer either: practises range from appreciation laughter to apology laughter and even Charlie-Chaplin laughter. Closer to home, Laughter Yoga Australia delivers workshops at schools, workplaces and aged care centres in order to facilitate the proven benefits of laughter on the human mind and body.

China’s Boxing Classes
Lesson: take it out on the punching bag

Moving away from the traditionally slow pace of tai chi to a more gym-centric attitude to keeping fit, China’s younger population are heading in droves to gym classes – including boxing – claiming stress-relief as a big factor for their chosen methods. Considering the increasingly frenetic pace of China’s major cities, it’s no surprise that an outlet is in order – but we could all do with a little light relief at times. Take your pick of boxing classes at Fitness First or Virgin Active gyms across Australia.

LA’s Lagree Method
Lesson: just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it

LA is known for its pioneering exercise class landscape, and one of its prominent offerings is the Lagree method. Using a machine called the Megaformer, this workout combines pilates and bodybuilding to sculpt and tone, and is known for its high intensity. It promises to deliver a workout that addresses cardio, strength, endurance, body composition and flexibility – all in under one hour.

Europe’s Barre Workout
Lesson: you do have time to exercise

Europe teaches us that not all exercise routines need to take a long time. Barrecore studios in London run an express workout option (45 minutes) in which their signature ballet-based workout (that uses your own bodyweight as resistance) is condensed to fit into a lunch break or early-morning session. Designed to work the entire body, the strengthening exercise promises to create a lasting change to posture and alignment. Try it for yourself wherever you are in the world with a subscription to BarreCore’s online video workouts.

This article was originally published here “https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=4/2017&article=exercises_around_the_world”.

This is general information only without taking into account the circumstances of any individual. It is not intended as medical, health, financial or other advice. It is current as at the date of publication and may be subject to change. AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply. For material which references AIA Vitality but does not include detailed information: AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply.

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Part 2: Popular Diets Review

This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife August 2017

As a refresher, both obesity and the number of fad diets promising rapid weight loss are on the rise in Australia. To follow on from Part 1 of our review, we look at another five diets below, some ‘fads’, others backed by evidence (but not necessarily for weight management).


1. Juice cleanse/Detox

What is it? Consuming only juices, powdered drinks or bottled tonics to “cleanse the liver”.

Pros:

  • Can help identify feelings of hunger.
  • Can help cause mind shift.

Cons:

  • Likely to regain weight loss following the diet.
  • Constipation, nutrient deficiencies.
  • No such thing as a ‘liver detox’.

Verdict: The only way to “detox” is to avoid things that put pressure on the liver and kidneys, such as alcohol and unnecessary medications.

2. DASH Diet

What is it? DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was designed to lower blood pressure. The US News and Health Report has rated it ‘best diet in the world’ for the past 7 years.

Pros:

  • Rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Low in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Heart Healthy.

Cons:

  • Some guidelines differ from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, such as 4 servings of fruit per day (2 here) and 1-2 servings of red meat per week (here it’s 4 or 455g total).

Verdict: DASH encourages whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables. It can be followed long term.

3. The 5:2 Diet

What is it? Based on the principle of intermittent fasting (IF), it involves eating 2,500 kilojoules (or 600 calories) on two non-consecutive days a week and eating normally on the other five days. It’s becoming increasingly popular, with research in humans still emerging.

Pros:

  • Evidence shows this diet works (but is no better than a standard kilojoule reduced diet) for weight loss.
  • However, compared to a standard kilojoule reduced diet, two days a week on a restricted diet can lead to greater reductions in body fat, insulin resistance and other chronic diseases.
  • For many, sticking to a regimen two days a week is easier than seven days, encouraging perseverance and thus weight loss.

Cons:

  • Skipping meals could cause dizziness, irritability, headaches and low concentration.
  • People may choose unhealthier foods on their 5 days of eating normally.
  • 600 calories a day is limiting.
  • To-ing and Fro-ing on a fasting diet can create an unhealthy relationship with food.

Verdict: May be useful short term, under supervision from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). Continuing work/exercise on 600-calorie intake days is difficult and it’s important to still eat a healthy, balanced diet on the other 5 days.

4. Low FODMAP Diet

What is it? This diet restricts foods containing certain molecules that are poorly absorbed by some people and that can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Pros:

  • Effective for treatment of IBS.

Cons:

  • Misused as a weight loss diet.
  • Omits many healthy foods.

Verdict: A Low-FODMAP diet can be useful for individuals with intolerances and/or allergies to a variety of foods. Supervision by an APD is essential to ensure challenges are carried out correctly with adequate nutrient intake and food variety.

4. Gluten Free Diet

What is it? Avoids all foods containing gluten.

Pros:

  • Effective treatment for people with Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.

Cons:

  • Misused as a weight loss diet.
  • Not all gluten-free foods are healthy (many contain higher amounts of sugar and saturated fat than their gluten-containing counterparts).

Verdict: Essential if you have coeliac disease (less than 5% of the population). A gluten-free diet is not recommended for weight loss and is not a healthier option than a balanced diet. This diet is only for those with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.

In summary, there are many diets that will help weight loss. The key to healthy weight management is to keep the weight off long term. This means making small, sustainable dietary changes that you can follow for the rest of your life. It may take a little longer to drop the kilos – but it’ll be much more beneficial in the long run.

Anna and Alex are the Accredited Practising Dietitians The Biting Truth. They use innovative and creative themes to deliver up-to-date, health and nutritional information to inspire you to lead a more nutritionally enriched life.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebitingtruth

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thebitingtruth

Website: www.thebitingtruth.com

“This article was originally published here <https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=8/2017&article=popular_diets_review_part_two>

This is general information only without taking into account the circumstances of any individual. It is not intended as medical, health, financial or other advice. It is current as at the date of publication and may be subject to change. AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply. For material which references AIA Vitality but does not include detailed information: AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Fad Diets: Do They Work?

This article has being republished from AIA Vitality-VLife June, 2017

Obesity in Australia is on the rise, so too is the number of fad diets promising rapid weight loss and other health advantages, without any backing by solid science. Fad diets are often highly restrictive, low in energy and contain unusual, expensive and unnecessary foods and ingredients. But, do some of these ‘fad diets’ actually work? We’ve reviewed nine of the most popular to find out – check out the first four in this article, with the rest to follow in Part 2.


1. Paleo Diet

What is it? A diet ‘closer’ to that of our ancient ancestors. Banned foods include dairy, grains and legumes, as well as ‘seed oils’ such as canola or sunflower oil. Encourages grass-fed meats, organic vegetables and fruit, nuts and animal fats.

Pros:

  • Promotes fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish.
  • Avoids highly processed foods.

Cons:

  • Excludes nutritious core foods – wholegrains and dairy.
  • Encourages use of coconut oil – not supported by current research, due to saturated fat content.
  • Promotes a high red meat intake – associated with increased risk of bowel cancer.
  • Encourages restrictive eating – not sustainable in the long-term.
  • By banning certain nutritious foods, you’re at great risk of falling short of important nutrients.

Verdict: By banning certain core nutritious foods, followers of this diet will be at a greater risk of falling short of important nutrients. The diet may also encourage restrictive eating, which is not sustainable in the long-term.

2. Clean Eating Diet

What is it? ‘Clean’ eating usually includes plenty of fresh, wholefoods from the core food groups, excluding packaged and processed foods.

Pros:

  • Promotes fresh, wholefoods.
  • Reduces consumption of highly processed foods.
  • Positive focus on healthy foods.

Cons:

  • The approach can be taken to an extreme, which may impact upon the enjoyment of a food.
  • Restricting the occasional small amount of ‘discretionary choices’ is not a balanced approached and usually not sustainable over the long-term.

Our Verdict: ‘Clean eating’ can be a healthy option, when done with a moderate approach. It’s important to understand that a healthy, balanced diet involves eating a wide variety of nutritious foods, in the right amounts, while occasionally being able to enjoy small amounts of ‘discretionary choices’. It’s about taking a balanced approach that is sustainable over the long-term.

3. Vegan Diet

What is it? A diet where only plant-based foods are eaten. No animal products are consumed or used.

Pros:

  • Encourages consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • Often higher in fibre and vitamin C.
  • Low in saturated fat.

Cons:

  • Excludes core foods.
  • Can cause nutrient deficiencies.
  • Is often not sustainable in the long term.

Our verdict: Unless for religious or environmental reasons, we wouldn’t recommend a vegan diet as it’s restrictive. Given that a vegan diet involves avoiding all animal products, careful planning with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) is recommended to ensure nutritional needs are met.

4. Low Sugar Diet

What is it? A diet low in both added and natural sugars.

Pros:

  • Reducing foods high in added sugar such as store-bought cakes and biscuits, soft drinks, energy drinks, vitamin waters, confectionery and sweet snacks is helpful for weight management and to reduce the risk of nutrition related chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Cons:

  • “Low Sugar” doesn’t distinguish between types of sugar.
  • Excluding natural sugar from fruit and dairy foods will put you at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • E.g. eliminating fruit from your diet makes it difficult to meet daily fibre requirements, which is important for gut health and bowel habits.

Verdict: Whilst a low sugar diet sounds like a great diet for anyone, there is one main problem with it… evidence shows that there is no one single nutrient or food responsible for our health – it’s complex and the key is balance. Therefore focusing on ‘just’ sugar is not the answer. Saying that, opting for a lower sugar diet within the realms of a healthy, balanced diet is of course a good option.

Anna and Alex are the Accredited Practising Dietitians The Biting Truth. They use innovative and creative themes to deliver up-to-date, health and nutritional information to inspire you to lead a more nutritionally enriched life.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebitingtruth

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thebitingtruth

Website: www.thebitingtruth.com

“This article was originally published here <https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=6/2017&article=fad_diets>”

This is general information only without taking into account the circumstances of any individual. It is not intended as medical, health, financial or other advice. It is current as at the date of publication and may be subject to change. AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply. For material which references AIA Vitality but does not include detailed information: AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).