I see myself as a role model for coworkers and my clients/patients. By making physical activity and healthy eating a priority, I feel I am better able to meet the demands of my job as Manager of the Inpatient Mental Health unit at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital.
Growing up, I was a track and field athlete in high school but drifted away from sport and eating the right foods after I became a nurse and a parent. Shift work made it even more difficult for me to watch my diet and have the time to work out. As I was approaching 40 years old I decided it was time to lose the weight I had gained while pregnant with my third child and to rejoin the fitness world.
It was not easy to be disciplined and I worked hard at it. I believe when you stay active, you look good, you feel good and you have more energy on the job to deal with stresses that come up. I believe it is incumbent on all working women to pursue healthy lifestyles, for their own benefit and the benefit of their families. I believe it’s important to be fit and able to manage any kind of situation. When you get confronted with multiple of life’s stressors, its important to have the energy and endurance to handle all of what life throws at you.
Living a healthy lifestyle is part of my health teaching to patients, friends and families. I like to think I am leading by example. If someone sees me taking the stairs instead of the elevator, they may want to do it, too.
My simple plan I provide for all of the people who ask me how to start on the road to a healthier sustainable lifestyle is visit my “Dionne Sinclair Fitness Model” Facebook Page and hit LIKE, then:
- Start by doing 1 thing a week and adding a new thing every week; so that one thing may be cut back on the amount of sugar you consume. If you usually have 3 packets of sugar in your coffee of half and half cream with your coffee. Try 2 packets of sugar and 2% milk. It can be that simple. Nothing too drastic. It took you awhile to build the life you are living; it will take awhile to change to a different lifestyle.
- Write it down and keep track; Get yourself a note pad and a good pen or write on your iPad or iPhone note pad. Write down your goal. “I want to fit into a size 6 from a 10.”, “I want to have sex with the lights on.”, “I want to look good naked.”. Whatever your goal/goals are, write them down. Next write down what you are prepared to do about it. “I will get up early and go for a morning walk.”, “I will go to the gym 3 times per week.”. Next write down every day what you eat and what you actually do. Did you do what you said you were going to do?
- Get rid of your scale. Measure your success by how you feel. How you look in your clothes. Do not let the number on a scale affect your progress. I do not own a scale. Are you able to lift heavier, walk farther, stay active longer. Those are true measures of how you are doing.
- First week stop eating out; start preparing your meals at home. Pack your lunch. Get simple fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market or from the local supermarket. Have the whole family get involved in preparing meals. Keep it simple. Use nuts, seeds, beans, lentils. Google Clean eating recipes. Call your mother, sister or friends for some of their favorite recipes.
- Second week add 1 glass of water before every meal; you are not hungry, you are thirsty. I believe if you drink the glass of water before you eat. You may find that you were not hungry at all. If you still feel hungry after you drink the water then go ahead, eat your meal. Drink again after the meal. It aids in digestion and cleanse your palate.
- Third week cut your portions in half. Do not eat everything on your plate. In North America, portion sizes can be very large. I tell family and friends to make a fist. This shows them the size of their stomach. You do not need more than the size of your fist as a meal portion. Switch to a small bowl or a saucer. The big dinner plates take too much to fill and smaller size plates help you keep the portions small. If it does not fit in the bowl, you do not need it.
- Fourth week, add more veggies and less starchy foods to your meals; yes, its all about food. Your size is controlled 70% by what you eat. Add more green leafy veggies to your diet. Get rid of processed foods. Clean out your kitchen of foods in boxes processed from factories.
- Fifth week start walking in the morning and evening; yes only now we are exercising. You can start as early as week one however, I want to show how it’s about what you are eating and how much you eat and not exercise alone. Walk, run, jog, bike, skip, go to a gym and walk on one of their cardio machines. Use a treadmill. I believe in slow cardio. Slow speed with a high incline. 2.3-2.5 speed on the treadmill with an incline of 10-15. Try it for 6 weeks. I promise you will see a big difference. Stay on for 40-60 minutes.
- Sixth week. Add 25 pushups and sit-ups every morning and evening after your walk. You can do this from week one as well. I just want everyone to know that, to live a healthy lifestyle, what you eat is more important. If you belong to a gym, join a fitness class. I teach Body Pump and Zumba. Exercising in a group setting is beneficial. You form a community and it gives you purpose to get there, meet friends and push yourself. No gym, no problem. There are is lot of free information online. Search for workout routines you are interested in.
- Keep following the page (Dionne Sinclair Fitness Model) for example of exercises, meal suggestions and power moves. Read the motivational posts and see if any apply to your life. It’s important to believe that you can do it. You are not alone. Never ever give up.