We know that for many women, exercise, diet, mental wellness, weight, and self-care are at the forefront of their minds.
Pressures of work, family, and life cause extra stress and, at times, the only solution is putting themselves last on the list. Though we all know women are exceptional in multi-tasking, unrealistic expectations can lead to poor health choices and dissatisfaction with daily life. Being a successful woman by today’s standards rightly feels like an impossible task, but at Novara, we empower women to be the best version of themselves.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to health and wellness, but we’ve collected a few useful suggestions to help women on their journeys.
1. Weight Loss
One of the first issues women usually bring up in appointments is weight loss and their struggles to find what works for them. More research is proving what we already knew in our gut—it is easier for some women to lose weight than for others. Furthermore, fad diets are complex to sort through and can seem like a trendy solution, but they don’t always consider the nuances of women’s health. Weight loss is personal and requires an understanding of the differences between the way that men and women lose and gain weight. Since hormones play a vital role in how weight loss works; finding a plan that works with your body instead of against it is imperative.
Despite the intricacies of weight loss, it’s crucial to start simple. Successful lifestyle changes often start small to ensure lasting effects in the long run. Eliminate one food from your diet that you know you shouldn’t be eating. Drink less alcohol throughout the week. Go to the gym if that works for you, or simply find ways to incorporate more physical activity in your daily routine. But in order to see the pounds inch off, remember physical activity should leave you breathless. If you and a friend start walking or another exercise regimen together, you should find it difficult to speak in full sentences. Each step you take can help you. Start today – it’s easy to put off your goals until tomorrow, which is a vicious cycle, preventing you from ever starting.
There are more benefits to maintaining a healthy weight than most women realize. For example, protection from diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers, and improved brain health. We work with our female patients to help them establish the best routine, contributing to a greater chance of long-term weight loss. Your chances for success are higher if you do it with others.
2. Self care
Wellness isn’t just about physical health; it’s also about creating balance in your life. We know that intentionally working on your mental well-being produces real results.
Let’s take a typical day in the life of a woman as an example. Wake up. Drink coffee. Get the family ready for the day. Answer emails. Answer texts. Take client phone calls. Get the kids off to school. Schedule appointments. Make breakfast. Fight traffic to get to work. And that’s all before 9 am. Busy schedules are the norm, and it’s a struggle to get everything done and be present in each task when the list is always growing.
Self-care is not selfish; it’s a way for you to take care of yourself so you’re available for everyone else in your life. Self-care looks different for each woman, but it can start with simple steps. Ask yourself, are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Are you exercising? Are you taking time to be with friends? When was the last time you worked on your favorite hobby? Remembering the impossible list of tasks that women face in a 24-hour day, ask yourself: why are these things often the first to be sacrificed? By assessing these areas, you can learn where to start.
Scheduling time for yourself can drastically improve your life and your ability to manage all of your responsibilities. Start small: sleep in one day this week, schedule a massage, or grab coffee with a friend— you’ll notice a difference.
Alongside the practice of self-care, health screenings are also important. But it can be overwhelming to determine which screenings are valuable and which ones aren’t. Since there are a plethora of options, we use our knowledge and personal relationship with our female patients to provide recommendations. Two of the screenings unique to women that we typically recommend are cervical cancer screenings and mammograms.
Cervical cancer screenings, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology’s (ACOG) guidelines, mean pap smears should begin at age 21 and continue every 3 years. Beginning at age 30, women should have co-testing with HPV. The preferred way to get screened is a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This is called co-testing and should continue until age 65. After the age of 65, women no longer need cervical cancer screening but should continue gynecological exams as part of the well-woman visit.
Another necessary screening is a mammogram. It’s recommended that women begin breast cancer screening between the ages of 40 and 50 with a mammogram every 1-2 years, depending on their risk factors. The decision to continue screening after age 75 should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
We have found that these two tests provide the opportunity for early detection of cervical and breast cancers that is worth the discomfort and inconvenience.
For us, these suggestions for weight loss, self-care, and screenings aren’t meant to be comprehensive; they are a launching point for a healthier, happier life.
More importantly, you are not alone—we are in this together. At Novara, we take the time to listen your struggles and successes to create an action plan for success. Our patient partnerships also allow us to walk alongside you and navigate the healthcare system. It’s about equipping you, as wives, mothers, or executives, to own your own health and feel confident about your wellness.