Most of us tend to put the needs of our children, husband, parents and in-laws ahead of ourselves. It’s no wonder, then, that we are left with little time to pay attention to our own health!

Roshini GilbertWe’ve all been there. After I gave birth to triplets, I became supermom. At home, I went back to doing all my chores while managing three needy infants. I had been an athlete, so I kept up with the tasks for a while. But at some point, my body began to break. I hadn’t stopped to think that the delivery had weakened my body and I was just adding to the strain. I developed a bad back, knee, joint and shoulder pains from carrying my babies and doing strenuous chores.

I realized I had to give my body rest. As long as my babies were healthy and happy, I didn’t have to care about anything else. I decided to let the house be a mess and started to walk and stretch instead. I began floor workouts with my babies and got back on the treadmill. I couldn’t even walk for a minute, but I gradually built on that, taking it first to five minutes, then six, seven…I took advantage of the short pockets of time I had when the babies didn’t need me to gradually get back in shape.

My story and the stories of countless other women who never prioritize their needs has inspired HealthifyMe to launch a #HerHealthFirst campaign this Women’s Day. In my line of work, I’m constantly meeting women who tell me that housework, cooking, and other sundry chores are the biggest obstacles blocking their path to fitness. I tell them – everyone has to do housework. You just need to do it faster, keep it fuss-free and organize your time better. Men usually say work and travel mess up their plans. But women of all age groups claim the needs of others, and house, take precedence over their desire to workout or eat healthier. Can you imagine – some of my clients who are female students whine about not having the time to work out!Roshini Gilbert

I’m telling you what I tell every women client about why she needs to put #HerHealthFirst:

You must lead by example

If you are fit, your family will be encouraged to get fit. Once you are empowered with the knowledge about good health, you can educate your entire family. And isn’t that your goal – to achieve the best for those you love?

Being fit is good for your self-esteem

I’ve seen clients very low confidence levels at HealthifyMe transformed once they’ve shed weight and got their health issues under control.  A woman battling diabetes and gallstones has taken over her husband’s business today while another struggling with a hip fracture now does Zumba!

You’ll be energized to take on multiple tasks

Exercise takes your energy levels and muscle endurance up, encouraging you to do more, be more. Another client of mine, who led a very sedentary lifestyle before she signed up with us, ran a 5K marathon with me last year.

It’s a great stress buster

Being healthy gives you a natural high because it enhances your “happy hormones”. Personally, on my worst days when I’ve been most depressed, I’ve had my best workouts. I may have had the nastiest of fights with my husband, but after exercising I have forgotten what I was mad about!

The benefits of women putting #HerHealthFirst are manifold. Now the question is, how do you do it? Here are some small changes I suggest you make:

  • You’re in charge. So become the boss of your family’s health. Almost 70% of what you look like is because of what you eat. Clear out the kitchen and stock it with the healthiest options possible.
  • Manage your time better. Have a weekly meal and grocery plan. Don’t go shopping daily. To make time to exercise, get out of the kitchen. Don’t cook every meal – get your family onto easy, healthy alternatives such as oats, muesli, cornflakes, eggs, and toast. Order a healthy lunch once a week, maybe on Saturdays.
  • Can’t make it to the gym? Stick to home workouts. They’re easy and effective, and at HealthifyMe, we can help tailor your fitness plan to your schedule and requirements. Use every opportunity to walk a little more and don’t shy away from physical tasks at home. Carry your shopping bags – think of it as strength training!
  • Be vocal about health/fitness at home. When your kids hear you talk about it, they will imbibe its importance. Don’t just put a plate of broccoli on the table. Explain the benefits when you’re serving it.

This Women’s Day, stop with all the excuses and take charge of your life. Make some healthy changes. Remember, if you don’t do it for yourself, nobody else is going to do it for you. And she who puts #HerHealthFirst is paving the way for the rest at home!

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Written by Roshini Gilbert

Roshini Gilbert

After a diligent workout plan helped her lose 30kg of post-pregnancy weight, chartered accountant Roshini Gilbert was inspired enough to go from tallying numbers to training others. A freelance personal trainer today, Roshini has been certified by the American Council on Exercises (ACE) for functional fitness and specialises in post-natal weight loss, exercises for low back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis. She also has REHAB Trainer certification from Australia for rehabilitative exercises and has trained with reputed sports physiotherapist Ulrik Larsen in corrective exercises and injury management. In HealthifyMe, Roshini has found a collaborator with a common cause – making people fit to live life to the fullest. Her assessment of how fit you are is based on three broad guidelines — stamina, body age (a person who looks way older than his age can’t be deemed healthy) and lifestyle (beware, those with bad eating habits and sedentary behaviour). Prepare yourself mentally first and then your body will follow, she says, of the opinion that if you want to change something about yourself then you need to challenge yourself to do it. Are you up for it?

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