Longevity and a Deeper Level of Wellbeing

Anna Donkin
Written by Anna Donkin

Challenging the Current Diet & Fitness Trends 

As a women’s health nutritional therapist and online coach, I firmly believe that a holistic approach to nutrition, movement and lifestyle choices, is the key to optimizing health and promoting longevity throughout the various chapters of a woman’s life. Achieving that “ah ha” moment where you finally find a system that works for you, where you feel peaceful and confident in your body. 

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Like water, life is fluid and ever moving, ever changing. So too, our body cells are always in a state of shedding, regenerating or altering. And while popular diets and fitness trends may focus primarily on physical appearance and quick fixes for weight loss or fat reduction. For long term health it is essential to delve deeper into the science of a sustainable lifestyle and nutrition approach that provides our bodies with the tools they need to thrive. Balance is required to support a life of energy, health, freedom from chronic disease, overall well-being and happiness.  

After all that’s the goal right?

Longevity is not just about living longer and looking younger, but living better and feeling well

The Science of Body Composition vs. the Art of Deeper Health 

Let’s explore some popular diet trends. Macro-tracking or calorie restriction- the foundation of many FAD diets. The science of body composition emphasizes achieving a particular physical appearance by reducing food energy intake and increasing fitness and strength. These approaches may be effective, and when done mindfully and in a balanced way, could even be beneficial. However, more often than not, they are used too aggressively for reaching short term goals, with a mindset of deprivation rather than abundance. This may not necessarily be sustainable or promote long-term health and well-being on a physical or mental level.  

Why? (you may ask).

Well, it is actually possible to reach those macronutrient or calorie fat loss targets by eating processed/convenient “not so nourishing” foods. Trust me, I have seen some interesting meal ideas in my practice, where clients hit their calorie or macro numbers eating a lot of processed and packaged products. One of the key problems here is that these foods can easily lack key micronutrients that typically come from Whole Foods and are essential for maintaining deeper health at a biochemical level. 

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The science of deeper health, on the other hand, focuses on the intricate balance of nutrients, hormones, movement, rest, and mental health to create a strong foundation for true wellness. 

Promoting Longevity – Living Better, Not Just Longer 

Longevity is often misunderstood as merely extending one’s lifespan, looking younger or delaying the aging process.  However, true longevity is about increased quality of living, enjoying life to the fullest, and maintaining optimal health as we age. By prioritizing quality nutrition following a balanced 80/20 approach, hormonal balance, regular physical activity (both cardiovascular and resistance training), as well as sufficient rest, and mental well-being, women can enhance their longevity by positively influencing key biochemical pathways linked to better health. 

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Here are my 5 steps to accomplishing true longevity.  

1. Nourishing Nutrition: Quality over Quantity 

A vital step in promoting longevity is embracing nourishing nutrition. Opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while reducing processed and sugary items. Follow the 80/20 rule where the majority of your diet consists of clean wholesome foods and 20% is left for having fun and enjoying treats and special occasions. Incorporate a wide variety of colorful plant-based foods, which are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, supporting cellular health, keeping your gut and microbiome healthy and combating inflammation. 

2. Hormonal Balance for Optimal Health 

Hormonal balance is crucial for women’s well-being at every stage of life. Supporting hormonal health involves consuming adequate nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc. Balancing blood sugar levels can also help maintain stable energy and mood throughout the day. 

3. Movement for Vitality 

Regular physical activity is essential for promoting longevity. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as yoga, dancing, or strength training, as movement not only supports physical health but also uplifts the spirit and improves mental well-being. Grab a friend and make it a social activity every so often. We humans thrive with community and connection.  

4. Rest and Rejuvenation 

Adequate rest and quality sleep are essential components of a holistic approach to longevity. Prioritize a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to ensure you get the restorative rest your body needs. Finish your last well balanced meal of the day about 2 hours before bed to allow your digestive system to rest and digest. Use blue light blockers for screens, drink a soothing tea like Chamomile or have an Epsom salt bath. These. are some ideas to support the “ready for sleep” circadian process of the body.  

5. Nurturing Mental Health 

Mental health is the cornerstone of well-being. Practice mindfulness, meditation, or journaling to reduce stress and promote emotional balance. Surround yourself with positive influences, community, spend time in nature and seek support when needed to foster mental resilience. 

While following a macro formula and achieving physical fitness goals are commendable and absolutely great in certain seasons where you want to challenge yourself. True wellness and longevity stem from a holistic approach to nutrition, movement and lifestyle. I am a huge advocate for building your own nutrition, movement and lifestyle framework that honour your body, your mind and your life. Embrace the chemistry of deeper health, paying attention to nutrition, hormonal balance, movement, rest, and mental well-being. By prioritizing these five steps to longevity, women can unlock the secret to living better, experiencing boundless energy, and enjoying a life free from chronic disease and deterioration. Remember, it is not just about living longer; it’s about living better, living a life full of vitality and joy in every chapter. 

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