Joanna McMillan: Healthy You, Healthy Business

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always a juggling act… and often easier said than done! So how can you boost your vitality, manage stress and feel revitalised every day through something so simple as a healthy diet?

The first official event of the 2015 MFAA National Convention, this WIMBN (Women in Mortgage Business Network) afternoon put us in just the right headspace.

Introduced by MFAA CEO Siobhan Hayden, speaker Dr Joanna McMillan – fitness instructor, dietitian, TV presenter, columnist, author, ambassador and founder of Get Lean (she wears many hats!) – introduced seven key lifestyle factors that interlink to boost vitality, creativity, engagement and health.

Dr Joanna McMillan WIMBN - MFAA National Convention 2015 - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre - Melbourne - Victoria - Australia - 2015

If you’re confused about the concept of healthy eating, then you’re not alone. A recent survey indicates that 87% of people don’t know what a healthy diet is anymore!

That’s hardly surprising when you consider the plethora of sensational terminology and crash diets promoted by the media.

Anti sugar, anti grain, paleo, gluten free, fasting, high protein…
How many have you tried?
Is anyone feeling just a little bit stressed even reading that?
Someone hand us a gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free brownie!

It’s crucial to stop, think and reevaluate your own life – not just from an aesthetic (a.k.a. weight loss!) point of view, but rather with a consideration of long-term health.

Bearing this in mind, Joanna helps to break down the buzzwords and provide some crucial tips on maintaining long-term health:

  • Don’t make the mistake of dumping grains in one basket! There’s a very big difference between wholegrains and refined grains. High GI foods (think donuts, cakes, muffins and white rice) will send your blood sugars soaring. This will require your body to produce a lot of insulin, ultimately making you hungry 2 hours later!
  • Having a 3pm slump? Avoid that work lolly jar! Stave of cravings by going for a walk or running up and down a flight of stairs.
  • Don’t confuse natural and added sugars. Fruit is good for us! In saying that, be wary of juice bars and rather stick for whole pieces of fruit.
  • Remember that coffee can be good for you! It increases alertness and concentration in the brain, and has been known to reduce the risk of certain diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Just make sure you steer clear of syrup shots and stick to 1-2 cups a day so your body doesn’t become immune.
  • Omega 3 fats are very important, so try to include oily fish in your diet as much as possible.
  • Hydration affects brain health enormously. Make sure you always have a bottle of water on your desk.
  • Avoid snacking between meals!
  • Fill half your plate with non-starch fruits and vegies. These are packed with nutrients and have a low energy density, so will fill you up without contributing excess kilojoules!
  • Think about HOW you eat. Eat slowly and with appreciation, sit at the table, give priority to mealtimes, make mealtimes pleasurable and enjoy your food with others!
  • Think about WHY you’re eating. Don’t eat to procrastinate. Don’t eat because you’re angry, upset or want to reward yourself. Eat because you are hungry!
  • Exercise is non-negotiable. Make this something that you enjoy, and also something that you can do regularly.
  • Get enough sleep! Aim for 7-8 hours sleep every night, and steer clear of screen time for the last hour before bed (that includes iPhones!).

Dr Joanna McMillan leaves her audience with a parting message:

“We are ultimately pleasure seekers. You need to find joy in exercise, joy in food and joy in the way you work.”

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