- Work Hard
- Eat Well
- Exercise Regularly
- Expand your Horizons
- Relax Frivolously
- Do Good
We believe that living well and being happy with yourself include all these components. It is not enough to work hard and play hard but we need to take care of our bodies and minds as well. Treating our bodies as finely tuned machines is a method top athletes are used to and that works for periods of our lives but to succeed to be overall happy the human being needs more than just fuel and toning, we also need intellectual stimulation, feeling needed and to use our hearts.
I have lived a life that has been divided into different phases, the first phase as being a child athlete in gymnastics, track and field and tennis which required me to keep my body very strong and flexible.
This changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes a few days before my 17th birthday after which I dedicated many years to forcing my brain to take in as much as possible about my own disease and show the world that I could compete well in academics and later on in the work place. I did not focus on my health for a few years and due partly to my lack of care for my own body, it broke down and forced me to switch focus again.
After having to solve for several complications to diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision loss and general dysfunction, I started the third phase of my life, which now took into account my body and mind, but I still had not included my heart. When you are fighting for your life, it is hard to think about what you can do for others, but survival instincts take over and the individual becomes selfish. I see this a lot in people who have chronic disease, they tend to feel sorry for themselves during periods of time and it will take some soul-searching until they realize that helping others, ie doing good makes you feel and even look better!
When I realized all this, more than 20 years after my diagnosis I felt a new kind of energy and motivation that reached beyond making money or getting ahead. I wanted to make a difference but to do that, I needed to take very good care of my mind and body.
For me, my motivation changed from being a competitive athlete, star student and young professional trying to make it, into an adult with some disabilities but with a clear compass for what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to be seen.
I think motivation is the driver for behavior and any program to affect health, esthetics or performance need to include strong motivational triggers, otherwise technology, diets, gyms do not work.
My simple advice to anyone who wants to keep a healthy diet is to eat a balanced diet, with proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but to reduce the portion sizes and the amounts of simple carbs, saturated fats and red meat as soon as you want to reduce weight. Another important trick is to have many smaller meals, rather than a few heavy ones, to never have a large meal late in the evening and to replace alcohol with water as much as possible. You want to keep your metabolism high and working, which you do not do if you starve yourself and skip meals. Coffee is a great metabolism booster, although there are side effects to consider if you are hypertensive or if you have GI issues.
Regarding exercise, my simple advice again is to be regular and to incorporate physical activity daily, almost as a part of your routine. It could be a walk in the morning, after lunch and dinner, taking the stairs and to walk the distance from the last bus stop before reaching your home. If I do not have time to get to the gym or go for a run in the Park, I pay extra attention to my body during the day and do small things such as lifting my legs while sitting, tightening my muscles in meetings or volunteering to do errands (will make you popular in the office). Getting your heart pumping is critical and using your muscles will build tone and make you look better.
At Lyfebulb we also believe in broadening your horizons beyond work and exercise. This means that we encourage individuals to participate in activities that are not directly related to your work, for example music, art, antiques, theater, movies. This is different than just enjoying some time off, which falls under the category of relaxing and we add the word “frivolously” to make sure there is no required learning in the relaxation.
Personally, broadening of my horizons is the most difficult pillar to incorporate in my life and that has to do with my competitive spirit. If I am not very good at something, I rarely participate actively, just passively, as a form of relaxation. For example, I love watching movies, but I do not push myself to watch so-called intellectual movies or classics unless they are enjoyable. I do not listen to music to learn about a composer/artist or genre, only to feel happy or work out. I love fashion, but only if the clothes appeal to me personally and if I would consider buying them. I am not interested in their history, the designer or how they were originated or made. I have a strong sense and clear views on esthetics – but only for my own pleasure.
Lastly, doing good – something we feel we should all be doing daily and always keep the concept in mind. It actually should not even be a thought, but it should be inherent to your character – we believe that people who are good, normally do well!
So now let us get back to motivation. What drove me to become a top tennis player in my country as a teenager? Not doing good, not to be healthy and not to be rich, but I was driven by the motivation of winning, becoming a champion and the satisfying feeling that I was truly excellent at something. A similar feeling drove me to do well in school, but the direction my studies took me also included the motivation to learn more about my personal disease and to be part of the race toward a cure. I wanted to graduate with two degrees from a top university in record time, and so I did. But when I had reached that goal, my motivation to pursue medicine was lower than my motivation to become successful financially and to again prove to the world that I could do something very hard, ie move careers and become a successful young woman in finance despite my scientific background. Although it appealed to me to make money, financial success was never the driver, while “winning” still was. I set up goals for myself, in getting great jobs, performing well in meetings and being recognized for my intelligence. When I got very sick due to genetic predisposition to microvascular complications and mismanagement of diabetes, I was motivated by a different driver – health.
I needed to get back in shape metabolically to continue the life I was living, and although I made big changes, this fight required double transplants and lots of medical care to get to the point where I am now.
What motivates me now – health and doing good are at the forefront, success at work and personally are secondary. I want to be happy and I want to make others happy. I love seeing the work we do at Lyfebulb make a true difference for people and that I can use my experiences to help others – companies, individuals, foundations and hospitals. I guess I still like to be recognized and my inherent insecurities push me to work very hard and to continue my quest, but I never forget to keep space open for my health which clearly is backed by how I eat, exercise, relax and how I expand my horizons!
My advice to others is to recognize your personal motivation – it may differ from mine. If you focus on your looks, health, family, net worth really does not matter. All that matters is that you use your trigger at the moments when you need to make decisions and that you keep in mind the 6 Lyfebulb pillars of our Philosophy.
For example –
1: if your motivation is your family, keep them at the forefront of your mind when you are faced with stress. When you are close to eating the wrong meals, skipping your daily exercise or when you are close to making an unethical decision – think about your family and how they will suffer if you are no longer strong and happy.
2: if your trigger is your financial situation, think about the long term and how your health is critical to your pocketbook and that making short term profits while disregarding your waistline and your morals will not enable you to enjoy the money for a very long time
3: if your driver is your appearance, consider the food you are eating or avoiding to eat and the exercise you are dropping or overdoing. It is equally bad for your appearance long term to be too skinny as it is to be too fat. Health is reflected by your appearance, so if you drop your driver, your health will be suffering a great deal.
We will be featuring a number of ideas to stay on the plan – simple, enjoyable and motivational posts will be launched on our various social media outlets. Stay tuned and do not hesitate to reach out to tell your story and to ask us more about ours!