Starring on hit shows like Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune, Kiwi actor Claire Chitham is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable entertainers. But behind the scenes, she was battling chronic intestinal disease, Crohn’s, and the pressure to live up to unrealistic beauty standards. After years dedicated to caring for her holistic health, she has teamed with up with health journalist Kylie Bailey to write Good for You, a book about gut and cellular health. She shares their tips for a healthy life with Metropol.
LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Start taking notice of how you feel every day. Write it down, keep a note on it. Do you get tired every afternoon? Do you sleep well or are you restless? Do you run out of energy every day? Are you often irritable? Are you often sad?
These things are all deeply affected by your health and they can be altered, improved and changed by making small adjustments in your life. I’ve changed so many old, unhealthy habits over the years, but done them all slowly, over time.
You have to make your own health a priority. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t. I want people to start taking action towards great health. To start feeling excited about taking their health into their own hands. It can be so rewarding, and it’s you who reaps the benefits.
FIND YOUR PERSON
I don’t mean a partner, I mean a trained therapist. Of any variety. A massage therapist, a naturopath, a counsellor, an acupuncturist, a trainer at the gym, a pilates teacher! Find a practitioner of health that you trust to help with your body or mind in some way. And try and go as regularly as you can.
When my life gets busy, I might go six months without seeing anyone and I’ve noticed that this is usually when my health starts to play up, or my moods are getting harder to shift. These people are external sources of help, health and healing that I believe are vital and invaluable.
MOVE YOUR BODY, PREFERABLY IN A WAY YOU LOVE
I’m not here to tell you which exercise is best for you, or which diet you should follow. I believe in learning about your own body closely enough that only you will know what’s best for you. But movement is vital. Find a way of moving that you love and you’ll do it more often. It won’t seem like a chore and there is joy attached to increasing your vitality.
EAT FOR YOUR METABOLIC TYPE
I don’t follow one particular dietary prescription…but I have learned to eat correctly for my body type.
We each metabolise food and energy at different rates, in different ways, no body is the same. There are loads of online tests you can take, I like www.pilates.co.nz’s quick questionnaire to determine whether you are a Protein Type, a Mixed Type or a Carbohydrate Type.
This isn’t a judgemental thing in any way, this is about how your body processes its fuel best. When you know what type you are, you can make food choices more aligned with your body.