Take steps to a healthier lifestyle through small improvementsFeb 01, 2024 11:49AM ● By Kerry Angelbuer
Tiare Walker is an independent Optavia wellness coach that lives what she teaches. Courtesy photo
Now the holiday season is over, it may be time to make some health goals to bring us into a better new year. Bountiful resident, Tiare Walker, a health and wellness coach with a degree in Exercise Science at BYU, works with people all over the nation helping them make simple health goals and providing support, accountability and education to continue making these small improvements. “I like to link arms with my client and walk along side of them,” said Walker, “with the goal of lifelong transformation.” She encourages people to focus on what they want to create rather than just taking the negative approach of what to stop or avoid. A positive vision might be being able to play with a grandchild, recover from a surgery or eat one more vegetable daily. “We only get one shot at living, at being alive,” said Walker. “Take a step forward in creating a healthier habit.”
Walker has always been interested in living healthily, but her interest spiked when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about five years ago. Thinking that all her past pains were “injuries” she was shocked to find that deterioration of the joints was responsible for what she thought was a broken foot. Along with pain, RA also caused Walker extreme fatigue and brain fog, the worst symptoms in Walker’s opinion. Prescribed medications and small changes in lifestyle were the initial treatment. Now she manages her symptoms fully with a healthy lifestyle and she feels fantastic. She can run a mile or two, but prefers walking and hiking. Best of all, she has the mental energy to mother her five children and be an independent Optavia coach.
With a part-Tongan heritage, she understands that everyone has an array of genetic challenges. She recommends working with the body you were gifted. Many Americans suffer from blood-sugar issues rooted in the availability of a lot of highly-refined, constantly available junk food. The blood sugar spikes and sudden losses lead to inflammation and illness. She recommends eating smaller meals every few hours focusing on balancing protein and carbohydrates. Desirable proteins may include nuts, cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs and lean meats. Carbohydrates should have some fiber like whole grains and fruits, especially berries. “All the vegetables are good for you,” said Walker. “You can’t go wrong.” Fats, especially the unhealthy fats associated with fried and processed foods, are abundant in the standard American diet. She suggests adding the healthier fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, olives and fish. A 90/10 rule allows some less healthy foods (10 percent) if most of your diet is healthy (90 percent).
Adults tend to lose about 3-8 percent of muscle mass as they age. Getting sufficient protein is important to avoid this muscle loss that leads to a poor metabolism. To know how much protein to eat, take your target weight (how much you should weigh to feel your best) and eat .7-1 grams of protein daily per pound of weight. So, a 130-pound woman might need 100-130 grams of protein daily. Many of her clients choose to take a supplement containing essential amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Maintaining or increasing muscle can increase metabolism and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Many important healthy goals go beyond diet. Though Walker used to think that “sleep was for the weak,” she now says that “sleep is a superpower.” Many vital processes in the body happen while sleeping: muscle repair, shoring up of immune system, synthesis of learning and a brain reset. The body needs at least seven-eight hours to get the needed work done. Similarly, proper hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle. Water, water, water. Create an intention for a start to a healthy new year and mindfully take one small step toward a lifelong change. “What you put in your mouth,” said Walker “is less important than what is going on between your ears.”