By: ASJAD NAZIR
THE HEALTH EXPERT REVEALS HOW TO LEAD YOUR BEST LIFE
SONIA JHAS walked away from a sky-rocketing corporate career at IBM and decided to focus on her own wellbeing. This decision to break an unhealthy cycle of yo-yo dieting, negative self-talk, and feelings of failure led to learning the fundamentals of fitness and developing a positive relationship with food.
The transformative one-year journey enabled her to uncover a passion to help others and she is now inspiring people globally with techniques to help them achieve their personal health and wellness goals.
The Canadian expert works closely with clients one-on-one or in small groups through her SJ Semester coaching programme and is regularly asked to be a keynote speaker at high-profile events. She also regularly appears on top television shows, lights up social media and has her first book releasing in Spring 2022.
Eastern Eye caught up with Sonia to discuss the secret of living your happiest life, along with getting top health and wellness tips.
Your signature SJ Semester coaching programme gives people access to your knowledge, insights, and trainings. What are key health and wellness tips you would give?
When setting out to improve our health and wellbeing, we often choose drastic actions like exercising every day, cutting out carbs, and avoiding anything with sugar. We do this despite knowing that an ‘all or nothing’ approach to fitness and nutrition is a recipe for failure. But what if it didn’t have to be so hard? What if we didn’t have to rely on extremes? What if, by taking some simple but meaningful steps, we could dramatically improve our overall wellbeing? We can! Here’s how: Prioritise good quality sleep, hydrate, move your body and focus on whole foods.
You say that getting high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise. So, what can you do to facilitate regular, high-quality sleep?
Try to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends. Say no to late-night television. Limit caffeine and nicotine. Wind down and clear your head with relaxing music or meditation.
What about hydration?
Most people don’t drink enough pure water. And yet, water is critical to our health and wellbeing. It is essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
What’s the point of eating nutrientdense food if your body can’t reap the benefits?
Dehydration also slows the metabolism and inhibits the calorie/ fat burning process. The metabolic process also creates toxins, and water plays a critical role in flushing them out of your body. Finally, most people often confuse thirst with hunger, taking in extra calories for no reason! Drink two to three litres of pure water a day and your body will thank you!
What about the importance of moving your body everyday?
Exercise is not important for weight loss alone. Moving our bodies daily is vital for mental health, strength, and healthy skin. By moving a little more each day, we help our bodies and minds function at their best. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood, and improving self-esteem and cognitive function. By delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helping your cardiovascular system, exercise can improve your energy levels.
Tell us more?
Exercise also helps digestion and elimination. When we move regularly, we assist flow in the body and stimulate intestinal circulation. The more regular we are, the more our body is able to rid itself of toxins, which can often lead to clearer and fresher skin.
What about nutrition?
‘Whole foods’, usually refer to vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. At a time where everything is ultra-processed, it’s important to getback to eating minimally processed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. That’s how you benefit from the vitamins, minerals, fibre, essential nutrients, and good fats that significantly improve your wellbeing.
What food tips can you give our readers?
Incorporate whole foods into your diet. Swap out cereal for a delicious fruit smoothie. Instead of snacking on chips or crackers, grab a handful of mixed nuts. Incorporate as much whole meal and wholegrain flour into breads and rotis as possible. Replace sugary drinks with whole fruit.
How important is it to look after your mental health?
Mental health is health. Prioritising mental wellbeing leads to better physical health, stronger work ethic and stability, healthier relationships, and better quality of life overall.
Is there a secret to being your happiest self?
I have found that it’s critical to layer positivity into your life. Most of us gravitate towards negativity without even realising it. When we make a conscious effort to get ahead of those thoughts and feelings, we experience a tangible shift. Prioritising self-care and positivity can be as simple as starting your day with physical activity to soak in some endorphins or doing a meditation or breathwork session to make you feel grounded and aligned.
What helps you?
Journalling in the morning helps me offload fearbased thoughts and negative self-talk. Keeping a list of “what’s going right” or “what I’m proud of” throughout the day also reroutes my brain towards positive thoughts. I practise gratitude throughout the day, giving myself little doses of positivity before my limiting beliefs take over. Affirmations and self-help audiobooks can help override negative narratives, reminding me of what’s important so I can discover happiness.
Are there any key mistakes that people make during their quest for happiness?
People race towards external milestones and achievements believing that these ‘wins’ will make them happy. But true happiness comes from within, from cultivating self-love, self-worth, and self-acceptance. It isn’t about validation or achievements but rather about tuningin to your authentic self to uncover who you really are and what you really desire.
How much have your own struggles informed your work?
My struggles inform every fibre of my work. They have taught me so much about cultivating authenticity, finding motivation, reinforcing commitment, and overcoming hardship. My experiences have helped me relate to my clients and audiences in a more empathetic, nurturing, and compassionate way.
How much does helping others help you?
Helping others is the most important part of what I do and it continuously reinforces my purpose and passion. Each person’s journey is unique, allowing me to continually grow, learn, and pivot my perspective. By helping others, I’m able to continue my own life-long healing, which is something I’m so grateful for.
Visit Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @soniajhas or www.soniajhas.com