How did the WholeLife concept start?
I’ve always loved endurance sports. Ultra-running was my passion and the more mountainous the trail I was running the better. I completed Comrades marathon (90k) in South Africa twice, the Classic Quarter a 70 km coastal trail run in Cornwall, UK, five times and a 100km long trail run around Month Blanc with 10 000 meters of ascent in the European Alps, amongst others.
I ate whatever I could get my hands on. I fuelled my activities with processed sugary carbohydrates, telling myself that I was likely burning them all up again.
From ultra-running I moved to semi-professional cycling. It was never my day job- I’m a medical doctor and a General Practitioner, but it was how I spent my leisure time- racing my bike. It’s not an activity everyone would aspire to but I loved it. I was part of a sponsored team, I had all the kit provided and I was branded from socks to sunhat to the bike itself and I cycled in televised races around the UK.
I carefully monitored the amount I ate (weight is very important to cyclists) but ate the same processed foods as when I was running.
Then I became unwell... very unwell, and I learnt a valuable lesson that I wish I’d been taught years ago- you can’t out exercise a bad diet.
Someone may look fit and healthy from the outside but you can’t see what’s going on inside. How smoothly does the blood flow, how well does the heart pump?
Between cycling I’d spent long hours seated working. I had a pulmonary embolism- a blood clot that travelled to my lungs. It could have killed me.
I discovered my human nature, my vulnerabilities. I discovered I had a high cholesterol from my poor diet. I discovered that long hours seated at work were not a healthy way to live. That connection and community is crucial to life. That not everything is a race. That caring for one another and our planet is important rather than treating ourselves and everything we come into contact with as dispensable commodities. And crucially, that what you eat, is what builds your structure- it’s important- there is no way to out exercise a bad diet of processed foods.
But how to change?
It was around this time I started investigating the so called ‘blue zones’. These are places on the planet where people live the longest the healthiest; think 100-year-olds still being active members of society.
What were they doing differently? What were they eating? How were they living?
The WholeLife course has a three-pronged message that I feel summarises the ‘blue zone’ secret to a long life. It’s simple, so simple we’ve probably known it all along, and yet in the modern commercial rush we’ve forgotten it.
Here it is for you- not a pill, or a portion, or a fountain of life with magic water...
Lifestyle Longevity is:-
-Healthy diet (whole food, whole grain and plant based)
-Connections (social with one another, with community and with the planet)
And that is what we would like to share with you... What a WholeLife is and how to achieve it. The secret of Lifestyle Longevity.
We’ve seen people lives changed going through the process. People have told us they sleep better, have more energy, that their tastes change, that they love the ‘new’ foods and flavours that have discovered, that they are lighter, happier more joyful and would never go back to how they were living before.
We want to share this with you, help you to find your path to a healthy, active and connected life.
Join us in the WholeLife team, for your journey into lifestyle longevity.
The only time you’ll look back is to see how far you’ve come...
Jenny and the WholeLife Team
Written mid 3rd lockdown, January 2021, from green (but rainy) Devon, UK.