Consider these people: An insecure teenager who is unhappy with their body image, a working mother of two struggling to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight while balancing her time between work and family, or a middle-aged professional looking to reduce the stress that comes with having a high-flying career. These are all people that you’ve either met, or can relate to in one way or another. We’ve all had our battles with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and that is because of the always-evolving definition of ‘health’. The recipe to a healthy mind and body keeps changing. One day, we’re told that a low-carb, high protein lifestyle is the way forward, while other schools of thought dictate that meat is actually bad for your cholesterol. So which one is it…I asked published author and certified health coach Khalidah Alessa.
She laughed at my bewilderment, and confidently answered, “It is neither. A healthy lifestyle requires the recalibration of one’s outlook on life. It’s not just about what you eat, how you exercise and how you sleep. It is an overall sense of awareness that always needs to be present when making the simplest and biggest life decisions.” Khalidah’s first published work, its title translated from Arabic Don’t Waste Your Time…A Recipe that Revives Your Health and Adds Flavor to Your Life, appeals to adults, teens and preteens alike. “It all depends on whether or not you are interested in the subject.” She said, “I’ve had friends, who happen to be older, felt jarred by the idea of changing your life by having the awareness to stop wasting their time with thought processes that cloud the judgment.”
Perhaps this is possibly a normal response, because anything new that changes up your routine will indeed be strange and jarring at first. Khalidah’s book debut, and the inspiration behind creating a small, easy to read, self-help piece of literature definitely stems from her own experience. She explained that she personally experienced this sense of loss and confusion about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and told us that she “was always seeking more.”
Spending time between Kuwait and the U.S., Khalidah found her way while visiting her daughter in Boston. She came to know about The Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and enlisted in a distance-learning program. Khalidah learned all about a holistic approach to life, and filled her time with lessons about not only clean eating, but also clean living habits that allowed her to better organize her time. She said, “After completing my studies, I received my certificate as a health coach, and this opened up so many doors in my life. I had the time to focus on my wellbeing, my environment, and the people around me, staying healthy, fighting depression. I found a new sense of self-awareness, and practiced what I studied on myself firstly, then professionally in Kuwait.” Khalidah strongly believes that the principles that she learned about are actually quite simple to implement, yet gaining the understanding can be difficult. It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth it.
After practicing as a one-on-one health coach, Khalidah felt that she had reached a comfort zone of some sorts, and that she needed to do more. This realization came at a time when the Institute offered students the opportunity to ‘Launch’ their own books. Khalidah felt re-invigorated, like she finally found her mission and her calling. The institute offered guidance, and students were expected to write a body of work that is based on their experiences, their studies and what they also wish to share with others. The book could be focused on a certain topic pertaining to holistic health, or general, it all depended on what the student wished to convey. Six months later, Don’t Waste Your Time… was completed, and Khalidah had purposely chosen Arabic to reach her targeted demographic. She explained that plenty of the same literature is available in English, and that Kuwait’s people, mainly its majority of Arabic readers, needed more books about holistic living that are easy to read, browse and most importantly, remember.
Don’t Waste Your Time… is a fun read from the colorful cover illustration, the color coded sections, highlighted thought-provoking quotes, to Khalidah’s own story. The book begins with Khalidah’s personal story, where she explains how she struggled with her weight for a long time. She asked us to “name the diet, I’ve tried it. Things worked in the short term, and then I’d lose interest, become mentally exhausted with the whole process. Once I realized that being healthy is not just about food, but applying this mental outlook to every aspect of our daily lives, I noticed the change. It is a mental challenge before a physical one. Even the energy that enters your body is entirely different when you ‘eat with awareness.'”
Don’t Waste Your Time… encourages us to not put pressure on ourselves when it comes to trying to change our lives, and take things one day at a time by reorganizing our priorities. Khalidah told me about the life-long struggle with the very notion of self-awareness. Thinking about our actions and what we consume can be exhausting when we put pressure on ourselves. Once she has mastered this mental block, her life completely changed. She showered me with healthful snacks that she prepared herself without any added sugars and preservatives, and only fresh coconut water. I didn’t feel guilty snacking with Khalidah, as she asked me to simply enjoy the fact that I’m feeding my body and mind with positively charged foods, and that energy going into my body is positively charged. She added, “I love what I eat, and enjoy consuming food now. I never feel deprived, because I get all of the sweet flavors that I need naturally.” Clean living extends beyond what we eat, and includes understanding what makes for a fruitful and well-balanced life. Khalidah’s book further highlights the difference between primary and secondary foods. Seeing the look of loss on my face, she paused to explain. “There’s more to life than food, working out and sleeping. If you’re looking for a clean life, you need to understand the stressors in your life.” Not only is this Khalidah’s favorite chapter, but also she believes that calibrating this part of your life, balancing between work and home, and finding time to understand your self, is more important than anything else that anyone could do.
Don’t Waste Your Time… serves as a comprehensive introduction to a more balanced life, and understanding how to break up your time to result in a healthful lifestyle. The book was released only a few months ago, and will be readily available at Sultan Center stores across the country. You can find the book today at Sultan Center in Sharq, Shuwaikh, Shaab and Hawalli.
Khalidah believes that a change in perspective is visibly happening in Kuwait, and peoples’ awareness about pursuing a cleaner lifestyle is becoming stronger, “I pray that this isn’t only a passing trend. If it is though, I have a feeling that it won’t be going away so quickly.” Besides the publication of her debut body of work, Khalidah is also in the process of opening up a fully-fledged, organic juice bar. She said, “My purpose is to make the offerings seasonal, with a purpose behind each drink that I will be creating. We will not use any frozen products, except perhaps in smoothies, but freshly frozen to ensure that the goodness of these drinks is not compromised.” While people may jump on the ‘juicing’ wagon, Khalidah wishes to also start certain workshops centered on raising awareness about juicing. She concluded, “The way in which we consume food today makes for an incomplete dietary lifestyle. The mission behind adding fresh juices, or juicing, into our daily consumption is to make up for what is lacking in our daily diets. What you consume from supplements can be taken from a green juice. It all depends on how you wish to enhance your daily diet.”
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Organic or good for your health.
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could have any job, what would it be?
An interpreter at the UN.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
What is your most treasured possession?
The ability to go to the gym, everyday!
What is your most marked characteristic?
Where would you most like to live?
Italy or France.
What are your favorite words to live by?
Friendly and clean.