Boss Lady

Women’s health is key to their career and business ability


This guide outlines why women’s health is often under extreme pressure, and why they should take better care of it. Working women know just how quickly their own health can take a backseat when it comes to caring for others.

Not only do we face busy days at work, running children around to activities and putting food on the table, not to mention washing and cleaning, there are also extended family members who need our attention.

Yes, we all know the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” – but how many of us have tried to eke out just one more drop before we concede defeat?

What is key to  women’s health?

Health and wellbeing guru Donna Aston (pictured above) says looking after women’s health and nutrition is more than just counting calories. You need the right nutrition for your metabolism.

Aston, one of Australia’s top nutritionists, says women’s health focus should be on improving metabolic function and gut health. The “lovely” side effect of this is losing weight, along with less inflammation and pain, more energy and better mental health and overall wellbeing.

“Women are inherently selfless, it’s the maternal instinct to look after everyone else – be that family, relationships, or work or running your own business,” Aston says.

“But when we board an aircraft, we’re told that in the event of an emergency we should fit our own oxygen mask before helping others. I feel this is a great analogy for life in general. “Juggling motherhood and career can be a very difficult balance. It’s important to be kind to your body and treat it with the same respect you’d offer a best friend.”

Aston says our microbiome, or our gut health, has a strong connection with our mental health and mood.

As founder and director of online health program AstonRX, the fit, fabulous 50-something appears to be the living embodiment of practising what she preaches regarding women’s health.

But for the once overweight teen, who studied fitness and nutrition in her own quest to lose weight, keeping in shape is a necessity to cope with a chronic back problem and run her business.

“If I gained a kilo of weight, I wouldn’t be able to walk, I would be cripple,” Aston says. “Every 5kg of body fat is 20kg of pressure on joints, bones and muscles Carrying excess weight can also increase our risk of many diseases.

“Our body fat forms an integral part of our endocrine system, so the higher our body fat, the more disruption to vital hormones which can perpetuate further fat storage, inflammation and increase the risk of 13 different cancers – including breast and ovarian cancer.”

The role of exercise in women’s health

Aston says, especially for women in sedentary office jobs, exercise is also important to overall wellbeing.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” Aston says. “Over the longer term, it can exacerbate wasting of lean muscle and bone mass. Women lose 5% to 8% of muscle from the age of 35 unless we work hard to maintain it.

“And while we’re all aware of the dangers of osteoporosis, sarcopenia – or wasting of muscle, which is less commonly monitored – has a negative impact on our metabolism, joints, bone density and overall mobility.”

Sharing experiences

Aston, a best-selling fitness and nutrition author, built her AstonRX business after travelling and working overseas with her now ex-husband – but then finding herself suddenly solo.

“I had always thought my husband had the more business-like brain and he was my sounding board for my ideas and I felt lost without that,” Aston says about starting her own business.

“But by being forced into making my own decisions, I found I was pretty good at it.

“I often meet women in similar situations and it’s good to share these experiences, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Aston has previously worked privately with a host of celebrity and business clients including Aussie actors Sigrid Thornton and Kat Stewart, and TV and radio host Brigitte Duclos, but her program has continued to grow and is now available online to everyone.

It all started when, as a teen, Aston says she tried “every silly diet out there”.

“At age 16 I stopped growing up and started growing out,” Aston says. Once she started going to the gym, it led to her studying fitness and training through the US-based International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and also nutrition at Deakin University.

Aston has since built a successful business with a core team of six, plus an in-house chef providing online cooking lessons and medical consultants on call.

Running her programs online makes the business more efficient. It also helped not only survive but thrive during the pandemic.

“Covid was actually quite kind to us, we were so busy,” Aston says. “It wasn’t just the program, the online forums became communities for people who were isolated.”

Aston says maintaining good health is an ongoing thing – you don’t just get fit, and then forget it. And, no matter what stage of life we are at, we can always improve our health.

“Our bodies are brilliant,” Aston says. “At any age we can build muscle, reduce fat and slow bone loss.”

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