Here’s How Viola Davis Continues To Prioritize Wellness At 54
This past September, L’Oreal signed on Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis as the new face of their L’Oreal Paris brand. The 54-year-old actress, joining the likes of Helen Mirren and Celine Dion, is part of the brand’s latest effort to promote self-worth and inclusion.
Speaking to the brand, the actress revealed her emotions behind being chosen to represent the beauty brand at age 54,
“As someone who is, self-proclaimed, not a “classic” beauty, my ultimate hope is that women out there are inspired by my image,” she said, per a press release. “I hope to convey that there is beauty to every age. Youthfulness is beauty in its most obvious sense, there’s classical beauty, but with age and experience come confidence — and there is nothing more beautiful to radiate than that. When you reach a certain age, the playing field is leveled in terms of looks, and what you’re left with is your self-worth and how you impact others. I want people to realize that this is the only thing that stands the test of time.”
Viola Davis on Wellness
However, it’s not just her beauty that makes the How to Get Away With Murder star turn heads. In fact, her dedication to her health is why she is continuously lauded for her appearance on the red carpet. That said, let’s delve into how the star manages to maintain both her health and beauty.
Managing her prediabetes
In 2016, a routine blood test revealed to Davis’s shock that she had prediabetes,
“I thought I was pretty fit and that I ate really well,” she explained to Everyday Health, “Now I’ve made really good friends with my doctors, I exercise more regularly, sleep more and watch what I eat—especially when I’m on set.”
Despite her health regiment, Viola Davis still faced an increased risk of developing prediabetes as she is of African-American ethnicity, and her two sisters, her aunt, and her paternal grandmother have each been afflicted with diabetes.
What is prediabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association, prediabetes, which affects around 84 million American adults, is a condition whereby blood sugar levels are worryingly high, yet not high enough to be considered diabetes. To diagnose prediabetes, one uses an Hba1C (hemoglobin A1C ) test. Results reveal the average glucose number that has been attached to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells over the past three months. If the results read as 5.7 to 6.4, then the patient likely has prediabetes as anything higher means diabetes (1).
Having prediabetes is a big precursor to type 2 diabetes. This is why it is important to better manage your health once you have been diagnosed with prediabetes. If not, you face an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. What’s more, you also face the risk of the complications that come with it. These complications include heart disease, nerve damage and even amputation.
The Paleo diet
Following her diagnosis, Davis made sure to re-evaluate her eating patterns by adopting the Paleo diet,
“I’m redefining food, which I thought I already did” she explained, “But I’ve been vigilant about that. I am doing the Paleo diet.”
The Paleo diet is one that encourages the consumption of lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, all whilst limiting the intake of processed carbohydrates that include corn, wheat, and rice. What’s more, the diet also asks for the exclusion of dairy, legumes and vegetable oils.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a group of diabetics who went on the Paleo diet noticed improvements in their blood pressure and cholesterol as well as their A1C levels.
The downside of Paleo
However, there are also some concerns about the Paleo diet. This is because the Paleo diet places an emphasis on consuming a diet similar to that of the cavemen. Unfortunately, the cavemen spent a lot of time hunting and gathering, so that they could consume red meat. Diabetics already face an increased risk of heart disease. The added consumption of red meat will only serve to add to this risk.
Furthermore, legumes are incredibly high in fiber and this can help to manage blood sugar in diabetics.
If you are a diabetic and you’re looking to adopt the Paleo diet, it’s important to first consult your health practitioner.
“You know they say 80 percent of losing weight is what you eat, and 20 percent is exercise? I have 20 percent covered.” Davis explained to PopCulture, “If I have to be at work at five a.m, I will get up at three and work out. I run, I do weights. I’m very toned. I’m like every other woman. I’d love to be 10 pounds or 20 pounds lighter. If I’m not, I’m OK with that, too. I’m good as long as I’m healthy.”
And how does she keep fit? By regularly hopping on the treadmill all whilst listening to her favorite songs. Just like running on a trail, jumping on the treadmill for 45 minutes provides a host of benefits. This includes burnt calories, improved endurance, better sleep, and even improved cholesterol levels.
Additionally, Davis also revealed that on the rare chance that she exercises with weights, she opts for kettlebells. These ball-shaped iron weights can help to boost one’s endurance, as well as improve both posture and flexibility.
Get a regular massage
Viola Davis revealed to WebMD that one of her favorite luxuries is the ability to squeeze in a massage. Whilst some may only view it as a pampering session, getting a regular massage can serve to improve your health.
In addition to helping you unwind, a full body massage can help to boost your skin health, detox your lymphatic system, improve blood flow and even encourage digestive health.
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal found that participants who displayed higher levels of optimism were revealed to have an 11 to 15% longer life span. With that said, it’s likely that the key to Viola Davis’ health is her infectiously positive attitude.
“I don’t feed myself a mantra that suppresses the negativity,” she shared with SELF. “The negativity, the anger, being hurt is a part of the joy, a part of the passion, a part of all of it. I’m not a piece of Teflon, I’m a human being.”
With that said, the starlet revealed how she’s finding different ways in which to address her negative emotions. In fact, she remembers having to deal with restless nights as a result of her negativity.
“I live my life with a purpose, and I think when you do that things fall in line and they fall in line in the exact order they should,” she says.
If you’re battling with negativity, and you’re looking to embrace a more positive outlook on life, click here for a few hacks to see how you can become a more positive thinker.