How’s everyone’s week going so far? Does anyone else feel flabbergasted with the fact that February is already half over? Where did the month go?!
As today is Valentine’s Day, a day filled with chocolate, and then later regrets about how much chocolate we ate, I wanted to talk a bit about making healthy choices. Now please remember, for the below discussion, I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, or really qualified in any way to be giving advice. However, these are things that I have learnt through my own research and experience.
People these days, seem so confused about how to be healthy. As a society, we’ve really moved to an “all or nothing” mentality. We either need to be doing it perfectly, with no slip ups ever, or it’s not worth doing at all. Every January we see proof of this. People make resolutions of exercising regularly and eating healthy. They set the intention to work out 5 times a week, drink nothing but water, and cook every meal at home. This works for about 3 minutes before they feel overwhelmed, and they eventually give up.
So let’s let go of that. Let’s accept that no one is perfect, and no one started their journey towards healthy living at 100% success.
Let’s also let go of the mentality that we deserve a reward for making a healthy decision. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “Well I worked out today so I deserve a piece of cake/chocolate/whatever it is they’re rationalizing to eat”. If you want to eat a piece of cake, then have that piece of cake. But by recognizing it as a reward, you’re treating healthy choices as something that needs to be bribed to do. Which means, that healthy choices are inherently bad, and are only done if you are compensated.
So now that we’ve let go of those mentalities, here are my tips for leading a more healthy lifestyle:
- Take small steps and try and improve things you’re already doing. If you drink 8 cans of pop a day, maybe try cutting back to 6. See how that goes. Maybe in 6 weeks, or 6 months, you’ll feel ready to cut back to 4. Don’t rush these changes. You’ve spent your whole life developing these habits, you can’t expect them to change overnight. Recognize that any change in the right direction, no matter how small, is still better than where you started.
- Never, ever, ever, go on a fad diet that has you replacing meals with shakes or pills, or has you cutting out full groups of foods (Atkins, I’m looking at you for that one). If a diet has you eating 600 calories a day- of course you will lose weight. But you’re also starving your body. If you cannot sustain it for the rest of your life, any weight loss you experience will not be permanent.
- The real thing is always better. Food is better than supplements. Exercise is better than diet pills. Move away from miracle cures that promise to give you everything you need in a pill form, and move toward real, unprocessed foods. Stop buying diet food that has “100 calories”. Calories are only part of the equation. In most developed worlds, we are overfed but undernourished. Our bodies need fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, calcium, etc. Nourish your body with love- which can be felt through roasted apples with peanut butter and cinnamon for something sweet, or sliced carrots with hummus. And then when you want something sweet, enjoy that sugary, buttery deliciousness.
- Try and work exercise into every day. This does not mean going to the gym and working out for 2 hours every day. Sometimes, when I’m really busy, the only exercise I get is my walk to and from David’s Tea, for my afternoon pick-me up. But you know- I still walked for 15 minutes to get there. Walk up the escalator instead of standing on it, park far away in the parking lot so you have to walk to and from your car. If you don’t have money to go to the gym, look at online options. Youtube is a beautiful thing- it has a lot of exercises for free that you can do at home. Worst case scenario, do some sit ups and push ups during the commercials while you’re watching tv.
- Love yourself now. Yes, living a healthy life is very important. You’ll feel better when you’re eating right, you’ll have more energy when you’re exercising. But you will not be any happier than you are right now. Happiness is not determined by a number on a scale. The love that you have for yourself, should not be determined by what size of clothing you wear. The best thing you can ever do for yourself, is to love who you are. I don’t want to get all after-school special on you guys, but honestly this is so important. I’ve been one of those girls who thought if I lost 5 pounds, I would be happier and then I would treat myself and love myself. But the weight has nothing to do with what you’re worth. You are worthy of love right now!
What are your guys tips for living a healthy life filled with happiness?
Happy Valentines’ Day guys. I love all of you- thanks for reading and commenting.