Healthy Lifestyle: How A Few Changes Improved Everything
Updated: Sep 26, 2018
When it comes to nutrition and eating right, I think back to about a year ago when I was completely not giving a shit about my health or what was going into my body. Instead I barely wanted to even eat, completely focused on one goal and it was to look like the "perfect" girl. Which as we all know, doesn't exist. As a woman in this world however, the pressure to become this fantasy figure is prevalent. It's unfortunate that we've dealt with this for so long ladies, but I'm hoping that there are people like me out there that are conquering those thoughts. They are unhealthy and you are only fooling yourself if you think that you'll be happier once you meet that goal weight or lose that bit of fat, when you're in that state of mind, nothing is ever good enough. It's a disease, and should be treated as such, with treatment.
There are a few main points I will be going over in this post and they are decisions I've made with myself over some time, maybe you don't agree or you want to alter certain points which is totally valid of course, just please remember everyone is different so what works for me may change for you. Also, that I'm not an expert I'm only giving you my research and what I've learned and what you do with that is up to you.
Number one? The obvious one here. Nutrition. What you're eating and why you're eating it, or not eating for some people. People will often tell me about the diet their on or how they plan to do a juice cleans and drop 5 pounds, whatever it is I've heard it all and probably tried it at one point. What I didn't realize is that the "Why" behind it all was making a difference. If I was doing it solely to lose weight or look perfect, then I would eventually go back to unhealthy ways whether it be completely binging on Oreos, Hot Cheetos or whatever the craving was or just getting mad at myself for eating something that I would later have to work off. It wasn't working for me and I knew it. But it's hard to escape once you're in that mindset.
I read a book not too long ago that changed my idea of it all. Two Turns From Zero, by Stacey Griffith. Stacey was one of the first creators of Soul Cycle, as in she is the OG instructor from NYC. Soul Cycle has been a major part in me realizing what my body is capable of and its slowly built me up. Stacey mentions this one point in the book that stuck with me ever since. That your body is all you have, and what you give to it and how you treat it is all a part of the lovely thing we call self love. In the end, do you want to look back and say that you didn't love or respect yourself enough to cut the crap and just be happy with yourself and give your body all it needs? Well it woke me up, and I started realizing that my relationship with food needed to change. I could use all that energy that I was spending constantly counting calories and put that toward looking at ingredients, and where I was going to buy my food from. This way I was still using all of that energy and putting it toward something beneficial.
A few months into this change, I realized my body was bloating a little more then normal so I looked into it with a natural-pathic doctor. Who then gave me a food allergy test and I found out I am allergic to gluten and dairy along with a list of random vegetables and fruits. Two of my absolute favorite things were bread and cheese, so you can see this was devastating for me... but also these were two things I was constantly eating especially when I was too lazy to make anything that might've gave my body some actual nutritional value. It's natural that we often gravitate toward the comfort foods: chocolate, cheese, bread (pizza, etc.) So ironically, I had to learn to cut those out of my life. I celebrated that however, with a trip to Bali, Indonesia. So it worked out.
I realized that my body was reacting to the changes I've made.
Paying attention to the benefits of what you're eating and why their important is so crucial I can't even get that message across any clearer. The balance is what is important, because actually when you eat too much of certain things (yes, even healthy things like fruit!) it can be bad for you. I was addicted to fruit for months and at one point found it was affecting my intestines, something called candida. Which basically means I was eating so much fruit that it was leaking out of my intestines, my body couldn't keep processing all of it at once. Once again, I had to change it up.
Balance is Key.
Looking for some help on next steps for this one? here's what has been working for me.
First, in order to keep the balance, I don't let myself feel unhappy about what I'm eating. It's simple. If you're trying to get into more fruits and veggies, don't force yourself to eat the ones you don't like, you won't keep that up.
Second, Protein is everything. Eat it all the time, every time. 'nough said.
Third, listen to your cravings and more importantly listen to your hunger, don't fear it. Most people get hungry and then their afraid of overeating or they completely overindulge and don't really listen to their bodies. Plus if you think your craving something it could actually mean something! That thought changed my world that what if we actually listened to our bodies feelings or cravings like we would if we had a cold or flu? I'm craving a ton of salty things right now, maybe I should listen to what my body is saying. That I'm low in something that I actually have the power to change. Crazy thought but putting it out there for ya.
Fourth, read labels. Look at the products your buying and really think if you want it in your body. I realized a lot of the chips or snacks I liked had gross things in them and once I took the time to look into that I didn't want it in my body anymore. Stuff like Yellow Number 5 (what is that???!) or Gelatin were just things I didn't agree with anymore.
Fifth, if you really need a cupcake let yourself have it. Again, it all goes back to balance. Be kind to yourself especially when you're trying to change something pretty big, be patient with your body and understand it ultimately is about your health and loving your body.
Lastly, read. Look on Pinterest, research, see a natural doctor, look up what you should be taking everyday. It makes a difference when you take an interest in what is really going on with your body. Think about it and talk about it, because the more it comes up in your mind as something you really truly care about, more self love grows and the more your willing to stick to the choice you make to have a happy healthy life.
Workouts, gotta love it right? Well believe it or not I do now, heavy on the now. I used to hate it like probably a lot of you out there do. But finding the thing that changes it all is crucial. For me, it started with Yoga I guess you could say. Its a mindset thing for me, that once you want to be kind to your body and treat it right naturally, you also consider workouts that make you feel good. That boost your confidence and make you feel like a badass in your body.
To me, Yoga is positive thinking, its releasing negative energy both from your everyday and from some deep rooted thoughts you may have of yourself. Its spending time to meditate, and understand the spiritual side of yourself, because everyone has it they just haven't touched on it. But its there and its important much like everything else.
What came with yoga is understanding I'm capable of more, so I tried Pilates, and then came cycling. Soul Cycle started a whole new chapter for me, it led me to think that there are ways to really build myself up and raise my endorphins so that I'm actually happy working out. I hate when people complain like ug I have to go to the gym or I hate that I have to go do this...If you don't like it why are you doing it? It's a simple solution for your problem. If you're not liking the situation change it up, and do something you actually like doing. If you're not really sure what that is try different classes (Groupon is your best friend) or find different workout routines on Youtube. Don't let the sucky workouts you've been doing be the end of your fitness routine, there's so much more to try and so much more to get out of it all.
Another thing to do is challenge yourself, it makes everything more fun and you kind of realize your capable of more in the end. With me, I didn't think I could do cycling, and I almost died the first time I went to Soul Cycle but in time I kept going and was determined to get my ass kicked every time but now I am confident in my cycling and I feel I've got it down. Which is crazy to me. Progress does come, sometimes it just takes time, so in the meantime think of ways to challenge yourself.
Sidenote: A fun thing for me is also Pinterest work outs, which I do often when I travel as well! I plan on posting more on my fitness routines very soon so stay tuned.
When it comes to your skin, theres so much more to know then I ever realized. I was back and forth about adding this part of the healthy lifestyle in but ya know it has been an important part of the process so I figured I'd share it with ya. I never really had bad skin per say but I never felt confident in my skin. It was always problematic for me, and I've tried so many different products its ridiculous. The beauty industry has probably made a fortune off me alone. One thing I've realized however, in my decision to really do the best for my body is that products that I'm using on my beautiful skin made a difference as well. Feel good, look good right? I wanted to research what I was using at the time and found a lot of extra chemicals in literally everything, suddenly I was turned off of a lot of my beauty supplies.
Everyone's skin is different so I'm not about to tell everyone to treat it the same way but I do agree that chemicals shouldn't be what you resort to. Plain and simple, it wasn't meant to be put on our skin so why should we put it there? Granted, there are some serious cases of acne out there and I understand some have seen benefits, which is awesome! I'm happy for you, but its when in our every day lives we are seeking out products without really knowing what is in them, thats what we should be worried about.
It all goes back to our bodies and what we feed it, what we nurture with and whether its helping or hurting us in the long run.
I made the decision to look into my products more, which for me personally meant products for sensitive skin, products that don't test on animals and I figured since I'm allergic to dairy and all these other foods maybe they shouldn't be in what I was using on my skin. Believe it or not, a lot of products use random ingredients a lot of it being milk or some form of it, gelatin, and random chemicals we don't like to talk about (Phthalates, and other synthetic colors or fragrances that have been known to cause harm & can be linked serious affects).
Ultimately, I made the decision to use natural based products, its a slow and steady process that really sped up however when I went to Bali. I was forced to deal with my skin in a different climate, and most of my travel sized skin care regimen consisted of washing my face only to sweat everything out again in another hour. It tested me, but I found natural oils and tea tree products did just the trick. Tip: Coconut oil is everything.
First, read labels. Do the research and actually look at what you're putting on your skin, and if your worried about any affects maybe try out more natural based remedies. There are even at-home things to try that are quick and easy. (For example: instead of harsh shaving gels, and getting chemicals deep in your skin, try using olive oil. Not kidding. Life changing!)
Second, nurture your body, moisturize and take time for yourself every day, find a routine that works for you and stick to it.
And third, supplements also help with skin! Look into it and find ones that help with what you might be lacking in.There is always a reason for break outs, and there could be a simpler solution so think first about what you should be doing for your body before resorting to harsher chemicals.
Sounds cheesy to end with this one but its honestly probably what's changed the most for me. Your awareness of how you treat your body and what goes through your mind changes everything. Think with me for a second, if you really wanted to do something a year from now, I don't know go skydiving or something, you would make it happen. It depends on how badly you want it to happen but if you put your energy into it, it would happen. We are capable of more then we even know ourselves. It's only once we accomplish something and move forward that we step back and say wow I did that, I'm capable.
Mentality means more then just wanting to make this change and do better for our bodies, it also means understanding that a healthy lifestyle also involves a healthy brain, and healthy emotional habits, healthy thinking.
What exactly does that entail?
Well its recognizing our emotions and validating them ourselves, because a feeling is important to us, whether we like that feeling or not, we were meant to feel it. It's understanding that we are in control of what we do with these feelings and emotions, we can listen to ourselves or shut it away and end up making it far worse then we may have intended. There is a sort of fluidity that comes with understanding what your body and mind need from you, once again here we are with that same word: Balance.
Balance in this retrospect means knowing when to listen to your emotions and take some time for yourself or needing to be around some close friends for that extra support. It's knowing when you haven't been right on the nose with eating foods with nutritional value but being kind and patient with yourself because hey, it gets hard and its a transition. It's at the end of the day recognizing that hey, maybe you don't actually want to go out drinking with those people but that's fine, there doesn't have to be a reason except that you just don't feel like it.
I'm going to end with this one thing. Your mental health is everything and more. Never let anyone compromise that fact, don't ever try and tear yourself down in the process of change especially, because transitional stages in life are difficult enough as it is, be patient with yourself and know you are doing your best. Also that no one is truly alone, take heart in understanding you are never alone there is always someone out there who cares about you and what you're going through. Validate your own feelings and emotions and keep moving forward.