A healthier lifestyle - things to keep in mind...
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
Hey everyone, and happy February to you all. (Here in England, that means one month closer to summer, hooray!).
Today’s post reflects on things I think are good to consider when starting, continuing or evaluating a fitness journey.
Just before we begin, a quick reminder that these are just a few of my personal thoughts and feelings based on experiences I’ve had.
We often hear that we should aim to lead a healthy lifestyle, but what does it mean? What does it mean to you? And what does it mean in a world full of conflicting ideas, diet culture and so many non-science based recommendations?
I completely understand when I hear people say ‘I would like to be healthier, but I have no idea where to start,’ especially as advice is fruitful, forever changing, contradictory and sometimes not even true.
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. To ensure a healthy lifestyle, WHO recommends eating lots of fruits and vegetables, reducing fat, sugar and salt intake and exercising.’
Seemingly straightforward, but I think the key to success is discovering what is sustainable and suits each individual, so whether you are embarking on a fitness journey or making some alterations, here’s some things I would keep in mind…
Get to know your body.
Your journey is just that, yours. Just because something works for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.
So get to know your body. Find out what healthy foods you like that make you feel good and satisfied during and after eating them.
Know that just because a food is healthy, it doesn’t mean that your body will react well to it. For example, although I like the taste and asparagus is low in calories and a great source of nutrients, it plays havoc on my digestive system, so I’ll eat broccoli or green beans instead.
Also, if you are eating something healthy every day but don’t enjoy it, is this sustainable? Food shouldn’t be something that you dread just because you’re trying to eat healthier. For example, I hardly eat salads during winter as I prefer them in the summer (with a nice BBQ!), and would rather something warm from the slow cooker instead.
Work on what feels right for you. One person might feel comfortable eating smaller and more frequent meals in the day, whilst another might prefer fewer, larger meals. Someone might say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, whilst another will not feel hungry until lunch. If you’re anything like me, you might switch between all of the above.
Regarding exercise, get to know how and when your body likes to move and discover what exercise you can do that makes you look forward to doing it again. Do you prefer to go for a walk alone first thing in the morning, or join an exercise class in the evening?
Lastly, and often easier said than done, try not to compare yourself to others. By all means be inspired by others, but accept your body and the stage you are at, knowing that you can improve and work towards your goals.
Take your time and be patient.
Real success comes with commitment, consistency and a lifestyle change. This might sound daunting, but it’s the smaller changes we make, and healthier habits we create, that we actually stick to, that can lead to the biggest changes. Finding something that is sustainable for you is key.
Many people quit before they see any changes, as results take time. Even with the most tailored food and fitness regime, specifically created for your body type and goals, results will still not show overnight.
But don’t let this discourage you. Instead, find a routine that feels effortless. With persistence and finding a routine that truly suits you, leading a healthier lifestyle shouldn’t feel like a punishment or chore. Don’t be afraid to try different things too, or to admit that something isn’t working and needs to change.
Do it for you.
Take your time to really think about your goals and make sure they come from a place of self love, body kindness and acceptance. I know this can sometimes be challenging, but it’s important to focus on your overall physical and mental health, and make sure changes come from a good place.
In the past, any changes I wanted to make to become ‘healthier’ were often from a negative place of wanting to look like someone else in the shortest time possible. I would follow the latest fad diet or do a particular workout because it was popular, not because I enjoyed it. I never focused on what my body could do and achieve, or how it felt, I only focused on how it looked. The consequences: a miserable body and mind.
I am pleased to say that nowadays I accept my body and it’s uniqueness, am proud of any small, positive changes I make, and enjoy discovering new things. I look forward to my journey (which now doesn’t have a finish line) of learning, growing, and becoming stronger and healthier on the way.
I’m often asked about my health and fitness regime, but would never prescribe it to someone else. Whilst we can learn from other people, and educate ourselves with science based information, I would always rather a person figures out what works best, and what is sustainable, for them.
Personally, for my physical, mental and social well-being, I prefer a more balanced way of eating and exercising, with no extremes or restrictions. I like adding more nutritious foods to my day, compared to before when I would focus mainly on what I thought I should cut out, and have found workouts I look forward to doing every single time.
I have found a healthy balance (that works for me) and hope I can inspire you to do the same (with whatever works for you).
Thanks so much for reading, until next time, take care and be kind :) x
(No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health professional.)