I was seventeen years old when I decided to try to become healthy. I hated how controlled I was by my brain and body. I hated how tiny I looked. I could see every rib in my body. But, all I could actually see was the fat on my stomach.That little bit of fat it bothered me so much and still does to this day.
I wasn’t technically anorexic. Anorexia nervosa stems mostly from a fear of being fat and such. (I know there’s a lot more to the condition, but this is just extremely simplified. Here is an article about Anorexia Nervosa from the National Eating Disorders Website. If you’d like to learn more.) I never had those fears.
I suffer from a lot of anxiety that showed itself in nausea and/or suppressed appetite. (I still struggle with these things today.) And, those plus a fast metabolism was really bad for me. I was a mess. I hated my body. I wanted abs. I wanted to be ripped. But, I basically lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit. My hair was so unhealthy it was falling out because it wasn’t getting the proper nutrients. I had a BMI of 16.4. That is pretty underweight, a healthy BMI is 18.5… Yeah, I wasn’t in a good place in any form of those words.
Then, in December of 2016, I decided to become healthy. I set some goals and started to work towards them. I researched health and fitness YouTubers. I learned that you can’t worry about the number on the scale, it’s not really relevant. What matters is how you feel and how your body looks. I learned that you have to change your lifestyle. I tried out many different ways of exercising. I learned a lot. And, I’m no expert, but these are the things that I’ve learned and I’d like to share them with you.
Being healthy is not just going on a diet or trying to exercise more. It is a whole lifestyle. If you want to get healthy and maybe lose some fat, you need to change your lifestyle. Today, I’m going to share some tips with Y’all about how you can transition into a healthier lifestyle.
I believe a healthy lifestyle encompasses both physical and mental health.
Physical health includes your diet – what you put in your body, the products you put on your body, and the physical activities that exercise your muscles.
Mental health encompasses both your outside stimulants and your thoughts. Because, when you think about it, what controls your mind, controls your life.
(Please, take into consideration that I am in no way a doctor or professional in any of these things. I have researched these things a lot and these are my tips from my own life and what I do to be healthy. I can’t guarantee that you will have the same results that I did becuase everyone’s bodies are different.)
Have a Why for Being Healthy
If you have a reason for trying to become healthier, it will be a lot easier to motivate yourself. Do you want to save money by eating more meals at home (which in turn are usually healthier because you know what’s in them.)
Do you want to lose some fat and tone your body? Please, please, please, do not focus on the number on the scale when you’re trying to become healthy. Don’t worry about a goal weight. Focus on how you’re feeling or how your appearance looks overall. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. I personally gained about 15 pounds last year on my journey to become healthy and I look and feel so much better!
Maybe your why is to have a better quality of life. Because being healthy overall leads to a stronger immune system which leads to getting sick less.
Maybe it’s so that you have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids.
You need to figure out why you want to get healthy and then focus on that to motivate yourself.
Let’s start with your Physical Health!
Some people say that ‘diet’ is a four-letter word. While that is true, (I’m pretty sure I can count to four) I don’t think that it should be associated with the negative connotations of a four-letter word. Diet is simply the food that you eat.
I don’t recommend going on a diet so to speak. Because restricting yourself will only make you unhappy and unsatisfied. I would start with looking at your fridge, freezer, and pantry. What processed foods do you consume regularly? Start with eliminating just one or two processed foods at a time and learn how to make them yourself. Maybe you love macaroni and cheese, start with finding a recipe for it and make it yourself. Or, maybe it’s cereal. Find recipes online for healthier versions. I do not recommend taking things out of your diet completely, but I do recommend trying to find healthier alternatives.
Maybe, try making your macaroni and cheese with cauliflower instead of pasta. (Which is honestly amazing and I need to do a recipe on it sometime soon.) Or, switch out your favorite milk chocolate candy bar for a dark chocolate one. Find little things like this that you can switch up to start changing yourself.
Sugar is your enemy. It is not good for you at all. Do your best to eliminate as much unnatural sugar from your diet as you possibly can. Especially, white sugar. It has no health benefits and it gets you addicted to it. It causes diabetes and obesity.
If you want to experiment with different ways of eating, then go for it! Maybe try something like whole 30 diets or paleo or vegan. If you’re really intrigued by a way of eating, try it for a week. Maybe, try going completely vegan for 1 week and see what it’s like. Figure out if it’s something you think you could sustain. Because that’s what’s really important – sustainability of what you’re doing. This is a lifestyle change not a crash diet to lose 10 pounds in a week
Don’t forget to treat yo’ self. Have cheat days every so often, but always go back to normal. Don’t beat yourself in for giving in to temptation. Make getting healthy fun. Start with really simple recipes and trying to eat the healthiest option when you’re out. Maybe go for grilled chicken instead of fried. Or broccoli instead of French Fries. Try switching out your sugar filled coffee creamer for nut milk – I love almond milk and coconut milk in my coffee.
Water, water, water. Drink lots of water! It will fill you up, help your skin get clearer, hydrates your body, helps your organs function properly, and more. I love fruit infused water for when I’m bored with plain water (which for some reason actually doesn’t happen to me that often…) Lemon water is absolutely incredible for you as well. Or, if you love soda, try switching it up for seltzer water to get the bubbles without the sugar and chemicals.
Let’s start with a fact, ‘I hate running.’ I can’t seem to keep up with it for more than half a mile and I don’t find it enjoyable. But, that’s okay, there are so many other types of exercising that I can do. I want you to figure out what type of exercise you hate and forget about it for now. I’m sure there’s something else that you love doing that you can also use as a form of exercise.
Do you love walking? Biking? Plyometrics? HIIT? Weight Lifting? Running? Climbing Stairs? Dancing? Boxing? Or something else? I love these except for running and climbing stairs. The fun part of this is that I can choose what workout I want to do based on my mood.
I love weightlifting because it makes me feel really strong and I can see the results from it after not a lot of time. I love plyometrics because I can see what my body can do with its own weight. I love dancing because I am a VERY hyper person. I can’t sit still ever. I am literally voluntarily shaking my legs up and down as I type this. I love jumping around to music. I love boxing because to a degree, it combines plyometrics with dancing. Biking and walking are my preferred forms of cardio and I try to do them a few times a week.
The trick is finding out what type of exercising you actually enjoy. I HIGHLY recommend using YouTube to try different ways of working out. For one, it’s FREE (cause your girl, is broke.) Two, the people are really down to earth and usually post more than just workouts so you can get to know them on a personal level. Three, you can do them alone in the comfort of your own home. What’s not to love about YouTube?
And, when you figure out what type of exercising you love, don’t be afraid to mix it up every so often. Try something different and just have fun!
Whenever I’m exercising I must have 2 things – water and good music. Without upbeat music, I cannot exercise. It’s just boring. I’m unmotivated and get distracted really easily. I am totally obsessed with a HUGE variety of music. Right now, I listen to rock music when I’m exercising. (Should I do a workout playlist on Spotify for Y’all?)
Stretch, stretch, stretch. I started regularly stretching last year and it has changed my life! I’ve become more flexible and it’s amazing! It also helps you recover from your workouts quicker and keeps you from being as sore.
I am a HUGE advocate for mental health. I firmly believe that if you focus on your diet and exercise regularly, you can decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. I am living proof that exercise decreases anxiety symptoms.
To be healthy mentally, you have to focus on yourself. Take time every day to do something for yourself that makes you happy. Whether it’s going on a run, reading a novel, watching a YouTube video, or baking a cake. It doesn’t matter what it is, just remember, you can’t pour from an empty tank. If you want to help others with their mental and physical health, you have to be focusing on your own mental and physical health.
Cut out, toxic people. They’re not really your friends and they only drag you down. This includes toxic people you follow online. If they don’t motivate you and encourage you, then why are you following them?
Focus on the positive side of things. I know how hard it is to look for the good in everything, at least, you’re still alive. You have the ability to educate yourself. You have access to the internet. You learned a lesson. I don’t know your personal situation, but I know that you can find something good in any bad situation, I challenge you to find it!
If your mental struggles are triggered by things, try to figure out what they are and then understand why they trigger you. I have slight emetophobia (fear of vomiting) I can’t talk about vomiting, be around people who are vomiting, and other things related to that. I’ve figured out that it’s stemmed from several things that I really don’t want to get into here. I’ve also developed some, claustrophobia (fear of being trapped) I hate elevators and small rooms and crowds and such. I have a degree of agoraphobia (fear of places that cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment) that has developed from years of anxiety attacks and panic attacks and becoming afraid of them happening again. And, there’s a lot of other smaller triggers that have developed from these phobias that I won’t delve into here. But, once you know what your triggers are, you can start to understand why they trigger you. And then, you can learn how to cope with it better and hopefully overcome it someday.
Plan out everything. If you’re like me, you get really stressed by the unknown and spontaneity. Take the time every day or week to sit down with your planner and write down everything you have coming up. It will give you so much peace of mind.
Write everything down. I have a REALLY bad short-term memory. And, it’s kind of a joke now. I have to take the time to write things down or I will just forget it. Take the time every so often to brain dump into a notebook. You will thank yourself later because you won’t be thinking about it constantly.
Find a stress relieving hobby that doesn’t involve the internet, your phone, or the T.V. draw, do calligraphy, paint, read a book, write a novel, have it be something that helps you get your mind off of stressors, but it’s also productive. I love to do art when I’m stressed, whether that’s drawing, painting, calligraphy, or writing. It helps me so much.
I would also recommend finding a way of journaling that works for you. Whether that’s writing down your thoughts, your fears, hopes, and dreams, or recording yourself talking about them, or expressing them through art. This helps get them out of your head and keeps you from dwelling on them constantly.
And, those are all of my tips for today!
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle? Comment below, let’s all encourage each other to overcome the things that are holding us back.
What tip out of these are you going to implement today?
Thanks for reading this!
Soli Deo Gloria,
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