You know healthy living is a no-brainer, but you have no idea what that looks like, or how to get started? Read on, my friend. I’ve got you covered.
So, what was it that lead you here?
Was it a diagnosis? A number on the scale? Watching the ramifications of a loved one’s lifelong “health” habits? Maybe you’re just tired of feeling tired, of not having the energy to play with your kids. Whatever your motivation: you are in the right place! Not that your weight is the end-all and be-all of your health, but it is a good indicator of what’s going on inside your body. And eating in a way that nurtures your health will usually get your weight in check as well. Win-win!
Twenty-plus years ago – and every so often between then and now – I’ve been at a place of complete and utter frustration. Not to be a TOTAL cliche, but I gained way more than the “freshman 15” my first year in college and realized I had no idea what healthy living actually looked like.
I tried every diet out there, with only mild success (hint: crazy diets won’t get you the results you’re REALLY looking for).
The more books I read, the more I implemented, the more the weight came off. And when I say I’ve been through all the fads, I’m serious. I’ve counted every calorie, weighed every meal, and counted macros and portions. I have been vegetarian and done the Atkins diet. Low-fat, low-carb, high-fat, & elimination diets. Check, check, and check. ALL. THE. CHECKS.
In addition to trying all the things, I’ve also done this during various stages of my life. I’ve gained and lost weight in my:
- 20s (those college dining halls!)
- early 30s (post-baby)
- late 30s (hormonal shifts are legit, ladies)
The truth is, this is a life-long journey, and staying flexible in your approach to healthy living is important.
The strategies I used at 24 didn’t work as well for me by the time I was 39. We are all unique individuals, and we all need to experiment to find what works for each of us. I won’t tell you exactly what you need to do, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and the strategies that work for me (and I wish I had known 20+ years ago!).
Here is what I’ve learned about embracing health living:
Eat real food
If your food has a health claim, it’s ironically probably not that good for you. Eat foods that resemble how they looked in nature. Limit food that comes in a package, including processed carbs. Skip the bread, pasta, and wraps in exchange for grains. And when you do, make sure you eat the whole kernel. Brown rice, quinoa, even air-popped popcorn are all staples in our house. Also, consider the source and quantity of your protein. If you choose to eat meat, buy organic when you can. If you have the means and ability to buy from a local farmer, even better! And don’t be afraid of soy, but buy non-GMO always.
Stop counting calories
Our bodies are not a closed vacuum of a system where you can apply basic physics lessons to us. Calories in = Calories out is an old, flawed model. It’s much more effective (and healthy) to prioritize lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole kernel grains. Embrace healthy fats and use them daily: Olive and coconut oils are great for dressings and cooking. Avocados are delicious, and avocado oil is a great neutral option.
Watch your language surrounding food
Stop labeling your food “good,” and “bad.” The mindset around food and eating has been one of the biggest transformations I’ve made. Food is information for your body. Food is nourishment. And food is meant to be ENJOYED. Don’t beat yourself up for that brownie sundae. If you took joy in eating it, that’s healthy too.
If these tips resonate with you and you’re excited to learn more, check out my coaching programs here. I love helping people figure out what healthy living means to them!