Do you ever wonder how so many people make living a healthy lifestyle easy?
If you follow along my Instagram account and stories, it may appear as if I spend the majority of my days working out, going to yoga classes, wandering around NYC, traveling to healthy places, eating home-cooked meals made of mostly veggies, or going to Sweetgreen. What you don’t see are the parts of living a healthy lifestyle that challenge me…
There are nights I want a big juicy cheeseburger with cheddar cheese
There are days I do NOT want to workout
I love full fat cappuccinos and croissants
I love to eat dessert every.single.night.
I crave salty, crunchy chips
There are nights I stay out and have drinks until 4:30 in the morning (not often but it happens)
Then there are mornings I feel hungover
There are moments when I dislike myself
Most days I have to remind myself to indulge in self-care
…and many other things that contribute to what we might consider an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle.
So there you have it. Yes, I am human! And while I can’t speak for everyone else out there, I’m pretty sure they are too.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you we never felt triggered to reach for the bag of chips or we felt great about every decision we made? If adopting this healthy lifestyle just came more naturally.
Sure, but that’s just not reality. We all have challenges. We all have days we feel less than great. We all have things and moments that trigger cravings.
Unfortunately, many of us spend a lot of time worrying about the times we reached for the bag of chips, get down for indulging in that cookie, wish we hadn’t had that extra margarita that led to the late-night pizza, and comparing our lifestyle to others.
But worry is just another trigger. Do you ever notice that if you start to over-worry about weight, working out, being successful at work, or finding the love of your life you stop seeing results entirely? It’s a totally vicious cycle that adds a whole other obstacle to achieving our goals and making good choices.
While living well and making healthy choices don’t always come easily for me, along the way, I’ve learned how to embrace and practice a healthy lifestyle that works for me. I noticed which actions led me to make better choices for my mind and my body without even thinking about it. It’s all about adjusting your mindset and reshaping your habits to align with your goals.
Once you get there, you’ll notice you start craving the greens on the menu rather than feeling like you ‘should’.
I’ll tell you though, finding a balance of health that works for you and your body is a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight, at least it didn’t for me, so if you don’t feel a result immediately, don’t get down on yourself. Beating ourselves up is the #1 way to abolish any progress we’ve made.
One of the most important things that I’ve learned over time is that health is an inside job. I could eat loads of smoothies, buckets of massaged kale, and eliminate carbs as much as I want, but if I’m not passionate, energetic, inspired, engaging in the things I love, and spending time around the people who uplift me, I’ll never be satisfied or find true health.
Adopting this mindset has allowed me to feel more confident and balanced in embracing what health means for me, and for me it’s not day-to-day choices it’s an overarching lifestyle choice that enables me to feel successful, energetic, motivated, and empowered every day, which makes pizza nights and wine readily available.
Here are a few of the things that I’ve learned and done to adopt the healthy lifestyle I love
Understand Your Purpose
Why do you want this lifestyle? Do you want it to fit in with others and the diet trends that are all over magazines? Do you want it to lose weight? Or do you want it to gain energy and confidence so you can kick life’s ass?
Whatever your purpose may be is personal, but if you make your purpose something greater than yourself that you connect with on a deeper level, you’ll be more likely to see results.
Identifying this purpose and even writing it down will encourage you to make healthier choices because it’s helping you not because it’s the only way to avoid guilt.
Eat Whole Nutrient Dense Food
It may seem simple, but health itself is really that simple.
I’ve talked about this on my blog and Instagram a few times, but food can majorly affect how we think, act, and feel. At the end of the day we manage our own control center. You’re going to get out what you put in.
I know that when I eliminate toxins, eat mostly lean protein, vegetables, plants, healthy fats, and a little bit of grains I feel great. Once I start on this path, I’m less likely to choose foods that don’t align with this structure and more that help me achieve my goals.
Change Your Cravings
Yep, it’s possible. You’re not a sugar addict for life I promise.
Once you start removing processed foods, sugar, and other foods that trigger you (chips, ice cream, etc.) you’ll notice that you don’t even want them anymore.
I know, hard to believe, right!?
Instead of focusing so deeply on removing foods and using the ‘I can’t have that’ mindset, think about all of the great things you can add in.
For me I love sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, organic veggie burgers, avocados, lots of dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, low sugar Eating Evolved Coconut Butter Cups, dates stuffed with almond or peanut butter, rich and creamy smoothies, and roast chicken. It might seem crazy, but some of these things start to feel like indulgences. I know it can be hard to stay healthy when you’re busy and on the go, but a little preparation and purpose goes a long way.
As you make vegetables the main part of your meal paired with great lean protein and healthy fats, you’ll notice that your satiated with much less.
Start Small: Make One Healthy Choice a Day
Health doesn’t happen overnight, take small steps to make great change.
You could try taking a post dinner walk around the block that you or substituting your dessert of a packaged cookie for a piece of high quality dark chocolate or a date filled with peanut butter or one of these Chloe’s fruit bars. These things may seem small, but they will make a huge difference.
Keep it simple to start. Don’t entirely skip dessert when you’re used to having it every night or try to become a vegan when you have meat three times a day. Radical changes typically aren’t sustainable in life or health because they feel like we’re being deprived. When this happens, we tend to give up and lose sight of our purpose.
From a simple walk to high intensity, it doesn’t matter what you do, just MOVE. Movement is so beneficial for your overall health and longevity.
Personally, love exercise, it lifts me up and I have a lot of energy for it, so I work out about 5-6 days a week including yoga, soul cycle, walking, running, pilates. I try to mix high intensity, cardio, and strength for balance. When I feel like I need a break or I’m really tired, I take it.
Moderation + Consistency are Key
Do you ever wonder why crash diets don’t work? Or why you can’t stick with a crazy intense 7 day per week workout plan? Well, it’s simply not sustainable.
Whatever you choose to do, understand that good things take time and slow progress means long-lasting results. When you take things in moderation, you’ll find the delicate balance that works for you and your body. You’ll also give yourself space to truly tune in with your body. When it talks, take a listen, it will tell you what it needs.
If you’re training your body, you’ll also need to be consistent. For me, having meals and foods that I eat consistently and making exercise a priority many days make having a healthy lifestyle that much easier. This consistency creates habit, which enables me to make better decisions more often.
Do What You Love & Have some Freaking Fun!
What’s the point in any of this if we’re not having fun!?
Having fun with people we love is one of the fastest way to good health. I mean, does anything feel better than a good whole belly laugh?
I used to sacrifice things in order to feel ‘healthy’ and sometimes I would feel guilty doing fun things, but I’ve eliminated that feeling for things that I really want to do and to be with people who matter.
Sometimes that thought still pops into my mind, but I take a step back, assess the situation and reposition the thoughts in my mind.
One of the most important things I’ve realized is that in my life people matter more than anything and they will always be priority.
I mentioned this briefly a few points up, but your body is constantly talking to you, okay sometimes it’s screaming at you. When you have a headache, a joint pain, anger, sadness, happiness, your body is giving you signs and sometimes warning signs of what it needs and wants.
I used to push myself past my body’s limits in an attempt to be ‘healthy’. My lunches lacked nutrient dense food, and then I would make myself wait until 5pm when I would then have a Kind bar or a small handful of nuts. At this point, I was feeling slightly foggy and out of it, but I didn’t listen to my body, I proceeded without caution. I thought I was creating healthy habits by doing this, but I was actually causing harm to my mind and body. I realized I can eat well AND eat things I love without deprivation of sacrificing flavor.
At this same time, when I first started running, I loved it so much I ran every day. Then my hip started getting killer pains, but I kept pushing. I remember the day it really set-in. I viewed that pain as a sign of weakness and decided to do hills. (Hailey now scolds young Hailey) I was then sidelined for about 9 months.
What are your cues telling you?
Treat your body like you love it, not like you hate it.
Finally, go easy on yourself. YOU are pretty darn great just the way you are. Of course, we all have things we’d like to improve upon, but we’re not going to get anywhere by beating ourselves up. So if there’s one thing you do today…show yourself a little love.
What is one healthy habit you can take to start making your health your lifestyle? Let me know in the comments section below!