I take a holistic approach to health, practising mind, body and spirit. I believe in inside and out maintenance; opening your heart to the universe and keeping an optimistic conscious. Out of the many things I take for granted, I refuse to accept my health as one of them. It’s the most dependable and achievable part of life. You can’t immediately make a person love you or instantly gain a career promotion, but you can drink a glass a water and quickly feel healthier.
Regardless of physical ability, I don’t believe health and fitness revolves around abs and definition. I’ll never forget sitting with my friend in a hospital and realising, his operation – the one we both had, went wrong. I had been complaining about the large surgical scar down my back – whinging about the ugliness of it all, not thinking how lucky I was to have received successful treatment.
That moment taught me to embrace myself and not feel afraid to show who I am, in photos and in person.
Lately, I’ve toned up by following a DNA diet plan. And though I eat salads, soups, smoothies and a variety of nutrients, I also eat an alarming amount of bread and wheat – occasionally jumping from toast to pancakes. This I almost get away with; processed sugar and pasta causes major stomach bloat.
Figuring your diet to create a healthy lifestyle, is to me about learning what makes you feel good. Feeling good enough to not feel post-food guilt, or worry about low energy and hunger.
Clarifying that I’m no expert, I recommend eating as much unprocessed food as possible – says the girl with her bread. Baking a chocolate cake for instance, without chemicals, preservatives and various types of sugar. There are countless names to describe the stuff – glucose syrup, high corn syrup, maltodextrin. Often, processed food has around 4 different types of sugar, which typically outweighs the sugar you put in homemade baking.
To make my baking healthier, where possible, I switch to oat flour and maple syrup (in replacement of white sugar), and add walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sometimes oats.
Confession – I’ve never stepped foot in a gym. Well, never trained in one. My excuse has always been my spine and my right shoulder which often dislocates. I contend with running, an exercise machine at home, YouTube, workout DVD’s, resistant bands and some weights. With the amazing variety on YouTube though, I am 100% everyone has at least one type of exercise activity they’d enjoy doing. Because of my surgeries, I suck at pilates (it’s an honest excuse), but love looking like a fool practicing ballet.
Long-term exercise provides countless benefits: Keeping your heart healthy, your mind positive with endorphins being released, and helps maintain flexibility. I do about 30 minutes a day after work, and slowly my body has reaped the benefits.
Last year, I became addicted to credit card spending. It’s taken me forever to finally pay it off. The price for my splurging has equalled me giving away sums of income that could have gone towards a holiday, savings, Christmas and everything else. The goal to simply spend less than you earn seems straight-forward, until a week after pay-day, when you’ve gone overboard and ended up living the next three weeks on a tight budget.
I’ve been there as well. It still amazes me how much pressure Instagram places on us to constantly showcase a new outfit. To try to keep up with the Jones’s. On the road to healthy living, it’s good to be reminded that there’s no shame in cutting back and living more minimally when needed. Because the little things really do add up. Voucher codes, coin jars, sticking to a list of clothing and not buying just because; can all vastly contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Being honest about relationships
The new world of dating is complicated and somewhat depressing. You now have to think about reacting to ghosting; how to prepare when a person suddenly ends contact. You have to debate whether a person is genuine, and worry whether their texting habits demonstrate the right amount of commitment. The simple approach: asking a stranger in person to go out, seems world’s away from society’s new online dating norm.
I feel relationships do contribute to a healthy lifestyle. From the physical (perhaps taking a combined oral contraceptive for protection), to the mental, like not wasting precious moments overreacting to the stages of love.
A healthy lifestyle – Excessive behaviour?
At times it feels your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Treat yourself one too many and its bad news; become overly critical of achieving health and it can begin to dictate your every thought. When I speak to my therapist/mentor/friend – she tells me to make myself become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
To break habits – walk on the different side of the street on your way home, switch up your routine, allow yourself to get in a place that’s difficult and see how you process that. Though I’ve always said to give in to cravings when truly desired, there’s a certain feeling in the ability to say no. It reminds me that I’m in control and can eat what I want without having to react to urgent impulses.
A final point you may want to consider: seeking professional help. Certain addictions and behaviours may best be dealt with advice from professionals, such as Serenity. They can provide a resource to help you overcome troublesome obstacles.
How do you go about living a healthy lifestyle? Do you focus more on diet and fitness, well-being, or try to balance it all?
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