When I first started my health and fitness journey, I had no idea what I was doing.
I’d go to the gym for 2+ hours, sometimes twice a day. I’d hit up Starbucks after for a venti vanilla latte with an extra shot, a lemon loaf, and call it breakfast. Lunch would consist of a granola bar or a “healthy” smoothie, but we all know that the majority of “healthy” smoothies aren’t always that.
Fitness seemed like a job back then, and throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot about health, wellness, and how to be fit.
One lesson, in particular, is your health and fitness journey never ends. It’s an ongoing journey that will have bumps and turns all throughout your life, so it’s important to create a few healthy habits and stick to them so if you ever do get off track, you can easily jump back on because you already know what you’re doing.
With that being said, here are a few of my non-negotiables.
Prioritize movement and exercise.
A lot of people say they want to be healthy and fit, but they never stick to their goals. Why? Because it’s not a priority.
You have time to watch TV, but you don’t have time to exercise. You have time to see your friends, but you don’t have time to book a class or do a quick at-home workout. You have time to go out and drink, but you’re incapable of getting up to go to the gym before work.
Why? Because it’s not a priority. If you make fitness a priority in your life, you won’t have any excuses not to go, and the more you do it, the less you’ll even want to skip because, little by little, you start seeing what you’re capable of.
I go to the gym every morning 5–6x a week because I made it a priority, and now it’s become a habit. I do it for a variety of reasons, health reasons (obviously), aesthetic purposes (duh), but most importantly? I want to feel good and strong.
It’s also a pretty good form of therapy.
When it comes to eating — think 80/20.
Balance is key. Too much of a good thing can be bad too, so if you think being healthy is all about eating a salad 3x a day, you couldn’t be more wrong.
I did the whole “egg whites and oats for breakfast, protein shake for lunch, broccoli and chicken for dinner,” and I was miserable and hungry all the damn time.
I was also frustrated because whenever my boyfriend would bring up going out to eat, I’d have to find places that would accommodate my diet. Not only is it mentally exhausting, but it’s frustrating.
You feel like you can’t live and enjoy your life, which is why you have to understand that balance is the key to everything. It’s the only sustainable way to live.
I try my absolute best to eat clean, healthy, and wholesome throughout the week. If we go out on a random Wednesday, I enjoy myself. I don’t binge; I don’t go crazy; I simply enjoy myself and make healthy and conscious food choices.
Being healthy does not mean you should restrict yourself and omit the pleasantries of life. Being healthy simply means being conscious and taking care of yourself.
Sometimes taking care of yourself is a cocktail. Other times, it’s a green juice.
Pee clear 3–5x a day.
Drinking enough water daily is important for a variety of reasons:
- Regulate body temperature
- Keep joints lubricated
- Prevent infections
- Deliver nutrients to cells
- Keep organs functioning properly
Overall, being hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. Everybody recommends drinking a different amount, and all have their own scientific backing to it.
I like to utilize my pee color to identify whether I’m hydrated or not. I find it the most simple and accurate because it’s my body telling me whether it’s hydrated or not.
You can’t function at your highest levels unless you get good quality deep sleep. Bad sleep is also linked to weight gain as well as several other health problems.
I’ve started tracking my sleep cycles, and I notice a huge difference in my overall attitude, productivity levels, appetite, and even appearance because poor sleep is also linked to inflammation and issues within your digestive tract.
Poor quality sleep affects everything, so prioritize it. Try to go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, and ensure the environment you’re in is set up for optimal sleep quality.
I avoid screens or use my blue light blockers, I limit my alcohol intake throughout the week because alcohol affects your sleep cycles, and I make sure my room is dark and cold.
Do regular check-ins with yourself.
I used to get so caught up in fitness and health because of what I saw on social media.
I went through phases where I weighed significantly less than I do now, but I disliked how I looked, yet knowing the number on the scale was similar to the girls I saw on social media made me feel like it was worth it.
Instead of putting all of your focus on what others are saying about how you should look/feel, do regular check-ins with yourself. I ask myself the following questions to gauge whether what I’m doing is working for me.
“Do I feel good in my body?”
Do I like the way I look? Do I feel beautiful? Am I proud of all the hard work I’ve been putting in? Am I able to do everything I do on a daily basis with ease? Does my body feel strong and powerful?
If the answer is yes, then I keep doing what I’m doing. If the answer is no, I take a step back and try to identify what the issue is.
“Do I feel sluggish?”
Do I feel lazy? Does my body feel like it hasn’t seen a single vegetable in days? Am I overly tired? Has my sleep quality declined? Am I drinking too much?
Look at your food first, then evaluate your activity levels; maybe you’re overly-trained, maybe you’re not moving your body enough which could also result in you feeling tired and sluggish.
“Is the food I’m eating helping me feel energized and happy throughout the day, or is it making me feel depleted and stuffed?”
I try to maintain a very balanced lifestyle. 80/20 is my answer to food, as well as everything else.
There’s nothing wrong with eating pizza and cookies, but take a step back and ask yourself, is what you’re consuming on a daily/weekly basis setting you up to be your best and most optimal self?
“What does my skin say?”
In my experience, when I’m hydrated, eating the right food, and my stress levels are low, my skin looks fantastic.
According to an ancient Ayurvedic technique called face mapping, the location of your acne can give you insight into what’s happening inside your body.
For instance, if you’re constantly breaking out on your jawline, it’s usually hormone-related. Blemishes on your cheeks might mean you’re consuming too much sugar. Pimples on your forehead are linked to digestive issues.
Everybody is individual, but face mapping can be a great tool to utilize to see what’s going on in your body and what you can try to change if changes need to be made.
Whenever my face looks like crap, I know it’s either stress-related (it’s usually on my jawline) or because I’m not drinking enough water. As you get more in-tune with your own body, the answers to these questions will come easily to you, you just need to check in with yourself more often.
Here are 5 things you can start incorporating into your life to be healthy.
- Prioritize fitness. Include a workout before or after work a few times a week. You’re not going to see any results or reap any of the benefits until it becomes a habit.
- Think 80/20 when it comes to food.
- Pee clear 3–5x a day, depending on how much you pee in general.
- Prioritize your sleep.
- Do regular check-ins with yourself. Not Instagram.
Starting a healthy lifestyle is hard, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Eventually, it’ll feel like second nature.
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