We live in a world where people can become obsessed with appearance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look your best whenever possible but when it becomes your primary focus it can lead to actions that may not be the best choice for your overall health.
When you decide to begin your journey to better health and I say decide because becoming your BEST first requires a mental shift, you must consider your desired end goal.
Do you want to reach a certain weight?
Are you wanting to change your body composition (fat loss/more lean muscle)?
Do you want to increase your energy levels and how you feel?
Is it performance based? Do you want to be stronger or faster?
On my personal health journey, I have had all of these as a goal at some point but my goals have shifted over time as I have become more aware of what it truly means to be healthy. True health encompasses the mind, body and spirit!
“Healthy” is a term that is used often and can be misleading especially when it is used to market products that are not truly good for your overall well being.
Having a six pack or wearing a certain size doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the best health. Just as lack of a six pack or having more curves does not mean you aren’t healthy.
Focusing on looks alone is not the best motivator, it took me awhile to grasp this concept. What if you reach your desired look but you are still low on energy or you don’t feel well? What if you don’t reach “the look” you wanted because your genetic make-up will not allow you to, then discouragement sets in and you give up all together.
This is why I choose to focus on how I feel and my overall health not just what I look like in physical terms. You can look absolutely amazing and feel like crap on the inside. This is why I choose to work from the inside out and not the other way around.
After all, good health can bring you good looks but good looks alone will not bring you good health.
Transitioning to better health is truly a journey and will not happen overnight. It has taken years for me to get to where I am now and I still have areas that I need to improve on but I am thankful for how far I have come.
There is so much information out there about being healthy you may be wondering where to start. Below are the five main categories that I focus on to be a better me and few examples of how I apply them in my life.
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind. Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle requires discipline, perseverance, and consistency. You need discipline to do things even when you don’t feel like it, you need perseverance to stick with it when it gets difficult and you need to be consistent enough in your actions to see results. All of this requires a mental shift before you begin your journey.
What we put into our body has a large impact on our health. Paying attention to what we eat can greatly improve how our body functions, which can affect how we feel and ultimately how we look. A few things I do to help improve my nutrition are:
- Cooking at home on a regular basis which helps to control what ingredients are being put into my food.
- I Read food labels and stick to the appropriate serving size.
- I try to plan my meals in advance (still a work in progress).
- I limit sweets and sugary beverages. If I have a craving I buy one serving instead of buying in bulk to limit the amount I consume.
- I try to drink lots of water. I aim for half my body weight in ounces. (some days I hit my goal some days I do not but I always start fresh the next day).
- I avoid fried food and try to eat fruits and veggies daily.
- I listen to my body. If I feel crappy after eating certain foods, I do not eat them!
We were made to move! Don’t confuse physical activity with structured exercise. I am physically active every day but I don’t hit the gym and do a structured workout every single day. It’s important for us to move on a daily basis to keep our body healthy. A few habits that I have developed include:
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Parking further away so I have to walk a little further.
- Taking breaks at the office and go for a walk.
- Exercise at least 3 times a week, even if I can only fit in 30 minutes. If I have less time to workout, then I increase the intensity (how hard I workout) to make up for time.
Chronic stress can take a serious toll on our health. It is so important to manage stress to avoid physical and mental complications. I use to get really anxious and I still do at times but now I know how to recognize it and control my emotions. To control my stress, I have developed the following habits:
- Time management, I prioritize my time and get the important things done first.
- I take mental breaks throughout the day so I avoid getting overwhelmed. I also unplug from social media when needed and I have framed my newsfeed to reflect positivity and inspiration.
- I keep a personal calendar to keep me on track so I do not have to remember everything.
- I avoid toxic relationships. If someone/something brings me more drama or stress than happiness then I have to let it go period!
- Getting enough good quality sleep and resting when my body tells me to.
- I remember to breathe!! Sometimes you just need to slow down and take a few deep breathes, it really does help!
Recognizing Bad Habits
Our daily habits are what frame our lives. You must recognize bad habits and decide to make a change in order to get to where you want to be. When you focus on your overall health all of the physical goals you have will eventually happen if you stick with it!
As Gandhi says…
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Just remember that all the beauty and money in the world mean nothing if you are not healthy enough to enjoy it.
I choose to work from the inside out by making small changes over time so I can be the BEST version of me.
Longevity of life is nothing without quality of life as well.
Find Health in Every Day!