A big takeaway from a journey to recover from an eating disorder is realizing AND believing there is no magic and no one-size-fits-all to lifelong sustainable health and fitness. I will sing the praises of a gluten-free plant-based diet and yoga to anyone that will listen. I will swear to the benefits and how good those choices will make you feel. My husband would disagree, and I bet some of you would too. Right?
When it comes down to it, you have to find what you love and what works for you where you are in life right now. Maybe your body is much happier and performs better with animal protein. There's a good chance your body is fine with gluten. Maybe you prefer a CrossFit gym over a yoga studio.
With that said, I do believe there are universal truths to health and fitness. No matter what your fitness preference is or your nutrition philosophy, there are some things that I think we can all agree will lead to living a healthy and happy life:
- Be mindful of your time so you don't spread yourself too thin. It's OK to say no.
- Get enough sleep. When you're not getting enough sleep, it affects everything, from mood and productivity and even your waistline. Have you ever noticed being more likely to snack mindlessly when you're tired? Or is that just me?
- Be forgiving of yourself. Don't beat yourself up for the workout that didn't happen, the sweet treat you ate, or the dishes that were left unwashed. Forgive yourself for past choices that you've labeled "bad." They don't define who you are.
- Make your health a priority. Make time to workout, plan a menu and meal prep, and de-stress with a little me time. It's OK to sometimes put your needs above the needs of others. You certainly deserve it.
- Be mindful of mindless eating. Instead of losing yourself in a bag of your favorite snack, ask yourself what's going on emotionally and deal with those emotions first. And then see if you truly want that snack.
- More fruit and vegetables in your diet are always a good thing.
- Move every day. Even if it's just 10 minutes, that time will make a difference in your physical and mental health and how you feel. Find ways of being active that you enjoy and you're more likely to make active living a permanent part of everyday life.
- Spend time with the people you love. Give them your undivided attention.
- Eat clean whole foods instead of processed foods.
- Make time every day for things that calm your mind. Give yourself the gift of inner peace.
- Give back. Kindness and helping others make a huge impact on other people's lives, and it becomes a source of happiness and fulfillment for you.
- Be wholeheartedly grateful every day. Not passive gratitude. Make it an intentional thought every day.
- Find what works to manage your stress. Stress has far-reaching effects on our health and happiness. Even more than people realize.
- Know that you're the expert of you. Listen to your body, and you'll know exactly what you need.
Try these tips. One, two, or all of them, and you'll notice a change in your outlook on life and how you look and feel.
Who knows? 2016 just may be your healthiest and happiest year ever!