What Trying to Be Really Healthy For 30 Days Taught Me

POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

If I had to decide right now whether I was a healthy person or not, I'd take my pen and circle the word healthy. I work out, I scrutinize everything I buy in the market, and I elect to remain calm when I'm overwhelmed . . . even when what I want to do is scream. But when I was tasked to spend the first 30 days of 2017 really being healthy, I blinked. Aren't I already?

Being healthy is subjective, sure, but it's something I can half do. Meaning, I can commit to being healthy when it's convenient and decide not to be when I just want to scarf down a burger loaded with cheese and bacon (no bun, because: healthy). But I don't want to be a half-healthy person. So after considering what spending 30 days being truly healthy might entail, I nodded. I was game.

Follow me to see what I learned after spending an entire month fully committing to a balanced lifestyle. Through yoga, meditation, and clean eating, I learned three key takeaways that made the experience worth trying.

01
Planning the week ahead every Sunday made it manageable
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

Planning the week ahead every Sunday made it manageable

Ordinarily I don't put structured thought into the hows and whens of my workouts. When I'm lucky, I plan, otherwise, I just find time to squeeze something in. But that results in a lot of half-assed late-night runs. I knew I needed to try a new approach. For this experiment, at the end of every weekend, I spent 10 minutes mapping out my upcoming week. I figured out which days would be my rest days and what workout I'd do when. This alleviated a lot of the usual planning concern I experience when trying to solve this same day, and it also helped me pack for work, as I often went to meditation or class immediately after.

Tip: Regardless of your wellness goals, use Sunday to think about the next 7 days ahead.

02
Trying something new kept it fun
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

Trying something new kept it fun

I work out regularly. Usually five to six days a week, I run, Spin, or take boot camp classes. But I NEVER do yoga. I knew that if I really wanted to create something balanced, I’d have to find a way to integrate yoga techniques into my routine. All healthy workout routines require yin and yang; muscle strengthening and stretching.

If I couldn't get to a class, I'd tell myself that I could cut a run short if I promised to come back and do 10 minutes of yoga stretches. And if I didn't want to do yoga because I was sore, I'd switch things up and practice mindfulness. By closing my eyes and turning my awareness to myself, I was able to calm my mind and focus on my 30-day goal.

The idea was that I was not only focusing on fitness but on my wellness as a whole. By having new activities like yoga and mindfulness to practice, I stayed on my toes.

Tip: We know January is a busy month, so don't worry about the number of days you work out. Just challenge yourself to try something new.

03
Making it easy to eat well was critical
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

Making it easy to eat well was critical

I decided that in order to ensure I ate clean, I'd kick-start this adventure by signing up for a no-hassle meal-delivery service. I spent the first week relying on a program that would send me low-carb, high-protein meals then spent the remaining weeks mirroring those dishes. This helped me visualize proportions and come up with creative dinners that would keep me on track so that I didn't overload my plate.

Tip: Food-delivery services aren't a must. Just put in some careful thought about what you're purchasing at the grocery store.

What I learned

Committing to a balanced lifestyle required a lot of focus. And it wasn't something I could just do all at once, either. But by breaking everything up into a small area of focus — fitness, mindfulness, and clean eating — everything felt more manageable.

More From Macerich
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

More From Macerich

Macerich caters to you, the #ModernMuse. With over 45 locations nationwide, its malls offer a premier shopping experience and are home to your favorite stores, making it a must-shop to kick-start your 2017 goals. Nothing is more motivating than a new workout outfit, right? Or how about beautiful kitchenware to prepare and eat those healthy meals? Find a location near you.