When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I think finding balance is the most important thing. And I mean balance in life in general – not just in working out and eating. A healthy lifestyle certainly isn’t equal to fit body. I think it’s more about mental health as well as about feeling happy and energised. However, eating nutritious food and keeping active play a big role in staying happy and energised.
Four years ago I loved going to the gym and eating super healthily. It was the time when “fitness” was on everyones lips. I worked out 5-6 times a week and was very restrictive when it came to food. I thought that carbs were my biggest enemy and the more protein I’d eat, the better results I’d get. The downsides with this lifestyle were, though, that I lost my period, always got a headache after a workout and struggled with constant sugar cravings. And every time I ate “too much” all I could think of was how I should work it all off and eat super healthy the next day. Doesn’t sound too healthy, right?
Today I look back and think what the hell was going on in my mind. Why would I waste my life worrying about every calorie and all the carbs I put in my mouth? And why on earth would I spend hours and hours at the gym every week. Even though some people might enjoy all that “fitness” life and actually get something out of it, I certainly know it’s not for me. For me the healthy lifestyle, today, means a balanced diet, working out because it actually makes me feel good, and me being happy and energised in the every day life.
Food, and carbs, for me aren’t an enemy, they are something I need to fuel my body and brain with. They are something that make me feel good and something I really enjoy without feeling bad about myself. Good kind of carbs give me energy and keep me going. Protein isn’t something I need to stuff myself with, it’s just a part of the meals to fuel my muscles. And fats are there to give me energy, fuel my brain and make everything taste a bit better.
However, I think that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is very a important part of a healthy lifestyle. For me, a balanced diet is 80 percent of eating healthy, nutritious and tasty food, and about 20 percent of eating whatever I want. So basically, its about finding a balance between strong willpower and self indulgent. But still, even when it comes to the 20 percent, I try to give my body food that won’t harm it. And to be clear, the 80 percent is not there to just stay fit. It’s there to stay healthy, hopefully stay clear of serious illnesses, and live a long, happy life while eating delicious food. It’s awful how so many people eat whatever the heck they want everyday and think it’s not harming them because they aren’t getting fat. But they just might not realise how being skinny fat can be even worse!
The problem with world being more and more health and diet conscious is that, people might forget the basics of a balanced diet. We start to think that if we just stuff ourselves with superfoods, go vegan and eat gluten free, we are fine. Or that changing refined sugar treats to healthy treats means we can eat however much we want to. But at the end of they, your body doesn’t really care about anything else than getting enough clean food. Especially enough food from the earth. In addition, I’ve noticed how big a role my mind works when it comes to food and treats. For example any sugar free challenges don’t really work for me. We just tried to go three weeks without any treats with my little sister, and all I could think of all the time was chocolate.
A healthy lifestyle is also not just about food or about lean muscles and low fat percentage. Working out shouldn’t be a punishment, it should be a privilege. It should be something that makes us feel better and happier and gives us energy. Working out should help us improve our everyday lives: it can make ur postures better, strengthen muscles, improve endurance and have a positive effect on our mental health.
Staying active doesn’t mean that we need to spend hours at the gym. It can be just a 30-minute home exercise or a walk a couple times a week! Remember that even exercising has been made so easy with all the apps out there. What works for me is finding a sport I really enjoy doing – not because of the changes I’ll see in the mirror but because of the changes I’ll feel in my body. For example the reason I love yoga is because I want to get better at it. I want to learn new asanas, get better at the ones I already know and become more flexible. It also helps me relax and improve my concentration.
Also, we all have heard people telling us to listen to our bodies. What I’ve learned during the years, is that my body actually tells me when it’s had enough. It’s more than okay to take days off when you feel like it. Sometimes we even have to remind ourselves to do so, especially if we are doing great with our workouts and aren’t patient enough to rest. The difficult part about listening to our bodies comes when we haven’t been doing any physical exercise in a long time. The thing is that our bodies get used to not doing anything and so do our minds. So when I listen to my body after a long break, it probably tells me to stay lazy. But I know that only way out of this is my willpower to start again.
The truth is, that working out or eating healthy won’t make you a happy person if other aspects of your life aren’t in balance. I think it’s very important to take time for ourselves and for resting. It’s okay to be a workaholic if you can balance it out by taking time off when you need it. One thing we all need to learn is how to say no to things when they are too much. And also, being able to spend time alone. Even though I consider myself as a very social person, I would go crazy if I regularly didn’t have a chance to be by myself. Besides me time, one of my favorite ways to unwind is getting a massage. My parents have a tradition of massaging each other’s shoulders every night. I think that’s a great tradition so I’ve successfully brainwashed my boyfriend to it too.
What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you? And what are your favorite ways to unwind?