For a lot of people that I talk to, sustaining a healthy lifestyle means controlling, restricting and limiting…….basically all or nothing! Meaning – eating healthy 100% of the time, working out every day, being mindful all the time. So some of them give up right at that thought, and some of them would like to give it a try, but simply don’t understand how such a lifestyle can be sustained when they work full time, have kids, and other engagements. For me personally healthy lifestyle is a journey – life happens, celebrations happen, busy times at work happen. So it is not about missing on the fun times with friends and family, or stressing out even more during busy times…….to me personally it is about figuring out how to maintain a healthy balance, while listening to your body along the way.
As I have said many times, there is no one formula for a healthy lifestyle, just like there is no one healthy diet that fits all. It is about figuring out along the way what works for me and my lifestyle at this moment. It is about being open, trying different things, and along the way figuring out how can I adjust my current life to fit in such a lifestyle. It is also about being honest with myself and figure out what are my priorities! For me healthy lifestyle is as much about healthy nutrition and staying active every day, as it is about giving my body the time to recover and enjoying an unhealthy meal with my friends and family. It is not about limitations, but it is about balance. It is not about control, but it is about acceptance.
For example, a few years ago, no matter how tired I was on the weekends I will wake up early, and push myself to go jogging……because this is what healthy meant to me back then. Meanwhile I have learned to listen to my body. If I have had a busy week with less sleep and a lot of work, then I will give my body the needed rest, sleep in, and do my workout later in the day. So to me a big aspect of a healthy lifestyle is mastering the ability to listen, understand and trust your body and what it needs right in that moment!
I read an extremely valuable advise by Wholesome Stef on her Instagram (@wholesomestef) the other day, and I wanted to share it with you – “CONTROL – we think it’s necessary but more often than not it makes things worse for us. To give you an example: most girls that I coach come to me and say “I need to control and restrict otherwise I would blow up like a balloon.” But, what ends up happening? They “control” one day, two days, maybe a week or two in a row but then something happens that triggers them & the inner demons come out. I like to illustrate it with a mother vs child scenario – when you were a little kid and your mom told you to not do something, what did you do? You went ahead and did it anyways because the pull of the forbidden was exciting. And if she told you to do something, like cleaning your room? You rebelled and refused to do it! I believe that the same goes for our emotionally charged relationship to food – the more we forbid ourselves certain things, the more we crave them and our inner child will rebel against any rules we impose on ourselves…The moral of the story is this: Don’t take control, but learn to live in tune with your body and mind. The more you fight yourself, the harder things get. Try replacing the word control with OWNERSHIP and see how that makes you feel.”
This is such a valuable lesson, that I think each one of us needs to learn and realize along the journey. I get asked a lot how I manage to maintain a healthy lifestyle when I have so much on my plate. And the truth is very simple – the number one thing that works for me is planning. I simply can’t stress enough how important planning and prioritizing are. The day has the same amount of hours for everyone, but I believe that if I am clear on my priorities, then there shouldn’t be a reason why I can’t manage to find time each day for these priorities.
Next week I will share with you different details and aspects of how I go about planning my days, weeks and months, and how it helps me stay on a healthy path! And throughout this month I will share with you many different aspects (from nutrition to working out) of sustaining a healthy lifestyle even when we are leading an extremely busy life……you might be surprised at how easy it can be……
……until then stay healthy
Photo source: © Cécile Gall / cecile-gall-photography.com