The health and fitness movement can be a fickle beast. There are vast quantities of information at every turn about diets, exercise, wellness, relaxation and practically anything else you can think of that fits under the sphere of health. Given this, it is completely understandable that people get caught up in the so-called “rules” of living a healthy life, and revert so easily back to a diet lacking in nutrition, a lacklustre exercise regime and a life time of unhealthy habits.
I get it – being healthy all seems too hard. It certainly appears that way, especially if we believe the hundreds of mixed messages we are fed each and every day from conflicting sources. One website says to eat less carbs and more fats, while your favourite fitness magazine says you need to eat more whole grains and less or no fat. Everyone says not to eat sugar, but that just leads you to feel bad when you eat a piece of your own birthday cake. Talk about confusing!
This is one of the reasons why I initially became interested in health and fitness. I wanted to see for myself which ways of eating worked best for me. I wanted to experiment with different forms of exercise to gauge which ones my body responded best to. Over the last few years, I have homed in on these techniques and refined them to a tee. Due to my experimentation and my constant thirst for knowledge of the best foods, the best ways to move, the best ways to relax, I know how to make my body and mind thrive.
I believe living healthily isn’t a chore and it certainly isn’t hard. You don’t have to have a lot of money to eat well, nor do you have to be a particularly good cook. Exercise needn’t be a chore either. Moving and sweating is an integral human need. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit around 18 hours per day, tapping away on computers and staring at screens. What this doesn’t mean though is that your workouts need to take hours, or that you need to slave away every day on a treadmill to see results. In fact, you probably won’t see results this way and just end up resenting exercise and reverting back to a sedentary lifestyle.
At its core, being healthy is about being a better person. It is about optimising your life so that you get the best out of it. It is about nourishment, strength, stillness and peace. I decided that I wanted to practice what I preach. I wanted to be a living example of what having a healthy body, mind and heart looks like. I wanted to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. To that end, and as you can see through my posts, I believe in the following principles for optimum health:
- Eating real, whole, local, seasonal, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible
- Shopping for local ingredients that are sustainable and support local farmers
- Eating as many vegetables as possible, opting for several serves at each meal, if possible
- Eating wild-caught seafood and limiting meat intake
- Limiting processed and refined sugars
- Eating food for nutrients and nourishment, not to count calories or for a number on a scale
- Cooking meals at home and sharing food with your family and loved ones
- Obtaining nutrients from foods, instead of supplements, protein powders and other quick-fix solutions
- Exercising, or at least moving, on a daily basis
- Forging connections with real people, in real life, not over a computer or phone
- Having treat days and indulging in meals you most enjoy. Everything in moderation.
These principles aren’t complicated. They’re not expensive. Yes, sometimes they can be time consuming (cooking for example, and shopping at the farmers’ market), but essentially they needn’t be. When your mind is open to the idea of eating healthily, your priorities shift. You want to take an extra half an hour to prepare a soup for the week. You want to get up a little earlier to fit in a morning sweat session. You want to switch off your computer a couple of hours before you go to bed at night. Opening up to these small steps then makes way for larger changes – your mind gets clearer, your skin starts to glow and you have more energy to devote to things you have always wanted to do.
Living healthily is about making life better, and constantly improving your state of wellbeing. There is nothing more rewarding than a healthy body, mind and spirit. Keeping these three things nourished is the key to everything else in life. Only good things can come from being healthy and living optimally. Embracing health and wellness is the core foundation we all need to live better lives. So start now, not on Monday, not next week, not next year. Every conscious healthy decision you make brings you closer to your best self. And who doesn’t want that?