I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with being as healthy as possible. Its not easy. I’ve fallen off that path a few times and always struggled to get back on. There are a few strategies that I’ve implemented to help myself do better, so I can feel better.
My parents did a pretty good job of trying to make us eat well when we were young. As we got older, my parents had less and less time, which meant that we had to fend for ourselves. I didn’t eat well, but it didn’t matter. I played tons of soccer and never gained a pound. In college and the beginning of medical school I ate whatever was cheap. Lots of mac n’ cheese. But I worked out, so it was ok. It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I started to gain weight, despite my intense workouts. It was upsetting, to say the least. I struggled with my weight for a while until I did these things:
- I joined weight watchers. Yup, that’s right. I paid $15 for the eTools and recorded what I ate. It was a little time-consuming at first, but it quickly got easier. Now I have a pretty good idea of what foods and what portions my body needs to maintain its weight, so I don’t need to track as regularly (but I always have tracking to fall back on). I can let myself splurge without feeling too guilty, too.
- I drink green smoothies. The more of these I drink, the better I feel. There are enough different things to make them with that it doesn’t get too boring. Pinterest is a great place to find recipes! There are also many awesome smoothie books, like this one and this one. And when I’m too lazy to actually make a green smoothie, I cheat and mix up some not-so-tasty green juice.
- I eat as few carbs as possible. Its difficult. I love all breads and pastas. But they make me feel heavy and bloated. I gain weight faster when I eat them. And they bring out my cellulite. Yeah, gross. I still eat them, but in moderation. And I try to eat mostly whole grains, which keeps me fuller for longer.
- I follow “healthy” blogs. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is always helpful. The bloggers and readers help motivate me to stay on track! Some goodies I’ve found are Gina at Skinnytaste, Megan at Detoxionista, and Julia at Julia’s Healthy Italian.
#2 Exercise… Ugh
I used to be a sports fanatic! Soccer, gymnastics, volleyball, swimming… I played sports every day of the week! But now I’m already starting to feel it. I have knee pain, bone spurs in my feet and pre-arthritic shoulders. I don’t want to push my body anymore, but I do want to be moderately fit and pain-free. So I do this:
- When I moved to Minneapolis, I bought a bunch of gym & studio memberships from Groupon. I was able to try out different workout types to see what I would enjoy. I’ve done some great bootcamp, crossfit, pilates, barre and yoga classes! Switching up workouts every once in a while keeps things interesting!
- As a more permanent solution, I joined a hot yoga studio. I’m in love with this studio and its instructors, and leave every class feeling happier, healthier and more relaxed. I switch off with vinyasa yoga and barre classes, depending on my schedule. Its so important to join a studio that you enjoy going to! I actually look forward to my workout all day, so after 10-12 hours of work I’m still motivated to go workout!
- When I can’t make it to the studio but still need a little physical activity, I roll out my mat on the floor, You Tube “yoga meditation music” get some sun salutations in. Sometimes I’ll even light a nice candle and dim the lights. Fancy, huh?
- A little extra motivation never hurts when it comes to working out. What I mean by that is, well, clothes! I’ve been loving my Lululemon acquisitions. Not only are my outfits now super comfy, they also look pretty darn good!
#3 Stress control 🙁
We all have it. We all have different ways of dealing with it. I haven’t come up with anything that works miracles, but these things help a bit:
- I love the two sayings “keep calm and carry on” and “she took a deep breath, and she let it go.” The first is great for work, the second is what I have at home. They help me. Every person should have a phrase that speaks to them.
- Making plans. I’m a serious planner. I have daily plans and 5-year plans. Seeing what I need to get done makes me feel more in control. And crossing things off of the list feels amazing. Just try to keeps the plans reasonable. Don’t intentionally plan for things you can’t accomplish.
- “Will this matter in 5 years?” Yup, I ask myself that when I get upset about something. Most times, the answer is probably not. So its not worth my thoughts.
- Organize!! Spending time organizing not only decreases my stress level, it also saves me time and money. Things that have the biggest payoff for me? Cleaning out the fridge and pantry. Gah, I so hate doing this. But it helps me see what I have and what I need. It revamps my good eating habits and saves me money. Reconsider email subscriptions. I do this intermittently. I’ve unsubscribed to 100+ different retailers. We get so much junk email! Along the same lines, I periodically clean up my PC, iPad and iPhone. Anything I don’t need is gone. Things that I do need are organized properly so I can find them when I need them.
- Lastly, as I mentioned before, I do yoga with instructors that I’m comfortable with and can relate to. Having someone remind me to do stress-relieving things is irreplaceable. We can’t do everything on our own all the time.
What are your secrets for staying healthy and in control?