August 8th 2018
A whole new play on the idea of look good, feel good~
Taking the first steps into changing your lifestyle to a healthier one can be incredibly daunting. There is so much information online and in books about what you “should do” and what you “shouldn’t do” with many sources often conflicting each other. This alongside the constant self-inflicted pressure to improve is a large reason that many people tend to shy away from big lifestyle changes and why most New Year’s Resolutions are given up on by February.
So with all of the forces going against the shift to a healthy lifestyle, what is the arguments for the change? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can honestly say that when I am treating my body well and paying regards to my health, I feel better. Not just physically, but mentally.
When I feel I look healthy and I feel strong, I am not only more confident, but also more motivated to continue. However, I didn’t become this way overnight. It took tons of trial and error for me to come to a few very important realizations:
- Change isn’t immediate- Sometimes you will be stuck at a certain weight for weeks, even months no matter how hard you work, until one day you start seeing a change. Just because you don’t do crunches and wake up the next day with abs, doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.
- Every body and everybody is different- I have friends who like to run, a friend who likes to kickbox, and a friend who loves doing weight training. I prefer yoga, pilates, and PiYo, personally. There is not “wrong way” to get in shape. The same goes for diet as well. Some people prefer veganism, other prefer keto, and some just get by on moderation and mindful eating. Don’t try to do what is best for other people’s body, do what is best for yours.
- You don’t need to know everything- I don’t add collagen to things or take obscure supplements I can’t pronounce or add random types of seeds to my oatmeal, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make healthy choices. You don’t need to know everything about the latest in healthy lifestyles to get started! You learn as you go and you take what is important to you and apply it. Don’t feel you’re not allowed to start because you don’t know everything.
- There is a difference between a lifestyle change and dieting- In order to have a healthy body and healthy mind in the long run, you need to make a lifestyle change. You can’t just put yourself on an intense regime until you lose what you wanna lose or achieve what you want to achieve then go back to your old habits. A lifestyle change is a worthwhile commitment and will keep you happier in the long run.
- Don’t jump in with two feet- This one was my biggest issue. I would always jump in with two feet when it came to trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Don’t go from eating pizza and chips and ice cream daily to immediately cutting those things out because that isn’t realistic. Don’t go from never putting on a pair of sneakers in your life to trying to sprint two miles on your first day. That is not how you create a lasting habit. Slowly integrate change and your body will adapt to the new normal in due time.
So how does a healthy lifestyle tie back to mental wellness? Well, there are a lot of ways. You don’t need to be a size 2 in order to feel happy, but no matter your size, you have to admit it feels nice when your clothes fit better. The goal of a healthy lifestyle isn’t to be rail thin or super buff, it is to feel good on the inside and the outside. I feel way more confident when I am toner and my clothes fit me better too.
Another great mental wellness benefit is that a healthy lifestyle gives you more energy. If you are eating healthy, filling, and nutritious food, you will feel so much better and as a result, you will find that you are getting so much more out of life. Since I started working out more, I am more excited to spend time doing physical activities and I am more ready to take on my day.
Lastly, the biggest way a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind is simply through the self-respect that it requires to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Nourishing your body with good foods is one way that you can show yourself some love. Cutting out heavily processed food, taking walks to circulate blood, drinking plenty of water are all forms of self-care and can contribute greatly to a healthier mind.
Work hard, and your body and mind will thank you