Healthiness isn’t about achieving ripe avocado status 24/7.
You don’t need to drink celery juice every morning, eat bland chicken and rice every meal, or workout until your eyeballs pop out.
It’s not all in or all out.
It’s about achieving a balanced lifestyle you can maintain and thrive off of.
But because everyone manages different lifestyles, that balance is going to be different for everyone.
You might be able to fit in 6 workouts a week, but the next person might only be able to fit in 3. Neither is more “healthy” than the other because they’re exactly what works best for them.
While well-being is individualistic, there are five basic steps you can implement to make your way to a healthy lifestyle. This way you don’t have to be busting your healthy butt all the time– only to guiltily give in to a hamburger, fries, and chocolate milkshake combo, only to then try to work off those extra 3,000 calories in a brutal 3-hour workout.
Use these steps to lay the foundation for your health success.
1. Start Small
Goals need to be achievable. Otherwise, what’s the point of setting them?
The “lose 10lbs in a week because I’m suddenly a week away from my beach vacation” goal isn’t realistic. And most of the time it doesn’t work, only leaving you disappointed, defeated, and tired of trying.
Extremism isn’t healthy.
Instead, try setting a goal like lose 10lbs in 2 months, or drink an extra glass of water a day, or add a different healthy food to your diet every week.
The more realistic your goal, the more achievable it is. Start small. Build up. And slowly make your way to healthy town.
Ask if your goal is maintainable. Can you continue to implement these healthy practices without burning out and giving in? We all know chocolate milkshakes and French fries are master persuaders, especially when we’re hangry. Don’t underestimate their power during times of weakness.
2. Fats are Friends
Let me clarify. Fats are one of your BEST friends.
Even though avocadoes are considered God’s greatest work, the fear of becoming overweight from eating fatty foods still wreaks havoc.
Fat doesn’t make you fat.
But it makes sense. Non-fat labels are extremely appealing. However, many non-fat products can actually be worse for you. These products are not whole foods, which means they’re extremely processed and loaded with chemicals.
Stick with fat. They’re the good guys. Okay, there is an exception. Trans fats are bad.
However, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and a few saturated fats are important to your wellbeing. Not only do they promote brain health, but they’re essential to weight loss by absorbing micronutrients and producing necessary hormones.
This doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat peanut butter and chicken nuggets every day. It just means kill the fear. Because it doesn’t exist! Incorporate a healthy daily dose of either nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish.
Let’s get fatty!
3. Prioritize Gut Health
Believe it or not, your gut has an extremely impactful role in the health of your entire body.
It’s where millions and billions of bacteria, fungi, and microbes are stored to work very hard at maintaining harmony in your digestive system.
When there’s an imbalance, immune system, heart, brain, and of course, digestion problems can arise. Some have linked eczema, acne, fatigue, and even depression to gut issues.
It’s basically a giant poop city dedicated to keeping your body healthy. So think twice about poop jokes. This is serious business.
Some good ways to manage your gut is to make sure you have enough probiotics (good bacteria) and prebiotics (fiber) in your diet.
You can supplementally take probiotics or eat them through fermented foods and yogurt. And fiber is easy to consume through chia seeds, beans, or whole grains.
Cheers to healthy guts!
4. Get Those ZZZZZs
Sleep is often the first to be neglected as life gets busier and busier– one all-nighter here, one 4-hour sleep there. However, lack of sleep can do a number on your hormones, focus, and risk for disease.
The amount of sleep everyone needs is different upon the person as some can get by without much, whereas others need 10+ hours.
On average, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. It’s essential to muscle recovery, the repair of damaged blood vessels, and you being a nice person for the day.
If you have trouble sleeping, (who doesn’t these days), maybe try reading before bed instead of looking at a screen, or taking an Epsom salt bath. Wind down with dim lights and candles and focus on all things de-stressing.
And as you pour your 4th cup of afternoon coffee, maybe take a catnap instead.
5. Strive For Balance
Finding any sort of harmony is not easy. We’re constantly having to adjust to new life challenges.
However, when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, it can help to find the balance being high-strung and relaxed, meaning you won’t kill yourself over a hamburger and fries. But you won’t eat them every day either.
Some people find using a cheat meal helps to keep themselves in check, but some prefer a little more freedom.
At the end of the day, it’s important to pay attention to your body. If you need a rest day and haven’t had one in a while, take a rest day. If you’re craving junk food, eat a small treat or another healthy alternative.
Remember the more restrictive your diet, the more likely you’ll hangrily binge on the giant bag of Cheetohs.
One day at a time, by slowly implementing each step into your life, you could soon be a health guru.
Start small and strive for balance. Don’t be afraid of fats, take care of your gut, and get your sleep! Your body will thank you.
At the end of the day, being healthy is up to you, your goals, and what your current way of life can offer. Make it maintainable.
Living healthy should be a lifestyle, not a phase. Two days of eating kale won’t do you any good overall, just like eating crappy food for just two days isn’t going to ruin your progress.
You’re not all in, and you’re not all out. You’re right where works best for you.
Let’s get healthy!