How To Practice Healthy Living Everyday
Healthy living is purely a personal journey and the way I look at it is a way of life that enhances all aspects of living including physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, psychological, financial, and social. It's very individualized, unique, and constantly evolving as our needs, priorities, and circumstances change. As a full-time dietitian & someone who runs a side biz - blog & pop-up, I get a lot of question about how do I stay healthy or what diet, exercise do I follow so I thought I'd tackle it as a full blown blog post because healthy living is SO MUCH MORE than just a diet and exercise. And if you've been a regular reader, you know the dieting doesn't exist in my life. I used to think "eating healthy & working out regularly" meant being healthy but over the years, my perspective on healthy living has changed enormously and I wanted to share my experience on healthy living, what it means to me, and how I strive to practice it everyday. WARNING: We are NOT talking about diet or exercise on this post.
If you are thinking of making healthier changes in your life, first and foremost assess what areas are you struggling the most with and are there any aspect (s) of your life you are truly happy with? Healthy living is a not something you achieve on day one; it's a lifestyle and you make small, sustainable changes to continually enhance your health & well-being. For me personally, the hardest thing is to accept the reality on where things are with my life, relationship, health, finances, social life, career etc. It is a lot easier to block things and run away from esp if you don't want to deal with but unless that's sorted out you cannot be in peace mentally, which I think is the most important piece. Work on things “inside - out”!
Forget "all or nothing mentality" when it comes to healthy living. I find that a lot of people have a very rigid + impatient approach esp when it comes to lifestyle changes, more commonly "diet" and "exercise". I am an anti-diet dietitian simply because it is not sustainable long-term and is a chronic cycle that leads to unhealthy relationship with food and body image issues. Rather than cutting out a food group for a certain period of time, or obsessively counting calories in vs calories out, work on building a healthier relationship with eating habits, physical movement, social relationships, sleep, your passion etc to bring true joy into your life.
Make time for self-reflection, pause, and reset. We all live a very fast-paced lifestyle and sometimes we lose track of why we do what we do. With blog, pop-ups and my FT job, sometimes I don’t know what direction my life/career is heading to, which is why I need to constantly check-in with myself and slow-down. It’s not something I enjoy doing but at the end, despite the anxiety, it brings clarity and focus on things I should and shouldn’t do.
So along with some general advice above, I am sharing 5 specific, actionable things I do to practice Healthy Living Everyday:
Let go of all expectations : We are constantly bombarded with messages on what to eat, how much to exercise, when is the right time to get married, how much kids are ideal, what should go into your savings and retirement fund etc etc etc…..There is absolutely nothing wrong on striving for better things in life but the unnecessary pressure and expectations from others adds extra stress, which is no bueno. Everyone has a different journey and what works for one person may or may not work for others and it’s really important to remember that. Ideally, I’d like to meal prep ahead, get my workout done first thing in the morning, and have the house clean at all times but with instead I am learning to be okay if we grab something quick or if the laundry remains unfolded for a day or two. Letting go of expectations is tough but it helps me focused on 1-2 things that are super important and keeps me (and others around me) sane. For example, if saving certain $$ is your goal, look into ways to cut down unnecessary costs to improve financial health or, if your social health is suffering, make time for your friends + families. It’s all about finding what area (s) needs most attention and what can you do to improve within your means.
2. Prioritize Self-Care : I can’t stress this enough —> “Self-Care is a Must” for everyone! It’s not about fancy bath bombs or retail therapy (unless that’s your idea of self-care) instead find something that unwinds and rejuvenates you, something as simple as uninterrupted cup of morning coffee. My everyday self-care is adequate and restful sleep and once I started practicing #1 (see above) more regularly, I was able to prioritize it without feeling guilty. When I religiously practice self-care, it makes me a better person and I am able to channel energy into other areas of my life.
3. Say NO more often : This is still a work in progress for me but I am learning that saying NO isn’t necessarily a bad thing, instead I am actually saying YES to things that matter more. As a newbie blogger, I used to say yes, yes, and yes to whatever came my way but after a while, it was exhausting and I wasn’t enjoying the process, which is why now I do very limited sponsored posts. It’s something I had to learn from doing too many cooking classes and pop-up events that came my way. Don’t hesitate to say NO to relationships that constantly pulls you down, invitations that doesn’t add value to your life, and opportunities you won’t feel proud about later.
5. Don’t blindly follow the internets : These days everyone seems to have an ‘expert’ opinion on all-things-healthy-living and that’s scary to me. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of non-credentialed people on the internet with good intentions and great knowledge wanting to help people reach their health and wellness goals….but if you are concerned about your health or experience signs and symptoms that are not normal - go see a credentialed practitioner and not anecdotal experience. Getting a meal plan and exercise routine is one thing but self-treating your gut problems and intolerances is DANGEROUS! I am intrigued with new trends everyday on healthy living ( I am talking activated charcoal smoothie, healing crystals, golden lattes etc etc) and I am sure there is a place for these things, but I say do some research before you drop serious $$$ and see if it fits your lifestyle.
6. Keep your tribe close : By tribe, I am referring to a group of people sharing ideas+ interests, and working in harmony to bring a sense of community and belonging with each other. Since I spend so much time on blogging world/instagram, I have online tribe and offline tribe (like real life friends) and I really value these relationships. My family and BFFs live all over the world so sometimes it feels a bit isolated but I make the most out of it via phone and texts. A tribe is not just for acceptance and understanding but they push you to be a better you. I don’t know about you guys but making legit friends at this age is hard so, when you find your tribe, keep them close and value the relationship!