Somebody mentioned to me that I haven’t been writing here much lately. I was so happy somebody noticed! haha. I have wondered if I had anything new to say. There is so much content out there about health and wellness. Then, that same person asked my what drove me to want to have this blog, care about health and my biggest tips. I’m so glad they asked!
I talk about health a lot. I mean a lot. I write about it, read about it and encourage healthy habits. Of course, not everyone wants to hear this all the time, or read about it or have me encourage them. For example, my boys would rather clean their toilets than listen to me give them advice on being healthy. I get that. But I keep trying. I don’t want to sound preachy and I know I do not have all the answers. I also know that I am just like everyone else out there and do not always make the healthiest choices. But I keep trying.
Everyone has a story and my story has a lot to do with health, or at least the health of those around me. I grew up in a very close knit family of four. Imagine lots of forced family fun, dinners, trips. My father, my mother, my brother and me. My father had several health issues that really affected his quality of life, as did my mother. They both died fairly recently, before their time, and missed out on so much of life while here due to health issues. My brother also died far too young. While he was one of the absolute greatest people I know, and a rock and role model in so many ways, and was really good at taking care of anything and anyone, he was not the best at taking care of himself. These three losses make up my story and who I am and why I am the way I am. I think my story drives my desire to want folks to be their healthiest.
Being healthy isn’t just about the exercise. It is so much more. What does being healthy mean to you? I have spent years teaching exercise and fitness classes. I recently received a certification in holistic nutrition. One of the biggest takeaways I have from all this time teaching, reading, learning and experiencing, is that our health is much more than our physical body. Health is all encompassing. It involves well being in all areas: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. It is basically how we live in all areas of our life.
There’s so much information out there that it can seem really overwhelming. However, it does not have to be complicated. Let’s look at each of the three main areas and see how simple it really is
The Food Part
If you have spent any time on this site you know that I do believe in a well rounded way of eating, whole, natural foods. The 80/20 Rule works for me. I happen to be one of those folks that, while enjoy eating healthy, likes to eat. I like food and find it pretty necessary. I generally enjoy the planning, prepping, preparing, serving and often the celebration that food brings. I eat intuitively and it has worked for me.
I used to not have such a healthy relationship with food. I used to think that some foods were bad and would beat myself up for enjoying certain things. I finally realized that being super strict and avoiding food and situations where food was served was not a healthy way to live. Now I am happy to eat whole, nutritious foods 80% of the time and enjoy those maybe not so healthy treats or beverages 20% of the time. It is really nice to enjoy something and not be plagued by guilt!
The problem with the whole health area is that every week there is a new diet introduced that is supposed to be the best. It is the solution. I think that is a huge problem. There is no perfect way of eating that is a blanket solution for every person. There are all these “experts” out there telling us how to eat, what to eat and what not to eat. No wonder folks get so confused, overwhelmed and then just give up. Trying each and every fad diet that comes across the TV, magazines and books does not work for me. Yes, I have spent some time as a vegetarian, I have done that Fat Flush diet, considered a vegan lifestyle, and have followed Dr. Oz’s 10 Day plan. I am no better than anyone else out there! Thank heavens I have settled on finding my own way of eating that works for me to feel my best, my strongest and most energized. I just want folks to find their own healthy way of eating and living and embrace it!
The Exercise Part
I have always been one of those people that loves to move. I began running in high school just for the fun of it. My small high school did not have a track team or cross country team. So I would put my walkman headphones (remember the walkman?) in my ears and head out on the sidewalk down Tallahassee Street.
I know this is not for everyone. In fact, no one in my family had the exercise bug. My father was really disciplined and would walk every day after work to help with his high cholesterol and after his first heart attack to keep healthy. I remember coming home from college and going to run at the local track and meeting my dad there while he walked the track. On the other hand, my mother and brother avoided any form of scheduled exercise much like the plague.
As I’ve gotten older I have finally learned to listen to my body. While I have always loved to work out, at times it was not done with true health in mind. It might be as punishment for eating something “bad”, it might be to try to look a certain way and it might be while suffering injury, and not being smart enough to respect my body enough to allow it to rest.
I cannot exercise the same way I did in my 20’s. I also realize that I cannot work out the same way as other people. I have had some injuries, some tweaks, some aches and pains now that I have to listen to in order to continue to keep moving for the next 20 years. The exercise part of health is different for every person. We do not need to compare ourselves to each other or even our younger selves.
The beautiful thing is that we can continue to grow, evolve and try new things. As we get a little older, enter different seasons in life, have more time or less time, more life demands or less life demands, our exercises and exercise routines can change.
The life part
We have looked at the food part and the exercise part of health. But that is not all there is. Our well being is also comprised of our mental, emotional and spiritual health. Each part of our being affects the other. For example, when I have something emotional going on or something bothering me mentally, the first thing that goes for me is sleep. When we don’t sleep the other area of our lives are affected – we eat poorly, feel like crap and likely don’t feel like giving it our best in the exercise area. Our daily life is composed of so much more than what we eat and how we move our body. Everything that is going on in our lives affects our health. We know how stress affects our health. Stress is one of the main causes of heart attacks. Our relationships, work, finances, marriages, children, friendships and spiritual life all make up who we are, what we think about and how we handle life.
Think about it, it makes so much sense. Do you work too much? Are you burned out? Do you avoid certain things or trying new things? Are you too busy taking care of others to take care of yourself? Are you constantly stressed and tied up in knots? Are you putting off doing things you know would make you happy? Have you forgotten how to sit and be still? Take time to pursue your faith?
These are all emotional, mental and spiritual needs that need to be met, just as your nutritional and physical aspects need to be addressed. Your health is a wonderful combination of all of these things. These are things we need to focus on and learn each day. All these pieces work together to make one, beautiful, well rounded, healthy person.
For me, these are the three keys. They all work together. It does not have to be hard or complicated. It does take a person making choices each day. Choosing the healthy option, whether it be a meal or snack, carving out some quiet time, sharing a laugh, or taking a great cardio or yoga class. Our health is NOT just the exercise and nutrition. It’s a wonderful combination of everything.
What do you think? What is healthy to you? What area brings a little struggle?
Enjoy Your Day!