Life Update

You know how I wrote last week about how life happens and you just have to roll with the punches and do the best you can?  Well, life has REALLY happened this past week and I am getting a big dose of my own advice and trying my best to roll with it.

For those of you who don’t know, or haven’t seen one of my numerous cat pictures, we have three cats.  As much as I get annoyed by the people who treat their pets like babies and dress them up and prance them around, our cats really are members of our family.  Dot, our first and oldest kitty, has been in the animal hospital since Friday and it’s been a roller coaster ride. Life Update | Life Healthfully Lived Continue reading

Eat This, Not That

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Have you seen those articles/posts about what you should eat instead of the junk food you normally go for?  Or those articles that highlight restaurants worst menu items and then tell you what to eat instead?  Or have you ever tried to look up an ingredient or some other food thing online to see if it’s healthy or not and 3 hours later you have a pile of research saying yes it is and no it will kill you?

It’s really frustrating, isn’t it?

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

How most people look when they try to start eating better.

Just the other day, I googled quinoa to look up the different varieties and was immediately met with headlines like: Quinoa: Is It The Next Superfood or Will It Destroy Your Gut? And: Quinoa Is The Seed The Acts Like A Grain And Could Be The Way To A Smaller Waistline. Don’t get me started on the back and forth over whether quinoa is “paleo” because that would take an entire day.

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

They’re both fine, eat whichever makes you feel better!

While I’m sort of used to nutrition research and know that for every study published stating the benefits of some food there is another one that says it’s horrible for you, I realized that people just starting out on their healthy journey probably feel overwhelmed and confused when trying to figure out if something is good or bad.  I think that’s why I’ve started to move away from that idea.  Food isn’t inherently evil nor is it undeniably good.  It’s food and it either makes you feel your best or it doesn’t.  It helps you meet your goals or it deters you.

So what if quinoa isn’t paleo?  Does it make you feel good when you eat it?  Can you perform your daily tasks without hindrance?  Are you gorging yourself with only quinoa? No, hopefully you have a diet full of real foods like fruits and vegetables.  If you are subsisting on a diet of only quinoa, I’m going to bet you have other things to worry about….

Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Anyone else feel like this?

So here is my advice for you health newbies out there and this is something that I wish I had realized early on in my journey because it would have saved a lot of time and stress: Stop worrying so much.  You can always find a reason something is bad or good.  Start looking to yourself to see whether what you put in your mouth is helping you or hurting you.  Start by cutting out processed food and move to whole foods and go from there.  Try new things and if they work for you then that’s all that matters!

Your diet will never be perfect and that is quite alright.  No one’s is.  Not the Instagram stars, not the celebrities, not the fitness guru’s, and not mine.  You aren’t striving for perfect, you’re striving for better than what you were.Eat This Not That | Life Healthfully Lived

Eat this OR eat that.  As long as it works for you, don’t stress it!

Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier

Stop looking for one thing to lose weight and be healthier.  There is no one thing.Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

No one diet.

No one exercise.

No one magic pill.

No one superfood.

No one philosophy.

No one anything.Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

The path to being healthier is not a straight and narrow path.  In fact, it’s rarely just one path at all.  There will be twists and turns, changes and modifications, things your body needs now but won’t in a year, and there is never an end point.Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

That’s right.  This doesn’t end.  I don’t tell you this to discourage you but to let you know that making the decision to be healthier is an ongoing process, day in and day out.  You get to wake up each morning and make a choice.  Are your actions going to further your healthy goals or not?  You’re not a horrible person if they don’t nor have you failed.  You just made a decision in the moment and now you get to move on.

Losing weight and your health are going to be a series and combination of things that will ultimately bring you to where you need to be.Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

You’ll experiment with different ways to eat and adjust to what you need.

You’ll try a bunch of different exercises and workouts and fine tune what works for you.

You’ll sample lots of different foods and see what your body wants and uses.

You’ll start making up your OWN healthy life and figure out what it means to be the best version of you.Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

And it will change and grow and develop over time and that’s good!  We all change and grow and develop.  I’m not the same person I was in high school (thank goodness) and I hope twenty years from now I won’t be the same person I am today.  Why should you expect what you do to keep yourself healthy to stay the same?Do This One Thing To Lose Weight and Be Healthier | Life Healthfully Lived

So stop looking for the ONE thing because it isn’t there and you don’t need it.  All you need is what works for you and what makes you shine from within and feel the best you can.

Subtraction Vs. Addition

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a math lesson.  Trust me, you don’t want me teaching you math.  Anyone who knows me will back me up on this one (right, Mom?).

No, this is going to be a comparison of two different mindsets when it comes to living a healthier life.  I find that there are two approaches to changing bad habits, the subtraction approach and the addition approach.  I’ve actually taken both approaches myself and in my experience find one is definitely better than the other.  Because I want you to be successful in living a healthier life, I wanted to share the tiny difference between these approaches that can make a huge impact on your success.

The Subtraction ApproachSubtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

I am going to be healthier by taking away all of the bad things in my life.  

This is a common way to look at things, and technically it’s what you want to do.  In with the good out with the bad, right?

Almost.  This immediately sets up a feeling of deprivation and an “I can’t have/do that anymore.”  It makes you feel like you’re losing a part of what was your daily routine and that can make you feel a little uncomfortable and maybe even sad.

You keep trying to tell yourself that it’s good, you’re getting rid of what made you unhealthy.  You’ll be happier once this process is over.  So, you start subtracting:

  • The “bad” food you used to eat
  • The lazy habits you had formed
  • The time you used to sit around instead of exercise
  • The social settings where you maybe weren’t the healthiest
  • The friends or family who don’t fully support you

You might start to see a change in your health doing this, of course.  You might lose weight, start to develop a regular exercise routine, but it still feels like you’re depriving yourself of things that once made you happy.  Even if they weren’t good for you.  You can start to pine for the way things were, especially since they are “off-limits” now.Subtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

And this can set you up for the relapse.  A night of binging.  A week of no exercise.  Cheat meals/snacks/days.  You know you’re being “bad” but you can’t seem to help yourself.  And then you can’t help feeling guilty once it’s all over.  It’s a vicious cycle and it’s no fun.  Trust me, I’ve been there.

Let’s look at the other approach.

The Addition ApproachSubtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

I am going to be healthier by adding good things into my life to crowd out the bad. 

This might seem counterintuitive.  You want to put more stuff into my life so that I’m healthier?  How can I do that when most people/diets/health systems tell me I need to get rid of the bad?

It’s simple.  Start thinking of things to add to your day that make you feel better than your older habits.  You’re going to crowd out all the things that you used to do or eat so that you no longer have time or energy for those.Subtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

Now your days feel full and like you’re actively doing things to turn your habits around.  You’re not taking anything away, you’re adding things like:

  • More fruits and vegetables to each serving, crowding out the overly processed
  • More activity in your day, life short walks, crowding out the time you used to sit around
  • More friends and family who like the same healthy things you do
  • More time focusing on what makes you feel good instead of what you used to do that was “bad”

At a glance, these two approaches might look similar.  And to be honest, you’re doing a lot of the same things but by telling yourself that you’re adding to your life not subtracting from it makes it easier and more fun to keep making changes.Subtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

It’s just a tiny switch, but it makes a big difference.  I’m not forcing myself to get rid of my entire life, I’m adding to it and changing things for the better.  As you go, soon you’ll realize that the good has overtaken the bad and your lifestyle is healthier and happier.Subtraction Vs. Addition | Life Healthfully Lived

So don’t focus on subtracting as much as you can to be healthier, add in as much good as you can and your health will follow suit.

What can you add to your life to be healthier?