What You Shouldn’t Stress About

If you’re human, you probably stress out about things.  A big project due at work, giving a speech in class, or dealing with an illness can all be stressful things.  If you’re anything like me, you stress about stupid things.  Like wondering if the people walking behind you just saw you stumble over your own two feet.  Hint: probably, but they don’t really care.

It can feel like stress is a normal part of life and it really doesn’t have to be.  There are certain things that a lot of us worry about that we don’t really need to, especially when it comes to your health.  If you read health articles or magazines or watch the news, it feels like there is a new health claim every day that we have to worry about.  And more than likely over the years, I have worried about it.

But as I’ve gotten older and learned more about my personal health, I have been able to let go of some of the “health” stress and do what works for me.  I haven’t died or gained a billion pounds or detrimentally destroyed some part of my health.  I’ve figured out what I like and what works best.

So here is a list of a few things that you DON’T need to worry about when it comes to your health:

#1- Eating superfoodsWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Kale, acai berries, and quinoa are all delicious and deemed superfoods.  But you know what else is a superfood?  An apple.  Some broccoli.  Even the humble clove of garlic is a superfood.  Focus on eating real food that you actually enjoy and I promise you’ll be just fine.

#2- Sitting downWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Yes, I have actually worried about this.  There have been reports and research lately that say sitting too much has a negative effect on our health.  Even if you workout, if you spend the majority of your day sitting it’s like you haven’t worked out at all.  Cue Katie standing constantly for fear of ruining my metabolism and undoing all the hard work I put into my exercises.  Sure, if you sit all day you should probably get up and move more.  But you shouldn’t stress about sitting down if you’re tired or need a rest.  Find a good balance of sitting and standing throughout your day that works for your body and your schedule.

#3- Making sure your body looks the same at all timesWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

I think because we are constantly bombarded with images of perfect bodies and rippling muscles, we feel like we have to look like that too at all times.  I know I would get frustrated when I would look in the mirror in the morning and at night and I would be looking at two different bodies.  Your body shape changes throughout the day due to things like hydration, the foods you eat, and if you’re a woman, your period.  The way your body looks doesn’t determine your worth or even how healthy you are.  You’re long-term habits do.  And remember those pictures of models are just a snapshot of a moment.  They don’t look like that all the time.

#4- Eating at the right timeWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

Eat right when you wake up.  Fast for 18 hours.  Don’t eat after 7 pm.  Eat constantly for 6 hours and then don’t eat again for 12 hours.  Who thought when you eat could be so confusing?  Each one of these options has plenty of studies and research that supports their claims and probably, even more disputing them.  You know what you should do?  Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.  As long as you’re getting adequate fuel throughout the day and can go about your daily tasks with enough energy, it doesn’t really matter when you eat.  Do what works best for you.

#5- Thinking only one form of exercise can get you resultsWhat You Shouldn't Stress About | Life Healthfully Lived

This is one that I’m currently working on.  If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m taking a little break from running.  It’s mostly because it wasn’t bringing me the same joy that it used too.  I was dreading my run instead of being excited.  The other part of me taking a break?  I had convinced myself that running was the only way I was going to keep weight off.  I had it in my mind that if I stopped running I would start gaining weight.  My rational brain knew that was silly and wrong, but when do I listen to my rational brain?  There are so many ways to move and exercise, no one way is perfect and no one way will get you results.  Try new things and do what you love and don’t be afraid if those things change over time.

These are just a few of the things I have stressed about over the years and I’ve learned that they weren’t as big a deal as I was making them out to be.  You’re not going to do everything perfectly and that’s ok.  The mistakes let you learn what works for you and create habits and a routine that will keep you healthy for the long haul.

I hope you have an awesome Monday and I will see you back here on Wednesday for an all new recipe!

What are some silly health things you have stressed about over the years?

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving

paintings-family-food-tables-Thanksgiving-Norman-Rockwell-Turkey-bird-_472406-32Thanksgiving.  Not counting Halloween, this is pretty much the beginning of the holiday season.  Soon you will be surrounded by friends, family, and of course food.  This is also the time of year that everyone is offering their best “how to avoid holiday weight gain” tips and millions of different ways to make your favorite holiday meals healthy.  I thought about writing a post like that, because you don’t have to enter the holiday season throwing all healthy habits to the wind, but I felt like what I had to say would be just repeating a lot of what you already know or will read in the coming days.  Honestly, most of you know that eating fifteen pieces of pumpkin pie isn’t doing you or your health any good no matter how delicious it may be.

I know that a lot of you might be anxious about the upcoming smorgasbord that is Thanksgiving, especially if you just started to eat better or adopt healthier habits.  Many of you might be worried about undoing all the hard work that you have put into your health journey and you’re thinking of how you are going to navigate your way through the sea of food that is about to come your way.  I know exactly how you feel, I’ve been there too.  I’ve stressed over how to eat well during the holidays.  I’ve fretted about family asking questions about my weight and why I won’t eat this or that.  I’ve felt hopeless and alone and not exactly sure how to deal with it all.  It has taken me awhile to get to this realization: don’t let food control your life.  Food has so much power over many of us so that we let it ruin or dictate our holidays.  A time where we should be visiting friends, spending quality time with family, decking the halls and singing fa la la la la, we spend stressing over food.

Yes, food is important.  It fuels us, nourishes us, and (sometimes) tastes amazing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love food and I truly believe that it is a key factor in a healthy life.  But it isn’t everything.  I’ve wasted too many holiday gatherings focusing on food and missing out on all the other things that go on.  The inside jokes between cousins or finding the best spot to hang my favorite ornament or  the quality time that I get to spend with my mom talking about our lives while we make the ever famous pumpkin muffins (blue wrappers have nuts!).  I’m sad to say I’ve probably missed some really great moments because I was worrying about what I would eat or that other people were worrying about what I would eat.

Don’t let food take over your life this holiday season.  There are other things that are so much better than thinking about how many potatoes you can eat without feeling guilty.  It will be difficult for some of you to totally let go of your food worry, me included, but by holding on to all that stress, you’re letting something silly like food take control of your life and happiness.  So do me a favor this Thanksgiving.  Take a deep breath, release all your anxiety over food, and throw yourself fully into all the other much more fun things about the day.  Enjoy the parade, play a game of football in your backyard, give Grandma a big hug, and be thankful for all of the amazing things you have in your life.  I promise you, that is a much better way to spend your holiday! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Always on My Mind

Today’s post might seem to go against what this whole blog is about, but stick with me on this one, I think that this might just be an important message for you to hear.  

I spend a lot of my time thinking about food and healthy eating.  Not very shocking information, I know.  I write a blog about healthy eating, so it makes perfect sense that a lot of my time and energy is focused on learning more, seeing what information is out there, and ultimately trying to help others reach their health goals.  I enjoy doing all of these things, otherwise I wouldn’t do this.  I am also passionate about food.  I love everything about food, from the shopping all the way to the eating, I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in all things food.  It helps me to be able to work with and know every aspect of food in order to help you get the best possible information and advice I can give.  I relish (haha, food pun!) being in the kitchen, creating a new and healthy dish to then share with you guys.  I believe that everyone should feel comfortable in the kitchen and be more than capable of producing a healthy meal with minimal effort.  

Here is where things are going to get a little contradictory; sometimes, I spend too much time thinking about food and healthy eating.  I sometimes realize I am constantly thinking about food, or the next meal, or what the healthiest way to eat is, or what new research is coming out about eating properly, or new foods/recipes I should make.  It can sometimes reach a point where all I’m thinking about are these things and not actually enjoying the benefits of leading a healthy life. 


You might be thinking, wait, wait, wait… How can thinking about being healthy lead to you being unhealthy? This makes no sense!!  I told you this post might get a little dicey!  I can only speak for myself, but constantly thinking and planning and dwelling on healthy living can make me feel frazzled.  I feel like I am failing in some aspects or not doing enough or letting myself and others down.  It stresses me out, and being stressed does not help my health.  Being stressed also cannot help me lead others to a healthy and positive lifestyle.  Stress takes a toll on the body and can rob it of good health, and all the good things I try to do to promote my good health end up going to waste.  

I know that many of you might also constantly think about food/dieting/living healthy.  You might be worrying that you aren’t following the right eating style or that what you are doing isn’t working.  You might be wondering if the next event you go to will have food you can eat or you might be nervous that people won’t approve of the way you eat.  Maybe you are always dwelling on what your next meal will be or all the things you need to do to continue your healthy lifestyle.  If someone like myself, who is passionate about food and health and wants to devote my time to helping others with their health, feels stressed thinking about these things, I can only imagine that the general population feel even more stressed/worried about their health.

While I can’t get inside your minds and tell you to stop dwelling constantly on food (heck, I have a hard time getting my OWN mind to stop), I can give you some simple advice: just stop.  You don’t have to always be worried about your health.  Yes, you should be vigilant and make sure that you properly take care of yourself, but it shouldn’t be all consuming.  Make sure you are actually enjoying living your healthy life,  and you are not just thinking about what you need to do or not do next.  Don’t be so caught up in what you should be eating that you never actually enjoy the food you eat.  Don’t be tirelessly planning your workout routines that you never fully put yourself into your current exercise.  Don’t be constantly planning out nutritious  meals that you forget to stop and contemplate all that went into producing that delicious and satisfying meals.  Finally don’t be so immersed in your own health that you stop interacting with those around you.  Don’t feel bad if you realize you’ve been doing these things, I’ve just described my own bad habits.  I have been so wrapped up in the health world that it started to hinder my own health and that isn’t good at all.

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What did I do about it? I stopped.  Yesterday I spent the morning/afternoon with my husband.  We enjoyed a wonderful long breakfast and talked about what was going on with each other.  We went to VeggieFest out in Naperville and just walked around looking at booths, listening to music and sipping cold coconut water.

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My sister and her boyfriend came to visit us for dinner too.  I set out a bunch of taco fixings and we made our own dinners, sipped wine, and enjoyed each other’s company.  We talked and laughed and caught up on each other’s lives.

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My hair can get crazy….

Just to prove I can be semi-normal...

Just to prove I can be semi-normal…

I had my sister dye my hair and we watched a favorite movie from our childhood.  It was a fabulous day and it made me feel happy and amazing.  Relaxing and NOT focusing on food/good health actually made me feel healthier than I have in awhile.  I understand that I sound conflicting right now.  I promote good health and yet I just told you to stop focusing on good health.  In order to have the best health possible though, sometimes you need to just take a step back, breathe, and enjoy.  I promise it will do wonders for your health!