5 Ways to Living Healthier
For the most part, we all try to live healthfully. That is, whenever we can remember to commit. We make countless plans, resolutions and promises that we presume will be life-changing, only to put them off for just one more night, for one last thrilling hurrah.
A few years ago, I made the conscious decision to stop regarding healthy living as simply an option - one which I could choose to follow whenever it was convenient for me - and instead embraced it as part of my lifestyle. At the risk of sounding too preachy (eek!) let me say I've fallen off the bandwagon many, many times. I by no means possess the discipline of a monk, the endurance of an Olympic athlete or the enlightenment of a yogi. I'm very much so, a work in progress.
But, I did see a change. For real. It brought a lightness of spirit and positive energy to my life that I didn't realize was absent, until it wasn't anymore. It's the kind of feeling you get when you catch yourself smiling for no good reason at all. Just cause. That being said, I know that life has a habit of getting in the way of our goals sometimes (ok, often!), so I thought I would share 5 things I changed up in my routine that allowed me to live a healthier and more satisfying life.
Barre. Bootcamp. Personal Training. Martial Arts. Name it, and I've probably tried it. It took me a while to find what was right for me, and then there was yoga. I had tried it twice before and thought it was a snooze. And then I GOT IT. Just like that. Something clicked... the stars aligned... third time's a charm... call it what you will, but suddenly everything just felt right. This month, I'm celebrating a year of practice at my yoga studio, which I try to go to 3 times a week. I leave my stress, insecurities, fear, anxiety (and literally buckets of sweat) on the mat after every single session. And then I walk away. It's magnificently cathartic. And way cheaper than therapy. Or so I've heard!
My point, yoga doesn't have to be your thing. But find what 'it' is (that one thing that excites and energizes you) and commit to it. Hold yourself accountable, even on those days when you're dragging. You'll thank yourself later.
#2 Athleisure all the way!
Killer workout wear is the greatest motivator. And that is no joke. Wear outfits that are colorful and fun and make you feel confident in your skin. I'm a huge fan of Lululemon workout pants (I'm wearing a fave pair in this shoot) - they are so light and airy, it makes yoga and gym sesh's a total pleasure. Oh, and the sparkly headbands? They're kinda my thing. When it comes to sports bras and tops, I tend to gravitate towards brighter hues (I've got A LOT of neon pinks and purples in my closet) and colorful quotes. As for the funky tie-dyed sports bra and workout top I'm styling in this shoot - I snagged them both at T.J. Maxx for a steal - $10 each! Gym and Tonic, anyone?
Casual comfort is cool, even if the gym isn't on your agenda du jour. This past year, we've seen a boom in athleisure ("athletic leisure wear"), a fashion trend in which athletic apparel is now acceptably styled both at work and in play. Brands are paying attention and giving us more of what we want - clothing that has the look and feel of athletic wear, yet is fashionable, flattering and makes us feel polished, even when we're casual.
I'm not a fan of the word 'diet'. The term has been used and abused. It suggests a quick fix, miracle solution, crash diet, whatever, that will solve all your problems and change your life. No pill, powder, shake or cleanse has that power. Nothing that you put in your body is a quick fix. You really (yes, really) have to be in it for the long run. Stop thinking in short term solutions, and embrace a healthy diet as a way of life.
I'm sharing one of my absolute favorite sweet salads, which requires minimal prep, and is a delicious (and healthy!) option for taking to work. I've included the ingredients below, with suggestions for substitutions! This pairs well with grilled chicken if you need the extra protein.
Pear and Walnut Salad
- Sliced pear (sub. green apple as alter.)
- Craisins (sub. raisins)
- Turkish Dates (my guilty pleasure)
- Gorgonzola cheese
- Green leaf lettuce
- Grapes (I didn't add these to my salad, pictured, but they are a refreshing addition!)
Drink water. A ton of it. I'm not saying to aim for 6 liters a day. I tried that, and for me it was way too ambitious. But make a conscious effort, just for a few weeks to start, to bring a water bottle with you whenever you leave the house. You'd be surprised by how much you'll actually drink. Again, not 6 liters worth, but enough to realize that sipping it throughout the day is becoming a habit. One that you kinda, sorta, have to admit, you're starting to like. Own it!
Without realizing it, water took the place of Diet Coke. The only soft drink I've ever been hooked on. Looks like my body could do without the extra sugar, because the breakouts stopped. And, my skin is clearer than it's ever been. An interesting thought: All a dog will ever drink its entire life is water. That's all it needs to drink to survive, and that's all we need too. I'm not saying to cut everything else out and just drink water. But try to eliminate the drinks with artificial sweeteners and flavorings that are toxic to your body.
In yoga, the final resting pose is called Shavasana, or literally translated from Sanskrit, Corpse Pose. It's those few precious minutes of complete silence, lying on your mat, that you have time to reflect, and just be. To lose yourself in stillness and in thought. To let your mind wander where it will and to allow thoughts to drift in and out unencumbered.
How often do you practice Shavasana? Before accepting yoga into my weekly practice, I never did. Ever. Our brains are so overstimulated on the daily and consumed with to-do-lists, we often forget how necessary (and blissful) it can be to just take an extra second. I challenge you to try it.
Peace out, home fries!
Headband: Sparkly Soul
Top: F.I.T (T.J. Maxx)
Sports Bra: T.J. Maxx
Workout pants: Lululemon