What does it mean to live healthily? Optimizing your health can turn into a full time job when trying to go to extremes of exercise or dieting, and it can be hard to find the motivation to stick with it. But living healthily doesn't have to mean a radical lifestyle change, and it shouldn't be hard, it should be enjoyable. It's all about finding the balance and making small, manageable choices every day that you can feel better about.
As a professional fitness trainer, and a lifelong athlete, physical fitness is something that's incredibly important to me. I was the mom who picked her kids up from school in trainers, leggings, and a sports top - and this was before athleisure was en vogue. But it was never something I was ashamed of. My physical health was (and still is) something I'm proud of, and I wanted my kids to see that. In their own ways, they have followed in my footsteps of optimizing health; from staying active, to eating well, and tending to their emotional wellbeing. That's the real answer to healthy living - finding a sustainable balance in all aspects of your life.
I'll be honest in saying that I am a fitness fanatic at heart, and I feel my absolute best after the end of a good workout. However, in trying to be my healthiest self, I make sure to focus on all areas of my lifestyle. Everything we experience is interconnected - our moods affect our motivation, what we eat mediates our energy levels, how active we are has a direct impact on body image and self-esteem, and how we feel about ourselves shapes our outlook on life. I created my company based on this principal, by focusing on four key components of healthy living: psychological wellbeing, fitness, nutrition through food, and look.
So today, in the spirit of living healthily and finding that balance, I want to share my top tips for adding health and happiness into all areas of your life:
Practice some tunnel vision. When things start to feel overwhelming or you feel your stress levels rising, do your best to quiet the noise and bring your focus to yourself and what you're capable of in the moment. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to what others are doing, and trust that you are doing it right. Whatever your goals are, when you go at your own pace and recognize your milestones as they come, you'll feel genuinely happy with your own achievements.
My mantra is repeat, recognize, refresh. Repetition is key when it comes to any exercise routine, and the best way to start is with smaller workouts that you can do every single day. Not only will you form habits faster this way, you'll feel amazing for it because your fitness goals will be achievable. Next, make sure to recognize your achievements as you go, because building confidence in yourself goes a long way. Lastly, make the most of your refresh step - from healthy hydration, to eating right, to getting enough rest and stretching properly. You'll enjoy exercise more because your body will feel better - and exercise should feel amazing!
Listen to your body. It knows best. Pay attention to how it reacts to certain foods and how you feel after eating. But not just immediately after eating, think about how you feel several hours after tucking into a certain dish. It will tell you a lot about what is good for you, and what's not. You'll quickly find out that the healthier options actually make you feel better and more energized - making it easier to skip the biscuits and reach for more fruit and veg.
Make time for your routine. Taking time to tend to my beauty routine not only helps me look and feel good, it plays a powerful role in helping retain my identity, even if in a small way. It doesn't matter what your fashion, or skincare, or makeup routine is; it's all about taking that time for yourself to look the way you want to, so every day you can feel like your best and truest self.
Here's the big secret - when you start making small changes towards a healthier life, your body and mind will feel better, and wanting to keep that feeling going will be your best motivation. I like to think of working towards personal health as having a snowball effect: you have to work hard to get it started, but the more you put into it and the better you get at finding your balance, the easier it all becomes and that's when things really take off. You'll notice health, happiness, and positivity growing in all areas of your life, and you'll feel better for it. All you have to do is start.