Cultivating a healthier lifestyle is not an overnight success, a certain food/supplement, or a quick fix. It’s something we should work at daily, and integrate into a lifestyle. What we do consistently is what counts, as opposed to what we do once and awhile. When you create a lifestyle around healthy living you begin to feel amazing, see long-term results, and live out a better quality of life.Finding your balance when creating a healthy lifestyle can feel difficult at times, I know this because I myself have felt overwhelmed and experienced moments of discouragement when I embarked on my journey. I still have days I get discouraged, I just never give up. I keep my vibe alive and continue to work on myself every single day, and I can honestly tell you that to this day, through all the ups and downs, I have never felt better! It feels good to feel good, and this is something that helps keep my vibe alive. I know how bad it can feel to feel bad, so I make the choice to spend my days feeling good and alive!
Today I want to talk about a few simple steps that helped me (and still help me) along my health journey. Sometimes all we need is some simple tools to get the ball rolling and a little guidance that can spread a long way! Before I get into it, I just want to mention that we should imprint it in our minds that a healthy lifestyle looks absolutely different on everyone! What is healthy anyway? It is something different to everyone. We are all made up of completely different DNA! We are unique. What works for one individual does not necessarily work for the next, what may be healthy for one person could be harmful for someone else. It’s important to love, understand, and nourish the body we are given so we can grow into the best version of ourselves possible and thrive. When we begin the journey to make healthy changes and improvements in our life, it’s important that we do so with the intention to make a stronger and better version of ourselves for long-term results, as opposed to trying to achieve somebody else’s body type or look by following an unattainable plan, which can result in things like rebounding, deficiencies, binging, and short-term results. We are all unique, and we should wear our uniqueness loud and proud!
Let’s get started..
This is probably going to sound like a no-brainer, but eating a healthy diet and understanding what a healthy diet means changed my life drastically! I’ve dedicated my time to learning, and continuing to learn, what eating healthfully means. Through my personal experiences, what it simply comes down to is these 3 things:
- Eating nutritious foods (foods loaded with nutrients that provide us with health and growth)
- Eating a wide variety of whole foods (AKA eating less out of a box)
- Eating clean foods (avoiding preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, added hormones, etc as much as possible)
Nutritious, whole, and clean foods are mainly plant sources and from sustainable environments. These include foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes. When it comes to animal food sources (meats/dairy/fish) it’s always beneficial to do your research and know where it’s coming from. Stay curious about it and find out how the animals have been treated, and find out what the environmental/transportation situation is. Animal products can be highly contaminated and harmful to our environment, so it’s always a great idea to research your sources or simply ask the provider questions about it to make the best decisions you can around it.
It can sometimes feel overwhelming when it comes to eating a healthier diet. Something that helps me out is following an 80 – 20 guideline. Now, this is not to say I eat healthy 80% of the time, and then go all out on unhealthy eating habits for the other 20% of the time. The 20% is extra space for those times I may not have much choice in what I am eating due to travel, unexpected events, or in times I want to go out to dinner and just enjoy it without letting the thought of whether or not a meal might be healthy consume my mind. Knowing that 80% of the time I am nourishing my body with whole and clean foods keeps me better equipped for those other 20% times.
I also want to add that drinking plenty of water is another key to proper nourishment. Approximately 70% of our body weight is water, so it only makes sense to hydrate ourselves often, and all throughout our day. Water helps the body flush toxins and move contents through more efficiently. I typically drink between 2 – 3L of water spread throughout the day. Don’t aim to get your water in by consuming it all at one time, or close together. It’s more beneficial to spread your water intake throughout your day so your body can feel the hydration all day long.
I am referring to our hormones when I talk about balance. Working on getting my hormones in check was a big step for improving my health. Estrogen imbalances are my culprit. I’ve created healthy habits around my imbalances, and I follow regimes that support and help maintain my hormonal balance. Our hormones can be extremely sensitive and influenced by so many factors. It’s pretty amazing. Our sleep, awakening, and menstrual cycles are conducted by natural patterns from nature. When these patterns are disturbed, we become more vulnerable to illness and diseases. Regaining balance within our natural cycles is so important for our overall wellbeing. Hormones have such an impact on our health! If you feel like your hormones may be out of balance (sluggishness, acne, sweats, cold hands/feet, exhaustion, fatigue, fluid retention, infertility, inconsistent periods, mood swings, etc), and you’re curious enough about it, do some quality research into it, or if you have access to talk to a professional about your hormones (naturopathic doctor, endocrinologist, etc..) go do it!
A few simple things I do to ease my imbalances include:
- Exercise (anything outdoors, low-impact weight training, and HIIT are my favourites. Always opt for workouts you love and enjoy!)
- Maintaining blood sugar metabolism (I refer to the Glycemic Index for this)
- Transitioning to more natural products (I’m still in transition mode! It’s amazing how many products are filled with ingredients that can affect our hormones)
- Strengthening my digestion
- Eating nutritious foods that nourish the imbalances, while avoiding the foods that negatively affect my balance.
Think of this as removing what does not heal you. This includes things like stress, exposure to toxins, toxic relationships, and overuse of drugs/alcohol. We are constantly exposed to toxins whether we like it or not. For example, when we step outside we can easily be exposed to harmful radiation or breathe in highly polluted air, or when we go out to eat and something we ate was contaminated or containing toxic ingredients. Some things are out of our control, but what we do have control of is how we can be ready for those times we might be exposed to toxic environments by incorporating daily detoxifying regimes into our lifestyle. One way to help keep our bodies prepared and keep toxicity to a minimum is by drinking plenty of water and decreasing inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be caused by toxic overload from the foods we eat, the air we breathe, stress in our lives, acidity in the body, nutritional deficiencies, etc.
A few of my favourite foods that help fight inflammation:
- Dark leafy greens
In addition, decreasing cortisol (aka stress hormone) levels is important for keeping our bodies cleansed. Yoga, nature, and meditation practice are a few of my go-to’s for keeping stress levels to a minimum.
Becoming aware of our thoughts and habits is important. Everything is connected, which means everything can be effected. If one part of our system is off, it can throw off other parts. When the mind is not well, our body suffers as well. The body is full of messengers, and this makes it important for us to do our best to keep the messages healthy ones. Becoming more aware of our thoughts and habits helps us to consciously nourish our body with healthier choices.
A few tips for keeping those internal messages positive:
- Change your environment, especially if it is not serving your well-being
- Surround yourself with people who reflect the type of person you are
- Be around those who encourage your growth, and be sure to encourage others growth as well
- Create a sanctuary in your home as a personal meditative space you make time to visit in your day
When we make it a point to focus on awareness of our thoughts and habits, it can help us gain new and improved perspectives which also helps in the process of creating a healthier lifestyle.
Through proper nourishment, balance, daily detoxes, and becoming more aware I was able to pave a path to becoming my best self and build a healthy lifestyle around it. I hope you find some inspiration and a little guidance in today’s post if it is something you’re looking for. There is so much to learn and discover about yourself along your journey, the growth is continual! It’s amazing how many versions of ourselves we meet along the way to becoming our best and healthiest self. I think I have met at least 5 versions of myself so far along the way, and it just keeps getting better! I hope I never stop changing and evolving. I wish you all the happiness and health, whether you’re starting your journey or already living it!
Do you have any practices or special regimes that help you in your health journey? I would love to hear what steps you take along your journey in becoming the best version of yourself and creating your healthy lifestyle.
Photos by the amazingly talented Kristen of LoveCraft Photography.