In order to create anything, you have to first know what it is or what it means. If you want to create a healthy life or healthy lifestyle, you must first know what the definition of healthy lifestyle is. And THAT is not an easy task.
First, let’s start with lifestyle. That one is easy- lifestyle is the way a person lives. There are tons of different lifestyles out there based on personal believes and values.
On to defining healthy. In Webster’s dictionary, healthy is defined as “beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state : conducive to or associated with good health or reduced risk of disease.”
Healthy is a term that can be abstract and relative in nature, like “beauty” or “useful”. It is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not a one size fits all. It’s not a specific look, weight, pants size, or ability to run a five minute mile. It’s not black and white, there are many gray areas. What healthy means to you specifically is really going to depend on your believes and your goals.
While healthy may look different for each of us, the process of building a healthy lifestyle is the same- figure out the healthy version of you that you want to work towards and then set goals to get there! A healthy lifestyle should include a balance of things that make you happy mentally, physically, and emotionally and allows you to do the things that you want and need to do in your life. If you are unhappy, stressed out, anxious, or feeling depressed then something is off in your lifestyle and making it unhealthy for you.
Avoid Default Setting!
Default settings are what you get if you don’t choose settings you want. In life, you can end up with a default lifestyle if you don’t take the time to create a healthy lifestyle that you want.
To avoid default setting, find a way to build pieces of your ideal healthy lifestyle into your daily life. If you imagine a healthy lifestyle as being able to run an 8-minute mile, then work towards that a little bit at a time, every day. If your healthy lifestyle is to never eating processed sugars again- more power to you! But keep the processed sugars out of the house consistently. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
I sat in a doctor’s appointment and was told I was on the border of being obese at just under 30 BMI. I had been considered “overweight” for years, but this was a new doctor and he was very upfront with me. My doctor told me that I was at a higher risk for a lot of health problems and that I needed to start losing weight to improve my outlook. He told me to change my diet and exercise, but that if that didn’t work he could give me pills to help me lose the weight.
Bummer, first time meeting this doctor and he thought I was unhealthy and needed diet pills. Good talk, I guess, because it gave me the wake-up call I needed to make some needed changes and look at my lifestyle to determine if it was healthy. I had ended up on default setting- going through the motions of my life without really trying to make it what I wanted it to be.
Being a mom is hard work- it’s routine and yet each day is different. You can get lost between focusing on everyone and everything else but you. But in the end, you’re really the only one that can get your life on track, or back on track. If you don’t do it, no one else really will.
Your spouse should want you to be healthy and happy, to have energy and drive and motivation and be able to be a super mom, super employee, and super wife. But they’re probably not going to force you to make healthy decisions and build a healthy lifestyle. You’re the one who’s responsible for that change. Make it happen! For you and for your family, but mostly for you.
So here’s a breakdown of the three main areas that I focus on to find balance with my healthy lifestyle- nutrition, fitness, and personal development. These same three areas are important for your healthy lifestyle too.
So much of how we feel about ourselves and our life comes back to food. Food is the fuel for our bodies just like gas is fuel for our cars. When we give our bodies good fuel, they run better, longer and we feel good. When we give our bodies bad fuel, we can get sluggish, tired, cranky, and sometimes even sick.
I really dislike the term “diet” and don’t like to use it. To me, “diet” has become associated with depriving myself by following a strict set of rules on what I can and can’t eat to achieve a target weight by a specific date. It’s not something I plan to stick with long term, it is temporary. I prefer to establish healthy nutrition habits that I can follow and sustain for the rest of my life.
There are so many different healthy eating plans out there. If you have one that is currently working for you, great! It can be hard to find just the right balance of foods in the right amounts to keep your body properly fueled while allowing you some wiggle room for foods you really enjoy . If you are struggling to find what nutrition balance works for you, you may need to try a few before figuring it out.
I use a container nutrition plan that works really well for me to help me balance all the different food groups in the right amounts on a consistent basis without having to count calories or completely eliminate some of my favorite foods (like ice cream, brownies, and homemade muffins fresh out of the oven!). If you’re interested more in the container plan that I’ve been using for the last year, stick around! I’ll be sharing lots of helpful tips, recipes, and guides!
The ability to move our bodies how and when we need to and want to is important. The older we get, the more difficult this is because our bodies naturally age and deteriorate. The worse we care for our bodies when we’re younger, the worse shape we end up in as we get older. If we want to live a long life and be able to stay active, we need to be active now.
How physically fit you want to be for your healthy lifestyle is totally up to you. If you like to hike, mountain climb, run marathons, etc. that requires a different level of health than someone who only wants to be able to enjoy long walks on the beach their significant other without getting a leg cramp.
I personally HATE running. If I am running, you’d better run too because there’s either something really bad behind me or something really important in front of me to make me run. I do enjoy brisk walks and an occasional short jog. I LOVE Yoga. I’m not much of a fan of lifting weights, though occasionally I use light free weight. I enjoy going on adventures with my family but our adventures are not going to require extreme fitness like climbing Mt Everest or participating in a Triathlon, at least not any time soon!
For me, fitness for my healthy lifestyle is at home workouts for 20-30 minutes approximately 5 times a week with dog walks thrown in to get in 10,000 steps a day. No running for hours on end or hitting up the gym to lift weights because I don’t feel that fits my healthy lifestyle.
So think about your life, what you can do now, and what you want to do with your life. Then find a starting place. If you’re already pretty fit and can move easily and for long periods of time, great! If you are more sedentary and spend most of your time sitting or laying down, you might need to start small with something like walking or yoga to help get you moving.
Want to know one of my first fitness goals after talking to my doctor? Don’t laugh, but it was to walk (not jog, not run, but walk) my two dogs 30 minutes a day for 30 days in a row. Simple, easy, obtainable and it was a start. Start with where you are right now and pick a goal to help you start moving in the right direction!
Sometimes this can be where religion plays an important role in our health, especially our mental and emotional health. I don’t address religion much, if at all, on this website. Whatever your religious believes, it is important to believe in something or someone that has your best interests in mind and is there for you. I am not a religious guide and will not go there. However, if you are religious remember that plays into your healthy lifestyle and might have a big part to play in your personal development.
Personal development is continued learning and practice of concepts and ideas that help you move in a positive direction with your goals for life. This should be done on a consistent basis, preferably daily to give yourself a push in the right direction each day. It helps provide direction and a proper outlook.
Up until the time I was in my early 20’s, my personal development was really religion focused, reading scriptures and religious motivational books. Then I got married and had two children and stopped reading altogether because I just didn’t have the time. I didn’t realize how much spending time focusing on developing myself and giving me a positive focus to my day effected me and my health until recently.
I won’t go into detail now, but it wasn’t until I added reading a self-help or motivational book back into my daily routine that I was finally able to shake the depression and funk I slowly fell into over 13 years of personal, mental neglect.
For you, personal development could be on any topic or subject. Maybe it is listening to a motivational podcast on your commute to work. Maybe it’s reading Bible stories with your kids at night before bed. Maybe it’s meditating with a mantra or going to watch a speaker. What makes your soul happy to learn about and to do?
If you’re struggling with feeling like a failure, maybe reading a book on overcoming failure would be good. If you need help setting goals, a podcast on setting and keeping goals may be more needed right now. Goals do tend to go hand in hand with personal development. Personal development should help you develop a positive mindset and help you reach your goal of a healthy lifestyle.
Hopefully by now you have some idea of what you want your healthy lifestyle to look like. You should be thinking about where you are now, compared to where you want to be. If you’re not creating a healthy lifestyle on a consistent basis, you’re going to end up with a default lifestyle and that is rarely pretty.
One of the things I was missing when I was living my default lifestyle were goals. I had gotten in a rut, didn’t have anything I was trying to improve or drive towards, and I lost motivation for anything, really. What your goal, or goals are, doesn’t matter as much as that you have goals you are working towards!
Goals keep you focused, motivated, and enthusiastic for life, if you pick the right ones. For whatever your healthy lifestyle ideas- ALWAYS make and work on goals. If you are out of practice, start with small goals that you can obtain reasonably easy. Celebrate when you reach your goal. Feeling that success boosts confidence which really helps your mental health!
I’ll be doing more posts on goal setting, finding motivation and all that other stuff later, because they are very important in pushing yourself in the right direction. For now just pick something easy to get you started.
Please leave your comments below. I would love to hear what your goals are!