6 Lessons in Healthy Living

(plus one for good luck)

Guest post by Lauren from iChange – Lose Weight by Staying Accountable

I gained a lot of weight after being treated for my eating disorder, way above and beyond my “goal weight” so I am trying to get my body to a place where it is healthy and I am comfortable in my own skin.

The title of this post makes me seem like some kind of guru, but the truth is, I’m not. I’m just a regular person. I’m not old or wise or any of the things you would expect from someone giving you advice. I am, however, experienced in the area being physically and mentally unhealthy. Yes, I know, that isn’t a subject you want to be an expert in. I’ve been to “My life sucks and it will never get better” land, and I know that many of you have been there as well. Let me tell you: it does get better. I promise you, it does. Health and happiness don’t come cheap though. You’ll have to work so hard at it that, at times, you will think it’s not even worth it. Let me tell you something else: it is. It is so worth it that there aren’t enough words for describing how thankful you will be that you did this for yourself, and how happy you will be with your blissful, healthy life. I don’t claim to have a perfect life. The truth is that I still struggle. I am on a journey, as we all are. That is what life is all about, though. Nothing will ever be perfect, and people are lying to you if they tell you it will. However, situations do improve and they can always get better no matter how bad they may seem. You will just be getting happier and healthier along the way. Now get excited about this process because the journey is the destination!

1. Let go of the past.

It is never too late to start healthy habits. Maybe you’ve been overweight your whole life. Maybe you have depression or another illness. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, because you can change your life. The problem is, so many people think that they can’t change just because they haven’t been able to do it yet. They blame themselves and/or others for a lifetime of issues, and they get so caught up in the guilt that they can’t move forward. The best thing you will ever do for yourself is let go of past mistakes or problems or so-called failures. The only way you will succeed is if you put all that guilt aside and try again. The time is now. Your life is now.

2. Relax. Don’t obsess.

Everyone wants to be healthy, but I talk to so many people who become absolutely obsessed with it. I know a lot of people with eating disorders, because I am currently in recovery from my own. Disordered eating is so destructive to your health, and so is exercise addiction. Even people who are overweight and are trying to lose sometimes get too caught up in counting every single calorie and they forget that there is more to life. If you eat a bit more than you need one day, it isn’t such a big deal. Some days people eat more, some days they eat less, and in the end everything balances out. Focus on your health and count calories if that helps you with your goals, but never let it interfere with the quality of your life.

3. Exercise.

This is an obvious one. Exercise is important for physical and mental health. If you are recovering from an eating disorder, an injury, or an illness, then a doctor will probably recommend you ease up on the exercise. You should always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program anyway. Once you are in the clear to move your body, you should start doing exactly that! Make sure you ease into it though – it would be awful to go at full speed and end up with an injury. If you are trying to lose weight, an exercise program that includes cardio and strength training will boost your metabolism and increase fat loss. If you are just trying to be healthier and fit, you will also reap enormous benefits from combining these two types of exercise. Flexibility is important too, so don’t forget to stretch and consider taking some yoga classes. Choose activities you enjoy so that you will be more likely to stick with it. You could try running, swimming, dancing, or whatever makes you happy. All of these exercises will also relieve stress and ease depression by giving you a natural high.

4. Eat whole foods.

I’m sure you already know this, but fast food and processed food aren’t that good for you. They have a lot of additives and chemicals and unrecognizable ingredients. Does that sound like real food to you? I believe that the body functions best on real, whole foods with no questionable ingredients. I’m talking whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and nuts. That doesn’t mean you have to get obsessive and eliminate everything in your diet that comes in a package or has some added sugar. Just try to limit these things when you can. Or just try to add as many whole foods as possible. When you think about adding things to your diet instead of focusing on eliminating things, you are more likely to succeed because you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself. Just be aware of the food you add, and make sure not to overeat. Eating this way will help you manage your weight, improve your health, and give you a mood boost.

5. Take care of yourself.

Yes, you are already on the right track to taking care of yourself by eating well and exercising. However, I know a lot of people who are overweight or depressed and they refuse to go to the doctor. It might be because of shame or fear, but whatever the reason is, you need to shift your thoughts. You are as worthy and deserving of medical attention as anyone else. Go to the doctor, the dentist, a therapist…make an appointment today! You need to be aware of the state of your health, for better or for worse. That way you can fix it. Take care of yourself by letting others care for you.

6. What other people think of you is none of your business.

This is something I struggled with for a long time. I had a lot of shame and I feared being judged by others. I know a lot of people who have dealt with the same issue, and this made it difficult for them to go out in public places, including the gym. It also caused them unnecessary stress. It is not healthy to worry about what other people think. Your opinion is the only one that matters. Improve your health and your self-esteem and everything else will fall into place.

Bonus: Seize the day.

I believe that health and happiness go hand in hand, so I encourage you to focus on both! Live every day with passion and participate in fun activities that make you feel good. Spend time with people you love, travel to the places you’ve always wanted to see, and take up that hobby you’ve been wanting to try. Don’t put anything off until tomorrow. Every day that you are alive is a special occasion. Live with gusto and be happy!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer. I’m just a health enthusiast who has improved her life by incorporating all of the above things, and now I’m sharing it with anyone who will listen.

For more about me and my healthy mission, check out my blog, One Day at a Time, at http://laurenrecovers.blogspot.com

“And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln

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