Eating healthy or staying fit is the new mantra everywhere -- go organic, go vegan, go gluten-free, or follow a primitive diet, a cookie diet and so on and on!
Being in the wellness field for over a decade and following a strict health regimen, I am here to say that one size does not fit all. Staying healthy is like shopping for clothes. We all come in different sizes and shapes. We all have different lifestyles, different mechanisms to cope with stress, different working hours and of course different budgets. We cannot mimic what someone else is doing 100%. Because, it simply does not work that way!
Here are a few lessons I have learnt in my wellness journey.
1. Listen to your body
When I say this to people, some people react instantly: "What? This lady is crazy!" They have no clue what I am talking about (though of course some people get it). Listening to your body does not mean "Oh! I crave a dozen cupcakes, let me listen to my body's orders and make it happen". Listening to your body does not mean surrendering to your hormones or indulging every craving. It simply means that you sit down for a few minutes, centre yourself and ask yourself these questions: Am I really hungry? Am I feeling lonely? Am I stressed? These are normal factors that can throw you off your health wagon. Once you have answered these questions, you will know what to do.
"Eating too healthy and trying to meet fitness goals every day can cause a lot of stress and anxiety."
2. Take it easy
Being a Type-A personality, I simply love to push my limits. This means, I can go for a four-hour hike and come back and be ready for an intense yoga class. Now, this is good and ok if you have loads of energy. If not, take it easy! It is pretty healthy to compete with yourself, but it goes out of control when you compete till you crash down. If you feel tired, it's ok to laze around, if you are hungry eat more, if you want to go for a 10-hour hike do so! Take it easy and embrace yourself. Because, none of us can function at a 100% efficient mode every day of our life.
3. Increased stress levels
We all generally eat right and work out in order to reduce our stress levels. But, eating too healthy and trying to meet fitness goals every day can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Wait, what? Yes! This is totally possible. Because I have been there. The new term that is being thrown out there is "orthorexia", which describes a condition in which you watch everything you eat and monitor every activity in a single-minded quest for health. Being paranoid day and night about every bite you take or about that yoga class you missed can be counter-productive. It's ok if you ate a slice of cake, it's ok if you missed a yoga class and it's definitely ok if you chose not do anything active on a holiday.
Being healthy is a long journey and you must always look at the bigger picture. Indulging here and there does not change who you are and what you have become.
4. Goodbye social life
Yes! I am that person who will not do anything until I have finished my morning yoga, and I am that person who has missed a gazillion dinners to go for a run. Prioritising your health is sometimes viewed as selfish and socially unavailable, and I still do the above!
With all due respect, I am going to say one thing -- do as you please! If you want to go for a run and miss dinner -- do so! If you want to drink a protein shake or have a perfect Paleo dinner and not eat when out -- do so! Being social has nothing to do with your health. You take the shots when it comes to your health and life.
Because, staying healthy and being social have nothing to do with each other in the bigger picture. It's about self-control and time management. Go to the gym early in the morning or fix dinners a bit later so you can squeeze in a workout or drink a big smoothie before going out to dinner so you can manage portions. It's all about management. If I can do it for more than a decade -- so can you!
Staying on top of the health game is the most rewarding feeling. I will never sacrifice it for any reason and nor should you. But we all need to find our balance to maintain our sanity.
Stay healthy. Stay balanced. Stay happy!
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