Hi guys! I know this post is endlessly long, but please bare with me :)
During my 22 years on this earth I have time and time again made the attempt to change my lifestyle and get on a healthier path, and as many times as I have tried, I have failed. The reason for this, I see now, is that I tried to make the change for all the wrong reasons.
Every time I made the effort and planed out how I would get more exercise into my busy life or how I would change my diet for the better, I always did it because I felt I was supposed to. Everyone knows you’re supposed to eat healthy, you are supposed to work out a few times a week. You are just supposed to. And if you don’t you automatically have a slightly lower value in the eyes of society, in the eyes of others.
Because of this pressure that surrounds us, the thin and muscular body ideal that circulates in media and society as a whole that everybody knows is the norm, it puts a HUGE amount pressure on all of us. It tells us that if you don’t fit the norm to the T you are just not good enough. This notion that we all carry with us creates a bump in our self esteem. It pushes us to change our lives with the starting point in that there is something wrong with us and that we should change into something else to become more accepted by our peers and fit into that mold that, let’s face it, only a very low percentage of people actually fit into.
I say this is bullshit. The only thing this helps us with is failing. This makes us put ridiculous demands on ourselves, like exercising 6 times a week and give up all the things we enjoy to eat. Maybe that approach works for a week, maybe longer if you are strong willed. But sooner or later you will ‘screw up’. Maybe you cave for the sweet taste of your favorite chocolate bar or just get tired of the whole thing because it sucks all the positive energy out of you. Being and living healthy shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a way of life. To succeed you need to be comfortable with your choices and the steps that you take. If it ends up feeling like a burden you will give it up eventually. A healthy lifestyle is supposed to motivate you, not bring you down. The whole point is for you to feel better about yourself and your life, which you simply can’t I you’re miserable.
My tip is to go at it at your own rate. If you are the kind of person that can’t make a full force change, then don’t. Start slow, and build your way up. If you think you can handle a harder challenge, then put in a higher gear. The most important part is that you stay motivated, stay positive and don’t think too far ahead. You can’t climb Mount Everest in one go.
I have gone one and a half month into my new, healthier lifestyle, and this is the first time that it has really clicked for me. This time I’m doing it for all the right reasons. I do it because I want to treat my body the way it deserves to be treated, so that it can be the best it can be. Because if your body is happy and satisfied, you will be too. Happiness and positivity is side-effects of a healthier lifestyle, not disappointment and despair. If you don’t feel an increased happiness level, you aren’t doing it right.
The most important thing to succeed in changing your lifestyle for the better is to customize it to YOU. Everyone is different, and everything doesn’t work the same way for everyone. As soon as you realize this, you are half way there. Find ways to incorporate healthy foods and exercise into your everyday life on your own terms. And to do this, there is really only one step: Explore, explore, EXPLORE!
Try new things to see what fruits and veggies you like. There is no point forcing yourself to eat something you find truly disgusting just because it is good for you. There are so many things out there to choose from so if you hate broccoli, don’t eat it! Find something else. It’s as simple as that. The same goes for exercise. If you hate running, try Zoomba instead. Or tennis. Or swimming. Whatever floats your boat. You don’t have to join the gym in you don’t want to. There are a lot of things you can do at home that are as effective and also free. If you only set your mind to it there are no limitations. All you need is a little time a few times throughout your week. And I am sure you can find it if you try.
I have to say that I have always despised sports and exercise. Throughout my whole adolescent life it has always been everything about competition. You have to be able to run a particular distance in a certain timeframe, jump this far or score his many goals to be good enough. And I always sucked at all of those things and always came in last. That didn’t exactly give me the will or courage to go out there and try to find a sport to get involved to. There are just so many times you can feel useless until you stare to believe you are. But this time around I have left all of those activities behind and instead I have explored what else the world has to offer. And I have found several different things that I actually like and look forward to. Yes, you got it right. I actually look forward to exercise these days. There is something I never thought I would say.
Finding the things that work for you really makes all the different in the world. Try new recipes and if you don’t get it right the first time, try it again. This way you get to explore new things and you will find out what you like and what to avoid. Don’t be afraid, just give it a go. And if you have one of those chocolate bars once in a while it isn’t the end of the world. It won’t undo all the good you have done. Sometimes you just need something comfortingly tasty.
I know this post is super super long, but it is an important topic. I just hope that I might have opened your eyes if you are struggling with the same things I have struggled with time and time again. Just think about yourself and you aspirations. Don’t try to meet some ridiculous ‘standard’ or to fit into some mold. Just be the best you can be, for yourself. And remember: Treat your body right- it’s the greatest thing you got!