Healthy Living: 5 Tips To Improve Your Health And Live A Happy Life (Guest Post, Brittany Chavez, FruiVitae)
I would like to introduce you to COTF's newest contributor and up and coming blogger, Brittany Chavez from FruiVitae. She is a registered yoga teacher, nutritionist, and all around great vibes. She has a great energy to her and brings it to her writing. She is all about enjoying life (That's the name of her blog in Latin.) and is always on the lookout for her next adventure. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Take it away, Brittany:
My name is Brittany Chavez. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher, and lover of life. It’s taken me years and years to come to a point where I can balance health and fitness with my own happiness and enjoyment of life, but I love to share with anybody and everybody that is struggling with balancing it all. In today’s world, there is so much pressure to be skinny and look good on the outside. Our society is too focused on looks and physique that we forget about our insides. We neglect to take care of our brains, our feelings, our emotions and our mentality. Are you enjoying your life? Are you happy with your life? Or are you obsessing over getting in that workout? Obsessing over hitting your macros for the day? Many people are too busy obsessing over these little things that they are, sadly, missing out on life!
Here are 5 tips that I have learned to incorporate into my life to be both healthy AND happy with your life!
1. Listen To Your Body
Your body is a complex and sophisticated thing. It has mechanisms in place that breathe for you, hear for you, see for you and, our favorite mechanism, mechanisms that tell you when to eat and what to eat. Yes. Your body is capable of not only telling you WHEN to eat, but also, WHAT to eat.
Have you ever had one of those days where you are trying so hard to follow your meal plan, but your body is making it so hard? It is craving something way different than what your meal plan says. Maybe your meal plan is telling you to eat grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and rice for dinner that night, but all-day long you have been thinking about how yummy a slice of pizza would taste for dinner. What do you do? You go home, bustle up some self-control and you force feed yourself what you are SUPPOSED to eat. By doing this you get zero satisfaction out of that meal. We all know what happens after this. An hour later, not satisfied from dinner, you end up snacking on nutrient-empty junk food to finally satisfy that earlier craving. You end up eating double to amount of calories you would have consumed had you just listened to your craving earlier and had that slice of pizza for dinner. Your body is telling you it needs carbs. Maybe because you haven’t eaten enough carbs or maybe you worked out extra hard that day. But your body’s mechanisms are speaking to you when it craves foods. Listen to your body and feed your body what it needs. Everything in moderation.
This doesn’t only apply to nutrition. It also applies to fitness. Have you ever woken up one morning and just felt exhausted. Physically, mentally, or emotionally? You had planned to workout that day so you force yourself to go to the gym. Because you are so tired, it makes it difficult to even get a good workout in that day and you feel sluggish and grumpy the rest of the day. Your body is constantly speaking to you. Instead of thinking you need to push through it, acknowledge it, accept it, honor it and be okay with skipping a day here and there when you need it. Your body will thank you and reward you with much more energy the following days. Try it out and you will see for yourself.
Although this is so much easier said than done, it is so true. Until you learn to accept and love yourself, you are never going to be happy or satisfied with whatever you are doing.
Self-love is one of the most powerful things. When you allow yourself to love yourself you get rid of fear. Fear of failure, fear of losing people, fear of your own emotions, whatever you are fearful of. When you love yourself you become confident in what you are capable of and all that fear disappears.
A few years ago, I could barely look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t know who I had become. I had become anxious, angry, fatigued, and very fearful. Always obsessing about making my workouts, sticking to my meal plan, and getting my macro counts exactly right every day. I was so focused on changing myself to look a certain way that I had forgotten to take care of myself and love myself.
To become the healthiest version of yourself, you must love yourself first. I can’t say that I have completely accomplished this myself, yet. I don’t know if I ever will and I’m not sure who completely has. So, know that you are not alone in your insecurities. Instead, embrace them. Stop trying to change yourself. There’s nothing wrong with you. But, strive every day to love yourself and embrace who you are. Envision what your “self loving”- self looks like and become that. Wholeheartedly.
I was talking to a woman in my yoga teacher training this weekend who was telling me the story of how she lost 130 pounds in one year. I asked her how she did it and she told me, “Brittany, weight loss is 100% portion control.” Although, we all know this isn’t completely true, I would agree that portion control is a very large percentage of weight loss.
When I was first beginning my weight loss journey, I thought I had to force myself to only eat “healthy” things like veggies, chicken and rice. I thought I was never allowed to eat things like pizza and ice cream. Mentally, every time I would eat a cookie dough blizzard from DQ, one of my favorite treats, I would internally yell at myself. I would tell myself that that food choice just hindered my weight loss progress. I would be so angry with myself after I finished it that it would consume my thoughts and change my mood for the worse that day. WHY? Why did I let one small little choice affect me so much.
Now, I understand that one SMALL cookie dough blizzard from DQ is NOT going to make me fat or hinder my weight loss. In fact, eating a small cookie dough blizzard here and there actually helped me lose weight. Living a healthy lifestyle is a balance. You can’t only eat clean foods for the rest of your life. That would make life boring and miserable. Who doesn’t love a slice of cake or a couple slices of pizza every now and again. Who doesn’t love to go out with friends on a Friday night and eat a small burger and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine? I know I love all these things and without doing these things and indulging in these things, my life is boring, unenjoyable and unhealthy.
4. Do What You Can
“If you don’t get a good sweat in does it even count?” How many of you have ever felt this way about working out? I know I have. Being in sports my whole life, I was always used to intense workouts that would make me sweat like crazy. Once I graduated high school and was no longer involved in organized sports, I had to learn how to workout on my own. I did what I knew best. I would go to the track and sprint until I couldn’t feel my legs. I would go to the gym for two hours and make sure to end with a sweaty cardio session. If I ran less than 4 miles, I would be so disappointed in myself for the rest of the day. It would eat me up inside and again change my mood for the worse.
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with workout out like this. In fact, my present self is very impressed with my past self. But, my mindset has changed significantly. My life is a lot busier than it was back in the day. I don’t have time to go to the gym for two hours. Sometimes I’m lucky to get a 20 minute walk in. But, I’ve learned to be okay with that. Our bodies do so much for us everyday, we don’t need to be overworking ourselves everyday.
In fact, Mayo Clinic recommends “Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.” This breaks down to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 days a week OR 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 5 days a week. This is what is scientifically proven to be efficient for an average healthy person. Get in what you can and be proud of yourself!
5. Life is beautiful. Enjoy it.
Life is a beautiful thing meant to be enjoyed. Worrying and obsessing about the little things is not worth it. When you begin to worry or obsess over skipping the gym, counting your macros, or eating that piece of cake at a birthday party ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” If not, it’s not important. Let it go. Life is a long and beautiful journey that is meant to be enjoyed. Go to that birthday party and enjoy a slice of cake. Go to dinner with your friends and have a drink with them. Skip the gym to rest and relax after a long, hard day. There is so much beauty in the world to be enjoyed. Don’t miss out on that because you are too focused on how you look, what you ate, or what you did or didn’t do. Enjoy Life! Every minute of it.
Living a healthy lifestyle is so much fun. It’s carefree, energizing and “oh so” enjoyable. Find your balance, don’t think so hard, love and embrace yourself, do what you can, and enjoy this beautiful thing we call life.
Until Next Time,