As part of our second-annual Back to Basics Week, each FBG is sharing five things living a healthy lifestyle has taught her. Read on for our serious—and fun—life lessons!
I’ve been active my entire life, but I’ve gone through varying periods of exercising almost daily and eating really, really well (like, soooo much steamed broccoli), periods of kind of giving up on it all because clearly I can’t sustain the all-exercise-and-broccoli-all-the-time lifestyle, and then, there’s the current me who works out more than your average gal and works hard to find a good balance of really healthful meals and enough splurges to keep the cravings at bay. Believe it or not, exercising for an hour or two puts me in my happy place, as long as I can make time for it. I feel fit, I feel strong, and I feel totally fine with meeting friends for happy hour or having an extra slice of pizza here and there.
5 Things Living a Healthy Lifestyle Has Taught Me
1. Making it social makes it stick. It’s not just the accountability of meeting someone, although that’s a big help when I’m planning an early swim and don’t feel like getting out of bed and heading to the pool. It’s also the fact that the social aspect makes it more fun. The things I do every single week, like going to swim class on Tuesdays and joining a group run on Thursdays, are things I honestly look forward to even when I don’t feel like exercising at all. I mean, this may be my only opportunity to see these friends all week! And when you factor in a kick-ass workout to boot, it’s a no-brainer. Of course I’ll be there.
2. Not everyone wants to discuss every detail of my run. (But some people totally do.) A friend of mine compared the way fitness and healthy living enthusiasts talk about their workouts and diets to the way some rather zealous churchgoers discuss religion. When it’s amongst others who share your interest, it’s great! And when you’re around those who don’t share your beliefs or enthusiasm, well, maybe a different topic is in order. How ’bout them Gators?
3. Smoothies can be totally satisfying. I used to think smoothies were for suckers. They have so many calories and often a ton of sugar and you just drink them and you’re supposed to feel full. And then, I had to rely on them for quite a while, and I learned how to make them filling and satisfying and super healthful, and now, I don’t know what I’d do without them.
4. Not every workout has to be a hard-core calorie torcher. This lesson has been a long time coming. I’m a go-hard or go-home type of exerciser, and have always felt like, if I’m going to take the time to work out, well, I should really make it count. If there’s not a puddle of sweat under my Spin bike, I didn’t give my all. But lately I’ve been incorporating more and more yoga and stretching to complement the strength and cardio work I’m doing, and while it’s an adjustment for me to appreciate what it’s doing for my body, I feel confident that I’ll not only feel more peaceful and centered as I continue, but I’ll also see tangible results in my swim and runs due to the increased flexibility.
5. Half marathons are like childbirth. I’ve done two half marathons and, after both, I swore up and down I would never, ever do another one. It hurt, I hated it, and sure, the medal was pretty, but was it worth it? No way. Not even a little. And yet, guess what I’ve registered to run this May? I know it hurt, I remember the misery, and still I want to do it again. It’s basically the same as my friends with multiple kids.
If I could include an honorary mention, I’d also like to say that this healthy lifestyle has also taught me that it’s a journey. New studies will come out and alter my diet. Friends will do new and exciting races that challenge me to set a new goal. And I know my body will change, in some ways for the better, and in some ways … well, I’m not getting any younger. But that’s fine; just as all those things will change and update, so will my attitude and lifestyle!
Are any of these lessons familiar to you? Is there anything you think I’m missing? —Kristen