Find the time today to take action and heal your body and mind for a healthy life! These are steps that I’ve taken over the years to get where I am. Sometimes it wasn’t easy, but I have way more energy now.
Twelve years ago I was sitting in Starbucks sipping a frozen coffee drink with whipped cream on top and taking a bite out of a very large muffin. I was 15 pounds overweight, not loving my job or my future, and feeling my vitality slip away. Besides the fact that I didn’t feel I had any direction in my life, I was also eating poorly and typically getting fast food or quick snacks loaded with sugar in my busy life.
I was busy constantly. I had to keep it that way to avoid thinking about what I was doing, or where I was going in life.
I was lonely. I hadn’t met my forever man at that point and didn’t even feel like it was worth it to treat myself right. No one loved me anyway, right? Wrong. Lots of people loved me, but I had no feeling of worth at the time. It was definitely a combination of having no direction in life and beating up my body with junk food just because it felt good. I did the occasional strong workout, then got mad at myself for not going regularly. Hence I didn’t lose any weight.
Fast forward two years.
My forever-man, my soulmate was newly in my life. He totally loved me for me. He was healthy, worked out, and studied nutrition on the side, but only for fun. He said to me one day: “You know, you’re really tired from your bike ride because all you had was cereal for breakfast!”
I said, “What’s wrong with cereal?”
“It has no protein in it, so your energy is quickly depleted from it.”
From there, I started reading the books he was reading and discovered that my junk-food filled diet was lacking in protein and complex carbohydrates. That was causing me to have chronic headaches, less energy, and more weight.
It opened a whole new world for me! Suddenly I was cooking at home, making full meals with delicious salads, stews, and even dabbling in coming up with my own recipes. I was down to my healthiest, lowest weight ever (even lower than high school!). I worked out almost every day at home, with no personal trainer pushing me. Here’s how I got there:
Eat protein for breakfast! Start your day off with energy and vitality. There are so many choices to choose from: scrambled eggs, chicken sausage (get organic), leftover chicken and rice, quiche, quinoa salad with almonds and garbanzo beans, high-protein hemp pancakes (for you Vegans!), oatmeal with an egg, etc.
Ease into cooking a few things from scratch, using whole food ingredients instead of packaged junk. Try out roasted potatoes, parsnips, or yams instead of packaged pasta. Instead of dry cereal and milk in the morning, try making a quiche with veggies on Sunday before the workweek, then heat it up every day with some sharp cheddar sprinkled on top.
Find an exercise routine that is really truly fun for you. Don’t skimp on this one, or pretend that you love it because it’s trendy. Do exercise that makes you feel alive and joyful after doing it. Interval yoga can be a really good way to lose weight and enjoy the benefits of stretching and deep breathing. It combines high-intensity exercises with stretching and releasing your muscles. I absolutely love it. But it might not be something that you love. Try HIIT yoga, paddle-board yoga, walking with a friend regularly, Taikwondo, roller-blading, swimming, dance, etc. Also, pick something that is really easy & convenient for you to do. Is there a gym right by your work that has a fun new class? Try it out. If you’re embarrassed to go to a gym, try YouTube videos for inspiration.
Cleanse your beauty routine. Use organic, pure products. Not sure what brands are best? I’ve created Rosemary’s All-Natural Non-Toxic Beauty Guide that you will love! Check it out on my website. I always used to feel like I couldn’t trust any of the beauty products in the store, but now I have my handy list to consult and they are all 100% organic! Most beauty products are full of chemicals so make sure to find ones that are Vegan or Certified Organic so that you treat your body right.
For any non-life threatening illnesses, choose a natural approach to healing. Try out a Naturopathic Doctor or Acupuncturist. These practitioners can offer gentle healing methods and even nutritional advice for your condition. Get rid of prescription drugs! If you can safely eliminate them you will stop having all of the side effects and toxic ingredients. For any illnesses with your kids, be sure to check with your doctor before trying these methods. Any fevers, flu or lethargic/strange behavior should be checked out by a doctor or emergency room practitioner; don’t take any risks.
Give up sodas and other caffeine-filled sugary drinks. Replace them with hot lemon honey water, teas, cucumber water, fruit water, etc. If you drink excessive amounts of coffee (more than 3 cups), try to back off slowly and replace with loose-leaf green tea (which still has a lot of caffeine). I have quit coffee twice, so I know it’s possible! I drink straight green tea that is brewed with very hot boiling water, using loose-leaf “gunpowder” green tea leaves. It gives a longer energy boost without all of the sugar and headaches from coffee. Also, try matcha tea, rooibos, and any other cool alternatives.
Cut out excess busy-ness in your life. Evaluate your goals for your body, family, health, fitness, and career. Cancel anything that doesn’t support those goals. Practice saying No Thank You to invitations that stress you out or leave you feeling drained. Stress is a big part of illness and weight gain. If you have kids, stop being a taxi driver.
Make time for yourself every day to relax and unwind. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Make this non-negotiable in your calender. Do some deep breathing, meditation, or yoga with a YouTube instructor (I have a favorite one!), read a novel or uplifting non-fiction book, etc. No TV, mobile phone, computer allowed during the time, except to assist in relaxing. Honestly I feel like rushing off to a yoga studio is too stressful and busy for me to fit in, so I do it at home with Ali Kamenova on Youtube. Pick whatever makes you happy!
Buy organic & in-season whenever possible. Yes, it’s more expensive. Try to find online sources for a lot of what you buy, and avoid the big organic stores that charge too much. Look in your area for local farmers that offer bulk discounts for meat, grain, fruit, and veg. How do we afford it? We don’t go to the movie theaters anymore, we watch YouTube shows instead of buying cable, very rarely go out to dinner, no take-out except on birthdays, and we make our own wine and beer. Sounds a little crazy, right? It’s that important to us to have clean food that is locally produced, than to go out and entertain ourselves with movies or dinners. I have way more enjoyment from buying top quality ingredients like a wild salmon and cooking it up with rice and steamed veggies than eating out.
Train your kids early to eat whole veggies, fruits, stews, and steamed greens. They will still want sugar, but will not expect it at every meal. They will appreciate spicy, salty, meaty flavors. My son’s favorite food is sausage or fresh carrots from the garden. He never answers with any sugary food when friends and neighbors ask him! He is now six years old, so I think my experiment worked 🙂
Let me know your thoughts! I know from experience that it is hard to change up your routine, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Take it slow and maybe pick one of the 10 Steps to try out for the week.