We hear this all the time, "Be healthy!" Or "It's not about being thin anymore, it's about being healthy!"
So what does it mean to be healthy? This is something I've been pondering for about a year now. It was last year in January when I started on a journey to become healthy.
Actually, what I wanted was to lose weight. But why did I want to lose weight? It's because I saw people around me and ads and models and all sorts of images and thoughts ingrained in my head, telling me that I wasn't good enough. I think that's really the reason that I felt like I should lose weight. We all are all affected by what's around us, and if it wasn't for that, I think most people would be generally happy with themselves and their bodies. I really wish there wasn't such a thing as "plus-size modelling", I wish it could just be called "modelling". But that's a subject for another day.
I've grown up in a very supportive home, and for that I am grateful. I grew up with a dad who always told me I was beautiful. Probably every day. I know I am loved. I grew up in a church where I was constantly reminded of my divine origin and potential, and of the unconditional love God and Jesus have for me. I've been extremely lucky to have been told that I am loved, always.
That love is an amazing backbone. It allowed me to gain confidence, although that love in itself did not give me confidence. That is something everyone needs to gain for themselves. Confidence is something you need to learn for yourself. You can't just be told it, if you want to know it. It's like any talent or skill. It takes time. My own confidence has come over time. And being healthy has been a large part of my confidence.
So, being healthy helps with confidence. Pass around the sign up sheet!!
Now that that's established, what's involved with being healthy?
To me being healthy is not about having flat abs, a nice booty, and toned arms. I'm not saying that those things aren't healthy, but being toned isn't what healthy is. Being healthy is also about what you put into your body, having moderation, and being happy. It's also about getting enough sleep. :) That's one of my favourites!
I believe to be healthy, you should eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, and on occasion eating a little more. I believe in moderation in all things, even in moderation itself. That's for your mental health. You shouldn't deprive yourself.
Also, you should make sure that you aren't eating too much sugar. That's something I struggle with a bit. But that's one of my February goals! I'm trying to have sweetness in my meals naturally - from fruit. I'll drizzle maple syrup or agave on my protein pancakes, but I'm trying not to drown then in it. As tasty as that is!
Being healthy is about exercising to REWARD your body. Steph Hendel came out with a really great image the other day.
Don't exercise to punish yourself for the way you eat. Do it because your body deserves your love. And you can love it, and make yourself happy, by exercising and releasing endorphins.
Also, one tip I have is to exercise by finding something you love! That way it's not something you dread. So, if you don't like running (and you've already tried it), try biking! I love going on the bike and watching TV. Go play tennis, plan a hike with your friends, or take a spin class (it works your butt off, and it's fun). Also, I generally like running, but only when I'm in a warmish and beautiful place. I love to be outdoors and see the world. So, I prefer to run outside in the summer on trails when I'm surrounded by nature. But I have a deep dislike for the cold so I choose not to run outside in the winter. So, sometimes I run on treadmills. But if I really don't feel like doing that, I take a dance class (which I just found out I LOVE), go snowboarding, play volleyball, do yoga, or just be active naturally! You could even go roller skating, curling, or tobogganing.
If you think about people in earlier times, they were fit and healthy. Did they spend hours in a gym on a stair climber? No. Obviously not. I'm sure they would think that that idea would be ridiculous. They did things naturally. If I do things naturally that are healthy, I find it's not so much of a hassle. Like walking for instance - I walk to and from the train to school almost every day. That's about 1/2 a mile each way. I figure if you get in about 2 miles of cardio each day, you're on the right track. And with walking, I'm halfway there.
Things we can do naturally to be healthy are things like gardening, dancing (because everyone should dance around their house), taking the stairs, going to a park, cleaning, standing more (standing burns more calories than sitting), playing in the snow if it's not too cold (i.e. build a snowman), parking farther away, shovelling snow (bonus if it's for someone else), or generally just don't spend so much time in front of a screen (advice I need to take myself)!
If exercising and using your muscles makes you happy, then being toned will be just a happy bonus! :)
But, let me quickly mention, that sometimes you don't want to exercise, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't! Sometimes working out is hard and makes you sweat, but it is so worth it! Working out and exercising make you feel great after! Sometimes you have to suck it up, BUT if you do something you enjoy, it will be more fun!
So if you want to be healthy, don't base it on your shape or size, and especially not on your weight. Base it on what you put into your body, how you feel (don't eat until you feel gross), and that you're giving your body exercise.
So to sum up everything I've said, use moderation, limit sugar intake (but only sometimes), find a form of exercise you love, exercise naturally, and you will be (in my definition) healthy. And healthy people are happy people! (Who don't kill their husbands).
I just want to be happy, and laugh, and enjoy what's around me, and live a long, healthy life. And I'd like to hope I'm on the road to that by being healthy!