How to Get Healthier
12 Things You Need to Give Up in 2018 to Be Healthy (and Happy)
It's time to cut it out . . . all of these 12 things out, that is. And this year, we're not talking about gluten, dairy, or soda (well . . . we have thoughts on soda). We're talking about negativity that's weighing you down, detracting from your mental health and happiness, and otherwise not contributing to your health or overall well-being. Let's clear the clutter!
- Excessive exercise. We're so proud of you for making exercise and healthy living part of your everyday life, but we can all take things a little too far sometimes. You don't need two-a-days every day, and you certainly don't need to spend hours at a time in the gym. We want you to use exercise as a healthy outlet to keep your body functioning at its prime, but too much of a good thing can lead to serious exhaustion and overtraining syndrome (and even weight gain). It's OK to give yourself a break! 2018 is going to be all about finding a balance between HIIT and recovery. Sound good?
- Exercising to "fix" your body. Work out to celebrate your body, not to punish it. Work out to feel great, not to feel shame. Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it. The moment your mindset shifts, the moment your life will start to change. Set your goal on feeling good, feeling healthy, and feeling happy — the rest of the "results" will follow.
- Workouts you hate. If you hate indoor cycling, then why are you still going to Spin day after day? If the gym isn't making you happy, then why are you paying for that expensive membership? As we've been saying, part of the goal with exercise is to make your body healthy, but your happiness plays a role in your overall health. Exercise should bring you joy — even if it's tough or strenuous in the moment. Try some new studios, flip through our at-home videos, or pick up running. But whatever you do, don't stop until you find the one exercise you love (and leave that other stuff you hate in the dust).
- That diet you've yo-yoed with. It's just not working out. Like a bad relationship, you keep trying, you keep putting in the effort, but it's just not reciprocating. Is it making you healthier or more frustrated? We're guessing the answer is no. You don't need to subscribe to a particular diet just because someone else liked it. Use this year to find the diet that works for you, not the other way around.
- That vegetable you hate eating. We said it last year, and we'll say it again: you don't need kale to be healthy! The point is, don't force-feed yourself a health food if you hate it. It's not healthy to force-feed yourself anything, regardless of its nutritional value. Use this coming year to find a new superfood or health food that you DO like, and stock up.
- Food shaming. Even if you haven't heard the term, you've heard the shaming. Maybe you've even been the shamer (it's OK, we have too). Whether it's to yourself or to others, it's time to give up the idea that everything is a competition of who can out-healthy one another. Enjoy food for what it is — both nourishment and a source of pleasure.
- Obsessive calorie counting. While calorie counting can be a great tool if you're looking to make a significant change in your weight, it doesn't tell the whole story. You could eat 1,000 calories of gummy bears or 1,000 calories of fruits and vegetables and have completely different results. Calorie counting doesn't take into account macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, and other properties nutritious foods can have. The obsessive counting also creates a bad psychological relationship with food.
- Your scale. Like calorie counting, a scale can be a useful tool in the process of making a drastic weight change, but it shouldn't be the only metric you use to get your health on track. Focus instead on how often you move and how good you feel.
- Stress. Life's too short to be plagued by debilitating stress, and you deserve to feel happier each and every day. Is it something at work? In your personal life? Time to cut that out. Take some time to evaluate your life as the year comes to a close and see what changes you can make to cut down on your stress levels as you head into 2018.
- Shame around being stressed. In the peak of the Instagram era, many of us feel pressure to be "on" all the time and portray a perfect life. There's a lot of shame both internally and externally around being stressed, feeling overwhelmed, or (in more significant instances) struggling with a mood disorder like anxiety or depression. Whether you have a generalized anxiety disorder or you simply get stressed out around the holiday season, you don't need to fake it. It's OK to say "I'm burnt out," and you don't have to pretend everything's fine.
- Perfectionism. See point 10; it's the same concept. Your life isn't always as pretty as your Instagram feed, and that's perfectly OK.
- Beating yourself up. Even if you're not feeling shamed by anything external, sometimes it comes from within. If you can't lift as heavy as the woman next to you in the gym, your power score at Flywheel isn't as high as you want it, or you didn't get that promotion you wanted this year, stop ragging on yourself. You're a human being, and this life is a journey. Take time to celebrate your victories, compliment yourself, and reflect on all the positive and wonderful things in your life that you're grateful for.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd