5 Ways to Turn Thinking Healthy Into Being Healthy
By ROBYN YOUKILIS
Like many Americans, I had an extremely unhealthy relationship with food for most of my life. Trying to starve myself, binging and diet pills were all things I became familiar with by the age of 17. And then came the "no fat" craze, which totally knocked me out. I hated my body, I was cranky all the time and totally fed up with living that way. Something had to change, so I began incorporating what I thought were “healthier” foods into my diet. But I still didn't understand how to truly nourish my body.
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That all changed when I relearned how to eat a few years ago. While studying to become a health coach, I was taught about the importance of whole foods and “bio-individuality,” which means each individual should consume foods that are best for their unique body. For me, this means tons of vegetables and fermented foods -- they give me the most energy and the clearest thoughts. Combine this clean eating with a non-negotiable commitment to daily exercise, and “healthy” is now who I am, not just what I want to be.
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As I learned time and time again, there's truly no “magic pill.” As Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, shared with me:
“Most of today's health challenges come from diet and lifestyle, yet the medical and pharmaceutical world has little to offer in this area except for medications, supplements and operations. Eating more nutritious foods, getting more sleep and reducing stress are alternative ways to prevent and cure health issues.”
Becoming -- and staying -- a truly healthy version of yourself is not easy, but it's definitely doable. Consider these tips to help get you there:
1. Commit Now: Declare yourself a healthy person. Don't just say “I hope I will be healthy” or “I want to be healthy,” but “I am healthy.” Determine what “healthy” means to you, and then make the positive changes until you truly are that way. “I go to bed when I should.” “I eat the broccoli instead of the cookie.” “I reach for the water instead of the soda (diet or otherwise).” Before you know it, these choices won't even be choices: They'll be second nature.
2. Ask for Help or Do It With a Friend: Getting support from the people you interact with on a daily basis -- online or off -- will make the journey so much easier. Let them know how important it is for you to be healthy, and either ask them to join you or at least support you along the path. Becoming healthy with a friend, where you both make the changes together and help each other along the way, is so much more fun than doing it alone!
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3. Take One Step at a Time: You don't have to make every change at the same time. Life is a long journey. Reminding myself of this allowed me relax and make gradual changes that began to add up until I was the me I really wanted to be. I focused on drinking more water or chewing more slowly until it felt as natural as blinking. Try one new thing per week.
4. Determine Your “Musts.” Create at least one non-negotiable “must” that you commit to every single day. For me, that's exercise or some sort of movement. For others, it might be drinking eight glasses of water or eating dark leafy greens with every meal. Making this a “must” will make it a habit you can't imagine not doing.
5. Accept Who You Are: While you might not be happy or completely satisfied with who you are right now -- at the beginning of your journey to becoming your healthiest you -- try to accept where you are right now. Dress for the body you have right now. Be kind to yourself and celebrate each new accomplishment, then it will be easier to make your next healthy decision each time.
Readers -- Do you have a plan to get healthy and fit? What is your non-negotiable "must do" when it comes to nutrition or fitness? If you've reached your goal, how did you accomplish it? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Robyn Youkilis is a wellness expert, TV personality and author who has helped thousands master the art of mindful eating and living -- one bite at a time. Known for her straightforward, supportive style, Robyn helps clients reclaim their health through cooking classes, motivational speaking and her boutique-style coaching program, Thin From Within. She's been featured on The Today Show, CBS News and Huffington Post and in Health Magazine, Men's Fitness, Redbook, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fitness and NYLON. She will be releasing her first book in 2016. Robyn is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.