What is “healthy living” anyway? The answer might surprise you. (Women’s Health Awareness Post)

This post about women’s health and talks about what is healty living – this is part of a sponsored discussion with Walgreens #HerHealth and #CollectiveBias.

Healthy living is something I preach and live everyday.

But what IS ‘healthy living’?

What does ‘healthy living’ look like to you? Is there any right or wrong way to use the term “healthy living” and “healthy habits” when talking about your lifestyle?

what is healthy living #herhealth #shop

You might expect me to say that “healthy living” is all about working out a specific amount of times per week, eating a specific type of food, and being super cautious and aware of what you do and how you act at all times.

Guess what – that’s not it.

The thing is, what is healthy living is not the right question.

The right question is “what does healthy living mean to ME?”

Because I honestly do not think there is one answer to this. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong answer. Healthy living isn’t something that is a black and white concept. Healthy living is about the gray area, the green area, the brown, and yellow, and black, and white, and blue, and…

You get the point.

There is no such thing as a straight answer to “healthy living is…” – because it’s a concept, a belief, and way of being – not a right or wrong.

As soon as we see this (or anything else that’s conceptual) as a right or wrong, we come from the fear and judgment-based frame of mind, which puts us in a constant flow of anxiety, stress, and other fun emotions that no one wants to feel.

This is where eating disorders come into play – we believe we have to eat and exercise a certain way to be “healthy” and we believe, rigidly, that healthy living is a certain way. It’s a way that the models look when they are on magazine covers. It’s the way “experts” tell us to eat and exercise. It’s the way “they” want us to act so we can look good for “them.”

Here’s a concept I want to introduce to you…

Healthy living is what you make it to be for yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to “do” healthy living.

How healthy living used to be like for me:

  • I used to think I needed to be a certain size to be accepted and loved
  • I used to think I needed to eat 1200 calories per day to be healthy
  • I used to think eating fat was a horrid thing and gets you fat
  • I used to think I needed to exercise 5-6 times per week to be healthy
  • I used to feel if I missed a day of exercise, I failed
  • I used to feel if I had a craving and indulged, I was weak and unworthy

How is that healthy living? Sounds like a prison. That’s not healthy! But yet, it was so deeply ingrained in me that this is what healthy living is all about.

The shift into intuitive living

I made the shift and had a breakthrough in March 2013 when I finally said goodbye to diets and the obsession. I gave up on dieting and I decided to embrace an intuitive eating mindset.

I quickly learned that it’s very easy to make intuitive eating as a rigid as any other “healthy living” mindset I described above. It’s entirely possible to take it too far and for it to become obsessive.

Over the months, I shifted away from focusing on how I look like and focusing on how I feel. Spirituality. Self-awareness. Happiness. True feelings that were numbed by food before.

From that point, I was on a journey and it’s when I discovered that “healthy living” isn’t any of those things.

It’s none of it.

Healthy living is living in communion with your soul, your desires, and realizing that respect and love for the body are the beginning of a life that is truly healthful. (click to tweet)

Through a mixture of journaling, daily meditation and gratitude, and exploring my spiritual path, I have become so much more aware of the notion of body.

I have learned to respect it and treat it well because it deserves it. Even when you feel unworthy, you must know that it’s just a belief, a snarky thought that is a lie – your body is a temple and it is worthy of all the love, respect, and kindness in the world.

It allows you to be. It allows you to walk, breathe, live, act.

You do not have control over your body. It isn’t “yours” to keep and do whatever you please – it’s our spiritual home, only one that we have, so you should treat your body like a child, like another person. Be kind to it, treat it well, feed it the food it asks to be fed, ask whether it’s hungry, or thirsty, or bored, or sad, or sore. Ask it why? Be curious and explorative with it. That’s how you create a relationship with you body that’s healthy.

That’s the core of “healthy living” – not that you have to work out 3 times a week and eat 1500 calories per day with 70 grams or carbs or less. That’s just semantics. Those are just little things that divert us from the bigger vision of healthy living – that we must treat our body and mind kindly and compassionately so it can carry us where want to go, let us act out our desires and passions, and experience a fulfilling and peaceful and joyful life that we were meant to live.

So now that I had that preface, I wanted to mention how I take care of my body and mind today.

what is healthy living #herhealth #shop

How I take care of myself today

I do not count calories, carbs, fats, or anything else. I don’t weigh my food. I don’t weigh myself.

I laugh. I live. I exercise when it works for me and when I can feel my body wanting me to. I meditate to quiet my body so I can let my body speak to me.  I do it out of respect. I journal to give order and clarity to my thoughts. I help other passionate women create and maintain their own solo businesses (and bloggy businesses).

I also feed my body mostly real foods and use supplements when I feel it’s necessary. I like to take Fish Oil daily and I take Vitamin C whenever I feel like I might be getting a cold (which is now, but I think it might be allergies too) and I usually get them from Walgreens since they have literally everything you could need.

what is healthy living #herhealth #shop

I also recently got a Multi-Vitamin for Women because I haven’t taken it in a while and I think it’s nice to go through a phase of taking it once in a while when I do’t eat enough veggies or fruits on the particular day. I’m not rigid about it though and I do it when I know my body would like it.

what is healthy living #herhealth #shop

I exercise my body twice a week. Yes, only twice. It feels right for my schedule and it feels GOOD. I run and do yoga. I haven’t lifted weights in months. It feels fine.

I also exercise my mind by reading every single day and getting inspired to move forward with my own business (PS. If you like to read inspirational books, check out this FREE Entrepreneurial Virtual Book Club – I’d love to have you join us!). I picked up the Entrepreneur magazine from Walgreens and had the Fast Company magazine. This is a part of my healthy habits – getting inspired and motivated by other successful entreprenurs. I love it.

what is healthy living #herhealth #shop

So… what do you think?

What is “healthy living” to you?

Let us know in the comments!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    First off, fantastic post! I love your attitude and approach to healthy living! I think I’m in a similar boat as you – having gone though the process of being over-specific about our fitness and diet goals and now developing an inner awareness for what our bodies are naturally craving and in need of! :)
    I talk to women all the time who are so fixed on this idea of what a ‘healthy body’ looks like that they forget to develop health within their own bodies in an effort to attain someone else’s look! We need to get back to being in our own skin and not numbing our feelings with food as you’ve said. Then we can get down to the nitty gritty of it and truly heal ourselves and become happier, healthier people! :D
    Abby recently posted…His & Hers Green SmoothiesMy Profile

  2. says

    I completely agree with you, that you have to have a well rounded approach to healthy living. Being happy, motivated, positive, intuitive – those are all healthy habits. If you eat something that makes you hurt, tired, or foggy; it probably isn’t the right food for your body. It is different for each person. I love your holistic approach to health, and that Walgreens is there to help you along the way. #client
    Summer Davis recently posted…Shards of Heart – A Saturday Stream of ConsciousnessMy Profile

  3. says

    Can I just say that this is a beautiful post? Written from such a genuine place of love, I can feel it through your words, and I couldn’t agree more with you with two of your points:
    “what is healthy living for ME” because what works for one person, probably won’t work for everyone. I cringe at those stupid “flat belly diet day plan” in women’s health, telling us to eat only 1500 calories! That is not practical for ALL women! I know I sure can’t live off of 1500, not that I even know what that looks like anyway because, on to the second point I agreed with you on
    “I do not count calories, carbs, fats, or anything else. I don’t weigh my food. I don’t weigh myself.”
    I am not a counter at ALL. I do not look at any of the numbers what so ever, my food is not tied to numbers, but rather nutrition and well being for my body. This protein to help rebuild my muscles, these veggies to give me vitamins and nutrients, these carbs to fuel me with energy. I don’t weigh myself either, because quite frankly, what does it matter? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t :)
    Amber recently posted…Guest Recipe Post for Cat SmileyMy Profile

  4. says

    Everything you listed under “How healthy living used to be like for me” I can totally relate because that was exactly how it was for me too when I was dieting.

    You’re totally right, healthy living means something different to everyone and that is the beauty of us all being individual. To me it is feeling comfortable in my skin, having less migraines, my eczema not flaring up, not feeling bloated, not having a cloudy head or sugar cravings through the roof, feeling satisfied with what I eat….the list goes on and one.

    I have a busy schedule and can’t always get to the gym, but I’ve realised that that is OK, at one time I would have beat myself up about it and forced myself to work out after a 12 hour day at work. I go to the gym when I can (usually once or twice a week) but I go horse riding and do yoga as well.

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