cover photo Twah Dougherty
hair Ahern Beauty
makeup JFink Beauty
I was recently featured on Jainé Kershner’s podcast : Tea With Jainé and had a great time sharing my advice on leading, or at least trying to lead, a healthy and balanced lifestyle – and that’s just it, “lifestyle!” People seem to think that a quick fix or crash diet will help get them started on the way to being fit and that’s very far from the truth. What you really need to do is change your lifestyle and way of thinking … truly change your relationship with food. I know some people who get completely stressed out and will just binge eat every bad food you could possibly think of, and while ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ you need to start somewhere. If you know that stress causes major binge eating of unhealthy snacks for you, try to retrain your brain on what “unhealthy snacks” are, for example instead of grabbing peanut butter cups, slice up an apple and dip it into peanut butter and chocolate BUT my #1 rule : always read the ingredients. So be sure you’re eating/buying all natural peanut butter and dark (high percentage cacao) chocolate.
Now I already know what you’re thinking in reading this – peanut butter cups just taste better … well go back to my #1 rule : the next time you’re at the food store and you want to grab some treats for yourself, go ahead and read the label on the back of the peanut butter cup package (any unhealthy item package for that matter) and then compare to the peanut butter and chocolate that you will buy instead. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient in the item you are about to purchase and put into your body, then it does not belong in your body, period!
In addition to changing your thought process when it comes to food, you do need to create a plan of action for exercise. I recommend that you just plug exercise into your schedule like you do a meeting, doctor’s appointment, etc. If you know that 4, or even 5, days a week that you are doing an exercise class, walking, cycling, etc. for one hour scheduled, then you are more likely to stick with it. Eventually exercising becomes a part of your routine and it will no longer feel like work or “impossible to fit into [your] busy life.”
Now while you’re adding all of these new exercise classes to your schedule, remember to be realistic with yourself, that way you don’t feel let down when there is too much on your plate. I need to remind myself of this on a daily basis because I want to do it all and it’s just not possible. Be mindful of your work week and even what you do for a living, if you’re on your feet for 12+ hours and working back to back shifts, like a nurse, doctor or surgeon, you can’t go to an hour long workout class on certain days and that’s fine. Even if you’re not any of those things and you’re a stay at home mom, a high school teacher, or as far as a social media strategist (that’s a popular career in 2020) there are quick 15-20 min. workouts you can easily do from home. Also, certain fitness locations will offer 30 – 45 min. long classes instead of 60+ minutes – those extra 15 – 30 min. makes a difference for a lot of people. Don’t overload yourself, it’s all about balance – eating healthy and nutritious foods, and getting in at least 30 min. of exercise in daily with some wiggle room.
To add to that, as a planner I have weeks sometimes where it’s impossible to get a workout in but that’s when I need to really focus on my nutrition and staying on the right path, not skipping meals or binge eating Doritos because I had no time to eat all day …. which leads me to making time for meal prep. I am preaching to my own self when it comes to this because meal prep seems to be tough for me to get done each week but, going back to scheduling it in, if you make the time to meal prep on a certain day it will get done! And guess what, you have a non-stop insane day? … breakfast, lunch and dinner are right there made beautifully so you have no excuses to eat McDonald’s mid-day, or sometimes nothing at all!
At the end of the day, make time for yourself, breathe, meditate, watch bad (but amazing) reality TV … whatever you need to unwind and feel light again. There is SO much pressure, even more so today than ever, because of social media. I am a culprit myself, I will look at fitness models and think “oh gosh I need to work harder” and what I really need to do, and I do, is put the phone down and have some me time. I personally really love and enjoy healthy foods, my sister and I were just raised to eat well from a young age so I thankfully don’t need to retrain my brain on that but definitely need to redirect my thoughts when it comes to feeling the pressure. Women in general have to always appear perfect : perfect girlfriend, perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect business owner, perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect outfit … so my last bit of advice is to remember that nothing in life is perfect, not even Oprah has a perfect life (although I know we all wish we had her bank account!) I need to tell myself this too, all the time, but you are enough (so cliché – but so true!) and make sure you take time out every single day for you.