rules for a healthy lifestyle

There is a lot of information out there, and what works for someone might not work for everyone. I write about my authentic life experiences and interests and I hope you will be inspired to break free and find your own way. Here’s my list of rules to live by for a healthy lifestyle so you know what I’m about:

1. Everyone has a story. All that matters is what comes next.

It doesn’t matter where you came from, only where you are going. Everyone has a past and everyone was ‘dealt a hand’ that they have absolutely no control over. Whether you are 200 lbs. overweight or battling an eating disorder, we all have things to overcome. Different backgrounds, genetics, lifestyles and obligations make every person’s story different.

But forget about your story, it’s holding you back. Don’t use it as the excuse you can’t accomplish your goals.

“I have always been heavy.”

“I never have money or time”

“I’ve never been good with nutrition”

“Weight issues run in my family”

Don’t make excuses. Find solutions. You are the only person holding you back from living the life you always wanted. And hopefully you will find inspiration and support here by interacting with awesome people trying to make s*#t happen in their own lives.

Complaining about the past accomplishes nothing, so cut it out. Today can be the start to a new story if you believe that and take action.

2. Do what you want, but don’t make excuses.

If you are looking for the best plan, or the fastest way to get results or the easiest way to get abs, knock yourself out. What works for one person, does not work for everyone-nor does that mean it’s the only way.

There is a ton of information and resources out there to help you reach your goals.

But you have to design your life the way you want it. Fitness and nutrition can be a part of what you are without sacrificing who you are. Anyone who says they don’t have time for exercise is either lying or lazy. Get creative, prioritize, and find a way to fit in at least 20 minutes a day. Do it your way, but just do it.

There is no wrong way. As long as you are making positive changes and having fun doing it, you are headed the right way. Don’t judge your path or someone else’s because it is different. If you are a runner, crossfitter, zumba-er or follow the paleo diet, are vegetarian or just try to eat less crap, you are doing something to improve your health and life. All that matters is that you do something. Anything. 

And in case you were wondering, making excuses does not count as something.

3.  If you’re in, you are in for life. 

When was the last time going gung ho on a fad diet for a few weeks created lasting change? How about cleanses? Or that time you were on a no-carb kick…for 5 days? 

No more dieting and then going back to the way things were. What’s the point of ‘dieting’ with an expiration date and then doing things the way you did that got you where you are now? It’s a silly, stressful, ineffective rollercoaster that causes the scale to go up and down but doesn’t get you anywhere. 

I’m all about encouraging permanent changes (little by little) that are easily sustainable for the rest of your life. Good habits are just as addictive as bad ones, and if you take the time to change small habits over time, it will add up to amazing changes.  Because there are no drastic sacrifices from your current lifestyle, it will be way more fun and feel a lot less like work than any diet you will ever try. 

4. The journey is more important than the destination.

A hot body sounds great; losing 50 pounds, feeling comfortable in your own skin and being confident are all amazing desires. But the reason you probably haven’t had success yet is that most people only focus on the ‘destination’. 

Getting there is not half as important as how you get there.  You will have a tough time even getting there if you are totally miserable or deprived throughout the journey. Focus on creating a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy and it will not only be more sustainable, but you will be happier once you reach your goals. 

If you think you won’t be happy until you lose the weight, think again. Be happy now. Live your life now. The million moments happening while you are working for that one moment are vital- to your success and your sanity.

5. Perfection is overrated.

I say it all the time, strive for progress not perfection. If you are a perfectionist (like me), this will be a tough one for you. And you will probably need to read this more than once and remind yourself all the time until you get it right.

Forget about being perfect- living a healthy lifestyle is not a plan or a diet that you need to follow 100% and anytime you slip up is a ‘failure’. Forget that thinking right now. You will have bad days, meals, months and weekends and you need to accept it and allow it. 

Does this sound familiar?- You start the day with positivity and motivation, make an awesome breakfast, passed up donuts at the office and then you get invited to lunch. You splurged and then said “Welp. I messed up today, I’ll just keep eating what I want and try again tomorrow”. Maybe it becomes the whole weekend, or worse, a week. 

The perfectionist in you sees only good day/week or bad and turns one sushi lunch into an entire weekend of binging, thereby sabotaging your goals. Forget about expectations, perfection, and will power. A bite is just a bite, and making a indulging choice at one meal does not mean you have to make the same choice the next. Focus on making progress and moving forward because:

It’s about what you do most of the time, not about what you do occasionally.

6.  Exercise (and life) should be fun and adventurous.

YOLO. Cheesy? Yes. True? Absolutely. 

If you hate doing cardio, don’t do it! If you don’t like lifting weights (AFTER giving it a chance), don’t do it! Find something you enjoy doing, that gets your heart working and will keep you in shape. 

Like I said, what works for one person won’t work for another, so find what works for you and do it often. Whether it’s yoga, surfing, hiking, running, martial arts, cycling or crossfit- find it, and do it. OFTEN. 

It really doesn’t take as much as you think. Some people enjoy two-a-days, 6 days a week, but that doesn’t mean you have to do that to get where you want to go (in fact it takes A LOT less). Besides, nutrition is 80% of your success when it comes to weight loss, so don’t stress- exercising should be an enjoyable part of your journey.

7. No diets allowed. Eating healthy can be easy and tasty.

You already know that diets suck, but that doesn’t mean eating healthy isn’t important. In fact, if you don’t change what you eat and how much you eat, there is no amount of exercise that will get you where you want to be.

But that doesn’t mean you are sentenced to a life of salads and boiled chicken breasts. I’m talking about making small, intentional changes to what you eat over a long period of time. If you drink soda every day, switch to a few days a week, and then as an occasional treat etc. Keep making small changes each week you can live with permanently and they add up to big results without the shock from drastic change.

How many calories you eat certainly impacts your weight, but what those calories are made of is just as important. Stop eating as much crap and eat more real food, it really is that simple. And if you don’t think healthy food will taste good, check out some recipes to get inspired and I’ll save the I told you so for later.

8. Be curious and never stop learning.

When it comes to your health, asking questions is definitely allowed. Just because the FDA says it’s good for you or you read it in a magazine, doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because the label says it’s healthy or good for you, doesn’t mean it’s true.

(Disclaimer: Same goes for my blog- Just because you read it here, doesn’t mean you should blindly accept it as fact. I want the articles here to inspire you to learn more. Have an open mind, take what you learn, research it, and find a way to make it work for your life.)

I love to read about all the latest things in fitness and nutrition and will continue to test things on myself and share my experiences, opinions and learnings with you. But thinking you know it all or have learned enough is when you stop growing. Take an interest in your health, always look for ways to get better and never stop learning.

9. Good habits are addictive too.

If giving up your soda habit or daily run to McDonald’s sounds tough, here’s some reassurance: good habits are just as addictive. Sure all change takes work in the beginning, but your taste buds will change and you won’t crave the unhealthy addictions anymore- not to mention how much better you will feel and other positive side effects.

Now, here’s some tough love: change happens when your desire to change is greater than your resistance to it. Trading old habits that got you where you are for new habits to get you where you want to be is work. There is no way around that. Hopefully you will learn things here to make the transition simple and enjoyable, but YOU have to decide that it is worth it. 

And you have to keep making that choice every single day until it is second nature.

10. Fitness is movement, and it should be natural. 

Our bodies were made to run, walk, lift, squat, carry and twist and you are more than capable of doing just that. Just like food close to it’s natural state is best for you, so is training your body as naturally as possible. 

The inner thigh, ab and squat machines are a waste of your time and just another method for the fitness industry to make its millions. Weight machines force your body into a selectorized motion (up and down, forward and back etc) and prevent you from moving naturally, as you would in the real world. It also robs you of the benefits from having to work to stabilize and balance your body through those movements-increased calorie burn, less chance of injury, more strength, to name a few.

Using free weights and body weight exercise gives your muscles the opportunity to train for real world movements. You can do them from anywhere, too, so don’t worry if you aren’t a gym person. If you have a body, you can work out.  Get in, give it your all, and get out- you don’t need fancy equipment or a ton of time, so skip the excuses and do what what works for you.

11. Help someone else to help yourself.

Some days you will just want to stay in bed and give up on your goals. When you have one of those days, don’t worry about fixing yourself or your current motivation level, in fact, don’t worry about yourself at all. 

Reach out to someone you care about, cheer someone along in their journey or commit a random act of kindness for a complete stranger. Making someone else happy is the best way to make yourself happy. 

If someone at work expresses curiosity in your new healthier lunch habits, take the time to answer questions and share what you know. Sometimes inspiring someone else is the best way to inspire yourself. 

Hey, it’s why I do what I do. Inspiring even a few of you is enough to inspire myself.

12. You can do anything you want, you just have to decide.

I saved the best rule for last. It’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned and it has had an equally large impact on my own life. Whether it’s your dream job, dream body, dream life or trip, you really can make it happen. It is entirely up to you to make yourself. 

It’s not hard to be healthy, to be vital, to be productive and have a beautiful body, it’s just a choice. Clear your mind of can’t. It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. 

Stop blaming the government, your genetics, where you live, the economy or your cat for your current situation. If you believe you can change it, and if you are willing to put in the hard work and determination to get there, then you can. 

 

I believe in you. 

Courtney