My Personal Healthy Living Guidelines

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I love reading and learning about healthy living, nutrition, and fitness.  I have for a long, long time.  My love for fitness probably began during my early teen years.  I can remember working out with my mom to Jane Fonda videos.  I also loved the Buns of Steel videos and was crazy for step aerobics when it came out.  My eating back then was not so good.  I am not comfortable going into details, but I had eating issues that I am not proud of.  I also had very low self-esteem in high school which contributed to some eating issues.  But luckily, things got better during my senior year of high-school (that’s when I met and fell in love with my hubby and I know he had something to do with this! ).

My eating improved, but that was when low-fat and fat-free was all the rage.  I continued believing in the low-fat and fat-free way of eating up until about two years ago when I started to cut out processed foods and began focusing more on real, whole foods.  I started following 100 Days of Real Food during the summer of 2014 and learned so much about proper nutrition and the importance of cutting out processed foods.  That blog is what really started me on a real, whole food journey.

Shortly after I started cutting out the processed foods, I came across the Whole30 program.  During that time, I was having a lot of issues with headaches and migraines and did not want to be on prescription medication for them.  While I researched the Whole30 program one of the things that stood out the most to me were all the testimonials from people saying they noticed their migraines went away or improved while following the program.  I decided it was definitely worth a try, so in October 2014 I did my first Whole30.  It was hard, but it was wonderful!  I went from having about 15-20 headache days a month to having about 3.  That was a huge improvement and it definitely confirmed that eating real, whole foods is the way to go.  I completed another Whole30 in January 2015.  I don’t eat Whole30 all the time now, however I do plan on doing another round of Whole30 in September.  More info to come on this.  (If you are wondering what the Whole30 program is, it is a stricter form of the paleo diet – no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no alcohol.)

Right now, I try to focus on limiting processed foods and eating as many real, whole foods as I can.  I don’t drive myself crazy though trying to eat perfectly 100% of the time.  I personally like the 80/20 rule when it comes to healthy eating.  I have to be honest though, my eating has been off for awhile now.  I don’t know if it has been having my kids home all summer or what, but I have been letting too many things slide.  I can definitely feel a difference.  I am not as energetic.  I have been having more headache and migraine issues.  I have been having stomach issues.  Just feeling blah.  Food really does make a difference.  So, like I said, I am planning on doing another round of the Whole30 in September as a good way to reset.  I thought about doing it in August, but we have too many things going on (celebrating my birthday, my mom’s birthday, our 15 year anniversary, end of summer outings and back to school) that it would be extremely difficult for me to stick with it 100% like I want to.

In the meantime though, I need to get back on track NOW!  No reason to let the activities we have going on this month be excuses for eating poorly and not working out consistently for another month.  So, I have been thinking what my personal healthy guidelines are.  I came up with a top ten list of things that make me feel healthy and great:

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  1. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day.
  2. Drink hot lemon water every morning.
  3. Focus on fueling myself properly all through the day.  Eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks when needed.  Skipping meals makes me hangry and my sugar levels take a nose dive making me feel very lethargic and jittery.
  4. Eating at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
  5. Being mindful of eating in the evenings after dinner.  Nighttime is the worst for me as far as cravings go.  And, that is also the time that I am most guilty of mindless eating while watching television.
  6. Exercise for at least 30 minutes at least 4 times a week.  My workouts vary depending on what I am interested in doing each day.  Sometimes I want yoga or pilates.  Some days it is walking/running or a HIIT workout.  Some days I want to work on strength training.  I don’t like to try to stick to a specific schedule that says I need to do so many cardio workouts a week and so many strength training workouts a week.  I personally do better when I listen to my body and exercise the way I want each day.  My goal is to just MOVE!
  7. Try to stay active throughout the day.  I believe setting aside time to devote solely on exercising is great, but I also think it is extremely important to stay active throughout the whole day with just normal everyday activities (such as cleaning the house, playing with my kids, taking my dog for a walk, taking walk breaks if I have been sitting for awhile).  I personally love my Fitbit, so my goal is to get 10,000 steps or as close to that as I can.
  8. SLEEP!!!!  This is a challenge for me.  I have sleep issues.  I don’t generally have a difficult time falling asleep, but I do have trouble staying asleep some nights.  If I wake up in the middle of the night I sometimes have a terrible time falling back to sleep.  My mind starts racing and I have trouble calming down to go back to sleep.  I also struggle because I have to exercise first thing in the morning.  Just being honest, but if I don’t do it first thing chances are it just won’t happen later in the day.  So, in order to get a workout in before my day has to begin, I have to get up around 5:15.  That hurts…a lot!  I really want to try to get 7-8 hours of sleep so that means I need to go to bed around 9:15.  That’s hard.  Our oldest now has a bed time of 9:00 so if I go to bed around 9:15 my hubby and I have no alone time.  And I kind of like him.  Sleep is a work in process for me!
  9. Taking my vitamins each day.
  10. Taking care of my mental health.  I am a very type A person.  I have OCD and anxiety issues.  I have noticed these issues have gotten worse over the years.  Being a mom has kicked them into high gear. This is an area of my health that I am really just starting to take care of so right now I am reading and looking into ways that will help me deal with my anxiety issues.  Specifically, I have started trying to meditate a little each day and I have been using essential oils that specifically help with stress and anxiety.  I also know that the better I take care of myself through proper nutrition, exercise, and getting good quality sleep the better I deal with stress and anxiety.  I also am really trying to focus on making sure I take time for myself each day doing something I love like reading or crocheting.

So, these are my personal healthy guidelines that I am really trying to focus on right now to help me feel great and live a healthy life.  But as I have mentioned about myself, I am not perfect.  I know there will be some awesome days where I follow all my healthy guidelines and I will feel like a rock star!  But, realistically I know there will be times when I might not follow any of these guidelines for whatever reason.  And that is when I have to know it is okay.  Balance.  Grace over guilt.

Do you have any personal healthy guidelines you like to live by that help you live a healthy lifestyle?  If so, comment.  I would love to hear what you are doing to help your personal health!

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