Let’s face it, the days of turn and burn are over for this girl. While I sometimes miss the spontaneity of my younger days, my body thanks me every day now that I’ve prioritized a more healthy lifestyle. I’ve compiled a list of 7 things to consider incorporating into your lifestyle to move your best self out into the world and help you become who you were called to be.
7 Ways to Improve Your Health and Wellness Journey
1. Hire a coach
Listen, I realize not everyone can afford to hire a nutrition coach to help hone in on possible obstacles keeping them stuck. But if you can, even if it’s for a few months to get you on the right track and help to answer some questions you’ve always had about how to optimize your own unique body and lifestyle, I’m here to tell you that it’s 10000% worth it.
A little about my food and body image struggle history….
I tend to be a person who won’t ask for help, or even reach out with questions. It’s weird, I know. I’ve always kind of prided myself on “not needing anyone” to figure things out. I’m a strong, independent woman and all that good stuff. Ha!
Only in the past two years have I come to the realization and put a name to the body dysmorphia and need for extreme control over my calorie intake that I’ve had since I was about 16 years old. I always just chalked it up to “discipline’ and “skinny is healthy” type of thinking. After coming to the conclusion over the past two years that sustaining a 800 calorie/day diet was neither good for me or possible for the long haul, I made a decision to stop chasing the skinny and start accepting my more naturally curvy body shape, in a healthy way.
That was two years ago. Fast forward to early 2022.
Although I had already started focusing on a more flexible eating style and tracking my macros, I still felt there were areas I struggled with and needed encouragement that I was doing the right things to move me forward.
I stepped out of my comfort (and control!) zone and said yes to a call with Kylee Arnold to discuss my situation. And I can tell you that saying yes to having Kylee in my corner everyday to help encourage, give me solid, usable information, tips, shortcuts and eating out options has made THE biggest difference in my health and wellness this year.
When we started working together earlier this year, I was eating about a 1,100/day (less some days). Let me tell you, I. Was. Exhausted. All the time. Between hitting it hard with the weights at the gym and the lack of fuel I was giving myself, I was in serious need of an overhaul. We’ve worked on tweaking my numbers and implementing things to get me where I want to go. There’s something about having someone in your corner who supports your journey and wants to see you win that’s so powerful.
We are still always working on making adjustments based on how I’m feeling, the stress in my life, and the season I’m in with time and energy restraints.
The thing Kylee instills in me that makes such an impact is the fact that this is a journey. It is not a race. It will take the time it takes. And I am ok with knowing we’re moving one step closer each day. Because, in the end, it truly is less about my own “want it now” aesthetic goals and more about becoming the healthiest me I can be for the future.
So if you think it might be time to get some outside help, the Arnold Nutrition Coaching team is a great place to start. And if you’re like me, you might want to stalk Kylee on Instagram first to get a feel for her philosophy and method of coaching. Ha! She’s amazing and a Louisiana girl, so she completely gets the food culture here!
2. Consider Adding Instead of Subtracting
Rather than focusing on what you “can’t/shouldn’t eat”, maybe start thinking of things you can ADD to your daily diet that will improve and fuel your body in more beneficial ways. I like to find small things like adding baby spinach to my morning smoothie because I know the nitrates contained in it helps control my blood pressure. It feels good knowing I’m giving my body these little boosts to help my overall health and wellness.
A couple of other ways to add instead of subtract:
- Adding your favorite type beans to soups, salads and mexican dishes for protein and heart health.
- Adding nuts to your breakfast cereals, muffin recipes, salads and snack mixes to help enhance your immune system and reduce cholesterol.
- Adding extra vegetables to your green or pasta salads, to your muffin recipes(think grated zucchini and carrots) and to your soups and stews. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all things our bodies need daily to feel good and balanced.
3. Treat Trauma and Grow through Grief
Because we are all human beings, we are not perfect. Not a one of us. Even our parents who likely did everything they knew to do to provide us with all the love and support possible are not perfect. They came to parenthood with their own childhood trauma and so there’s this generational continuation of things we learned growing up. The hope is that we recognize, do the emotional work to understand, forgive and change those patterns.
I say this to say that whatever the trauma has been in your life (and I strongly believe we all have a certain amount of trauma, be it big or small), it is so very crucial to do the work to heal those feelings so we can lead full, happy and emotionally healthy lives.
I work on healing my own through talking about them out loud with those I trust, through helpful books and podcasts and also through my daily prayer walks in the neighborhood.
4. Create Strong Friendships
I think we all know the importance to not only our emotional health, but our physical health as well, that strong friendships provide in our lives. We were created to be in relationship with other people. Even us introverts NEED to connect with others. It does something powerful and meaningful to our bodies, minds and souls.
Good relationships and friendships mean:
- Being open-minded and honest
- Celebrating life’s ups and being there during life’s downs
- Compassion and empathy between parties
- Accountable, stable, and secure bonds
- Bringing out the best in the other person while accepting them for who they are
When I start feeling less than creative in my business, I’ve learned that taking a day or two to meet with friends to connect completely refreshes my spirit!
During the pandemic, I was craving that in-person connection with friends and I finally got weary of us not making our friendships a priority anymore, so I decided to start up a regular and ‘Open to Anyone Girl’s Night Out’ with both old friends and with those I had only spoken to online and it was FANTASTIC to meet these ladies face-to-face and enjoy each other’s company.
If you’re local to the Baton Rouge area, I’d LOVE to hang out, either one on one or at one of our meetups! I post all the upcoming dates on my Instagram stories or feel free to shoot me a message as well!
5. Move your Body Daily
Listen, WHATEVER the activity is, I cannot stress enough the benefits of moving our bodies on a daily basis. Walk your dog, take a group exercise class, swim, lift weights, listen to an audio book as you walk the park, invest in a desk bike…..whatever works for your lifestyle.
Make the habit 30 minutes a day and you’ll quickly see and feel the health (and mood) benefits.
You’ve read this advice a million times in your life, I know. May this time be the one that convicts you to implement it into your life. <fingers crossed>
6. Protect Your Sleep
I used to abuse the need for good and ENOUGH restorative sleep in my life until I finally saw that my body was just flat TIRED and my mind was too foggy to be productive in my daily life.
Sleep is one of those underrated but so necessary parts of a healthy lifestyle. We cannot stay up all hours of the night, run through our busy days, use extra shots of espresso as band-aids and expect our bodies to work optimally for us. Hard to hear, trust me, I know. But, honestly protect your sleep like a fierce mama bear! Set a reasonable time to begin shutting down for the night and follow through. If you don’t already, start a bedtime routine that signals your body to begin winding down.
There is nothing better than waking up refreshed and ready to give the day your very best because you made good sleep a non-negotiable in your life.
7. Expose your Body to Regular Sunlight
Ok, as I type this, it’s now been raining for 8 days straight here in south Louisiana. The struggle is real. The opportunities for walks in the sunlight have been limited, but I’m taking Pippa Jean out for neighborhood walks as much as the weather will permit, humidity and all. I take breaks in between computer work tasks and take a spin around the block a couple of times.
Getting out and letting the sun shine on your beautiful face is not just “a nice thing to do”. It’s essential, you guys. Want the skinny on exactly HOW sunlight affects our bodies? Here it is in a nutshell:
The health benefits of sunlight include generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health.
So take your work outside for a bit when you can, head to your local outdoor market on a Saturday morning, meet a friend for coffee outside at the cutest little coffee spot in your city, and so on. Get creative with it!