For the first time in my life, I can honestly say: I love my body.
I woke up this morning and genuinely smiled at the beautiful person in the mirror. As someone who used to berate herself for skipping a workout and tear up when she went clothes shopping because nothing looked good, this is a huge accomplishment.
By normal standards, I’ve always been a healthy person. I run or bike at least 5 times a week. I lift weights and do push-ups regularly. I never eat fast food or drink soda. But, there was great room for improvement in my lifestyle. My meals were planned around convenience, which often meant microwaving a lean cuisine instead of preparing a balanced meal. I constantly drank caffeine, even when I couldn’t sleep well at night. I made everything else a priority over how I was fueling my body.
I needed to change. This decision was not based on weight loss– I just wanted my body to feel amazing. These are the changes I’ve made in the past several months to get to where I am now:
No coffee. The barista at more than one coffee shop knows me by name. I love coffee. This was the first step in my transition to a healthier lifestyle because I figured, if I can do this, I can do anything. I gave up this addiction in October (with a slight relapse during finals week) and now drink tea instead. Why, you ask? Because coffee is extremely acidic and dehydrates your body.
Hot yoga. 90 minutes of yoga poses in a room that’s 100+ degrees may sound like torture, but it’s the most therapeutic activity I’ve ever participated in. To those of you who think yoga is just stretching for hippies, I strongly recommend that you try it. It allows you use and appreciate every part of your body while clearing your mind and finding balance.
Drink water. Lots of water. Your body is about 70% water and your brain 80% water. Staying hydrated is essential to good health. I count how many glasses of water I drink each day and won’t go to sleep until I’ve had 8. This might sound extreme but, trust me, it makes you feel amazing. (Bonus: your skin will look better too!)
Pray/meditate. Our minds set us up for success or failure. As Marianne Williamson says, “Do not be mystified about why you are depressed by noon when you start your day with the angst and despair in the world, especially if you add caffeine.” Wake up and give gratitude to God for your health and your life. Make time to set your focus on the right things before you start your day.
Healthy eating. I’m still learning about this one, but I can say that my kitchen is stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables and there are no longer any frozen dinners in my freezer. I’m excited to start Kris Carr’s 21 day vegan cleanse this week to see how I feel afterwards and if it’s something I will continue. Anyone who needs a good starting point for creating healthy eating habits, I highly recommend Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy Diet book. As she describes in the intro, crazy= bold, out of the box, forward thinking, and status quo challenging. Sexy= confident, in touch, whole, passionate, and conscious.
There’s no such thing as the perfect diet or lifestyle, but you should be actively engaged in improving and maintaining the only place you’ll ever have to live– your body. If you suffer from low self-esteem, depression, or insomnia, consider making one or several changes to improve your circumstances. This is not about looking like a supermodel or becoming a marathon runner; it’s about feeling magnificent from the inside out. You can learn to love your body and find sustainable peace in your heart and soul. Start now.
[I do not take credit for these photos]