My life is a constant battle between my love for food and not wanting to get fat. But health, just like anything else, is all about balance. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was very young – finding and sticking to healthy habits took time, and over the years – my weight has always been a yo-yo – up, down, and all the way around.
What I’ve discovered throughout these years, however – is that your health has almost everything to do with your state of happiness. The happier I was, the healthier I felt, and the better I felt about myself.
Stress took a toll on me not only emotionally, but physically as well. During the years that I dealt with my father’s passing, I gained almost 30 pounds. I barely exercised, drank a lot of alcohol and became an emotional eater. But when I took that first step to take back control of my life – traveling the world for the first time – that’s when the healing began.
The confidence in my ability to quit my job, save up my money, go to a foreign country for the first time, and do it on my own – spread into all of the other facets in my life, including my health and my appearance. Since last year, I’ve slowly dropped those extra 30 pounds, and it didn’t come from fad diets, or crazy workout routines – it came from taking small steps to live a more active lifestyle, and make better food decisions.
So I partnered with Jawbone to share my tips on becoming a healthier, happier version of you – inspired by the new UP MOVE and Smart Coach activity tracker.
1. Do more of what you love.
A lot of the reason why I gained so much weight is because I was generally unhappy with my work. I hated my job, I felt little fulfillment in my work, and my “happy time” became happy hour. Sure, it’s great to unwind after a day of work with sliders and margaritas, but every single day? So when I started doing more exploring, going to museums on the weekends, laying out with friends in the park – when I started doing more of what I loved – I spent more time being happy, and I no longer needed to mask my pain through excess eating.
If you love to paint, try to do it at least once per week. If you love to take photographs, go explore your neighborhood and do just that. If you love to write, find time within your schedule to work on your book, short story, or blog. Doing more of what you love will make you happier, and when you’re happy, you’re healthy.
2. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people – happy people.
Misery loves company. The more you surround yourself with unhappy people, the more unhappy you’re likely to become. Reach out to people who make you happy, and spend more time with them. If you can’t spend time with them in person, take twenty minutes out of your day to facetime them. You shouldn’t be spending your time with people who bring you down – your hopes, your dreams, your goals, your aspirations, your successes – true friends will uplift you, empower you, and congratulate you without making you feel guilty for the gains you’ve made.
3. Travel more.
When you travel, you will walk – just because. Exploring a new city is the best way to burn calories because you’re having fun while you’re doing it. That luggage or backpack you’re carrying around? That’s added weight, and that burns calories too. So when you indulge in that Italian gelato or sandwich from that street cart, you’re not doing as much damage as you would if you had been sitting in a cubicle or classroom all day.
If you can’t travel to a foreign country anytime soon, start in your immediate neighborhood, and find ways to become more active. (READ: 6 Ways To Cure Your Wanderlust Without Traveling) Take the stairs when you can. Walk instead of taking the car. Call your friend and go somewhere to watch the sunset. There are tons of tiny ways to become more active in your everyday life – take a few minutes to think about how, and start.
4. Snack often.
Ahh, here’s my trick to feeling full and losing weight – snack, often. I keep tons of fruits and fresh vegetables in my refrigerator. Granola bars, high-fiber cereal, raw almonds, and even dark chocolate – instead of eating two huge meals throughout the day, I snack little by little on healthy foods. This keeps me full throughout the day, so I don’t binge for dinner because I starved myself hours before. Developing this habit will also train your body to speed up your metabolism – so when you do decide to indulge on that pasta dish or ribeye steak on a Saturday night (which you are ABSOLUTELY allowed and SHOULD do), your body will burn it off faster.
5. Track your success and hold yourself responsible.
I used to complain about my friends who were super thin/fit and could eat anything that they wanted. I compared myself to other people, wishing I could look like someone else. A lot of that was because I wasn’t happy or confident with myself. When I realized that it was okay for me, to be me, I stopped belittling myself by comparing my successes to those of others. And one way to help develop your self-confidence is to track your successes.
Sure, you only lost two pounds in the last month. But you know what? Six months from now, you would have lost twelve. That’s two dress sizes down, and now you have no choice but to go shopping and look fabulous in that new dress you bought for the summer. You got a new job, or a raise. Write that down, and be proud of yourself.
Don’t focus all of your energy on where you aren’t, but take some of that energy and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. This will remind you little by little, month by month – that you are making gains – that you’re on your way. And that is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself – because you deserve to be proud of how hard you’ve worked, and how far you’ve come.
You don’t have to be a size 2. You don’t have to run a marathon to be healthy. You are the most beautiful when you are happy with yourself, so let’s do this together – and become healthier, happier versions of ourselves!
Now let’s get happier & healthier together.
One way that I’ll be holding myself responsible for the next few months is through Jawbone’s UP MOVE activity tracker + Smart Coach.
This wristband + app combo will help me measure my food intake, activity levels and sleep – wirelessly connecting to my phone. I’m going to try it out for the next week and give you guys an update to let you know how I’ve integrated it into my everyday lifestyle.
Pop in the battery and you can put the device into either a clip or a wristband. I chose the wristband in black, but they’ve got tons of other colors. See more here.
I downloaded the app (UP Tracker) from the App Store and created my profile in two minutes. Once your phone connects to your UP MOVE via bluetooth, you’re good to go!
So what are some of the ways you stay healthy and happy? Share in the comments below!