Losing weight is often the goal when making healthy lifestyle changes. I lost substantial weight in the past, and like everyone else, I still have “a few pounds left”. However, lately I have been focusing on more than just weight loss. I have been focusing on health, because after all, body weight does not determine health, but health can help improve body weight. Here are a few changes I have made recently in my own life to help me reduce some unnecessary stresses and live a healthier overall lifestyle.
Avoiding Restrictive Diets
I recently joined a workplace in the fitness industry which preaches a diet similar to Paleo. Grains are bad. Limit fruit. No dairy. LOTS of meat. The Paleo diet is great for a lot of people, but not for me.
While I have made the change of drastically reducing my grains (I used to eat three servings of pasta every day just for dinner!), I don’t think that a zero-grain diet is healthy for me, if for no reason other than it hurts my mental health. I struggled with an eating disorder in the past, so even with pressures from coworkers I have to stand up and say, “screw your science, I don’t need to eat for a “perfect body”. My mental health is more important!”
This doesn’t mean that all diets are bad. I think that diets that focus on lower-calorie meals and real food can help people, especially if they feel that they have substantial weight to lose. However I wouldn’t feel comfortable losing more than 10lbs, so at this point I’m focusing more on eating whole, healthy foods in moderation.
Ditching the TV
I haven’t had actual television service since I lived with my parents 4+ years ago, but I have access to my brother’s Netflix account. I went through a breakup in October, and Netflix and I started a steamy, all-consuming affair.
I had to disconnect from it recently when I realized how much I was missing out on. I normally work 10am-7pm, and when I would get home I would rush to watch as many episodes of junky reality fashion shows as I could fit in. I found that it started creating a lot of stress because I was prioritizing my shows over real life.
So, I ended up breaking all ties with Netflix about a month ago, and have since finished three books, gone to several local music shows, and spent a lot more time with my pups. As a writer/blogger, I feel like it’s a whole lot more productive for me to read or get out with friends than to watch people make fun of each others’ clothes.
Ditching the Computer
I have a lot of different tasks at my two different jobs, and much of my time is spent on my computer and tablet. I have three different email accounts that I have to strictly keep up on, and I have two different scheduling programs that I must coordinate. To top it all off, I have my own personal blog and Instagram account that I try to keep on top of (I gave up on Twitter.)
Just like TV, if I allow myself to use my computer after work, even if I think I’m being “productive”, I can get consumed on Facebook and Tumblr and either get to bed too late or just lose the quality of my sleep.
I get my blog content and Instagram stuff done during my breaks at work, and then when I get home, the computer is put away. I have healthy meals to cook, two puppies to play with, friends to go out with, and plenty of books to read, and I have much less stress in my life when I am able to focus on those things.
You may not have the same stressors as I do, but if you take a look at the things that cause you anxiety or may be interfering with productivity or sleep, you can take steps to eliminate or reduce those stressors and lead a happier, healthier life.
I love healthy tips that are outside of the norm. What are some of your go-to tips for getting rid of unhealthy stressors in your life?