5 Ways To Take Care Of Your Body (Besides Eating Greens)
People often ask me what it means to be a health coach and what it is exactly that I do or tell clients. The truth is, I’m still exploring how to answer this question. When I decided to get certified as a Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I never once thought I’d be coaching – or even working in the nutrition and wellness field. I participated in the program not only as a way to spark a personal interest of mine, but also to find answers to some deep-seeking personal health questions I had. However, early into the program, I realized that the knowledge I was gaining from IIN was too valuable to keep to myself. So I decided to share it others, especially those who may have had the same questions I did before becoming a student.
IIN taught me that health is so much more than just eating this and eating that – a notion I thought was the only way to be healthy my whole life. I was a yo-yo dieter, always trying the new trend, and constantly, constantly failing. Instead, I finally realized that my health and overall wellness was connected to so many other factors in life – relationships, spirituality, financial confidence, etc. It also taught me what types of foods to focus on, how to look at food differently, how to have a better relationship with mealtime and what I’m eating overall.
I stick to a mostly plant-based diet and try to fill my plate with as many veggies as possible. In general, I live the Sakara Life and eat clean + whole Monday through Friday and then enjoy the weekends with friends and family. But beyond just food, I make sure I maintain my health in other ways too. The game-changer for me was understanding how nourishing food was the building block to so many other areas of my life-- and that these other areas work in tandem with feeling my best and most satiated. So, I’m sharing with you five major ways I’ve transformed my life and leaned into wellness, besides eating 4-6 cups of greens everyday (which is a Sakara must!):
- Stop Stressing so much: Seriously, cut the anxiety and guilt out of life. I don’t just mean stress at work – some of this is unavoidable. But for little everyday problems, don’t fret! There is no reason to get worked up about the things you can’t control or to even feel guilty about the things “you should have done”. Who made the rules/why do they really matter? Stress is the leading cause of inflammation in the body and chronic disease. So, cut it out, and remember: you will get it done, you can fix the problem, you’re on top of it all.
- Be Bad. That’s right, break the rules… but just not the law;). Allow yourself to let go sometimes, especially when it comes to your diet. Don’t think you always have to follow the same guidelines and eat in the most regimented way. Allow yourself to indulge, sit back, and laugh with friends over a few glasses of wine, or whatever is your indulgence. There is a segment in IIN about the different Blue Zones of the world - areas where the population is overall healthier, has less disease, and the average lifetime is much longer than the rest of the world. There are a lot of correlations between these different zones, but one that struck me is that in most of them, people spent time everyday relaxing and socializing with family, neighbors in their towns, and having HAPPY HOUR where they laughed, gossiped, joked, played! It’s important to let go and have fun, so socialize, be merry, and have a free-spirit!
- Quality is key: When it comes to ingredients and quality, always know what you are putting in your body and where it came from. Make sure your fruit and produce is fresh and most of the time, organic. If it looks dull, discolored, or just doesn’t taste right, it’s not worth it. The same goes with animal products. It is okay to eat meat, dairy, and fish. But, when you do, make sure you're understanding its origins. Try to get it from a local farm that raises their animals sustainably, if not organically. While I’m mostly plant-based, my brother is a pig farmer. When I go home there is always plenty of pork and charcuterie in the house and at meals. So beyond letting go and breaking my plant-based rules, I aim to partake in high quality meats and dairy. If they are organic and sustainably raised, they don’t have as many hormones or junk in them, and will leave you feeling substantially better than large-scaled farm raised animal products.
- Your Net-worth is your Self-Worth: Work on becoming financially stable and responsible. Don’t go out and spend all your money on things that are not important. Invest in yourself, your happiness, and your future. If you hold onto debt you will think about it all the time, stress over it, and that will lead to short and long-term illness and anxiety. Seriously, take it from me-- I spent a lot of my early twenties not budgeting or tracking my finances and I suffered. The minute I paid off any debt and started a savings account, I immediately lost 10 pounds (SERIOUSLY!) This really should be number one, because when you can support yourself, you’ll feel confident and truly unstoppable.
- You don’t have to work out every day: Especially in New York City, it is so easy to feel like you have to hit the gym everyday (maybe even more than once), or have to wake up at 6am to go to spinning and then get to the office by 8 and rule the world. One work out will not change your body or throw off your fitness routine. In fact, recovery is really important and key to gaining strength and endurance. Listen to your body, and if it’s tired, respect that. If you just can’t get out of bed for that class, sleep an extra 30 minutes. Your body will thank you, you’ll probably feel lighter and better because of it, and trust me, that next workout, you’ll have more energy and kill it even harder.