What Does Healthy Mean to You?

When I hear the word healthy it conjures a certain image in my head of me walking my dog on a nature trail with sunshine, fresh air and backpack full of healthy snacks like apples, granola bars and baby carrots with humus.  I think of yoga on the beach with a great tanned, toned body and my long red hair blowing in the ocean breeze as I clear my mind of all the stresses of life.  The truth is, looks can be deceiving when it comes to health.  There are actually individuals that fall into the healthy weight category and smoke, drink excessively and eat nothing but junk food.  Then there are individuals outside their healthy weight category who don’t smoke or drink, but may struggle with food.  It is absolutely possible that the person first mentioned is much more unhealthy than the individual who just looks outside what we picture in our minds as healthy.

It seems we all have this preconceived notion of what we are supposed to look like and what we should be doing to look a particular way and lead that particular lifestyle.  The truth is, we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for you.  We have morning people and night owls, we have people who eat like crap and never gain a pound and those that just smell a chocolate chip cookie and gain 5 pounds.  The key is to listen to your body and what it is telling you about everything from your water intake, sleep schedule, and energy levels, even what kind of food you crave can tell you something about what is going on in your body.

I have learned that early to bed and early to rise is a motto that actually works for me, but will probably never work for the man in my life.  I like breakfast in the morning, a average size lunch and very little food for dinner and he seems to be exactly the opposite.  I am more motivated to complete work projects, errands, and chores around the house when I first start my day and wind down as the day progresses.  My boyfriend is a guy who likes to sleep in and pick up momentum around noon before phasing out later in the evening. I am in my forties and he is in his fifties so these are patterns that are most likely set in stone for who we are and we should take that into consideration when creating a schedule & routine for our lives.

People who try to force themselves to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym when they are night owls, preferring to sleep in and skip breakfast, are probably never going to stick with that early morning routine.  We all read the articles about successful individuals who suggest getting up early and tackling your day with the gym and a healthy breakfast and go to bed early in the evening, but if that is just not who you are then you cannot force it or you will be miserable.  My boyfriend is a perfect example of a man who made his lifestyle work around his needs.  He owns a bar/restaurant that is only open in the evenings.  This gives him the ability to sleep in, go to the gym, and run a few errands as he eases in to his day and by afternoon he is hitting his biggest work load.  When he is just getting warms up around 4 or 5 p.m. I am just ending the biggest work load of my day and heading home.  I have found when I work at the restaurant in the evenings to help my boyfriend with his business I am exhausted when I get home and usually head straight to bed when he is capable of watching at least an hour of TV.

Even on the weekends, when I am not at the office, I find myself getting up early in the morning instead of sleeping in.  In winter or when it is dark and rainy outside I tend to find myself sleeping in and wanting to hibernate a bit more, but usually I am up and going no later than 7 a.m. on weekends and no later than 6 a.m. throughout the week. My boyfriend can easily sleep in to 10 a.m., which I am somewhat envious of.  The truth is, I like my routine, I feel more efficient and less like I am wasting my day when I get up early and do all kinds of things before noon when my boyfriend hasn’t even got going yet.  I have heard him say more than once that he feels like he has wasted a day, especially when we first started dating and he would see me getting up early.  In the passed 3-4 years he has started getting up earlier and going to bed earlier, not sure if that is my influence, his age, or the fact that he has started going to the gym more regularly, probably a combination of all.

At the end of the day just ask yourself if you feel rested, nourished, accomplished, productive; are you fitting everything in to your routine easily or do you feel tired and like you are forcing yourself through life?  The goal is to find your own path and enjoy each day to the fullest.  If getting up early to read or watch the news while sipping coffee is important to you then make it happen.  Our personal routines are important to having a healthy and fulfilling life and it doesn’t have to be the same routines that everyone else is doing.  We are all unique and what makes you feel healthy and happy may not be the same for your significant other or anyone else.  We don’t have to look a certain way or follow a certain method to be healthy or happy.  Just do you!

With Wishes of Health & Happiness,

Stacy

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