People are constantly asking my mom what her secret is. How she stays slim, keeps her skin glowing, and manages to look so young! Since I am the one that knows her best (aside from my dad) I decided to share some of her secrets with everyone. The short version?
The long version?
Trust your body and your mind. The body is infinitely smarter than we give it credit for! Don't think you can just override your system. Its job is to nourish and keep you alive. Respect the body you have, honestly, it is the most precious treasure we get in this life.
The number one thing to keep in mind is don't overcomplicate. So many people trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle become overwhelmed by the plethora of (sometimes contradicting) information available and try too many things at once. Our health is supposed to be simple! Think about it. All those different diets and trends came about only recently, and each is more ephemeral than the next. I assure you, my grandpa grew up in the countryside and is probably more fit and and healthy than the average 40-year-old. He's never heard of macros or calories, and weight is just a number. Instead, he bases his happiness on his kids and grandchildren that love and visit him, the family sitting down to a well-made meal, and the pure fun of dancing.
He takes enjoyment in good food, but his life does not revolve around it. And neither should yours!
Don't aim for perfect, aim for progress.
With that said, here are some of my mom's philosophies to staying healthy and happy.
DO make health a priority, and be consistent. When your body is healthy you are more energized and motivated to do the things you really love.
DO eat what you love and learn to cook! Don't just force down greek yogurt or chia seeds if you don't like them because "everyone is doing it". They are certainly not crucial for anyone; simply find a balanced variety of foods you truly enjoy and look forward to eating. When you learn to cook you will begin to have a respect for food and its natural flavors. Eating food you make yourself is more satisfying too!
DO focus on wellbeing and how you feel rather than weight. My mom used to be pretty thin due to loads of stress. Now that she's in a much better environment and relieved from a lot of tension, she has put on a bit of weight. However that doesn't bother her at all! Her skin is glowing, her hair is shiny, her eyes are bright, and her body is healthier. What more could you ask for? Everyone compliments her on how young and vibrant she looks.
DO move. My mom is constantly moving. Not exercise per say, but she'll visit the farmers market early in the morning, or go for a leisurely stroll after dinner. You'll also catch her stretching out on her yoga mat before breakfast and throughout the day. Nothing is set in schedule; she goes to yoga class when she feels energized, hikes trails when the weather is nice, and heads to the spa when she needs a break. When she does exercise it's not for any aesthetic goal; it's to improve the health and functionality of her body.
DON'T let food control you. I don't believe in the "food is fuel" concept. Food is so much more valuable than that. It is the center of family celebrations. It is part of different countries' cultures. It brings pleasure to us. But it's not something to be scared of, wasted, overused, or disrespected. Don't let it dictate your life.
My mom doesn't think about food. Sure, she considers dinner prep and grocery shopping, but if she's working she might forget lunch until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. And that's totally normal! Feeling "hungry" is not a bad thing. It doesn't imply your body is starving. In fact, most people today never feel hungry. When was the last time you sat down to a meal, stomach empty and rumbling, and finished it super satisfied?
Emotional eating is totally normal too. We eat when we're happy, sad, stressed or bored. But food is not meant to be your crutch. Find a different outlet, or work at solving the problem. If you're bored, go outside or create an art project. If you're stressed, take a hot shower or a nap. Find solutions for your emotions that don't involve food.
DON'T obsess. My mother is aware of what she eats, but does not micromanage. If she wants caramel corn or a cake roll she'll have it. The whole thing if she so pleases! And right before bed if she is hungry. No guilt, shame, or regret. She fully enjoys what she chooses to eat. On the other hand, if there is a bountyful spread of pastries and desserts and she is not feeling it or is already full, she will just pass on it, without feeling like she's "missing out". The point is she knows one "unclean" meal won't make her unhealthy, just like one "clean" meal won't make her healthy.
DON'T label foods. No food is inherently good or bad. When you quit limiting and restricting yourself, "junk" food no longer becomes off limits. When you know you can have it anytime, you no longer feel the need to gorge yourself. When you do take part, the food leaves you satisfied and content, not regretful and guilty.
And most importantly...
DON'T compare yourself to others. A terrier doesn't aspire to be a retriever, nor should we aspire to be models. One thing my dad once told me really resonates with this point. He would see me looking at models and envying their flawless skin or yearning for similar long legs while feeling down about my inferiority. He said "Do you know how that makes me feel? When you are constantly picking at invisible flaws? Your mom and I made you. Our genetics. In our eyes you will forever be perfect. Why are you so desperate to alter something you were born with?"
The most beautiful people are the ones comfortable in their own skin.
Do you have any guidelines you live by?