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I’ve been interested in writing a post outlining my wellness philosophy for a while now, and I think I’ve finally organized my thoughts enough to share. I’m really, truly passionate about wellness. Most days I don’t give much thought to my daily routine and choices because I’m running on autopilot, but the truth is that health is such a huge part of the way I live my life.
I’ve memorized my preferences and priorities enough so that I don’t have to give them a second thought. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Hundreds of decisions and tiny acts add together to comprise the foundation of my healthy lifestyle. Pretty crazy, right?
Let’s start by breaking things down into manageable chunks. I thought it would be helpful if I organized my stances on various aspects of wellness—from the bites I put into my mouth each day to what I typically do for exercise—to give you a glimpse into the way I choose to live my life. Bear in mind that wellness is a deeply personal thing and the choices that are right for me might not be quite right for you. But that’s the beauty of wellness, at least in my eyes: it’s not one-size-fits-all.
Let’s start with the largest part of the puzzle: food. You might expect me to say that I eat kale salads 99% of the time and completely restrict carbohydrates. That is definitely NOT the case, nor do I think that would be healthy. On the contrary, I am all about balance and try to follow the 80/20 rule (eat healthy 80% of the time and enjoy treats the other 20% of the time). It works very well for me because I never feel restricted or anxious because I let myself eat nutritious foods most of the time and have treats as treats.
Whole foods. No, not the store. I aim to eat whole, non-processed foods as often as I can. This means avoiding packaged options, convenience foods, etc. I do have protein bars, crackers, etc from time to time because I don’t believe in restriction—but these items don’t make up the majority of my diet.
Dairy. I simply prefer the taste of milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. and avoid drinking cow’s milk for various reasons (I won’t get into them for the sake of this post). However, I love cheese and pretty much consume it daily. It hasn’t caused me any issues so it’s fine by me! I will have the occasional Greek yogurt here or there as well (I mean, how could I turn down this Strawberry Lemonade Greek Yogurt Smoothie or a matcha green tea yogurt at Trader Joe’s?), but other than that I generally do limit dairy to just cheese. #priorities
Grains. If I have the option, I usually veer towards whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, rice or quinoa pasta, etc. I try to consume whole grains in moderation because too much of anything is never a good thing. PS. White rice (or bread) won’t kill you! I thoroughly enjoy sushi made with white rice, and my husband is a fan of white jasmine rice so I let him have his fun every so often.
Protein + fats. Too many people fear eating fats! I’m not one of them: give me lots of coconut oil, avocado, peanut or almond butter, etc. Fats keep me full in between meals and provide a necessary burst of energy. I make sure to eat protein at every single meal (and snack). My go-tos are eggs, chicken, ground turkey, pistachios, cashews, KIND Bars, and peanut butter. Don’t forget that many vegetables contain protein, too.
Sugar. It’s never easy (I think my sweet tooth has only gotten worse over the years), but I do try to limit my sugar consumption. I’ll often swap honey or maple syrup for regular white sugar when possible, but even these options are still ultimately sugar, so I limit them as well. I definitely don’t believe in “all or nothing,” so you’ll no doubt find me enjoying ice cream, cookies, etc! Life is too short.
Vitamins + Supplements
I totally don’t believe vitamins/supplements are absolutely necessary for the average person, but they definitely can’t hurt. I do, however, have a few go-tos, some of which I take regularly and others on a more occasional basis.
Omega 3s. Regular-sized fish oil pills are too difficult for me to take (yes, I’m a baby) so I frequently take a gummy version for adults. I’ve tried both these and a version from Target and like both.
Vitamin C powder. I don’t take vitamin C on a regular basis (although it’s not a bad idea), but I definitely up my game when I’m starting to feel under the weather (or if my husband or coworkers are sick).
Collagen hydrolysate. This white, nearly tasteless powder helps regulate metabolism, build up connective tissue, and is packed with protein. I like this one from Great Lakes and buy it on Amazon. I swear my skin, hair, and nails look better and stronger when I’m taking this supplement. I usually stir the recommended amount into smoothies.
In an ideal week, I typically workout 3-5 days a week (it really varies depending on my weekend and work schedules). I prefer keeping a lot of variety in my workouts to keep things interesting, and my fitness routine is constantly evolving—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing! At one point, I lifted heavy weights multiple times per week, focusing on a different muscle group during each session. After that, I practiced yoga religiously twice per week. Then I focused more on cardio-based classes at my gym. These days, my routine consists of a good mix of all of the above, plus a few new ventures for good measure:
Gym. After a stint away from the gym, I recently made my comeback and it has felt so good to incorporate more weightlifting into my regimen again. It feels so good to be sore! Okay, not really, but weightlifting is associated with so many health benefits, and I try to fit in at least one (maybe two) weightlifting sessions per week. While at the gym, I’ll also fit in some cardio such as running on the treadmill or braving the Stairmaster or rowing machine. The steam room and sauna after my workout don’t hurt, either.
Pure Barre. Barre is one of the newest additions to my workouts (Pure Barre, to be exact!), and I really love the low impact nature of the classes and the high impact results! Filled with tons of small, isometric movements, barre classes challenge me in ways I never thought possible and offer some incredible toning to boot.
Yoga. After a hiatus, I recently decided I’ve become way too stiff in my old age (almost 30 over here! ha) and picked back up a yoga class here and there. It feels so great to stretch out my muscles and it’s a nice way to relax and focus on my body and breathing.
Running. I will never be a good runner (I’m pretty sure I was born with lead legs), but I do try to run here and there for its cardiovascular benefits and to clear my head. Sometimes it just feels good to hit the pavement, one step in the front of the other. I never run more than a mile or two at a time, but it’s a good complement to my other workouts.
I often choose more natural options and am known for going without an aspirin unless I really need one. This doesn’t mean I’m against modern medicine by any means. I just choose to be selective about which medications I really need to take, to do my own research, and to be my own advocate for my health. The medical world is full of so many amazing advancements (and healthcare professionals!), and I will definitely take advantage of such options when and if I need to.
So much of wellness stems from our mental health. If we aren’t in a good place mentally, how we can be in a good place physically? This is why I place so much emphasis on my mental wellbeing. As an introvert (and someone who struggles with anxiety), I tend to find energy and recharge after spending time alone. Rather than fighting my nature, I work along with it and am careful to plan time for just me to prevent burnout and keep my mind at ease.
This means saying no to certain plans, taking a day off from work to recharge, and simply allowing myself to put my feet up and read a book rather than feeling like I need to always go, go, go. I’m by no means perfect, but just keeping my mental health top of mind (and giving myself some grace) works wonders for me!
Questions of the Day
If you could sum up your wellness philosophy in one sentence, what would you say?
Is your wellness philosophy similar to mine or completely different?