Today is my 29th birthday.
In just a little while I’ll be celebrating with the handsome Nathaniel, a glass of Moet and some very good cheese. But before I kick off my shoes and pop open that bottle of bubbly, I’m taking some time to reflect on the last (almost three) decades.
I sometimes look around at my life and think: huh, who would have ever thought that’d happen. Every year brings with it new surprises and adventures, and we never really know what will transpire next.
Growing up in a beautiful yet small Australian country town, I never would have expected that I would find myself living in Los Angeles, married to a Southern boy, and teaching women how to feel fit, feminine and fabulous through healthy living and self-care.
In fact, this life that I’m living never really crossed my mind…it just sort of happened!
At various times throughout my childhood I wanted to be: a gas station attendant (I loved washing windshields with a squeegee); a bank teller (I got a real kick out of counting coins and shuffling notes); and for a few years my aspiration to become a lawyer (which would justify the owning of a briefcase) butted heads with my desire to be a marine biologist (and swim with the dolphins every day).
What actually happened was that I got a degree in journalism and started teaching fitness.
Since then, a series of unforeseen events, saying yes to new opportunities and rolling with the flow of life has brought me to where I am today…sitting in SoCal, thinking that a pre-breakfast mimosa sounds like a very civilized idea.
The road that takes us to where we need to go is rarely clear and often tricky to navigate. But what we discover with every step will shape us in ways that we could never have experience, had we not dared to step off the beaten path.
With that in mind, and in honor of turning 29, I wanted to share 29 things that I’ve learned about healthy living and loving the skin you’re in.
And then I’d love to hear from you.
What one nugget of knowledge would you tell your younger self? Like a rising tide lifts all boats, sharing our words of wisdom with one another makes us all stronger. So please, leave a comment below!
How To Be Healthy (And Love The Skin You’re In)
Choose progress over perfection
There’s always room for improvement, so get comfy on the journey and take one new step each day.
Invest in your sleep
Clock enough hours in the land of nod, buy a great mattress and make your bedroom a serene sleep space (the preferred option is dark and quiet, with clean air).
Eat well to feel well
Making healthy food choices isn’t about dieting, it’s about showering your body with love and nutritious bites of goodness.
Define healthy for you
I know what a healthy life means to me and I don’t let other people impinge on that vision; this helps me make the right decisions for my body and life in any given situation.
Self-care is what empowers us to give back to the world
By nourishing your body and spirit with good food, clean water, movement, and me time, you’ll have more of everything to give to others.
Some is better than none
A five-minute walk, a one-minute meditation, or two bites of broccoli…some will always be better than none.
Give up your need for control
Allow people, situations and events to simply be as they are, and notice how much more present and relaxed you become.
Breathing deeply is the miracle pill for anxiety
Inhaling and exhaling through your nose activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body rest, digest and recover.
Stop counting calories
That old myth is officially busted; the new kid on the block is to count nutrition, not calories.
There will always be more food
Farewell Clean Plate Society! Stop eating when you’re satiated and keep your leftovers for another meal.
Exercising is a form of stress, approach it mindfully
A gentle 20-minute walk or a few mobility stretches is enough to feel the benefit of exercise without increasing cortisol during stressful periods.
Fear is temporary, regret is permanent
It can feel really overwhelming, even scary, to change your lifestyle habits. But it’s worth it.
Start before you’re ready
What concerns me is my health and not the opinion of others
I choose to take care of my body rather than trying to change it in unhealthy ways to meet other people’s expectations.
Negative self-talk is polluting your mind
You would never say that filthy stuff to your friend, so why do it to yourself? Being trapped in your mind is holding you back from loving your body and life.
Listen to your body
The human body is wildly intelligent, with an innate capacity to heal and regenerate itself. Once you get out of your head you can listen to what your body needs.
There’s no one-size-fits-all
The same set of rote recommendations won’t work for a 40-year-old woman in Florida and a 65-year-old woman in Minnesota; you need to put on your detective hat and figure out what works for you.
Healthy fats in food is a wonderful thing
If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got
Change happens outside your comfort zone…consider spending more time out there.
It’s about building a lifestyle, not painting a finish line
There is no such a thing as a right or wrong decision when it comes to your wellness, there is only the decision that you make.
Sitting has been called the new smoking
Seriously! Regularly get out of your chair, park further away from the stores, shrug your shoulders up and down…just move your body.
Give up the need to label yourself
You’re a unique human being, regardless of the lifestyle choices that you make. Don’t trap yourself in to being “vegan” or “Paleo” or “a Yogi”. Just be you and do a bit of anything that enhances that.
Trust your gut
Listen to your intuition and eat fermented foods!
People insist on making things difficult, such as healthy living. Don’t be one of them. Keep It Super Simple.
Find movements that fill you with joy
Exercise should be energizing and rewarding for your body and mind, so get out there and find some kind of activity that makes you feel great.
Women need to put their health before their physique
Get healthy and you’ll love how your body looks; force your body into looking a certain way and chances are you won’t be healthy (or happy).
Connect with nature
It reminds us that our place in the universe is bigger than our immediate problems.
You have more time than you think
Figure out your key life priorities and then make time for them.
Pantene was right
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen >>>
P.S. For the record, I still get a kick out of washing windows, counting coins and carrying a briefcase! Oh, and I did swim with dolphins one time!