I would like to share with you my health philosophy. To be honest, nothing about it will be new and presumably you’ve heard most it many times before. Today everyone is so busy with work, school and their families that they forget that the simple things like drinking a big glass of water will actually energize them more than the fourth cup of coffee. I believe it’s a good idea for everyone who wishes to lead a healthier life to write down Your Pillars to Health. Hang them up somewhere where you will constantly be reminded of your goal of leading a healthier life.
The first important thing about health is to get to know your body. Everyone is different and therefore not every health or beauty secret will work for you. I strongly believe that’s the reasons for why some diets work for some people and some fail to see results. This of course is only an example, I generally do not encourage dieting or depriving yourself of your favorite foods, instead just find some health pillars that you can stick to, to maintain great health and optimum energy. Some of my health pillars are listed below.
I know you’ve probably heard it before, but I’ll say it again. Water really is a health and beauty secret, obviously! Depending on your weight and age, about 60% of your body weight is water. Also, for your body to function seamlessly, this means muscles, blood circulation and tissues, about 1.5-2 litres of water should be consumed per day. This is of course an average estimation and your daily water intake should be fitted to your needs. If you for instance drink several cups of coffee, sodas or other caffeinated drinks you should definately increase your water intake as these tend to act as a diuretic and rather dehydrate you. Also, if you exercise you should make sure to drink plenty of water. After a vigorous workout I treat myself to coconut water which also fills up the electrolytes. I will try to write a separate post on the importance of water soon.
I carry a water bottle with me wherever I go because I am literally always thirsty. I recommend buying a refillable water bottle, preferable one which is BPA-and phthalate-free and does not contain any other harmful chemicals.
I’m going to be honest with you. I probably sleep more than the average 21 year old. But I just know my body and I know that I will not be able to work effectively the next day if I stay up all night or go out the night before. I try to sleep 8 hours per night, even though I do enjoy sleeping longer than that. Also I try not to go to bed too late, but rather tend to wake up earlier so I can really take advantage of the whole day and not just the afternoon.
Generally people think that I’m about 4 years younger than I really am, which I think has to do with the way I take care of myself. I believe being and feeling healthy does not let you age as fast and keeps your skin youthful. You wouldn’t believe it but your skin, being you body’s largest organ, says a lot about the way you treat your body. Even though health is a lot about taking care of ourselves from the inside, i.e. food and drinks, it’s also important how we nourish our skin on the outside. I personally prefer using organic skin care as much as possible as the skin absorbs everything we put on. Chemicals we apply to our skin would therefore be part of our bloodstream. I cleanse, tone and moisturize twice a day, exfoliate twice a week and apply a hydrating mask once a week. This procedure leaves me with beautiful, glowing skin! In addition to that, I use body lotion after each shower because I have dry skin and it makes my skin really soft.
I can not emphasize the importance of healthy eating enough. It does not matter whether you have dietary restrictions, are a vegetarian, vegan or on a raw foodie….healthy eating really is the key to a healthy body and life! Not only will it leave your body with the right amount of energy, you will also feel so much better if you eat fresh food instead of processed junk. Because everyone has different eating preferences, I will not to tell you how many meals to eat per day. I think eating when you’re hungry is still the best method to opt for. Being from Austria where we have our main meal at lunch, I’m used to eating my largest meal of the day between 1-2pm. And being at Uni and sharing my kitchen with 7 others I have found that it can get quite crowded at night. I still eat dinner, it’s usually just not a big production. Breakfast is a must! I never, ever skip breakfast! I try to always have some fruit for breakfast and depending on the weather I will either have oatmeal or yoghurt with oats, fruit and nuts. I have a big cup of green tea every morning.
My meals are always healthy. I’m not 100% vegetarian but I eat meat-less most of the days. I also enjoy vegan food. I don’t eat processed food and actually prefer cooking instead of heating up prepared food from the supermarket. I eat a balanced diet which means that all my meals contain protein, carbohydrates and fats. I always sit down whilst eating. I never eat in front of the TV and I encourage you to do the same. Concentrate on your food while you’re eating. Try to enjoy your meal and don’t get distracted by anything or anyone.
I don’t drink a lot of alcohol. I never was the big alcohol lover growing up. When my friends started drinking when they 15 or 16, I just didn’t feel the need to tag along. I don’t exactly know why, but I just don’t think getting drunk is very sensible, it’s that simple. I’m actually quite tired of having to defend myself for this habit but for some reason you are an outsider in our society if you do not drink which I find to be annoying most of the time. You will have probably guessed it, but I don’t smoke either.
I would also like to share a couple of thoughts about dieting. I’ve tried diets before, I’ve been anorexic and I’ve deprived myself of food…it did not make me happy. Whenever I get too obsessed with my weight, which still happens now and then (I think it’s normal after having been anorexic) I remind myself that life is not about weight but health.
My parents instilled thinking positively for most of my life. However, it was only when I was anorexic that my family really got into reading books about how your positive thoughts can change your life. I do believe that my thoughts create my future, therefore I choose to think positively. I know that some people may not believe in positive thinking, but we all think, so why waste your time and energy with negative thoughts when going through life with a positive attitude is so much more fulfilling and rewarding. One of my favorite books on this subject is the The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
Being self-confident is really difficult, especially when your a teenager and you haven’t really managed to figure out who you really are or where you belong. Growing up, I’ve always had an issue with self-confidence, especially when I gained weight after being anorexic. I didn’t feel attractive and wasn’t happy with myself and that’s exactly what I showed the world through my body language. Everyone can be self-confident, it just takes a little practice to let the new you shine through!
Personally I think that exercise is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. But don’t think that going to the gym is the only way you can be active. I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they’d be more active if they’d live closer to the gym. However, you can be active however far away from the gym you live. Take long walks, go for hike, go for a bicycle ride with your family or just put on your sneakers and run! If you’ve really never been into exercising that much, it will take you some time to get used to a new routine, but its doable.
When I am at Uni, I go to the gym we have on Campus most days. They offer a ton of classes which I love. I particularly like yoga. However I also like running which I can do outside or on the treadmill. For the last couple of years I’ve also really been into cycling so during the summer my dad, my brothers and I do mountain bike or road bike tours.
Exercise does not always have to be highly aerobic. Sometimes I just don’t feel like going for a run, so I’ll do yoga instead, which is really great to clear my head. It’s all about what YOU enjoy doing and what you’re comfortable with.
What more is there to say? Be happy, smile a lot, appreciate your life and be in the moment!