The Do's and Don'ts of a healthy lifestyle

by Leanne Jacklin-Grey

What we define as a healthy lifestyle can vary massively for each individual. An olympic athlete, for example, may have a very different outlook on what is healthy than your grandmother. The most important thing is find balance in what works for you, so here is my list of Do’s and Don'ts to help you lead a healthy lifestyle of your own.

DO: Give yourself time. Thanks to modern technology we can now get anything almost instantly. You could literally be getting into bed when you remember you have a big party the next day and nothing to wear, order a dress online and the next morning it’s at your door! If only our fitness results worked as quickly right? But we are not designed that way!
Please stop thinking that these quick fixes are the best way for you to get results. Quick fixes in fitness will help you drop a few pounds before an event (say a vacation for example) but because you haven’t actually learnt how to look after your body in a healthy way, during and after the vacation you will likely not only gain the weight back, but likely add on a few extra pounds, until the next big event when the cycle repeats.
Give yourself time to develop a healthy lifestyle that will stay with you and allow you to look and feel your best every day!

DON’T: Get caught up on slip ups. We all have bad days, nobody is perfect. However, if you do find that you’ve had a few too many sugary foods or you’ve skipped a workout, don’t justify that as a reason to over eat for the rest of the day, or week. Instead of getting down and giving up, just move on with the rest of your day, continuing with your normal healthy habits. There is no need to obsess over one small, or even big slip up. The best thing to do in those moments? Make like Elsa and ‘let it go’.

DO: Allow time for rest and recovery. Rest is essential for the muscles to repair, rebuild and strengthen. This does not mean that for two days you have to lay on your bed and binge watch Netflix. You can still be active on your rest days if you want to. Try a long walk outdoors maybe with a friend, a gentle yoga class or it can even be as simple as some stretching while you watch your favourite shows.

DON’T: Compare yourself to others. No two fitness journeys are the same, so don't compare yourself to the people you follow online, or even your friend who works out with you. Your body is uniquely designed for you and so what may take you one week will take someone else four, and vice versa. Even comparing yourself to YOU can be discouraging. Maybe you have had a child, or your career is more demanding than it once was, or perhaps you have a healed injury, which could all mean that your body does not quite function the same as what it once would and that it is totally normal! Stop comparing and just enjoy the process of becoming the best version of you now!

DO: More of what makes you happy. It makes no sense to me why people force themselves to do a form of exercise that they actually hate. Moving your body should be a form of self love, not punishment for eating the foods you like. Even if your friends or favourite influencers do things a little differently, this is not about them, this is about you and what makes you happy. So whether you love lifting weights, long walks, dancing, gymnastics, playing sports, it doesn’t matter as long as your workouts make you feel amazing, physically and mentally.

DON’T: Try to do everything at once. I love that we are all trying to do our best at making ourselves better, but trying to do daily meditation, yoga, drink your water, train, study, moisturise, read, work, listen to a podcast, keep up with social media, journal, watch the news, stay organised, perfect your hair, do your make up, paint your nails, eat healthy, and get eight hours of sleep...I mean seriously?! Stop trying to do it all and instead maybe pick one thing to implement into your life. Once you have that down you can start thinking about adding in another daily task, but trying to do everything at once is unrealistic and will just leave you feeling more deflated and exhausted than ever. You can even alternate things, maybe one day you do yoga, the next day you read. It’s about finding balance and ultimately doing what makes you feel good.

DO: Listen to others but do what works for you. We easily be guided by the advice of others, and although they are trying their best to be helpful, it can often lead us to feel more confused than ever. Education is essential, the more you can learn for yourself, the better. That doesn’t mean however, just because a particular study tells you that you shouldn’t be consuming dairy (as an example) doesn’t mean you have to cut out dairy. Listen, learn, but do what works for you and your lifestyle.

DON’T: Restrict yourself too much. Focus on eating wholesome nutritious foods, like the meals on the Tone & Sculpt app, but enjoy a treat now and again. If you restrict yourself too much you are likely to overeat later, and are less likely to stick to your new healthy lifestyle long term. Have everything in moderation, and don’t feel guilty for going ‘off plan’, this is a lifestyle, not a quick fix remember.

I hope you can take these tips onboard and not worry too much about all the things you think you SHOULD be doing. Comment below what a healthy lifestyle means to you. Take small steps day by day, enjoy the process and keep doing this for you!