Why Healthy Living is About More Than What You Eat

…and how much you exercise.

I started trying to lose weight for my best friend’s wedding in Aruba. To be honest, I wanted to look good in a bikini. I wanted to wear a single-digit sized dress walking down the aisle as her bridesmaid. (I actually ended up ordering the larger size and having it taken in like three sizes, but that’s neither here nor there.) I wanted to eat right, and I wanted to start exercising. 

I thought losing weight would make me happy. And it did, in the obvious, superficial ways. (And it still makes me happy when I can put on a size 4 pair of pants. And that still is one, but not my only motivator.) But losing weight wasn’t enough to make me happy. I was happy with my looks, for sure, but there was something that still wasn’t right.

I’d read tips like this one: “Visualize your negative thoughts floating down a conveyor belt.” And I’d definitely, without-a-doubt, reaped some of the mental benefits everyone talks about getting from exercise.

But something still wasn’t right. I left my job, which was a big part of my unhappiness, in December. That, too, helped a bit, but wasn’t the whole story. I was still unhappy with myself and HATED working from home because it meant that, being single, living along and working from home, I was in my own company about 80 percent of the time. Think about spending 80 percent of your time with someone who bothers you. Now think about that person being yourself. 

I still plan on devoting a separate post to The Happiness Project, but one of the things the amazing Gretchen Rubin talks about is learning to be happy before things get bad. That way, when the shit hits the fan, you’ll have those coping mechanisms in place. There was nothing wrong or terribly off with my life, but I still wasn’t happy.

I started trying to read all I could about happiness, and look for inspiration wherever I could find it. I discovered Operation Beautiful and loved its message of accepting yourself for who you are. I also read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! and loved the message of instead of complaining about something you’re not happy with, going out there and doing something about it. I threw myself into both trying to be happy and working hard at my writing, freelancing and job-searching. This blog is not the place for me to talk about religion or politics, but I will say I believe in karma. Good out, good in. I’ve worked hard the past few months at trying to be the best person I can be all around, both personally and professionally, and I think I’ve been reaping the dividends. 

Healthy living is also about balance, and that’s what I’m struggling with these days. I’m on a different work schedule than I was before – one that involves both a longer commute and longer hours – and I seem to be busier than ever with various social commitments and Junior League commitments.

When I was trying to lose weight, I sacrificed A LOT in order to lose as much weight (as healthily as I could) before going to Aruba. Thankfully, I’m finally at the maintaining stage (woo hoo!), but that, and my new job, present their own challenges in learning the balancing act. I need to try hard to fit the gym into my schedule but also to listen to my body when I need the rest more.

I’m going to be training for a marathon…soon. (Yes, I already lost track of my marathon schedule. I’m going to find a new one, put each training run in my calendar, and start over.) Balance and sleep will become even more important.

So, remember, the number on the scale or the flat stomach may be awesome, but a healthy balance and a healthy attitude in your life are important, too.

The irony is that this post has been on my mind all week, but I haven’t had the time to write it! My blog is part of the balancing act, too. 

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