Reflecting on a Full Year of Healthy Living

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It has officially been a year since I started this journey of healthy living. Whenever I tried to be healthier in the past, it never lasted. I tried to make changes with the best intentions, but I was never able to keep the momentum going. I am both surprised and proud that I’ve stuck with it for a whole year so far. I made a lifestyle change this year when I decided to eat healthier and get more exercise, and I don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon. Since I have successfully reached this milestone, I wanted to share a few of the things that I have learned along the way. I hope that they might provide some inspiration and insight for anyone else who is looking to become healthier.

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1. Good Results Take Time

In today’s society, we are all looking for the quick fixes. This is especially true in the health and fitness world. There are so many companies offering that special diet pill or trying to sell you extra special exercise equipment that you will have you skinny in no time. And maybe you will get good results from these products, but they aren’t sustainable. As soon as you stop using these products, you will be back to being flabby and feeling unhealthy.

I remember the first few weeks of this health journey, I felt like I wasn’t seeing any results. I was putting in all this hard work, and I didn’t feel like it was getting me anywhere. In the past, this may have made me feel unmotivated. I probably would have wanted to give up and go back to my unhealthy ways of living.

I chose to stick with it though, and slowly but surely, I started seeing results. Every month I felt myself losing weight and most importantly, getting stronger. If I had given up in that first week, I would have never learned this important lesson: good results take time. Losing weight slowly and getting into exercise at my own pace has only helped me in the long run. It has allowed me to keep the weight off and create a more sustainable schedule.

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2. You Will Realize How Strong You Really Are

You learn just how strong you really are when you start this kind of journey, both mentally and physically. This year, in addition to eating more healthy and working out more, I also decided to take on running and start training for a 5K. I am absolutely not a natural runner. In fact, I dreaded running the mile in high school gym class and always felt like I was going to keel over by the end of it.

I’m not going to lie, incorporating running into my workout schedule has not been the easiest thing in the world. In the beginning, I kept wondering why I was putting my body through what I felt was torture. Over time, I actually started to enjoy running though. More than anything, I liked that I was able to run more each time. That showed that I was getting stronger.

If you had told me that I would be able to run for more than a minute at a time, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. Because I had never run much before, I just assumed that my body wasn’t meant for running. It is amazing how strong our bodies really are, and I never really realized it until I started this journey.

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3. Sometimes There Are Setbacks

If you’re going into a journey of healthy living expecting it to be obstacle-free, you’re probably going to be disappointed. If you’re anything like me, you will be making some major changes in how you go about life, and no one can be perfect all the time.

For me, eating healthy during holidays has been especially difficult. Have there been times when I ate a little more than I should have or indulged in too much dessert when I should have been focusing on vegetables? Of course. I used to feel horrible about these kind of setbacks, but over time I realized that these are all part of the journey. Even when it feels like you have failed, there is always something that you can learn from any setback.

My setbacks taught me to be more prepared, but they also showed me that life shouldn’t be lived so seriously. At the beginning of this year, I felt like I needed to be so strict with both my diet and exercise regimen. And while that definitely helped me to get healthier, it didn’t necessarily make me happier. I have learned to have a good balance between being healthy and treating myself every so often. I think that is probably one of the most important things that I have learned this year.

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4. Focus On More Than Just a Number on the Scale

Every other time that I have tried to lose weight, I focused almost obsessively on the number on the scale. Something that I have learned on this journey is that there are times when the number on the scale may stay the same for a couple of weeks. That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any progress though.

There have been plenty of times this year when I haven’t lost any weight, yet I noticed that my stomach looked smaller or I felt less bloated. There have been weeks when I may not have been losing any weight according to the scale, but I still could feel myself getting stronger and making progress with my running. Drinking all this extra water and eating so many fresh foods has helped my skin look better than it has in years. That’s an amazing result that you would never be able to see from a scale. You shouldn’t go into a health journey focusing only on the scale. You will only be miserable and feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.

Most importantly, I feel so much better now that I’ve made my health a priority, and that means more to me than some number on the scale. When I’m eating healthy and working out regularly, I have more energy and feel like I can accomplish more during the day. I don’t get sick as often and I feel stronger than I ever have before. If I had put all of my focus on what the scale was telling me, I never would have stuck with this journey and continued to make good progress.

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5. Mental Health is Just As Important As Physical Health

I set out on this journey to be healthier physically, but I have also been able to improve my mental health as well. Working out has done wonders for dealing with anxiety and stress, but I have been able to better my mental health in other ways as well. I found that as I got physically healthier, I wanted to improve my life in more than just one way.

You can be the skinniest, most fit person out there, but if you aren’t healthy mentally, none of it is going to worth it. If you still feel unworthy and depressed, you aren’t going to enjoy life as much you should. That is why mental health is just as important as physical health.

I became really interested in self-help books, and I have found that reading them has helped me to become healthier mentally and learn more about how to be a better person. I have enjoyed researching different ways to become less anxious and focus on letting stress go. Putting just as much work into my mental health as my physical health has been difficult at times, but it has definitely been worth it.

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I have learned a lot over this year of healthy living, and I am still just as committed to living a healthy lifestyle as I was back then. I hope that you might take inspiration from some of the things that I’ve learned. Have you learned anything new on your own health journeys? I would love to hear about them!

Love,

Sara

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