With January coming to a close (where did the month go?!), I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss what it means to have a healthy lifestyle, while simultaneously guilting you back into your new year’s resolutions (wink wink). I feel like the most popular resolutions have to do with fitness and being healthier—mine included—so I wanted to touch a bit on that and include the tips that I’ve found most helpful. I’m also excited to announce that I’m collaborating with seven other fabulous bloggers to showcase cute activewear looks and spread the message that style is for every age. You can read more about the collab’s mission at the end of this post!
When I think of a healthy lifestyle, it goes beyond just a reflection in the mirror, a waist size, or a habit to starve yourself. Instead, healthiness equates to balance, and balance is reflected in how you feel–hopefully strong, fit, and empowered. Below, I categorized some of the most important aspects of health and what I do to try to achieve them, including exercise, stretching, eating habits, sleep, confidence, and self care.
Let’s be real…exercise isn’t always the most enjoyable pastime. There are definitely times I would much rather be sitting in my closet brainstorming outfits! Or binge-watching creepy Netflix shows about stalkers (I’m looking at you, “You”). The point is, finding the motivation to get out of bed and make it to the gym, especially in the cold and dark of winter, can be difficult to say the least.
I made it my goal at the start of 2019 to try and exercise 5 times a week. And so far, I’ve been doing…okay. Some weeks I’ve reached my goal, others I haven’t, and that’s perfectly fine! One of the biggest contributors to a lack of motivation for me is boredom. I get tired of workouts really fast, and the predictability makes it more difficult for me to complete them (that feeling when you know you’re gonna feel the burn by mile 2? Yikes!). That’s why I try to spice up my workouts as much as possible. Whenever my schedule allows, I aim to alternate my fitness routine between the options below:
- Swimming laps
- Using the elliptical
- Climbing the stair machine or running stairs (my new favorite workout for when I don’t want to leave my building—I just run up all ten flights and do that three times! Talk about being sore the next day)
- Biking or utilizing a biking machine (another new thing I’ve tried—I love practicing my Spanish on the DuoLingo App while I ride)
- Playing your favorite sports or intramurals for all y’all college students
- Jump roping (another at-home and super quick way to burn calories)
The point is, there are so many more ways to break a sweat than you probably realize…I even forgot the classics like going for a run! If you’re finding it hard to drag your cute butt to the gym or outside for some exercise, I highly recommend trying something new. In my opinion, a workout is never as bad the first time because you don’t know what to expect.
Of course working out with a buddy can make things more fun and interesting, as does adding a killer playlist. I haven’t totally gotten into the whole podcast trend yet, but if those work for you, then great!
And like with anything on this blog…it always helps to have a cute outfit. I tried really hard to go shopping for stylish workout gear after Christmas in preparation for this post, but I had an annoyingly difficult time. For one, I’m very picky about workout leggings, if I wear them at all. The other issue I encountered is price…for whatever reason, I just have a really hard time spending money on exercise clothes! I guess it’s because in the back of my mind I know I could just be wearing that grubby t-shirt and some hand-me-down shorts…But I’m here to tell you—treat yourself. You deserve a rocking outfit that will inspire you to be fit! I’ve especially been loving the backless shirts with strappy sports bras that are so popular lately. Too cute.
If you want to check out the past workout posts I’ve shared, click the links below!
Gym Class 101: Surviving the Sweat (how to transition from the gym to your daily activities)
Fashionable Fitness Resolutions
Back to School Series: School’s Out, Work Out
I’ll be honest, stretching is one of my least favorite things. I’ve never liked it, but I’ve always heard the nagging voices of coaches and my dad in the back of my mind, through years of playing various sports, telling me how important it is. I finally decided to get serious about stretching this year. Even though it can be a pain, especially after a tough workout where you just want to go home and eat Oreos and gain all those calories back, it truly is so necessary. Not only does stretching increase your flexibility, but it also helps muscles heal post-workout, can prevent aches and pains, and improves blood flow. Stretching is, like skincare, one of those things you have to start when you’re young, otherwise you’ll regret it when you are older. I hate seeing my dad in pain all the time because he never stretched when he was a young athlete. Don’t let that be you! Be proactive now to prevent the pain later. You can read more about the benefits of stretching and why you need to be doing it in this article.
Y’all, if you haven’t noticed from my constant food references, I absolutely LOVE eating. Unfortunately, constant eating doesn’t love me quite the same way. I’m almost always hungry, so it takes a lot of self-control for me to tame that insatiable beast. Here are some of my tips for eating healthier, not necessarily eating less:
- Don’t try to cut out certain items from your diet completely. Like I mentioned earlier, being healthy is about balance, and trying to “diet” from desserts or carbs will probably end up with you binging it to overcompensate after a bad day. Instead, make a promise to yourself to only allow the consumption of one dessert every week, or one high-carb item a day. This makes it so much easier to maintain your goals and allows the much-needed leeway to help you succeed.
- When you’re tempted to eat more, cut a deal with yourself: bargain that you can have one more handful of goldfish if you do 20 squats first (or some other quick form of exercise). This keeps you staying active and maintains the ratio of food intake and exercise outtake.
- I feel like weighing could be its own entire post, but I just want to say this about it: aim for “net” weeks on the scale rather than the same weight every day. What I mean is that you should try to maintain a consistent weight over the course of a given week; if one day you splurge by eating a big dessert and have a bad weigh in, just compensate for it the next day by eating something healthy like a salad. Remember to go easy on yourself, ladies. It’s never too late to be what might you have been, and at the end of the day, it’s just a silly number on a little metal platform.
There are a million reasons why sleep is so important, and hopefully y’all know that (if not, check out this article). Unfortunately, healthy sleeping practices aren’t quite as easy to implement as we’d like to think. With all of our obligations and busy busy lives (leave me alone, criminology homework!), getting to bed at a decent time is a constant struggle. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you get some extra Zzzzs:
- Set a reminder on your phone to know when it’s time to start getting ready for bed. For Christmas, I received the new Fitbit Charge 3 (which I love, by the way) and I set it to give me a notification at 10 every night so I can start winding down. By scheduling a reminder on your phone or other device, you’re at least thinking about sleep and it pressures you to wrap up whatever you’re working on, even if it means not going to bed exactly at your reminder time.
- Don’t procrastinate during the day! One of the biggest causes for me going to bed late is actually procrastination. I get home from classes, take a break, and then don’t end up starting homework until 7 o’clock. In which case, I’ll be awake until at least 11. Please don’t be me. Get yourself under control with my tips on how to end procrastination. They’ve really been helping me and I’m actually getting a lot better at not putting stuff off, which in turn means getting to bed sooner!
- In recent years, “blue light” has been a huge buzzword, especially in terms of how you sleep. In layman’s terms, lots of studies show that limiting technology use (and thereby the light emitted from your screens) before you go to bed can help you fall asleep quicker and get more restful sleep. So this means no phones or laptops right before bedtime. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! It’s actually extremely difficult for me to limit technology before I go to bed, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I always catch up on Instagram as I brush my teeth, and most of my homework involves a laptop, so I’ll be staring at the screen until the late hours of the night. Sometimes, limiting use just isn’t possible. When this is the case, spend a few minutes in your bed reading from a book or magazine (not from a screen!) after turning off all your electronic devices. Even though spending the extra time to read means less time to sleep, it may actually help you get better sleep because you give your body a chance to wind down and relax after seeing so much blue light. And when your phone or Fitbit buzzes at you every night as a bedtime reminder, take it as an opportunity to wrap up whatever you’re doing on your phone/laptop and put the devices away.
I’ve been talking a lot more about confidence lately on the blog, and that’s because I think it has a huge effect on your everyday mindset as well as your overall health. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to treat your body right and give it what it deserves! Feeling confident also helps to eliminate the sometimes negative notions of being healthy, like feeling the constant need to be thinner. Y’all are fabulous, and you should give your bodies the lovin’ they deserve, even when that means going easy and cutting yourself some slack.
Check out my posts on confidence for more inspiration!
My Name’s BlurryFace and I *Don’t* Care What You Think
Maybe She’s Born with It, Maybe It’s Confidence
Hating Yourself Isn’t Fashionable
I think confidence and self care go hand in hand. Just last week I saw a hilarious tweet/meme posted to HerCampus that said, “Last night I practiced self care by eating cinnamon toast crunch in bed and letting the sugar crumbs in my sheets exfoliate my legs.” If that’s not relatable, I don’t know what is!
Jokes and trendiness aside, the message of self care is actually really important. It’s about nurturing your body and putting your mental health first, whatever that means for you. One thing I find really important in regards to self care is the process of relieving stress. There’s no question that everyone feels busy all the time, but I don’t think enough of us make stress relief the priority that it needs to be. When I first came to college, someone asked how I wind down and relax. The truth is, I didn’t have a solid answer for them! I rarely sit down for the sole purpose of relaxing or relieving stress—instead, I always have some sort of driving force or reason to be doing something. That’s when I realized I need to get serious about finding some outlets to relieve anxiety. I don’t care what age you are—high school student, college student, working woman—you’re probably stressed! And you deserve a way to feel better about that.
I know for me, one of the biggest ways to relieve stress is through exercise. I realize this is counterintuitive because I mentioned how much of a pain it can be, but I promise, working out is a biological stress reducer! It’s always hard to get to the gym or feel like you’re “wasting time” by working out, but it’s never really a waste. Those endorphins do wonders to put you in a great mood and reduce anxiety.
Another huge thing I’ve realized that is a stress reducer is—get this—coloring! I’m telling you guys, coloring is SO much fun and such a great way to diminish any stress you may be feeling. It’s not just for kindergartners! Not only are the colors and mandalas (that’s my favorite thing to color) super visually appealing (#aesthetics), but the act of just sitting down, letting your thoughts roam, and moving your hand back and forth along the paper does something magical. Spending just one hour a week on Sunday nights or even ten minutes each day coloring will make a huge difference in how you feel.
And of course, you can always participate in the trendy self care activities like face masks and bubble/milk baths. Talk about relaxing!
And now, check out the fun collab I’m doing today with these amazing ladies! We’re each sharing a cute activewear look and wellness-inspired post, so be sure to stop by their blogs and check out their workout style as well.
The Magnificent 8 is a collaboration among 8 stylish women from every decade of life showcasing our style one generation at a time. The mission of this collaboration is to show you just how ageless style is, how we can each dress however we’d like and in ways that make us feel fabulous. There are no age restrictions on style. So wear what you want, when you want, add a smile, and strut your style with confidence. And be sure to check out all 7 of these amazing gals!
Every quarter, we choose a theme and each create an outfit that suits our own personal tastes and fashion choices and we post them on the last Wednesday of every third month. So be sure to go check out everyone’s posts for lots of style inspiration at any age!
Let me introduce the ladies of The Magnificent 8.
Grace of Graceful Rags is representing teenagers.
Michelle of Michelle’s Pa(i)ge is representing the 20-somethings.
Roxanne of Glass of Glam is representing the 30-somethings.
Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge is representing the 40-somethings.
Rena of Fine Whatever is representing the 50-somethings.
Eugenia of Age of Grace is representing the 60-somethings.
Nancy of Jodie’s Touch of Style is representing the 70-somethings.
And Charlotte of Jodie’s Touch of Style is representing the 80-somethings.
We are showing that you can’t put a number on style!
There are so many ways to feel fit and practice a healthy lifestyle, so I hope you found something useful in today’s post that you can implement in your every day lives. What sort of healthy habits do you participate in? Were any of these tips especially helpful to you? Let me know below and feel free to share your thoughts on healthy living. Happy Wednesday!
Miles of smiles,
Grey Mesh Sweatshirt: Dillard’s, $30, buy here // Black Adidas Jacket: Sport’s Authority, $45 // Black Nike Tennis Skirt: online for my high school tennis uniform, $80 // Indoor Soccer Shoes: Soccer Etc., $60
16 comments on “Healthy Living: Fitness, Self-Care, Eating Habits, and More”
I have a hard time spending a lot on workout wear too. I’ve bought some at the second hand stores, or the discount stores. Yet I do get a lot of wear from these pieces, so maybe sometime I will spend more!
Thanks so much for joining the group, Grace!! You are a joy to read these ways to stay healthy!
That’s such a good point Jodie, I forgot to consider how much I wear active clothes! That definitely makes it worth it.
And thanks so much for letting me join the group! It was my pleasure 🙂
Hi! I like that you incorporate stretching into your fitness routine. I believe it’s a great way to limber up as well as help with the cool down after any exercise.
Hi Eugenia! Thanks so much, I’d agree 🙂
Thank you so much for all this sound advice Eugenia. I’ve had a prolonged virus and I’m excited to get fit and healthy again! xx Maria
Hi Maria! Thanks for the comment. Glad to hear you’re getting healthy again 🙂
Miles of smiles,
Grace, this is such a wonderful post with so many great tips and inspiring information. Like Jodie, I tend to buy a lot of my work out wear second hand or on super duper clearance from Old Navy. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on it either, but it is definitely more motivating when I feel cute in my work out wear. On that note, you are so adorable in your work out outfit! I am so glad that you have joined us! And I am even more excited that you are a fan of “You”. Gosh, I love that show. I can’t wait for the second season to start!
Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Shelbee!! I’m so excited to have joined the group. And I agree, having cute workout gear is definitely so motivating 🙂
These are all such great tips. I am really good at working out 5x a week, but man… eating clean is really hard at times! I do agree, balance is the key! I try to do low carb 2 days a week, regular macro days 3 days and then on the weekend I don’t really track since it is so hard. It’s not the best, but it is something!
That seems like a great plan to me! Way to be so dedicated to tracking your food intake, that’s great. I use my Fitbit to log all of my food but sometimes it still doesn’t deter me from a sweet treat 🙂
Where do you find blouses with collars? They are few and far between here in Denver. I may be shopping at the wrong stores. GBY Kathy
Hi Kathy! My high school used to have a dress code where we were required to wear collared shirts, so I definitely know the struggle. I wouldn’t say there’s one particular store I go specifically for collared shirts, but I have had a lot of luck at JCPenney. I actually have a category on my blog (here’s the quick link: https://gracefulrags.com/category/collared-blouses/) specifically for outfits with collared shirts, so you can browse those posts as well to get more store ideas and inspiration. hope this helps!
Fabulous tips and fantastic outfit. I’m so glad that you’ve join the Magnificent 8 collaboration.
Thanks so much Rena!! Have a great Sunday 🙂
You are too cute! Is that a workout skirt?!? Need one!
Thanks Michelle! And yes it is, it was actually part of my high school tennis uniform 🙂