The biggest takeaway from my health journey

The biggest takeaway from my health journey

Over the weekend, Serena and I had a lot of fun answering your questions on our InstaStory (if you aren’t following us already, follow @avolicious_blog !!). One of my favorite questions was “What is the biggest takeaway from my health journey?”

I answered this briefly in the InstaStory, but the biggest takeaway from my (ongoing) health journey is to follow your own path. As easy it is to look up online on what to eat, how to exercise, how to live (and if you think about it, that’s essentially what you’re looking up), I’ve learned that every body and mind is different.

IMG_7200.JPG

In middle school, young Stephanie thought that she had to look a certain way, had to eat only certain foods and had to exercise x amounts a week, x minutes at a time. But I’ve learned that health (or wellness as a better word), is COMPLETELY relative.

It’s really frustrating to hear that – especially when we have so many seemingly helpful resources and also a bombardment of lifestyle pictures, it is very easy to fall in the trap of imposing someone else’s “healthy” onto you.

But just like what Serena responded, to practice these health-conscious decisions consistently, it has to be sustainable, it has to be a lifestyle. Your preferences and decisions need to work with your lifestyle – not some 20 year old who lives in NYC and has the money to buy expensive vegan food and do private workouts because they are all influencers trying to unrealistically influence you to live a certain way.

It takes a long time to find this happy medium. I’m still finding that happy medium. Every single day.

I keep a mental log of what things don’t work well for me. What I’ve learned: I don’t do well with dairy, I cannot wait to eat until my stomach is starving: or else, I get a huge stomachache, I cannot eat that much for breakfast, I need to eat simple carbs when I’m in huge anxiety mode. For exercise, I cannot exercise when I am tired – sleeping is better for me then. And the list continues to get modified as each day passes.

So with all that, listen to your body. Be present. Learn about your body, not about someone else’s.

What’s the biggest takeaway from your health journey?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

Some of my friends who read my blog posts ask me what it means to honor and listen to your body. To be frank, listening to your body is a medium that is incredibly hard – harder than the extremes. Based on my experience, restricting or overeating and not exercising at all or overexercising is a lot easier than practicing “moderation.”

Across my recovery, I’ve been recommended to practice intuitive eating, but let me tell you intuitive is very difficult when you’ve been practicing disordered eating. Listening to your body requires a lot of time, patience, and effort.

avolicious header image

To me, listening to my body means to not eat ice cream because I know that my body does not process dairy well. I know that the sluggish and queasy feeling I get in my stomach after eating dairy is not worth the momentary pleasure of eating ice cream. This is not restriction. Restriction would be not getting ice cream because I know there are too many calories in ice cream.

To me honoring my body means going out for an easy run when I’m itchy for some movement. I know that I have been sitting down a lot throughout the week and want to stretch out and give the range of motion my body wants. This is not exercise addiction. Exercise addiction would be exercising despite injuries, despite your body feeling weak and tired.

To me, intuitive eating means not getting seconds because I am aware that my wanting to get seconds is emotional: I had a rough day at school, I have friend drama going on, I have a big test looming ahead. I am aware that my physical hunger has been satisfied. This is not restriction because restriction would be to not eat when my stomach is asking for more food.

Indeed, this is not easy. It’s hard to take the time to reflect, pause, and listen to what your body wants. And even when you are trying to listen, sometimes you are confused as to whether you are listening to your physical self or your emotional self.

This took me an incredibly time (maybe an upward of two years) and I’m still not near perfect. Intuitive eating is never about being perfect and listening to your body every single time. Intuitive eating is about progress, about continually getting better at listening to your body. Because sometimes, you may be physically full but you just might need a little sweet to pick you up. And that’s completely fine.

Going into intuitive eating is first a huge step. To completely ditch the calorie counting in your head, to ditch the “obligation” to exercise, to completely ditch all the rules from society but to only listen to yourself. And even when you decide to practice intuitive eating, it is a hard principle to follow. But read my examples above. Getting to that point took a lot of time, patience and effort but at the end, I feel much more energy and love and self-respect for my body.

You only get to live with your body once. Honor it. Listen to it. No matter how hard it gets.

What will you do today to honor your body?

Xoxo,

Stephanie

Simple Ways to Have a Healthier 2018

Simple Ways to Have a Healthier 2018

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning of every year. Wherever you go – social media, the magazines by the check out aisle, commercials – we see this “new year, new you” message.

I completely recognize the reason behind this message, but at the same time part of me hates how self-deprecating this can be. So what about your old me? Or your present me? Why do I have to change? The word “new” is too drastic and extreme for me. I think the word “improved” or “progressed” is a better fit. Each new year is one more chance to become the best self you can be, NOT the best self that society imposes you. If you want o read more about this, check out my “healthy” post from last year.

Stepping off the soapbox, I wanted to share a few of my tips that are SIMPLE and effortless to make your 2018 a bit better.

DRINK MORE WATER // Serena and I are known by our friends as water monsters. We are always seen carrying our waterbottles and constantly refilling them. And it’s not for bad reason – staying hydrated makes you feel more energized (it’s my go-to alternative for coffee) and allows you to be more clear-minded and more headache-free.

Serena loves her Nalgene and I adore my Hydroflask – both great options that will stand the test of time!

IMG_8624
Serena with her beloved Nalgene

 

GO TO A DOCTOR FOR REGULAR CHECK-UPS// This might seem super obvious, but I know a handful of friends who don’t go to the doctor because they’re not sick. Now, this is not a good reason to have – we don’t always go to the doctor because we’re sick. We go to treat current illness but also to prevent future illness.

Below is an useful graphic from hims on what check-ups you should book an appointment for depending on your age. I love the sentence the graphic has at the bottom: “Having an issue isn’t weird. Not dealing with it is weird.” Ditto that.

Hims Health Checklist

Check out this blog post for even more information from hims!

LISTEN// This advice runs the gamut from eating habits to sleep needs. Our bodies are wonderfully made and are incredibly smart — they know what it needs and will do all they can to let you know. Trust what you feel and give your body what it truly needs. On certain days, that might mean a kale salad topped with salmon, but on other days that mean Chick-Fil-A, and that’s completely fine. This is easier than you think. Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Get sleep when you’re tired. Get exercise when you’re craving some movement. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN

I truthfully think that these tips all together will allow for a 2018 that is in the smallest of ways healthier and more fulfilling.

What are your go-to tips for a healthy life?

xoxo,

Stephanie