Advice and Tips for Starting your Health Journey

1. There are no shortcuts

We have all seen headings such as “Lose x amount of weight in just 7 days with this diet!”

It is highly unlikely to lose weight continuously using shortcuts unless it is coupled with realistic and healthy lifestyle changes. You are depriving yourself of vital nutrients, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and fats otherwise. Instead, always opt to eat at least two satisfying meals per day, ideally three, no matter what your fitness goals are. Eat wholesome foods and snacks that won’t result in you feeling sluggish and having an afternoon energy crash. Examples of wholesome foods include vegetables, lean proteins, fruits and whole grains. A wholesome and balanced diet coupled with some form of exercise is far more sustainable than any shortcuts.

 

2. The number on the scale doesn’t matter

Your body weight fluctuates every day. This is caused by a number of factors such as water retention and bloating. The scale is thus not a clear indication of how healthy you are.

Even if you are eating healthily, exercising, getting 7-8 hours of sleep and managing your stress levels, the number on the scale may still not move. There are a range of factors that impact your weight, not only your diet/exercise routine, but also things that are completely out of your control such as your hormones or genes.

The scale may also not move when you are exercising as you may be losing body fat but gaining muscle, as muscle is heavier than fat. It may sound a little confusing, so just remember that even though your overall weight may stay the same, you are in fact most likely losing fat (and gaining lean muscle!). If you are struggling with reaching your ideal weight and you are eating a balanced diet and exercising, consult a medical practitioner for further assistance.  

 

 

3. What you choose to consume has nothing to do with your dietary preference

Nowadays, we are a part of an almost cult-like world of dietary preferences. Not only is there an overload of information, but it seems that people have their own views and opinions on every dietary preference. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo or simply following a standard diet, there are always misconceptions on which diet is healthier. This is confusing, especially when you are first starting to eat healthier. The truth is that any dietary preference can be unhealthy or healthy. It just depends on what you choose to consume. For example, it is a common misconception that veganism is a healthier dietary preference to others because it is a plant-based diet, however oreos are vegan too! So regardless of what your dietary preference is, make sure that you are consuming healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods. This ideally includes all of the food groups. Below is a basic example of what a healthy eating plate consists of:

 

 

4. Everybody is different

It has become so common to look at other people as being your “body goals” or trying to mimic other people’s diets/exercise routine to physically look more like others. This is definitely not a good approach to your health (mentally, emotionally and physically) because you will always end up disappointed. It is so important to remember that you are unique. Set realistic goals for yourself and acknowledge that what will work for somebody else won’t necessarily work for you. Enter into this journey having compassion for yourself and being open to learning what will work for you as this only comes through trial and error.

 

5. There is no such thing as restrictions

Admittedly, I used to have a warped perception of a healthy lifestyle. I believed that being healthy is all about never skipping a workout and having smoothies, salads and soups all day everyday. The more I continue on this journey, however, the more it becomes intuitive to listen to my body. It’s mentally draining to continuously be thinking about that chocolate I had as an afternoon snack that I need to “work off”. I have learned that the way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is through moderation. When I have chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth craving, I can move on and enjoy the more wholesome foods I have the majority of the time. It’s all about treating yourself when you want to, having some discipline and just enjoying the journey instead of overthinking it.

 

 

6. There’s no time limit

Lastly, be aware that there is no time limit. A health journey is a way of discovering what is truly nourishing for you, emotionally, mentally and physically. Be open to learn and be aware that it’s something that you do your entire life to take care of your wellbeing, love the skin you’re in and be the best version of yourself that you can be, no matter what.