Trying to live healthily can turn into a full time job when we start aiming for extremes of exercise or dieting, and when we put those lofty goals on ourselves it makes it hard to stay motivated. Making healthier choices doesn’t have to mean a radical lifestyle change though! Sure, there will be days when it’s tough to squeeze a workout in or pass on that sugary snack, but healthy habits shouldn’t feel make you feel bad or restricted, they should make you feel so good. It’s all about finding the balance and making small, manageable choices every day that you can feel better about. Here’s the secret – when you start making small changes towards a healthier life, your body and mind will feel better, and wanting to keep that feeling going will be your best motivation.
When we look at that bigger picture of healthy living we have to think of fitness, nutrition, our psychological well-being, and our self-esteem. Everything we experience is interconnected – our moods affect our motivation, what we eat mediates our energy levels, how active we are has a direct impact on body image and self-esteem, and how we feel about ourselves shapes our outlook on life. But you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic, nutrition nut, and well-being guru all wrapped up in one. It’s OK to have one healthy living preference that drives you as long as you’re aiming for balance overall.
For me, physical fitness is my primary motivator and it’s what makes me feel my best. I was the mom who picked her kids up from school in trainers, leggings, a sports top and my hair pulled up in a ponytail – and this was before athleisure was en vogue. But it was never something I was ashamed of. My physical health was (and still is) something I’m proud of and something that’s very important to me, and I wanted my kids to see that. In their own ways, they have followed in my footsteps of optimizing health; from staying active, to eating well, and tending to their emotional well-being. That’s the real answer to healthy living – finding a sustainable balance in all aspects of your life.
When I started Baby2Body I wanted to make sure that we covered that entire healthy lifestyle experience, which is why we cover topics wellbeing, fitness, nutrition, and beauty. So, in the spirit of finding a beautiful balance, I want to share my top tips for living a healthier, more balanced life.
Fitness: My mantra is repeat, reassure, refresh. Consistency is key when it comes to an exercise routine, and the best way to start is with smaller workouts that you can do every single day. Not only will you form habits faster this way, you’ll feel amazing for it because you’ll be able to achieve those fitness goals. Next, make sure to recognize those achievements, because building your own confidence in yourself goes a long way. Lastly, make the most of your refresh step – from healthy hydration, to eating right, to getting enough rest and stretching properly. You’ll enjoy exercise more because you’ll be treating your body right from start to finish.
Well-Being: Practice some tunnel vision. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and it couldn’t be truer, especially in the age of social media. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to what other mothers or parents are doing, and trust that you are doing it right. Going at your own pace and recognizing milestones you reach means that you can be genuinely happy with your own achievements, rather than worrying that you’re falling short.
Food: Listen to your body. It knows best. Pay attention to how it reacts to certain foods and how you feel after eating. It will tell you a lot about what is good for you, and what’s not. You’ll quickly find out that cleaner, unprocessed food choices make you feel happier and more energized – making it easier to skip the crisps and reach for more fruit and veg. By listening to your body you’ll also learn a lot about what works for your individual digestive system. “Healthy” food isn’t healthy for you if it doesn’t agree with your gut, so prioritize food that treats you well.
Beauty: Make time for your routine. There’s nothing vain about tending to your beauty routine, especially if it makes you feel incredible. Beauty habits can play a really important role in maintaining your sense of identity, which is important for busy moms. It doesn’t matter what your fashion, or skincare, or makeup routine is, it’s all about taking that time for yourself to look and feel the way you want to. Self-care is self-love!
Melinda Nicci is the founder and CEO of Baby2Body, a Sport Psychologist, and professional pre- and post-natal fitness trainer. Melinda is passionate about health and wellness, travel, art, and photography, and loves spending her free time with her two children and exercising outdoors, when the London weather permits! Learn more about her at baby2body.com!