Okay, so we all know that there are benefits to living a healthy lifestyle. We know we’ll be stronger, be closer to a healthy weight, and give our body the good stuff it needs. But there are probably a few things that are affected that you hadn’t thought of! Here’s the list of how I’ve personally benefited from a healthy lifestyle.
1. Weight Loss
I have almost always been overweight. I’ve struggled with overexercising and starving myself and all the other horrible things that some people do to control their weight. Switching to a healthy lifestyle came with natural, healthy weight loss. Even just switching your diet to fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats can shrink your waist. Add in some exercise and you’ll see it happen faster. Surprised? Nope, me neither. That’s why I started with the most obvious one!
2. You’ll have more energy
I’ve heard this said again and again, but didn’t really understand what it meant until I experienced it. Having more energy doesn’t mean you’re bouncing off the walls or able to run marathons miraculously. But, you know that tired feeling that chases you down day after day, regardless of how much sleep you got? You drink coffee to reverse it, but then you just feel tired and jittery. Maybe you can’t focus at work or school because your mind is going somewhere else and a nap just sounds soooo good. Then, despite being tired all day, you have trouble sleeping at night because you’ve been caffeinating yourself all day just to stay awake!
With a healthy diet, energy comes naturally. All those vitamins are literally helping your body to be more efficient at releasing energy. You fight with your alarm clock less – instead, it goes off and you jump out of bed ready to go. It sounds like a fairy tale, but it could actually happen with a healthy diet! And, you’ll go all day without needing that coffee just to get you through. (But, let’s face it, the coffee is still delicious. I get it.)
3. You’ll feel less depressed and anxious
I’ve found that energy and depression are inversely related. The more energy I have, the less depressed I feel. With a healthy diet providing energy, and exercise releasing endorphins, depression and anxiety don’t stand much of a chance. These feelings drag you down and keep you from doing the things you love. I know. I’ve been there. But, when they’re suppressed and your energetic side takes over, you’ll find that you won’t only feel better, but you’re doing more things that make you happy.
Of course, if depression or anxiety is very severe, you’re probably already seeing someone or taking medication for them. That’s great! I’d recommend talking to your doctor or therapist and asking them how a healthy diet could benefit you. Medications may have interactions with foods, so always check first.
4. You’ll have clearer skin
Acne? Blemishes? Dryness? Dullness? Dark circles? Psshhh, get outta here.
I’ve got acne, but I don’t like to use harsh chemicals on my face. I’ve got dry skin, and most of the products I use only make it worse. If I eat junk food, my face will reveal that the next day. However, eating healthy and staying hydrated makes my skin clear enough to wear sometimes I even SKIP makeup. What! I can be blemish-free in just a few days after that junk food. Woohoo!
Healing your skin from the inside is the best way to get clear, radiant skin. Forget all those products!
If you struggle with acne, I highly recommend The Love Vitamin – a fantastic, welcoming blog about healing your skin without harsh products, and keeping it that way! You can get TONS of free information from Tracy there!
5. Treats taste EVEN BETTER!
Listen, I am a total chocoholic. Anyone who knows me knows that chocolate is my absolute favorite food. I’m not immune to its call…I’m almost powerless. Almost. But if you are constantly eating chocolate or salty snacks or whatever your treat of choice is, you’re experiencing the law of diminishing returns. That’s some high-school economics for “the more you consume it, the less enjoyable it becomes”. You know how that first bite of [your favorite treat] tastes soooo amazing, and your eyes roll back in the back of your head, and you take another one and it’s good, and another bite and it’s okay, and by the end you’re like, “eh”. That’s the law of diminishing returns. If you’re constantly eating that stuff, you’re constantly experiencing it.
But take a break from that food for a couple weeks. Retrain your palate. You won’t be craving all those treats and junk food, but you can still indulge! And once you take a bite – mmmmmmMMMM!!!!! It’s better than ever before.
In fact, a lot of people’s tastes change so much that they find treats to be too sweet and are even less tempted to consume junk food! That’s awesome!
6. You’ll be in better shape
Obviously! If you’re losing weight, if you’re exercising, your body can do more. Wanna carry the laundry basket with ease, or bring the groceries in in one trip. Diet and exercise. Wanna play outside with your kid, or go up the stairs without getting winded? Diet and exercise. It’s so obvious, and we all know it. Still, a healthy lifestyle means you’ll be stronger, which is totally cool.
A bonus benefit of this one is that you can spend more time outside. I love to go hiking at a local park called Chestnut Ridge. They have a frolf course, too, and when I lose my disc in the ravine, I can climb down (and then back up) to get it. Being stronger and healthier not only allows me to scale mini-mountains like this, but it allows me to spend a whole day walking and stepping over roots and rocks and whatever without getting totally winded.
Being in nature is so much more than getting exercise to me, though. It’s stress relief. It’s smelling the earth and the pine and the water. It’s being in tune with yourself and the Earth. And, sure, maybe it’s getting a sick workout in while you’re at it! 🙂
7. You’ll save time
How many of you play this game?:
“Where you do want to eat?”
“I don’t care, anywhere.”
“How about Mexican?”
“How about Asian?”
30 minutes later, you’re still hungry.
Now that’s a waste of time. Rather than wondering every day where or what you’re going to eat, planning healthy meals will save you the frustration and time-wasting effort of having to choose every day.
“But, Amy,” you ask, “Why can’t I plan my fast food instead? It’s Wendy’s Wednesday!”
I don’t know about you, but even though I’m surrounded by fast food joints, it takes me at least 20 minutes to go out and get it and get back home to eat it. Between traffic and the drive-thru line, it takes time. And it’s annoying. And then you’re getting crappy food anyway!
With planning your meals and eating healthy, you can shop once per week for everything you need, and make wholesome meals all week. There are plenty of recipes that can be done in 30 minutes or less. (The Brown Butter Gnocchi recipe we use is done in 15 from start to finish!)
Maybe it feels like longer because you’re spending 30 minutes in your kitchen with no change in scenery vs. 30 minutes in traffic in a (slowly) moving car to pick up your pizza. But 30 minutes is 30 minutes, and you’re getting much healthier food from you kitchen!
Saving time also saves….
Did that get your attention!? Yeah, that’s right. A healthy lifestyle will save you money, right now and in the future.
Have you eaten out at a restaurant lately? It costs us at least $30 for the two of us every time we go out. That’s one meal for two people. What about the rest of our meals, let alone the rest of the week? How about fast food? People tend to think that those meals are cheaper, but I’ve looked at those menus recently, and I’m seeing meals for $10-$12! And you can bet after that junk, you’ll be hungry again soon.
Maybe people feel like eating healthy is expensive because they are buying all of their groceries at once. Maybe because they throw away half the food they buy, then have to go buy more. Whatever it is, as long as you’re not buying super expensive specialty groceries, I can bet you’ll spend less by buying whole foods and cooking at home instead of going out to eat all the time (or buying surprisingly expensive junk food!)
Planning your meals in advance help you to shop smart, buy what you need, and eliminate food waste. You won’t have produce going bad because you couldn’t find a way to use it. You bought it specifically to use on Tuesday!
Not only that, but healthy foods with fiber and protein will keep you feel fuller longer. That means you’ll eat less frequently and not as much. That means you don’t need to buy as much as often. That’ll save you money.
And that’s just this week, month, year! Think about the future – when you’re older and healthy, your medical bills will be nothing but copays. But keep eating junk food and get sick – diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension – and your medical bills will be through the roof. That means your insurance gets more expensive on top of that. Uggghhh. I know nobody likes to think of it, but it’s a fact of life!
9. Explore new foods, learn to cook
So, we’re saving time and money by purchasing groceries and cooking at home. Neat! But it doesn’t have to mean boring meals all the time. Use this as an opportunity to learn about new foods! That’s how I started. I would go to the store and pick out something I didn’t know, buy it, and learn all about it and how to make it. That’s why I do my Focus on Food series – it’s a great way to get to know foods you’re familiar with, and learn new ones as well!
Maybe you’re new to cooking, or you’ve been cooking with the same methods for years. Healthy eating by cooking at home allows you to get creative in your kitchen, or learn the basics!
10. An improved self-worth
All of these things combine together to make me love myself more. Losing weight, feeling energetic and happy, doing the things I enjoy, getting outside and de-stressing, enjoying treats more, saving time and money, and yes – cooking. All of these things make me feel like I’m a better person. I’m happier. I can improve myself and my skills in the kitchen. I have extra money to save up for Disney vacations (okay, fine, pay down my student loans). I can enjoy being in nature because I’m not wheezing. I can explore fun new recipes from around the world.
I can love myself because of a healthy lifestyle.
Have you experienced any of these benefits of a healthy lifestyle, or is there something you’d like to see or feel? Tell me about your experience or what you’re working toward in the comments!