Body. Mind. Spirit. Nurture all three, and you discover your optimal health.
Topic of today’s post: How do you best serve your body?
There are obvious, hygienic methods – brush your teeth, clean your skin, trim your nails, etc. Beyond this base care, one can and should serve their body in two primary ways: exercise and nutrition.
Sometimes the very word “exercise” pings a (not necessarily positive) reaction in the mind – it triggers thoughts of a gym crowded with other, sexier people, of heavy weights and smelly equipment, of endless, seemingly fruitless repetition and bodily fatigue. Exercise is not everyone’s favorite word.
So broaden your definition. Exercise: taking the dog for a 25-30 minute walk. Exercise: using the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Exercise: throwing some dance moves into your vacuuming routine.
Exercise does not require a gym. That daily walk with the dog might eventually turn into a daily jog, and then into an occasional run. Lazy afternoons spent watching Netflix can transform into sitcom-length bouts of activity, as you complete your core or leg work on a simple mat in your very own living room. If you can get to a gym for a favorite group fitness or yoga class, do it! If not, there are countless Youtube videos, podcasts, and other media resources to guide you in do-it-yourself, at-home exercise routines.
You don’t need to be an expert to be active – just do it!
Aside from serving your body by keeping it active, arguably more important is serving your body by feeding it well.
You don’t need to give up great tasting food to “eat healthy.” You don’t need to take any fancy cooking classes or attend some in-depth physiology seminar to gain a basic understanding of good nutrition, because here it is:
Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole foods, eat less sugar and processed foods.
Just following these two simple rules can lead to noticeable results – in how you feel, how your body functions, and how it performs. But habits die hard (especially when it comes to eating), and creating new dietary habits can seem daunting at first.
Here’s one simple step to start: drink water, and only water. Cut back on (or cut out entirely!) the fruit juices, the sodas, the coffee, and the alcohol. It can be a gradual process at first, but nothing happens in a day. If you drink a lot of coffee, for example, your progression to drinking more water might look like this:
Week 1: Cut back from drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day, to 1 cup per day
Week 2: Switch to drinking 1 cup decaf per day (or half-caf, gradually to all decaf)
Week 3: Switch to drinking 1 cup black, grey, or green tea per day
Week 4: Switch to drinking hot water with lemon
You can reduce this schedule to a matter of reducing your caffeine intake every couple days, or follow a similar routine for phasing soda or other soft drinks out of your normal diet. The important thing is to take it step by step at a pace that works for you, with a definitive goal in mind (maybe you just want to drink LESS coffee instead of NO coffee, or save soda for a once-in-a-while treat vs. a daily need). Whatever you decide to set as your individual goal, aiming for more water overall is a clear-cut path to a diet based less on sugar and processed products, and more on what’s actually good for your body.
Drinking more water is only one step toward better nutrition – there are countless others (which I plan on detailing in future posts), but don’t make any excuses to start better serving your body RIGHT NOW! No guide or guru will ever have all the answers, and you will never find the perfect plan or experience the perfect time to start a new routine. The time is now, the plan is to try and keep trying no matter what, the guide is yourself and your body.
What do you struggle with – exercise, nutrition, or both? What area of bodily health do you find most daunting, most frustrating, or even most rewarding to work on? Feel free to post in the comments below! As always, be kind to yourselves, and namaste ❤