My mama “blessed” me y’all. Because of her great genetics for the first 30 years of my life I have mostly ate what I wanted and been able to maintain my skinny-ish physique. (Blessed meaning I went from “too skinny” to skinny-ish.) Now that’s not to say that I haven’t tip-toed my way around a few “diets” here and there. And I’ve definitely done my fair share of workouts. Yup, I’ve inconsistently worked out regularly. 😉 But within the last few years I’ve tried to make being healthy a goal. And honestly, healthy shouldn’t be a goal because it’s definitely a lifestyle.
Because everyone loves a little background story, here’s mine!
- Up until 22 – I was skinny. Very skinny. Too skinny. At least 20 pounds underweight at any given time. I ate whatever I wanted and my level of activity varied from age-to-age. Healthy was not a concern of mine until I joined the Army at 20.
- 20 – 22 years-old – I desperately wanted and needed to gain weight. In basic training they fed me double, and I actually lost weight! I weighed in at 108 pounds(I’m 5’9 y’all!), my all time lowest weight. But despite my weight, I felt like I was healthy.
- 22 years-old – I was deployed to Iraq. Still super-duper skinny and sometimes I felt weak. I was eating non-stop because I was always hungry. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat. Despite this, I felt like I was healthy.
- 23 years-old – A hip injury finally caught up to me. I had been dealing with hip pain for about 14 months before I looked into it. Ibuprofen was apart of me and I didn’t dare conquer the day without a lot of it. I let the pain in my hip get so bad I would sprint and fall over. I couldn’t sleep. Pains were constantly shooting down my leg. I was always in pain and always uncomfortable. Even the weight of my belt was causing me pain. But this year I also saw a significant weight gain, 25 pounds! Oh, I also had small frequent headaches. Despite my injury, I still felt like I was healthy.
- 24 years-old – With the stress of a hip injury came the stress of adult acne. Not just any acne, painful cystic acne. That acne brought many, many chemicals into my life. I aggressively cleaned my face with different toxic face washes multiple times a day. In fact, at any given time I probably had 5-8 face washes in rotation. But, you guessed it, I still thought I was healthy.
- 25 years-old – I was out of the Army. And out of a routine. I went from working out daily, to sporadically working out when I felt like it. My husband (boyfriend at the time) and my friends were deployed and I found myself all alone. I also found myself back in college full-time with a part-time job. I kept busy, but slept terribly and ate awful. Chick-fil-a and Panera Bread filled my belly. I drank sweet tea like it was going out of style. But I still maintained that I was healthy.
- 26 – 28 years-old – I finally saw the light. Something clicked and I realized I wasn’t all that healthy. I mean, I wasn’t unhealthy, but I definitely wasn’t healthy either. Workouts became regular for me. Nutrition became somewhat important to me, and I attempted diet changes with some success. My acne still persisted, but I became more intentional with my acne products. Being healthy became the goal. During this time I struggled with feeling healthy or feeling guilty because I wasn’t being healthy enough.
- 29 years-old – I realized that healthy was a lifestyle. It was a choice that you made daily. Actually, a bunch of small choices that connected together and made you healthy. This healthy lifestyle became my goal.
And that leads us where I am today. Currently pursuing a career in nutrition and consciously making decisions that will lead to a healthy lifestyle. I am able to see that despite what I thought, I was unhealthy most of my life. I believe that my diet played a big part in my health. So now at 30 years-old I’m making small choices and big changes and I refuse to be anything but healthy.
There’s no easy way to change a lifetime of bad habits, so I’ve made a promise to myself that I will at least make one healthy change a week. Every week I intend on doing something different or trying something new that will continue to aid me on journey to a better lifestyle.
But now that I’m 100 percent in “this” and I finally see the value in a healthy lifestyle, I still question what’s healthy. It’s been a journey of trying, researching and persisting. I have good days and I have bad days. I’m learning to find balance. It is definitely a process. And even with a nutrition background, the answers don’t come easy and the results still need to worked for.
Like I said, I still don’t have all the answers and since there’s no such thing as magically healthy, I’ve found that research and trial & error work best.
Suggestions for getting started on the right foot to a healthy lifestyle:
- Keep a journal – Yup, write it down. What you eat, how you feel, your exercises, your sleeping habits… write it all down. Keeping track of your behaviors is key.
- Make a plan – Plan your meals and your workouts. Plan your snacks. Actually, I believe in planning as much of the day as possible. Planning sets you up for success.
- Do your research – So you want to be healthy? Well, that’s great but do you know what is healthy for you? I’ve got news for ya, more often than not it is not your workout shakes and sugary protein bars. It’s also not your fad diets. Yes, despite popular belief gluten free does not equal healthy. Make sure you know what you are doing to your body and what you are putting into your body. And to make things a little easier for you, I am going to start sharing some of my very own research here on NatashaKingsbury.com too! Woo! 🙂
- Make time for exercise – If it’s important you’ll make time for it. Seriously, how many times have you heard that in your lifetime? Well, it’s true. Make time to workout. You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. Find something that you enjoy doing and do it.
- Set Goals – Yes, it is a lifestyle, but the easy way to make accomplishments is to set timelines and goals. Figure out the things you want and write down what it will take to get there. Make yourself a timeline so you can visually see the steps you need to take. Set yourself up for success by making your goals realistically obtainable.
- Make small changes consistently over a long period of time – Deciding that this is the Monday that you will change it all will set you up for failure. You can’t completely change your diet and start working out and give up everything that’s bad for you in one day and expect not to relapse. Start with one thing and continue to build off that platform.
- Suggestions for some of those small changes?!? – Take the stairs. – Park further away. – Go for a walk on your lunch break. – Start drinking lemon water. – Cut out sugary drinks. – Don’t skip breakfast. – Get adequate sleep. – Eat more fruits and vegetables. – Start learning about food ingredients. – Portion control. – Avoid bingeing by allowing yourself that treat, in moderation of course. – Make healthy a family affair. – Limit how often you eat out.
Don’t worry, I’ll have more suggestions heading your way soon. Nutrition and wellness has become such a big part of my life, I’ve found it impossible to keep it off NatashaKingsbury.com any longer. I intend on sharing my journey to a healthy lifestyle as a series and also sharing nutritional information for overall wellness. My hope is to spread the idea that healthy is not a weight or a goal, healthy is a lifestyle.
BTW don’t even make the comment, “oh, you were skinny, that must have been so hard for you.” Because yes it was. People constantly made rude remarks and the words anorexic and bulimic were often thrown around. I was brought to tears because I was “soooo skinny” regularly. Growing up was hard enough on it’s own and then to constantly be made aware of the fact that you looked different, in a negative tone, was the fastest way to crush my self-esteem. In a lot of ways I was bullied for being too skinny, even if I didn’t make that connection at the time. So yeah, leave those negative comments about being skinny to yourself because I’ve heard them all. And it’s not a compliment no matter how much you think it is. But I digress…