My WHY'S for living a healthy lifestyle
I never used to concern myself about health and fitness. As a young girl I was always as skinny as a rake, same as a teenager. I always assumed skinny meant healthy, and took for granted that I could just eat whatever I wanted with no consequence.
The premise of a good diet and exercise wasn’t something I was aware of - it wasn’t championed at school (soggy chips and gravy followed by sponge and fluorescent pink custard anyone?) and there wasn’t as much emphasis (if any) on the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. Certainly not like there is today. At school my friends and I would pool our money and stuff it into the vending machine in return for Toffo’s (who remembers them?), Hula Hoops (BBQ Beef) and Cherry Coke. My University days saw me eating crisps and Snickers for breakfast, fast food for lunch and takeaway again for dinner, all washed down with whatever booze was going around the student halls. Seven days a week. The abuse my body took! But I was slim so it didn’t matter, right?
I now have a completely different outlook on life, and what a healthy lifestyle looks and feels like. For me, a healthy lifestyle includes eating good, wholesome, clean foods; exercising and keeping physically fit and strong; and rest, relaxation and general self care (i.e. ME time). Over the last year, my love for and my commitment towards living a healthy lifestyle has increased tenfold, and I can’t imagine taking my body for granted like I once did.
Here are my WHY’s for leading a healthy lifestyle
Physical health - I don’t want to take my health for granted - simple. The reality is I’m not 21 anymore, and I’ve witnessed friends my own age (and younger) suffer with unexpected health problems, and saddeningly, some have not made it. This wasn’t due to a poor diet or lack of exercise, but it has made me stop and realise that we’re not invincible. Ultimately I want to live longer - for me, my husband and my boys, and for any future grandchildren that may come along.
Better sleep - Life is so hectic juggling work, children, family life, and also trying to maintain some sort of life for myself outside of the family unit. Years of sleep deprivation from having three energetic kids has taken its toll, and despite being fucking knackered over the years, even when my head hit the pillow, my mind would remain fully alert, buzzing with innumerable things. For me now, living a healthier lifestyle incorporates rest, relaxation and good sleep. A good diet and exercise certainly helps to improve the quality of my sleep, and carving out time for self care (whether it’s a yoga class or a lovely warm bath with epsom salts) helps me to relax and wind down, so my mind can shut the fuck up and I can get the rest my body needs.
Strength - I’ve got to admit it, I fucking love feeling strong! It’s something I’ve never experienced up until recently, but since working out regularly (and thanks to BodyPump and lifting free weights) I’ve noticed a huge difference. I’ve even got some little biceps going on - go me! I can lift, carry and generally throw around my three growing boys (I could never have given them shoulder rides before) and when I recently moved house I surprised myself with the amount of lifting and carrying I was capable of doing! It’s empowering, and it’s a great confidence booster! On a more boring note, a stronger body and a stronger core will hopefully safeguard against future injuries or ailments.
Setting an example - I want to set a good example to my children, to be their role model and to inspire them. Now they’re at school, it’s harder to control their diets - they enjoy daily desserts with their school dinners, there’s always sweeties in class if it’s someone’s birthday, and the amount of junk they consume at parties....oh my life! So if I can, I want to show them that whilst it’s ok to have treats and enjoy the yummy stuff, it’s also important to look after our bodies, inside and out.
Positivity - It’s true what they say, living a healthy lifestyle really does work wonders for shaping a positive attitude. I feel great when I eat good, wholesome, clean food (whether that’s psychological or otherwise) and exercising really does get those feel good endorphins pumping (or that could just be my Flashdance soundtrack, not sure). I’ve noticed I’m so much more productive and enthusiastic as I go about daily life, and generally just feel good about myself. If I do have a binge day which of course I do sometimes (I can nail a Thai takeaway or a giant bar of Green & Black’s with the best of them), I don’t feel guilty as I know it’s an occasional thing. When I used to eat shit constantly, it comes as no surprise that I also used to feel shit constantly.
Mental health - I’m definitely happier since adopting a healthier lifestyle. I feel much less stressed and less irritable, although people still get right on my tits and I do occasionally feel like stabbing the occasional person in the eye with a fork. I feel so much stronger mentally, and more able to cope with setbacks or impending tasks that would otherwise induce anxiety or dread. In fact, most of the time I feel like I could take on the world (after my coffee!)
Energy and stamina - I don’t want to simply survive, I want to THRIVE! I have so much more energy nowadays. I can run up the stairs without getting out of breath or run around the park with my boys, and I can just keep going for longer (which is useful with my busy lifestyle).
Appearance - When it comes to the gym, many people assume vanity is the main driver for working out. There are loads of reasons (as listed above) for why I work out and yes, appearance is one of them - it’s not the main one, but it does feature on my list. I’m not afraid to admit that I love the results that exercising has yielded. I haven’t got a perfect body, far from it, but it is an improvement on what it was. I feel more confident about myself, I feel and look better in the clothes I want to wear, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not obsessed - I’ll never have a 6 pack and I’ll likely never wear a bikini, but despite having had three (big) babies, I’m in the best shape than I’ve ever been, and I’m bloody proud of that!
Age gracefully - In addition to exercise, other aspects of leading a healthy lifestyle such as eating clean, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest, are now priorities on my list. I can’t undo the damage I’ve done to my body over the years, and the youthful skin and fresh eyes I once took for granted have long gone. I’ve accepted that the wrinkles on my forehead that make me look a bit like a Shar Pei (had to Google that to check the spelling!) and the permanent frown lines between my eyebrows that are so deep and ingrained (possibly due to years of squinting due to shit eyesight, my general frowny nature and intolerance of people, and my unyielding resting bitch face), are here to stay. But do you know what, I’m cool with that. It’s me. It’s who I am. But what I do now will certainly impact how I age further, and if I can have healthier skin, hair, nails and eyes, and limit future damage or at least slow down the old process, then I’m on board with that.
I genuinely believe adopting a healthier lifestyle (good food, exercise, rest, self care) helps me to be a better mum (less shouty), a nicer wife (less stabby), and overall the best version of myself (generally badass), enabling me to enjoy life to the full and smash my goals! WOOP!
Here’s to good health and happiness!
Much love, Fran xxx
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x