How to start to live healthily? Where to look for motivation?

Reading your messages and comments the most often I come across this question: “Anka – how should I get started?”. “I want to eat healthily but it’s so hard to make the first step.”

Photos by Adam Mruk

If you want to change your life for a healthier one you will need:

  • The awareness that your life depends only on you

Do you think that if you’re in your late 20s you have a lot of time for thinking about your health? Sure, you just enjoy good health. And even if you associate adulthood with diseases (parents, grandparents etc.), you think you still have 100 years ahead of you before this time will come! Admittedly you find yourself having difficulties in studying or working already now, because you lose your concentration after 15 minutes. And your friend complained recently that he has difficulty in falling asleep, but it doesn’t really matter, does it. I encourage you to look around and think it over , who – if not you yourself – will look after your health? This question concerns everybody, also those who have just turned 40, 50, 70… Every time to start a healthy life style is a good time. The sooner, the better.

  • The awareness of your body

You do not think about it on a daily basis. You assume it just exists. Sometimes you feel pain and then you focus on this part that suffers. But your body is a wonderful and complicated mechanism which is given to us by nature for the entire life. This beautiful machinery serves you the best it can, but neglected, it ends up damaged – it becomes ill. It often sends you signals, which you neglect – pain, cramps, heartburn, skin disorders or lowered mood; they are clear alarming signals. Listen to them and respond. Get to like your body, even if you think its look is far from ideal. Say good bye to alcohol and cigarettes, eat properly, exercise regularly, and all those positive changes you want will come by themselves. And above all you will win health and energy to live more active life.

  • Imagination

Close your eyes and see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years and more. Perhaps you’ve tried it already and have been wondering how your career, your family, your financial situation, your dreams coming true, your social life, will look like in the future. But have you ever tried considering your future vision in terms of physical and mental fitness? Have you ever thought whether you will still be healthy in the future? Think if you can accomplish your career goals or be happy when your health starts to fail? Suffering resulting from potential diseases, gradual energy loss and weak concentration may efficiently hinder your plans. Surely you see yourself healthy, smiling, slim – that’s perfect! Take care to make it happen – start your healthy lifestyle right away.

  • Knowledge

It’s the factor which is one of the basic ones for me to lead a healthy lifestyle. When as a teenager I read that fried food is unhealthy, I wanted to find out why – everybody eats fried dishes and live after all! I started looking for an answer, finding on the way more revelations. I learnt about different products and their qualities, but I wanted to know why this is good and that bad. The knowledge how the body is functioning helps me every day to make right nutritional choices and motivates me to exercise regularly. I just don’t fancy eating sweets from shops or other harmful products. Also my taste buds responded differently and sent me a signal: “This is good!”, especially with reference to healthy dishes. What is more I try to avoid harmful food.

  • Calmness

Taking care of your internal balance is one of the fundamental rules of health. I are living in the world of hurry, multitasking accompanied by frustration. I don’t want to coax you into resigning from your career, neglect your family or abandon your passions. I want to encourage you to find time to relax, exercise and care for proper nutrition. I know a workaholic who had to admit that after long years of his work, now he is earning money only for doctors and treatments. He slowed down, changed his life and now he is enjoying life with his closest family that he has almost lost.
Stop for a while once a day, think nicely about yourself, dream. I know, sounds like a cliché, but lots of clichés had some specific content in the past. A while for you, a bit of meditation, a happy hour with your closest, spent not on watching TV but playing or talking – they are a priceless investment in your psyche.
Calmness will be useful in the process of changing your life for better. Switching to healthy nutrition should be introduced gradually, adjusting your body and yourself to a new menu. The same concerns physical fitness. If you treat the process of changing as a battle that you have to win right now, you will probably get frustrated and give up fast. Approach to this with calmness, and then you’ll find lots of fun in achieving you next goals.

  • Self-respect

The word ‘respect’ has been out recently. It’s a pity. It’s a crucial word. I encourage you to respect yourself. If you develop this feature, it’ll make easier to care for your life’s quality.

It’s a heavy comment, isn’t it. The strong language Syli uses shows how much she doesn’t like and respect herself. I get lots of mails of this kind. It happens that girls talk about themselves and their bodies using even a crude language. It’s sad and harmful because it may fuel bad emotions. It’s a vicious circle: I won’t help myself, because it’s not worth helping someone I don’t like or I just hate, and all the other way round: I don’t change anything in my life, so I don’t like myself. The conclusion is simple: start with respecting yourself. You are worth it, because you are unique and valuable person who just deserves to be respected. Get to like yourself as you are, as if were your own child. And help yourself!

Without changing your own attitude towards life there can be no good changes in life. Only you are able to change this attitude. It happens to be difficult. But the results are amazing – life seems easier, you feel happy and what’s important – other people respond to your change. They feel positive energy emanating from you and respond with the same one – it has been checked many a time! 🙂

  • Trust

I mean trusting scientific authorities, doctors, dieticians as well as researchers, who proved in recent years and still prove that the right diet combined with care for the inner balance and moderate and systematical physical activity have a profound and even decisive influence on health and quality of life. I notices that there are people among us who find it difficult to trust others. Childhood experiences are frequently the only hint while making nutritional choices. It wouldn’t be that bad if the product used to prepare such dishes were those used by our grandparents and parents. Unfortunately, we are facing more and more industrialization in food production, genetic modifications, putting chemicals into natural products and feeding farm animals on chemical substances. The reasoning of the kind that “my grandfather has been eating white bread and lard all his life and has been living long” makes no sense now. I also met some followers of conspiracy theories, who suspect the collusion of food and pharmaceutical companies in every healthy product, the companies that are trying to create new artificial demands for potential clients. Well, the point is that most articles on a proper diet exclude highly processed foods from the diet or applying supplements, which is not controlled by doctors, so big concerns lose money instead of making profit out of promoting healthy life.
Perhaps it’s time to start trusting experts? I’m far from being an expert, I’m still learning, but I placed confidence in authorities and on my example and my friends’ example I can say with certainty – such trust is worth building. Without it, switching to a healthy lifestyle will cause frustration, because without an internal agreement on action it doesn’t make sense.

  • Courage

Yes, courage is essential. Not for everyone. Yet, there are plenty of people that are afraid of changes. In the contemporary restless world the number of such people is growing. Routines and habits form a kind of a safety cocoon and it’s hard to go beyond it. Fear of failure appears, the fear that everything will go wrong. It’s irrational because what can go wrong? Even if you are not able to complete all the exercises for the first time, you will be able to complete them in 3 weeks or 3 months. The same is about other people’s opinions. “I won’t go jogging, because people will laugh at me when I get short of breath”, “I won’t go to a club, because there are only slim girls exercising and muscular men, so I will feel terrible.” etc. Thus, the person who is thinking in this way stays at home on the way to nowhere eating ice cream in order to make up for their frustrations.
Be honest and talk about your fears with yourself. Ask yourself whether your fears make sense and where they are going to lead you. Open a window and get rid of your fear, then put on your tracksuit. Change your life for the better.
I keep my fingers crossed for you.

An excerpt from my book: “Żyj zdrowo i aktywnie z Anną Lewandowską.” 🙂

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