How Being Healthy And Having Fun Can Actually Be One In The Same
this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.
the first part of this series is focused on wellness + longevity.
When I first entered my twenties, I began to realize that being skinny and being healthy weren’t one in the same.
I went through a long period of time where being “healthy” meant looking good. It meant deprivation. It meant starvation. It meant 14-mile runs. It meant numbers and sizes and mirrors.
Let me tell you, that version of healthy wasn’t fun.
It was scary. And isolating. And oddly enough - normal.
It was normal because everyone around me - and everyone I looked up to - treated being “healthy” in the same way. Being Healthy consisted of detoxes and green juices and marathons. It happened on Sunday mornings after regrettable Saturday nights.
When I think about how “healthy” looked to me back then - it was basically punishment. Even though I thought it felt good - I would never describe it as fun. To me, fun was cheap bottles of vodka and dark, loud clubs. It was “letting it all out”. In a way, fun was associated with being bad.
And healthy was what happened when bad didn’t feel fun any longer.
Living in New York City from the age of 18 didn’t help my definition of healthy, either.
Everything in New York is an extreme. There, being skinny equals starvation. A night out lasts until the morning. Brunch is a required 4-hour drinking affair. Workouts only count if it also passes as Olympic training.
So, I essentially entered adulthood with a warped sense of what it means to feel good. What it means to be healthy. To be balanced.
When I started my first job, I began to feel more comfortable with my body and cared less about “being skinny.” I started to appreciate my athletic look in a way that only maturity can foster.
But, I still struggled (unknowingly) with living and eating and moving intuitively. I spent my weekdays on an extremely healthy diet. Almost unbearable. I ate all the right things - salads, smoothies and tea. I worked out for hours. I went to sleep before 10pm. If there were any treats at all, it would be a bite of dark chocolate or a sip of red wine.
But, when it came to the weekends I turned into a different person. I celebrated getting through the week with a fancy dinner. A ton of drinks. A late night out at loud clubs and tiny dresses. A groggy, late morning - only to do it all over again the next day.
And then, when Sunday night rolled around I felt like shit. I hated my Friday and Saturday “rewards.” So, I spent Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday) detoxing it all away.
At that time in my life, I couldn’t fathom that my healthy weekdays could also happen on the weekends - and I would actually enjoy it. I thrived off of the idea that I could have it “all” - a healthy, powerful week and intense, fun weekend. In my mind, I didn’t want to “give up” my fun in order to be healthy.
And heck - I already thought that I was.
It took quite a bit of growing up (and honestly, leaving New York) to get a better handle on what healthy + fun + good + bad really meant to me.
It wasn’t until I began to truly listen to myself, my body and tune out all the noise that I began to see being healthy as a continuous evolution. That being “healthy” wasn’t limited to Monday through Friday. That it wasn’t a result of doing crazy shit.
That it wasn’t punishment or detoxing or greens only.
When I shifted my mindset to see that being healthy also meant spending time outside or writing or heck, having some pizza and cocktails with friends I stopped putting this weird pressure on it.
Because, to me being healthy isn’t this rigid thing. It’s honestly a way of life. It’s about honoring yourself first. It’s less about looks or things on the outside and more about how you truly feel.
At the end of the day we’re not going to be measured by the number on the scale or how many kale salads we had. We’ll be remembered by the humans we connected with and the moments we experienced.
And, when you fill up your cup - whether that’s through a long run, or a slow quiet morning - that true sense of being well will shine through. And, you won’t feel indebted to a definition of being “healthy” that doesn’t sit right with you.
Being healthy will actually be fun because it feels good. It will be something you look forward to, you do naturally, and you can tune into…because it’s your code for living.