By keep It Cleaner
@lauren.henshaw + @stephclairesmith

We hear and see a lot of articles or advertisements of what to do to be healthy… So I thought I’d write an article on what NOT to do. Everyone is different – so what TO do is different for every unique individual, but what NOT to do is pretty standard for everyone.

First of all, don’t starve yourself. Don’t skip meals. We need to fuel our body for energy and for it to function well, so not eating is certainly not the answer. If you’re worried about calorie intake, then look at portion control, but never skip meals. Having a balanced diet of protein, fruit, veggies, fats and whole grains is essential for your body to perform at it’s best.

The second most important thing is to not aim to look exactly like someone else. You can have people who inspire you, or people to look up to… But it’s important to remember that we are all genetically different. We all have different bone structures, different metabolisms, different genetics and different lifestyles. You need to aim to be the healthiest version of yourself, and if you want to be healthy for the benefits of how it makes you look, then aim to be the best that you can be, and not what someone else is or what someone else makes you feel like you need to be.

You need to remember that absolutely everyone has insecurities even those who you would deem as ‘perfect’. Particularly in my industry… in the early days I found myself constantly comparing myself to other girls I was up against, and it really plays with your head. It wasn’t until I realised that I had to be confident in my own skin and just be the best that I could be myself, that I stopped worrying about what other people looked like.

Don’t  cut out everything and anything you enjoy. Living with a healthy balanced diet does not mean never eating the things you love. I like to base my diet on the 80/20 rule. If the majority of my meals are full of nutrients and nothing artificial, then when I do decide to treat myself, I know that it’s okay, and I actually enjoy it a lot more than if I was having it everyday! It’s like Christmas or birthdays… Sure they’re amazing… But if they happened everyday you would get over them, or at least become numb to the enjoyment of them… For me it’s the same with cheat meals. If you cut out everything that you find delicious, then you will be unhappy, and happiness is essential in a healthy life. You will also be in risk of totally binging out when these certain foods are put in front of you.

Don’t – stop going out. Just like the above, part of fulfilling a healthy life is enjoying life… So don’t feel like you can’t go out and be healthy. There are always healthy options at restaurants and cafes. Yes, when you’re out you don’t really have control over what oils they’re using in the kitchen, or how much salt they’re adding etc, but as long as you’re not going out everyday, you will be fine. As for drinking, a glass of red is not only good for your soul, but it’s good for your brain and your heart. Just don’t over do it!

Don’t – let anyone make you feel out of the ordinary by being healthy. Sometimes we have friends who may not lead a healthy life themselves, and don’t see the benefits or don’t understand why you would chose to not be lazy and eat whatever… Don’t let them make you feel like you’re in the wrong. Because once they start to see how happy you are, and how your skin glows, and can’t keep up with your energy levels… They will be envious that they don’t have the drive to do it themselves.

Don’t – forget to stretch. After every workout, even a power walk, it is important to stretch! A lot of people really underestimate stretching but it’s an important part of a healthy exercise routine. Stretching allows our muscles to work most effectively during a workout and decreases your risk of injury. If I stretch after a workout, the next day I won’t be as tight and my body is therefore ready to work hard again.

Don’t  give up. Once you’re in a routine, I promise you won’t look back. It’s only when you haven’t quite hit that routine yet, that it’s difficult, and you get tempted to quit. Once you have lived a healthy lifestyle, it’s very hard to go back to being unhealthy. Have your goal in your head at all times. Every time you feel like giving up, think about all the hard work you have already gone through, and remind yourself of what’s important, and that is feeling and being healthy.

Good luck on your healthy journey through life, and just remember, do it your way… we are all different, living different lives with different genetics… so find what works for you.