I wanted to share a blog a wrote for a peer. If you're someone who blogs & you're ever interested in doing a blog swap, definitely shoot me an email! I would love to collaborate with you.
Hi all! I’m Amy De Seyn, owner of Body by Amy, LLC and Run Like the Wind: Virtual Coaching for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Runners. I’m excited and flattered to be guest-writing for Stephanie! I’m a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist as well as a run coach and fitness instructor. I’ve been training for almost 2 ½ years but I’ve been running and playing sports for as long as I can remember because I truly believe an active, healthy lifestyle is the key to living a happy, exuberant life. There were times that I slipped away from this lifestyle and lost myself a bit in the process, but I’ve always found my way back because I’m completely miserable and feel as if I’m without purpose otherwise. Which leads us into today’s topic: how do we create a healthy mind and body?
Six years ago, I dropped out of college for the second time. I was unable to escape chronic running injuries and I was bingeing on food and then purging. To make a long story short, I was not in a good place. I was abusing my body because my self-esteem was virtually non-existent and I was depressed. The food that I did eat was terrible for me and for my digestive system, specifically (I have IBS, ulcers, I’m lactose- and gluten-intolerant, I have slow peristalsis, H-pylori… the list goes on). It took a huge life event to break me of this pattern, but two years later I had completely revamped my lifestyle. I started eating completely gluten-free, I began running competitively again, I went back to school and graduated with a 4.0, I cut MOST dairy out of my diet (I love cheese. It’s a problem), and I started treating my body with respect. But before any of these positive changes occurred, I had to treat my mind, first.
Through my own experience as well as my education (I have a BS in psychology in addition to my training certification), an unhealthy lifestyle feeds itself. It becomes a cycle of noxious choice after noxious choice, which then circles back and begins again, until you make ONE slight change that breaks the cycle. That is truly all it takes, at least in my experience. One minor change. That change could be something as simple as the decision to drink more water throughout the day. Or to do a 10-minute YouTube workout every other day. Or to decide to have an honest conversation with someone you trust about what’s going on. Health BEGETS health. Each healthful choice you make will make you feel better, which will in turn make you want to feel even better. And the same is true of the opposite. Each unhealthy decision makes it much easier to continue along that path. You dig yourself into a hole which becomes deeper with each nudge. “Oh, well I haven’t worked out for the past MONTH, one more day won’t make any difference.” When in fact, it will. It does. So, the toughest part is pulling yourself out of that routine.
That being said, actually putting what I’ve said above into action is much easier said-than-done. Because, like I mentioned, we’re not simply talking about physical health here: mental health also absolutely comes into play. If we didn’t get in our heads about this stuff, we would all be walking around as perfect specimens of health and physical fitness. But human beings are not robots. We have independent thoughts, and feelings, and often many of us are affected by mental illness, including depression, anxiety, bipolar, body dysmorphia, etc. Thus, if you’re not feeling great about yourself; if you’re not feeling confident, or beautiful, or if you’re sad, you may not make your health a priority. Maybe you’re just trying to survive. Maybe it’s all you can do to get up in the morning and force yourself to go to work, or to school.
OK, so what if I just described your situation perfectly? Or maybe this sounds a lot like someone you know, and you want to help? Or maybe you simply have a busy schedule and you haven't made your health a priority. Well, I’m going to share with you some things that have worked for me, and I’m going to suggest some other options I’ve learned through what has worked for those closest to me.
Understand that you are not alone. Find others who are experiencing what you are, and connect with them either online or in person. Surround yourself with likeminded individuals; with people who make you feel good about yourself and feel loved. Do NOT hang out with people who don’t! Sounds pretty self-explanatory, but it’s easy to get caught up in things/people that don’t serve you.
In relation to what I said earlier, begin to make slight changes. Don’t set this monster, unrealistic goal that looms scarily on the horizon and seems insurmountable. Baby steps!
Get SUPPORT. This definitely falls in with the first item on the list. Look to your family, or your significant other. Tell them what’s going on – whether it’s that you think you might be depressed (a little more serious), or that you’re having trouble getting to the gym or following a healthy diet and maybe you need some accountability (a little less serious).
If you think you ARE experiencing mental illness, get professional help. I finally began going to a psychologist after I dropped out of school the second time and it brought so many things to light and forced me to deal with my stuff. And I was happier and healthier because of it.
Talk to your primary care physician about both exercise and nutrition, and while you’re there, get a blood test. It’s possible that you could be anemic, or Vitamin B deficient, or have another deficiency that you never would have known about. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can have a huge effect on our mood and energy level.
Hire a personal trainer, a health coach or a nutritionist, especially if accountability and/or knowledge seem to be your biggest issues. If you have a session scheduled with a professional, you are much less likely to skimp out!
So, in conclusion, I urge you to put this list into action. And don't forget: health begets health. A healthy mind brings about a healthy body, and a healthy body, a healthy mind.
Best of luck in your journey, and please feel free to contact me anytime! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my website is www.bodybyamyd.com. You can also reach me on Instagram at @bodybyamy or Facebook at Facebook.com/bodybyamyd.