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7 ways I’ve got healthier in 7 years

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Being healthy is one of the most important things to me.  Becoming pregnant with my daughter six and a half years ago really inspired my healthy journey once and for all.  Before this I was always sort of healthy, or so I thought.  I’d get my five a day, so that was healthy right?  I’d regularly eat vegetables and salad, so that was healthy too right?  I’d go for runs, they were healthy, yes?  Only thing was I’d usually head to the pub after the run and have a couple of pints of cider and black, a few cigarettes and a 99p chicken burger on the way home.  Nice.  Nowadays I can’t believe I used to do that!  I probably undid all the goodness I was giving myself as I was equally as bad with naughty snacks, way too much sugar, smoking and regular drinking, including binge drinking at the weekends.

Over the past few years I’ve become more and more healthy and I feel impossibly better for it.  I never get sick and if I do it’s perhaps once every couple of years for a day or two.  I no longer get a winter cough or cold which I was guaranteed before.  My skin is clearer and softer than it’s ever been.  I feel lighter and cleaner.  I rarely have any medical complaints.  I truly believe what we do to our bodies both inside and out really effects our health and mental wellbeing, much more than most of us realise.

Here are 7 ways I ramped up my healthy lifestyle:

Quit smoking

The first thing I did was to quit smoking.  I used to smoke around 20 per day and a lot more if I went on a night out.  When Ben and I first met, we both smoked.  Ben was keen to quit, but I think I held him back for a while as every time I smoked it tempted him.  I finally decided enough was enough and I quit around two months after Ben quit.  One of the best incentives was that I was aware how much I stunk around him once he didn’t smoke.  The smell became more obvious to me and I knew it was off putting to him.  Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions I ever made and I will never smoke again.  If you want to quit but you’re struggling, have you considered an e cigarette?  I think I’d much rather live in a world where everyone vaped instead of smoking real cigarettes if I had to choose.

Quit alcohol

I stopped drinking when I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter and I never returned to it.  I’m now quite obsessed with being healthy and don’t want any poisons in my body.  I want to take care of my body as best I can and not put it under any strain.  Plus I like to be in control!  When I used to drink alcohol it would make any anxieties come to the surface and cause arguments, especially in relationships.  I prefer to be in control of my feelings and emotions and alcohol disrupts this.  I’m always asked if I miss it, but I honestly don’t.  It’s so destructive to health it’s not something I want to partake in anymore.

Return to vegetarianism

I was a vegetarian when younger and then I started eating chicken and fish again, plus the odd double cheeseburger in my early twenties when I had a hangover.  When Bella was one, I returned to vegetarianism and I’ve never looked back!  I appreciate it’s not for everyone, even my husband and children eat meat, but for me it makes me feel so much better.  I always feel rubbish when I eat meat, plus I would rather the animals were alive and not killed for me.  I’ve more recently given up dairy, but I have no idea if that’s a lifelong commitment yet.  I’m curious to see if it clears up my skin which has always been very spot prone.  I’ve not had 100% clear skin for as long as I can remember and I’m sure dairy flares up a patch of eczema I have on my neck.  My blog post Your inspirational guide to being truly healthy shares where I get some of my healthy inspiration from.

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Quit refined sugar

This year I have been refined sugar free!  Yep, for the whole of 2017!  I don’t think Ben thought I’d really do it, but that makes me even more determined and I hope I’m off cane sugar for good.  I’ve watched and read hundreds of articles about regular sugar and I conclude it’s one of the worst ingredients in modern day.  It’s a slow poison, there’s no doubt in my mind.  In the infancy of my knowledge I wrote this: Why you need to reduce your refined sugar intake

Only eat wholegrains

I pretty much only eat wholemeal breads, pastas and rice.  At home it’s all I buy, aside from one type of flatbread with only 5 ingredients that I can’t get in wholemeal in our local store!  Otherwise it’s wholemeal all the way.  I used to eat a lot more white grains and they really aren’t very good for you at all.  Many are fortified with vitamins and minerals because their own natural nutritional goodness has been removed!   The benefits of wholemeal over white are huge and it should be a no brainer.

Eat a more plant based diet

I’ve moved to a more wholefood plant based diet rather than a junk food and processed food diet, and boy does it make a difference!  Last year in 2016 I went pretty healthy, but I still had a ‘treat day Friday’.  I’d eat more of what I wanted on a Friday – adult crisps, chocolate bars (mega size of course) and we’d usually have a Dominos pizza in the evening.  Let me tell you, after 6 days of eating so healthy and then giving my body a load of crap on a Friday only, I felt horrific by Saturday!  I’d have a headache and feel groggy in the morning, almost like I had a hangover.  I really began to see the effects of bad food by only gorging on it once per week and it really put me off.  This is probably what led me to taking it one step further and going totally refined sugar free this year.

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Do 10000 steps a day

OK so I haven’t managed this during the school holidays, but on a normal day when the children are at school I won’t rest until I’ve completed a minimum of 10000 steps each day.  It makes me feel so much more active and less sluggish.  We also go running once a week and I’m hoping to start yoga again once the children are in school.  I really don’t want to be a couch potato, especially as I work sat down on the computer for most of the day.  I’d love a walking treadmill desk!

So there we have it!  I’m pretty health obsessed and it’s taken a few years to get to this point.  Lots of people think I’m weird for my ways, but I don’t see an issue with wanting to be healthy and feel great.  How you go about it is a personal choice and what suits one person may not suit another.  You need to find your own path to what makes you healthy and happy.  This is mine.