My ‘Relatively Healthy’ Approach to Wellness

I wanted to write this post for quite a while now and I’m so glad to finally share it. I get questions all the time about my diet and exercise, and truthfully I’m a pretty healthy person but I also take a fairly relaxed approach to both. Which is why I titled this my ‘relatively healthy’ approach to wellness. Wellness means different things to everyone, and for me it’s about balance. I’m not one to do juice cleanses (way too hangry), swear off certain foods, or work out 7 days a week, and in my opinion that’s ok. So please, take everything I’m telling you here with a grain of salt. I’m not an expert, I’m just sharing what works for me and if there’s something helpful you take away from it, great. Today also happens to be the first day of the Fresh Beauty #GlowGetter Challenge that I’ll be doing over the next four weeks. It’s totally free to sign up and each week there will be different wellness tips from skincare, fitness and nutrition experts. You can sign up here, let me know if you do, either comment on this post or send me a DM on Instagram so we can do it together. The #GlowGetter kit sold out online but if you want to purchase you can call the nearest store and they’ll ship it to you for free. Let’s talk about wellness…

Lunch at the American Trade Hotel Restaurant in Casco Viejo, Panama City

Diet

When I was in second grade I missed almost half the school year going in and out of doctor’s appointments, neurologist offices, and the hospital while everyone tried to figure out what was wrong with me. Turns out I suffered from migraines. During that time we discovered that many of my “triggers” were food related. At the top of the list was sugar and basically any processed foods. I wasn’t a big junk food eater anyway but that essentially eliminated it from my diet. So that’s the backstory. What about now? I don’t diet, I don’t count calories, and I don’t believe in juicing/cleansing. Again, that’s just me, you do you boo. My approach to food and diet is, everything in moderation, stop when you’re full, eat the real thing (no fake sweeteners, etc.) and give your body what it’s craving. I don’t drink soda, I don’t eat candy or junk food (except the occasional ice cream cone), I never eat fast food and I don’t eat sweets. I don’t crave any of those things because I never eat them (nor can I because I’ll end up with a migraine and that’s just not fun). Despite what my social media accounts may imply, I also don’t really drink. I can’t drink wine (migraines), and I can’t have more than one alcoholic drink of anything without being horribly hungover the next day, I think I might be allergic honestly. I eat three meals a day but more like five or six because I snack a lot. When we go out to eat we always share an entree. Most of our meals are a fruit or veggie, a protein, and a small portion of carbs like potato or rice. Craig does most of the cooking so whatever he makes, I eat. I’m working on it though and I’m getting better everyday, just call me Martha. A typical day of food usually looks something like this: morning – eggs, whole grain toast with ghee, occasionally bacon (organic, preservative free, etc.); snack – toast with almond butter or a smoothie w/ granola; lunch – salad w/ chicken or a sandwich with avocado, lettuce, tomato; snack – guac and chips or a handful of crackers or something crunchy; dinner – varies but usually includes a protein like chicken, lamb or fish, veggies or a salad, rice or potato. Some of our favorite quick and easy dinners are lamb tacos (need to share that recipe), chicken lettuce wraps, grilled chicken and corn, homemade breaded fish and chips.

Exercise

Other than that time in college when I gained the freshman 15 (which was more like 35-seriously it was nuts) I’ve basically had the same body type since high school. Some of that can be attributed to good genes, my Dad is 60 and has a six pack and my Mom is in better shape than me, no joke. I go through phases with exercise, sometimes I’m really into it and get on a great consistent routine and sometimes I just DGAF. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t punish myself for that. If I’m not feelin it, that’s ok. I do think it’s really important to get up and move every day, even if it’s just a leisurely stroll, a dog walk, something to get the blood flowin. I played team sports in high school, every season for four years, and I think that’s why I prefer taking classes now. I just can not go to the gym on my own. I don’t do it and I won’t do it. There’s something about the class environment that makes me motivated (maybe I just feel more competitive, haha). Barre classes continue to be my favorite exercise. I took SoulCycle recently in NYC for the first time and it was a great workout but nothing is more challenging or leaves me more sore the next day than Barre. I’ve done Physique57, PopPhysique, PureBarre and now StudioBarre. They’re all a little different and I can’t say I like one more than another, at the end of the day it’s a great workout. If I’m not taking a class I prefer to do something outdoors; bike to the beach, go for a walk, play tennis, surf or snowboard depending on the season, basically anything that doesn’t involve being in a gym. I also love taking yoga, I prefer a regular vinyasa flow and nothing heated, been there done that, no thanks.

Mental Health

Often I think we forget about, in my opinion, the most important part of the wellness puzzle, mental health. A healthy diet and exercise are super important to supporting mental health but there’s more to it than that. You have to pay attention to and take time for your mental health. I have a few different approaches and rituals that help clear my mind and leave me with a general feeling of happiness. First and most importantly is digital detox. As someone who makes a living basically online I am glued to my computer and my phone, but everyone needs a break from it. I find ways to step away from my devices whether it’s leaving my phone at home while I walk Nora, turning it off for dinner or just having a no computer day on the weekend. My new Sunday ritual is reading the NY Times on my patio (the actual paper) with my coffee. Such a simple thing but it helps me disconnect and be in the moment. It’s an hour or two of my time that I look forward to every week. Walking the beach or riding bikes with Craig is also one of my favorite ways to decompress and of course spending time with my family and friends, laughter is the best medicine. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, take the time to do those things, practicing self-care is so important. I highly encourage a digital detox to everyone, whether it’s a few hours or a few days. Stepping away from the phone, the computer, and the tv is a mental break we all need and deserve.

I’d love to hear your approach to wellness, how you practice self-care and any other tips for living a healthier life. Let me know in the comments.

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12 Comments

  1. Gemma wrote:

    Glorious, glorious post!

    Gemma
    http://www.fadedwindmills.com

    8.1.17 | Reply
  2. I’m with you on everything in moderation. I’ve never done a cleanse or detox and never will and I’ve never cut an entire food group out of my diet. I treat myself when I want to and that balance works for me. I do enjoy exercise and love spin classes! I usually do Peloton Cycles at home spin classes about 3 times a week. I just signed up for the #GlowGetter challenge, I’m looking forward to it!

    8.1.17 | Reply
  3. Lindsay wrote:

    Totally agree with your take on food, although my sweet tooth is getting the better of me these days. 😉 Exercise is something I actually enjoy and prefer to do in a group setting. Mental health for me revolves around prayer, taking a moment to thank the Lord for the everyday things we take for granted — eye sight, hearing, mobility, etc. and relying on Him each day. I’ve also taken a social media ‘cleanse’ for the last 3 months. Not sure when or if I’ll get back on, but I’m enjoying the feeling of putting my phone down and listening to the birds or reading more often. It really does boil down to the simple things in life.

    8.1.17 | Reply
  4. I’m about the same. I have to also eliminate foods because of health issues, but in general, I eat healthily and in moderation. I also unplug once a week and I love it. It helps me to enjoy the Internet more rather than feeling I am bound to it.

    Mary Colleen
    https://www.themarycurator.com/

    8.1.17 | Reply
  5. Wonderful post! My fave way to relax is to walk on the beach and collect beach glass!

    8.1.17 | Reply
  6. Love this! I agree with moderation. I’ve never been into any serious diets, just eating real whole foods and exercising regularly which means walking or yoga for me! I should get better about taking time away from technology though, it’s tough!

    8.1.17 | Reply
  7. Sharon wrote:

    Such a great post! How funny I also did a health post today. I agree with you everything in moderation and I also feel like one should before know what they are putting in their bodies for the most part. Like I have not stepped foot in a MacDonalds sine I was a child and I stopped drinking soda years ago after I learned about it’s horribly harmful affects. That being said I had a burger with cheddar cheese or Saturday night and way to many glasses of red wine. I too love yoga and do it or pilates on the reformer at least once a week. I also walk a lot for heart health, my daily goal is 10,000 steps a day and I track it. On top of that I do small body resistance workouts at home. As far a mental health goes I am a true believer that you are the only person that can make you happy. So I work on that, I remind myself how fortunate I am every day and try to smile and be kind to others at all times. Wine and a good book or movie or a long hike does wonders for my soul. Thanks for sharing tis post today!
    http://www.forthewonderer.com

    8.1.17 | Reply
  8. Amy wrote:

    Great post! Question – what do you snack on? I am becoming somewhat bored with my snacks and wonder if there is anything else out there that I’m not trying! I typically stick to string cheese, rice cakes with either avocado or sunflower butter, apples and almond butter, or plain greek yogurt with almonds. I can do hummus in small doses but that’s about it.

    Thanks!

    8.2.17 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      I love fruit so I typically have a smoothie and add granola for some crunch or fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries. I also just got into almond butter so I’ll have that on toast or crackers. And of course ALL OF THE AVOCADO. I love it on toast or I just whip up some guac and have it with chips. I know that’s hard to do in an office setting though…

      8.4.17 | Reply
  9. Melanie Anderson Woodruff wrote:

    Just found your blog and LOVE it! I’m a small town girl from the midwest and it’s a lovely escape to follow along with you through the stunning photos and excellent posts, esp. because they resonate. Just wanted to say job well done from a new reader!

    2.7.18 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Aw that’s so nice of you! Thank you Melanie, I really appreciate that. Thanks for saying hi! xx

      2.7.18 | Reply
  10. Julia wrote:

    This is wonderful. Thank you!!

    I live in Vermont, and, as you know, it can get really, really cold in the winter. While I love living here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, I would love to hear what kinds of exercise works for you on those winter days when it’s just too cold (or too snowy) to venture out.

    I find myself debating between acknowledging that this might be mother nature’s way of telling me to take a break, and trying to find some kind of workaround so I don’t get cabin fever.

    8.5.19 | Reply

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