Health has often been defined by outward appearance. When we think of health, we probably envision an idealized body—but I don’t believe that’s how it’s meant to be. Health should be a feeling. It should be about your energy and focus. I’ve been on my health journey for 12 years, and something you need to know right away is this: There’s no quick fix or shortcut. It’s about staying consistent and showing up every day. I’m the opposite of who I used to be when it comes to health. You can be, too. 

I want to share 7 things I did that helped me get from there to here. But I’m going to give it to you straight: Not one of them was a diet. Keep reading below for what helped me!

1. A Physical Challenge 

I had to change my perception of health and my body. Guys, I was not an athletic child— not even close—and am not athletically gifted in any way. I HATED running. Like, times 1,000 hated it. My partner at the time signed up for a half marathon, and there was something about it that intrigued me. I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile at that point, but I signed up for a race of my own. I built up my stamina in increments and signed up for a 5k during my training for the half marathon. When I completed my first 5k I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I was so proud of myself. It showed me my body was capable of more than I knew.

2. Establishing habits and routines

The biggest difference in my life now is that it’s built around great habits and routines. It all started with a morning routine. I suggest you come up with a routine that feels so natural to you that you don’t have to think about it. By establishing good, easy-to-do habits, your routine will keep you right side up when life gets crazy.

3. I learned to focus on MY progress, not theirs

If you’re on a health journey and aren’t confident in yourself, one of the most dangerous things you can do is compare yourself to others. Focus on your own progress and journey as everyone has their own path and timing. I promise you will feel more confident that way.

4. Having a green smoothie every single day

I know it sounds silly, but a green smoothie is a big part of my life! I have it every. single. day. Learning to make this smoothie was the first time I saw food as fuel. No, I don’t think it tastes delicious, but it does bless my body. Food used to be my comfort, and now it brings me life, energizes me and strengthens me. I still have the occasional indulgence (I can never turn down guac), but my approach now is to see food as something that powers me, rather than soothes me.

5. Editing my media

Are you consuming content on social media from someone you don’t know, and something about the way they look makes you feel badly about yourself? No one is telling you that you HAVE to follow anyone. If you get a negative feeling from following someone, unfollow them. You need to be inspired on social media, not made to feel less than!

6. Finding fitness that I love

We tend to do what we see other people do when it comes to a health journey. We think, If it works for them, it should work for me! If you want to do something consistently and keep it up for the rest of your life, ask yourself what you enjoy, not anyone else. 

7. I learned to love my body

I love the body I have now, as it is. I believe we can pursue optimum health every day by loving ourselves. Pursue the route that tells you you’re enough; you are worthy; and you’re loved. I used to struggle to find things I thought were beautiful about my body, but I forced myself to find beauty in what was. I began to find love when I began to find beauty. Even if you can only name one thing (I named my eyes—I love that they’re a cool hazel), start where you feel comfortable, and work your way up.