Don’t just dream about it, live it!
We scroll through our Instagram feeds and picture after picture, there are healthy girls who look amazing in their bikinis. We look in the mirror, examine our own bodies and yearn for our stomachs to be flatter, our thighs to be thinner and our hair to be longer. But is this what being healthy is really all about? Looking good in a bikini and uploading the photo onto social media?
No. While looking fine as hell might be the greatest outcome of becoming fit and healthy, there are definitely other health benefits you can reap.
Whether you want to be one of those girls with the coveted body, or just want to be a healthier version of yourself. Either way, throw out the junk food in your pantry and diminish all thoughts of unrealistic expectations. Now you’re one step closer to getting the body (and health) of your dreams.
We asked registered nutritionist Tracie Hyam to give us a quick rundown on the best way to transition to a healthy lifestyle.
How should I get started?
‘There are so many steps people can take in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Firstly, increase your health food intake and get into regular exercise.’
So how much exercise is considered regular exercise?
‘Up to 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Do this every day to get into the routine of regularly exercising.’
What else is there besides clean eating and exercise?
‘Get your scented candles, homemade face-masks and bubble baths ready because relaxation is on the cards. Don’t forget your comfy pyjamas and fluffy slippers because sleeping is also a must!’
‘Getting adequate sleep and relaxation throughout the day is one of the main three things [other two are mentioned above] for a really healthy lifestyle.’
What is the main benefit of leading a healthy lifestyle?
‘I think most of us can definitely relate to being unwell, whether that being you have the cold or flu or generally fatigued. Leading a healthy lifestyle can ensure you have more energy, more ability to focus on what you’re doing, whether you’re studying or working.’
What other benefits can you get out of a healthy lifestyle?
‘If you’re showing any signs of depression, healthy people are usually more resilient. By that word I mean, if tragedy and upset is occurring through their life, they tend to be able to look at those trials and recover just that little bit quicker than those who tend to have an unhealthy lifestyle.’
If inspiration is what you’re looking for, we have one of the best success stories ever!
Two and a half years ago Cassandra Hili, 19 year-old living in Western Sydney, decided to give her lifestyle a makeover and hasn’t looked back since. ‘So far I’ve lost up to 55 kilos, I’m finally happy and in control of my life,’ she said.
Miss Hili lets us in on her long-winded journey to health, fitness and all-round happiness.
How did it all start?
‘I started off with changing my nutrition around, as I was injured. I went from eating processed foods to natural and organic foods. Within the first six to eight weeks, I had lost around 10 kilos. Once my injury healed, I felt confident enough to start training and I just fell in love with fitness.’
What was life like before the weight loss?
‘It wasn’t great, I had depression and anxiety. I was bullied on a daily basis, from primary school and throughout high school. Both of these factors led me to start seeing my school counselor, weekly. I was seeing doctors all the time because I had insulin resistance and my immune system was low. Which basically means I was sick all the time.’
‘I was losing friends left, right and centre. My relationship with my family wasn’t great either, I was depressed and I never wanted to go out or do anything. I was just constantly sad and every night before I slept, I prayed and wished for an overnight miracle that would get me out of this mess.’
‘My grades at school were much below average because my concentration levels were terrible. I had little to no confidence within myself. I was too scared to go out and meet new people. I never made an effort with my appearance, I pretty much started giving up on myself.’
What differences have you noticed since you started your health kick?
‘I’m more confident about myself and people have started to notice. I even started getting attention from guys. Retail employees [while shopping] now come up to me and help me with picking out clothes to buy. My relationship with my friends and family is now stronger than ever.’
‘People have noticeably started making an effort to get to know me instead of shunning me for my appearance. My grades also went up just in time for my HSC, where I became an above average student. My moods also lifted completely, I didn’t have the urge to recluse and hide-out in my room.’
What have been your major health benefits?
‘Happiness and a sense of control, to me, are the biggest benefits. I was depressed and had no control over my life, but now I gained control of both of these things. Sure you get the medical benefits like controlled cholesterol and blood pressure.’
‘Other benefits I’ve noticed is my change in taste buds, I don’t crave unhealthy foods anymore. Now I crave organic, healthy food. My skin has cleared dramatically and I have a whole new physical and mental strength.’
What pushed you to lose weight?
‘I definitely didn’t lose weight for the attention, I did it for me. That was the only reason I needed, being that heavy could’ve caused more health problems. Who knows where I would be right now if I was still overweight?’
‘The number one thing I believe about weight loss, is that you have to do it for you and absolutely no one else. Sure, you might use your boyfriend or girlfriend as a motivational tool. But in the end it’s your health and your life.’
‘The attention just happens to come when you start to feel more confident and happier about yourself. Since losing weight, I have been getting more attention from guys, but that was something that started when I began to feel good about me.’
‘Attention from boys was the last thing on my mind. You don’t have to be ashamed about loving yourself, self-love is a huge priority in my life and you have to embark on a journey like this for you.’
What’s next for you?
‘I’ve opened up a business that’s derived from my very successful blog (Workout, Live, Love), I have a specific target to help younger people such as children, teenagers and young adults. I know what it’s like to go through the whole weight loss journey whilst having unrealistic pressure from the media to look a certain way.’
‘I run a boot camp for kids on Mondays and Wednesdays at my local park. I also have one-on-one sessions and group sessions available for those who want that personal touch.’
What advice would you give to others who want to become healthier?
‘Be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes weeks and weeks and seeing progress can take a while. Be realistic when setting yourself goals, don’t overestimate yourself. Everyone has his or her limits, remember you still want to be in a healthy weight range.’
‘Set yourself little goals and celebrate every victory – but not with food! Have fun with it, do something you love. Remember exercise is only 20 percent of the change, nutrition is 80 percent. What you eat is going to make a huge impact. Eat nutritious food that makes you feel good.’
If you want to contact Cassandra Hili or find out more information about her boot camp and one-on-one deals, head over to her blog workoutlivelove.com.au – Heba Dandachi
Top image from RelaxingMusic’s flickr stream.