Balance your Physical Health - by Kaitlyn Bentley

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We’re jumping into Physical Health week of the 2018 Balance Challenge! Physical health is about so much more than just how we look. What we put into our bodies, how we exercise, injuries/ailments and how we generally feel all roll up into the physical component of health.

In today’s society, there are many unrealistic expectations for what peak physical health looks like. I am so passionate about the fact that everyone’s path to physical health is different, and it’s important to find what works best for YOU (be true, be you!). I share some of my personal journey in this post because it’s easy to put people on pedestals and think they have it all together if they look a certain way, they work at a fitness studio or gym, or maybe they’re blogging about a bunch of intense diets. I’m going to be really real with y’all in the hopes that I encourage and relate to you in some way this week!

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Find a way to be active that you enjoy and can do despite any injuries or health conditions.

I've always been pretty active, but experienced several “setbacks.” I had severe nerve damage from a knee surgery gone wrong in high school, and couldn’t walk for two years. I have battled bulging discs in my back for the last several years, making running or any sort of high-impact exercise impossible. Fortunately, my mom instilled the importance of fitness in me at an early age, so despite having many excuses, I’ve always appreciated the importance of exercise. I found creative ways to exercise until I found True40 (praise hands). While we would love for EVERYONE to love True40, we realize that it’s not for some people. But it’s so important to find YOUR thing. There are so many different ways to incorporate activity into your day-to-day routine:

  • Walk your dogs or walk around the neighborhood with a friend.

  • Play tennis (this is on my bucket list for 2018 - anyone want to join?), go to Topgolf, play soccer, etc. You get the idea - find a recreational sport and try it out!

  • Take the stairs at work, or get up from your desk and do laps around your floor for five minutes.

  • Come to True40, duh!

  • No time to make it to the gym or studio? No worries! There are many quick and easy workouts you can do at home, anytime (the power of Google is awesome). Tabatas are my favorite, so I created a download for you so you can print it off and do it in your living room!

Find balance in your relationship with food.

Obesity runs in my family, and being 5’1”, I’ve always had to do a little more than the average person to keep my weight down. My relationship with food hasn’t always been the healthiest it could be. Sometimes when I decide to make healthy choices for a sustained period of time,I feel like I’m depriving myself and then end up treating myself WAY too much. On the flip side, at one point in college, I was so consumed with getting the “perfect body,” which in my mind meant having extremely thin legs (which will never happen with my height), that I starved myself to the point of looking ill. I am only just now becoming (somewhat) comfortable with my body and relationship with food, and it is definitely a DAILY journey. I have to realize that as long as I am being kind to my body and feel good, I should be comfortable with how I look (and you should too!). Here are some pointers for eating that have helped me a lot:

  • Notice how food makes you feel: This is a big goal for me this year. Notice how you feel after a meal - are you sluggish? Energized? Write down what you eat for a week and how you feel an hour after each meal. You can identify foods that your body likes and doesn't like, and alter your diet accordingly.

  • Eat Nourish Meals: This is a meal delivery service in Birmingham (though they deliver in other cities!), and True40 offers their lowest prices. My husband and I order it every week, because it’s an easy way to get a healthy meal that you just have to pop in the microwave (this takes SO much pressure off finding healthy recipes, grocery shopping and cooking). There’s also other great options if you like cooking like Blue Apron, Plated and more. Find what works for you and your routine!

  • Take breaks from drinking: I LOVE some red wine (also champagne and Moscow Mules). I associate social events with having a drink or two, and my husband and I decided this January that we were going to try to do “dry January.” We wanted to let our bodies reset and teach ourselves that we don’t have to be drinking at a social event to have fun. I LOST 8 POUNDS IN THE FIRST 9 DAYS (which I was actually sad about because it shows the clear impact alcohol has on my body). I sleep better, don’t feel as bloated and am more clear headed. Now, is this sustainable forever? No (in fact, I cheated on day 12). Will I pick up drinking after this month? You bet. But, it’s a good reminder that taking the occasional break from alcohol (no drinking on weekdays, taking a break for a full week, etc.) can make a difference!

  • Try the OCCASIONAL juice cleanse: I just finished my second-ever one-day juice cleanse last week. I highly recommend these every now and again to give your body a break from processing solid foods and just to make you feel more clear. My favorite companies: Sprout & Pour (Birmingham) and Bamboo Juices (Atlanta).

  • Start the day with a smoothie: I love having a smoothie for breakfast - it’s a great way to start the day by getting your metabolism revved up while getting a serving of two of vegetables which you can’t even really taste. That’s why I created a download for you with two of my favorite smoothie recipes!

I’d love to hear if you try any of these practices, or if you have some of your own to share! Comment below or talk to me in the studio. Remember to be true to yourself and love yourself this week!