Ice Cream, Yoga and Moderation

While I am taking some time to enjoy being a new mom, I asked a few friends to step in and share with you a little bit about their journey when it comes to their health. I am so excited for you to hear about all of the different ways women are taking control of their health and thriving in our not so healthy world.

Blog world… meet Alyssa! This sweet young woman is a relative of one of my relatives and she is taking the fitness world by storm in some very cool and different ways! Aside from being young, beautiful and full of energy, she is also a genuine and funny lady who has quite a bit to teach us all.

The reason Alyssa popped into my head when considering who to ask to “guest blog” is the simply fact that this girl goes after healthy living in ways that most of us don’t. She isn’t a marathon runner (that I know of) or a paleo diet follower… instead Alyssa’s social media feeds are full of pictures of her enjoying her life in ways that speak so much to health, fitness and happiness.

I don’t know about you but I want my life to speak of those things. So please pretend you are sitting across from Alyssa as you read this post because I promise you we can all learn from her journey to health and happiness.

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Moderation

What does HEALTH mean to me?

Ice cream…

That is the first thought that came to my mind when Leah asked me to write a guest blog on “What Health Means to Me”. ​Ice cream… Y​ou might be thinking that ice cream and health don’t quite go hand in hand. Or maybe you’ve already shut your computer as you make a b­line towards the nearest Baskin Robbins. Stick with me, allow me to explain myself…

I love ice cream. You could call me an ice cream connoisseur. I love it. I love it after a long bike ride, with friends, on Sunday afternoons, close to midnight, smack dab in the middle of the week… You get the picture. I can specifically remember a time that I was teaching a yoga class and from the very beginning of the class to the end, all I could think about was Erma’s flavor of the week (it’s an amazing frozen custard place in the city that I live). It’s very much a love/hate relationship though. I often fight the urge to feel guilty for enjoying my delicious cup of frozen custard directly afterwards… If not during. This is a push and pull that I have felt for a very long time. Let me tell you a bit about my background, and then we will get to the reason I am talking about ice cream in a health blog.

I spent most of my childhood in gyms. I competed as an artistic gymnast for 12 years. It was a very strenuous sport to say the least. The workouts were very demanding and with the amount of time I was required to dedicate to the sport, I learned from a very young age that you should only ever do anything a​ll out.​I would practice on the bars until my hands would bleed, and then I would just keep going. I threw up after e​very single​cardio conditioning drill we did. It was expected of me. As I grew up, and injury eventually caused me to step away from the sport forever, this mentality bled through into most other aspects of my life…

As a 14 year old, I decided I was done eating meat. I wanted to be as healthy as possible, so this was my first step. I thought this would help me to make healthier decisions, or to learn better eating habits. For me, it wasn’t an option to just cut down on my meat intake, or to choose a lean, grilled chicken breast over a hamburger… I had to go a​ll out.​I kept this up for 7 years. In 2013, I felt the need to step it up even further. I went vegan for 6 months. Many people choose to eat vegan and they love it, that’s great! I didn’t. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was searching for something, and I thought the change of diet would help me find it. It didn’t. I was eating only organic, whole, vegan foods and didn’t feel whole.

This is where “What Health Means to Me” comes in. You can eat all of the whole foods you want, and still not be whole. You can drink all of the kombucha (I LOVE a good batch of kombucha), do all of the workouts, eat at that o​ne vegan restaurant e​very time you go out to dinner… And still not be content. Still not be healthy. Still not be whole. Health is more than hitting your ideal weight. Health is more than eating the right food or doing the right workouts. What does being “healthy” mean if you’re not holistically healthy? Physically healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy, spiritually healthy. I realized that I was leading a very“healthy” lifestyle, but I wasn’t truly whole. I have had to come to a realization (and it’s definitely a process that I have to continually work through), that to maintain a holistically healthy lifestyle, the key is:

Moderation in Everything

This is something that I have written all over my apartment. I have reminders all over. I need to be constantly reminded. We all do. Nobody is perfect. We all enjoy a scoop of ice cream here and there, and if you don’t, I’m very sorry. You’re missing out. Here’s the thing, we need to live life in a healthy way, but life is meant to be l​ived​and e​njoyed.​What good is a any of our eating, working out, or anything for that matter if we don’t e​njoy it?​If we don’t feel whole?

Is this permission to go and buy a half gallon of Cookies and Cream and kill it by yourself? No. I mean, if you really want to, I guess go ahead, but I wouldn’t suggest it… But there’s no harm in a scoop once a week. See where I’m going with this? Moderation. A game changer for me was doing a 21 day food challenge, and as part of it, I had to eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) every single day. This taught me that I can have these things that I enjoy, even every day, in moderation, and the world doesn’t end. That was huge for me.

Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually this motto applies also. Yoga has been a big help for me personally, but it is extremely important to remember that you don’t have to run a half marathon to get a good workout in, no matter what you choose to do.

If there is one thing that I can encourage you to do, it is to find a balance to your life. Whether it be food, working out, busy schedules, spirituality, emotional health, or whatever it might be. Find balance. Practice moderation, and grab a little bit of ice cream. I promise you’ll feel more healthy for doing it.

About Alyssa:

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  • I am a registered yoga teacher through Yahweh Yoga and Yoga Alliance.
  • I love organizing everything!
  • Cooking in the kitchen with my Husband is a joy in my life.

 

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