I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for several years.

But before that, I was a constant dieter.

You know, the yo-yo kind.

I also suffered from eating disorders.

You may be thinking…

“Wow – she’s kinda personal with that info.”

That would be an accurate observation. 

How very astute of you 😉

The truth is, though, I share this with you because I KNOW that at least a few of you out there have dealt with some painful consequences regarding your weight. This is because weight related issues are at an all-time high.

See, I’m astute too.

So now that I’m done joking around with you (for the time being), I’d like to discuss how to make healthy living pleasurable. You may be aware of this, but you can enjoy a life of well-being. I’m living proof.

So because I’ve discovered several ways to have some fun with this concept, I’ll share them with you now.

Feel free to bookmark this post. You’ll want to refer to it often.

5 Ways to Make Healthy Living Enjoyable

woman-with-ball-of-saladYou’re gonna love these ideas. They’ll bring out the kid in you.

Not the repressed, angry one either.

The version of yourself that still appreciates a sense of wonder and creativity

These traits belong in a wellness program. This is what keeps you connected to the process. In fact, this will be what makes you never want to “go back to being your old self”.

Excited?

Good.

So follow along and get inspired. I promise you’ll connect with at least one of them if nothing else.

1. Pretend to Be a Chef

fixing-plateI’m going to make a confession…

I wasn’t much of a cook growing up.

Sure, I spent a little time in the kitchen and even created a few dishes that passed “the Mom test”, but all in all, I was a take-out kind of girl.

I think part of it had to do with laziness, but the other part was due to lack of imagination.

Luckily, though, I’ve since outgrown that silliness and decided to get my butt in the kitchen to see what I’m capable of.

decorating-plateAnd boy am I glad I did too.

Turns out, I love to cook.

Who knew?

I’ve made my own soups, sauces, salad dressings, ice cream and a variety of other delightful dishes that I prefer over going to restaurants.

While I’m doing this, I put on my favorite Pandora radio station (the Bee Gees) and whether I’ve started a joke or avoided tragedy (get it?) – I get busy creating something yummy.

The most pleasant way to make food your friend is to work with it.

You don’t have to be great at it, but in time, you might be.

Why not find out for yourself?

Start with something small. No need to complicate the process.

There are a variety of free recipes all over the place. It’s just a matter of deciding you’re ready to give it a try.

So make an art project out of this, It’ll come in handy later on in this post.

2. Discover Your Inner Athlete

man-on-bike

Now before I elaborate on this concept, let me make something clear…

You DON’T have to be athletic to utilize this idea.

When I say to discover your inner athlete, I’m suggesting you think back to when you were small (or even recently) and see if you can remember whether or not you’ve had a desire to learn something that involved physical fitness.

For example, have you ever wanted to:

  • swimming-in-wavesLearn Martial Arts?
  • Complete a marathon?
  • Take swimming lessons?
  • Ice skate?
  • Play a sport?
  • Run around with your dog and be able to keep up?
  • Learn to dance?
  • Practice Yoga?
  • Go mountain biking?

All of these are physical activities – and they not only burn a significant amount of calories, but they offer an activity for you to enjoy along the way.

Even if you don’t feel a connection to any of the suggestions I’ve made here, there may still be a part of you that desires feeling like someone who is physically fit.

boat-with-guysYou may enjoy going to the gym, working with a (well-qualified) personal trainer or simply embarking on a home workout program you feel comfortable with.

I know of people who find their time on the treadmill therapeutic because they put on their favorite music, inspirational podcast, audio book or even watch their favorite shows and allow themselves to be transported somewhere else as they engage in their workout.

My Mom’s a perfect example of this. She watches Frasier when she’s on the treadmill.

Before she knows it, an hour has passed.

The idea is to deliberately discover something about the process that makes you come alive and keep the focus on that.

Whether you realize this or not, what we believe becomes manifest.

In other words, choose your perspective about exercise carefully and with a sense of enthusiasm and watch your fitness routine go from “oh crap, not that time again” to “I can’t wait to do ____.”

This IS possible – but it’ll be up to you to decide to perceive it this way.

3. Make it Social

2-girls-cutting-veggiesOne of the most effective ways to make healthy living enjoyable is to make it a social activity.

Not only does this add a sense of fun to the mix, but when you engage with others of a similar mindset, you don’t feel so alone and isolated in the journey.

One of my favorite ways to approach this includes tip #1 (“pretend to be a chef”- in case you’ve forgotten already).

This particular social activity is…

 Host or attend a healthy potluck.

These are a LOT of fun!

I’ve hosted and attended these events and not only do they encourage you to get in the kitchen and allow your creative nature to guide you, but you get exposed to some fantastic recipes you would have never thought of on your own.

I’ve been amazed at some the creations I’ve tasted at these gatherings. In fact, one of them was a “raw/vegan food only” potluck. Of course, I made a salad (yeah I know – but I didn’t know what else to bring on short notice), but some of the dishes were amazing!

family-lunch-outsideThis one guy made a simple dessert using (all organic) dates topped with raw almond butter and fresh raspberries. I snarfed down most of the tray by myself and took the leftovers home. I was willing to share with the hubs, but he didn’t want any (and that was just fine by me).

Someone else had made a raw blueberry cheesecake while others made some delicious savory dishes. I left full, inspired and happy.

BUT, in the past (with my limited mindset), I would have had none of that. I was interested in cheeseburgers, chicken parm, and cake.

The potluck I hosted also encouraged some creativity and was quite successful. I made my healthy pizza while others brought some yummy dishes that I continued to enjoy long after they went home. 

I even got to try a few recipes that I’d never figured I’d be attracted to (like tabbouleh) and ended up loving them so much that I started making them myself so that I could continue to eat them whenever I had a craving.

Exercise can be a social activity as well. If you’ve read through tip #2, you’ll know that when it comes to things like classes or marathons, you’ll end up meeting others.

You can also invite your friends, loved ones and frenemies to go on a fitness walk with you at the park, or even the mall (yes, that’s a thing).

I once tagged along with my Mother-In-Law and her friends during one of their mall walks, and I’ve gotta say, these women took it seriously. They kept each other accountable, and it became a social activity.

So consider adding this element to your healthy living program. It’s quite rewarding.

4. Like Your Veggies

girl-holding-veggiesOk, time for another confession.

I used to hate most vegetables. In fact, I only liked cucumbers, lettuce (iceberg), carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and…

…well, that’s it.

Nowadays, I’ll eat just about any vegetable. And if there’s one I don’t care for (like beets), I’ll juice it along with others and make a yummy concoction (carrot, beet, celery, apple, and parsley) that still allows me to get the nutrients without forcing myself to eat something I don’t like.

Ok, so back to you.

You may not be into vegetables now, but I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be something you do like.

Most people add spinach or mushrooms to pizza (even if it’s otherwise loaded with the meat lover’s extravaganza). So why not focus on what you DO like and add it in as much as possible?

plate-of-veggiesI say just do it. 

And here’s another thought.

When you develop a strong enough desire to improve your health (and shrink your waistline), something interesting happens.

You start to develop an open mind.

Here’s a secret…

When it comes to making this a pleasant journey, you’ll want to follow a certain nugget of wisdom I have learned from one of my favorite teachers.

He suggests we:

“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

There is no need to remain attached to your current and previous way of doing things. They don’t work for you – and your results won’t change until your approach changes.

This process will become easier when you find a way to get excited about liking your vegetables.

If you only like carrots, add them to your pasta dish. If broccoli is your thing, eat it as often as possible (it happens to be a superfood).

If you’ve decided to give tip #3 a try, you’ll soon discover that you like vegetables more than you thought you did.

But you probably haven’t given them a fair chance because as kids, they’re usually forced down our throats. When we’re faced with this approach, we rebel because humans, regardless of their age, do not like to be made to do anything.

Use some personal development skills (as discussed in this post) and reflect back on your earlier memories and associations with food. You’ll probably realize that you don’t even know what you like because you weren’t exposed to vegetables in a constructive and positive way.

Once I’d questioned and challenged my resistance to vegetables – that, in addition to the overwhelming desire to no longer associate food with guilt, inspired me to try new things.

I’ve since learned to LOVE my veggies. It has not only kept my weight down, but it’s made eating a far more pleasant experience altogether.

Give it a shot. You owe it to yourself.

If you don’t believe what I’m saying here, go pick up a copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

I’m dispensing Universal truth here. Even Dr. Suess agrees with me.

5. Reward Yourself

woman-getting-massageWhen it’s all said and done, it’s time for a reward.

That’s right. If you’ve taken a chance to practice the tips I’ve shared with you here, then you deserve a treat.

Look, making long-lasting changes isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be a size 6 (and I’d have to find a different career choice).

So think of something you’d enjoy and allow this to be a reward for when you reach small goals.

Whether you treat yourself to a new piece of (tinier) clothing or a day at the spa – it’s one part of the process that makes this enjoyable.

Now I’ll let you in on something – and that is…

If you do what I tell you to do, you won’t need a reward because the entire journey and subsequent results will be your best reward.

But to keep it lighthearted and fun, come up with a few treats and assign them to when you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of.

manicureHave you lost your first 5 pounds?

Great! Get a manicure.

Hosted your first healthy potluck?

Awesome. Take a cooking class.

Run your first marathon?

Fantastic. Put one of those nifty bumper stickers on your car and let the rest of us know all about it (just please, at least, do the speed limit).

AND DON’T TEXT!

But in all seriousness, you’ll find this to be the most rewarding time of your life simply because you’ll feel great.

You’ll be free. You won’t even recognize yourself – both physically and psychologically.

Try my suggestions out and see if they work.

I know they will – if you decide they will.

That’s how it works.

Over to you now.

Do you think you’ll give these ideas a shot?