What it Takes to be Healthy

>> Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We get a lot of questions via email asking us if "vegan is the way to go" in order to live the healthiest life possible. Same with marathon running. Truth be told, these are two extreme ways of living. When we look around at our friends, family, and at those other people around on a daily basis, the majority do not follow these ways of living. There are just so many different choices. And that's not a bad thing.

We, too, are not vegan. (With all the vegan recipes -- what IS our diet exactly? Head over to this FAQ post!). And -- to date -- we have each only run one marathon. (ONLY?! Right. It's a huge accomplishment, so -- by only -- I just mean simply that we have run one.) However, I am proud to say I would consider us extremely healthy in body, mind, and soul. Healthy enough to share with the rest of you our journey, complete with good times and bad.

So, back to this question: Do you need to be a vegan marathon runner to be healthy? No. You do not In fact, and especially in the case of marathon running, a constant cycle of "intense living," as we call it, is actually not healthy for you. (We'll go into this topic in the future, I promise.) What exactly am I getting at? For the majority (and there are certainly exceptions, of course), living the healthy life by paying attention to that added part "everything in moderation" is key. And, unfortunately, there's no correct answer to the whole specific diet and exercise combination.

Everyone is different.
Every BODY is different.
Every life situation is different.

I'm going to embarrass my mom for a minute (Sorry, mom!). I'm so incredibly proud of my parents for recently taking charge of their health. They're doing all the right things by taking it all one step at a time, slowly incorporating healthy habits like walking and cutting out soda, for example. But I was chatting with my mom on the phone the other day, and I noticed after she told me each of the steps she was following, she'd say something like, "Well, I know it isn't enough . . ." or "Well, of course it isn't running a marathon or anything . . ." But I kept reminding her that when I first started running, I couldn't run down the street without feeling awful and being completely winded. I am also a former peanut butter M&Ms addict who's consumed more sugar than I'd like to remember.

I kept reminding her that all those "little" steps she is taking toward a healthier life are actually very BIG when you start adding them up.

So, we've established that there's no specific, magic formula for health. No specific search terms you can type into Google. But that doesn't mean you can't guide yourself.

Let me help you: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be the best version of you possible. This includes eating fresh fruits and veggies. It includes moving around from time to time (and more often, if possible). It involves having a positive body image (which often goes together with activity, seeing your body as more than something to gaze upon . . . seeing it as a powerful machine capable of doing amazing things). It involves motivating those around you to also live healthfully and happily, creating a community of active people to share your life with. It involves taking time to rest and celebrate your accomplishments. It involves enjoying those sinful foods -- again, in moderation.

Because unless you live fully, you can't live healthfully. At least to me, living fully is living in balance. If you've ever had your fitness assessed on Wii Fit, you know you don't stay balanced very easily. (Yeah. That's why I have that weird video game photo of me.) It's a constant game of trying. Moving a little this way or that way until you hit the sweet spot. But with a little practice, you find your way. What works for you. You just have to keep checking in, keep assessing yourself to make sure you're hitting your personal target.

Here are some posts about achieving balance. About getting healthy. And just other stuff you might enjoy . . .

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