Dave and I on our 10-year anniversary trip last year.

Our 10-year anniversary trip last year.

In honor of my 11-year anniversary today, here are 11 things I’ve learned about healthy living since I’ve been married. These don’t necessarily have much to do with my husband, but he’s my excuse for a blog idea!

  1. Thin doesn’t mean healthy. When Dave and I got married 11 years ago I was thin. But I ate a whole lot of fat-free yogurt and drank a whole lot of Diet Coke. Oops. Oh, how far I’ve come.
  2. Be flexible. Our understanding of diet and health will always evolve as scientists and doctors learn more. Don’t feel bad about avoiding eggs in the 90’s. We thought they were bad for us! Now you know differently. Don’t get all upset and use it as an excuse to make Doritos and Mountain Dew your lunch. Adjust as you learn more and remember, we can only do our best with the information we have now.
  3. Exercise for sanity. Exercise is as non-negotiable for my mental health as it is for my physical health, so I’ve never stopped prioritizing it. Decide what works for you and stick with it. I’m a morning exerciser. Sure, that got a little more complicated when our kids were babies, but we figured it out.
  4. It’s easier as a team. Getting everyone in the household on board makes healthy living so much easier. Knowing my husband won’t give the kids a bunch of crap food when I’m gone is awesome. We are very much a team on that front.
  5. Deprivation doesn’t work. That’s why I’m so against the whole ‘going on a diet’ mentality and teach my clients how to change habits for the long term. If you tell yourself you can’t have anything sweet, guess what you do after about 2 days? Binge. Every. Single. Time. Instead, I go for healthier versions of sweet treats and take time to figure out what the underlying reason for my craving is.
  6. I need some chicken once in a while. Yikes, that was a toughy! I was hard-core vegan for 6 years of our marriage. We’re talking, never a slip-up. But, see #5…sweet cravings. Mine got out of control and I realized I wasn’t getting enough protein (even with my carefully-planned intake of beans, tempeh and whole grains). Protein outsmarts those sweet cravings. Once I tiptoed back into the world of organic chicken and wild-caught fish, I haven’t looked back.
  7. Kids will eat healthy, ‘adult’ food. I’m so glad I started them young. My kids aren’t perfect, but they are pretty darn good eaters. They understand sugary treats have a place in a healthy diet. It’s just a small one.
  8. Vegetables are freaking delicious. The very best thing about going vegan was the discovery of so many new foods I had never prepared before. Plants can be amazingly filling, delicious, and versatile. I will always make plants the center of my diet.
  9. You might spend a little more money on your health (on the front end) than other peeps. You might need to buy less shoes to afford an organic diet. Your chiropractor and acupuncturist (and health coach!) will likely be paid for out of pocket. The good news is that you get to make these priorities because we have access to all these amazing things.
  10. Your friends, coworkers, and/or family might not understand you. When you go against the grain of the standard-American-anything, you might be the odd duck. First I eschewed refined sugar, then I went vegan, then I chucked my Tide, then I went all in with my essential oils. Not everyone is going to understand why you don’t just use Dawn and eat Ritz crackers. That’s okay. Be you. But you don’t have to preach either.
  11. True healthy living requires gratitude and a positive attitude. You can eat all the vegetables you want and ride your bike to work every day, but if you’re constantly complaining, you’re missing something. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else, and I will be forever grateful for my husband and the family we’ve created.