After becoming a commuter via public transportation and walking, losing weight, becoming smaller but softer, donating 1/3 of my closet, then spending an exorbitant amount on clothing in Stockholm to make up for it, sleeping, not sleeping, getting lost in Finnish culture, then crying over the American national anthem, I decided enough was enough.
I was going to get back into shape. I was going to make myself better. I was going to initiate the LGN plan, or the Look Good Naturally plan.
This is a multi-step plan to feel good, look good, and be healthy. It's a state of mind as well as a state of behind. And starting two weeks ago, I put this plan into hearty action with my girlfriends. We are changing ourselves to be the best we can be, and to feel as wonderful as we ever have been. Beautiful and happy, inside and out.
In these times of uncertainty and a little bit of chaos, we're all just trying to find a little peace of mind. And this plan has allowed the three of us to find some of it. Maybe by sharing it will help others find some as well.
Healthy on the Inside
Being healthy on the inside requires a few different tactics.
Exercise. One of the most obvious is of course, physical activity and exercise. We vowed 5 sessions a week at 40 minutes minimum commitment to ourselves/each other. We check in with each other at the end of the week to see how many sessions we got in, trying to reach the general goal of 50 sessions at the end of a 10 week period. So far we've all beat the 5 time a week minimum. Most of us do more than this on a daily basis anyway.
Sauna. Another of these, though only recently implemented and realized, is going to the sauna on a weekly or multiple-time-a-week basis. Sweat out all those toxins and relax in the process. The Finns believe very strongly in the power of the sauna and I'm starting to as well. It also relaxes and opens up your pores, which invariably helps your skin. Double bonus.
Food, food, food. Naturally we all need to eat. I'm not such a huge promoter of diets, since I think that by limiting yourself you're really just setting yourself up for wanting the things you're telling yourself not to eat. I say everything in moderation, including moderation. And my body seems to follow in suit. So though I am trying to make smarter choices about what I eat (more fruit, little less of the delicious creamy stuff...maybe a little less of the fried...if I can resist), generally speaking I still eat what I want, just maybe not in as large a portion. And more times a day. After nearly passing out the other day from low blood sugar I have realized I'm quite bad at remembering to eat, and therefore, need to remember to eat on a regular basis.
Healthy on the Outside
This one is going to sound a little bit funny, since it has to do with things that I was mostly unfamiliar with until fairly recently. But bear with me. I've still managed to deal with it, so I imagine you can too. :)
Face. Treat your face with care and you will look the way you do for a lot longer than you'd ever imagine. Wear sunscreen everyday. Exfoliate every so often, moisturize like a mofo. Even if you're a guy (especially if you're a guy!) your face will appreciate you for it. I've been using sunscreen for years but other than that I've been a pretty lazy bugger. I've recently implemented a skincare regimen and my skin has never looked so good. I'm pretty sure in another 15 years I'll see the benefits of my care. Take care of your body and face - it's the only ones you've got, and will ever have.
Body. Same way you treat your face well? Treat your body well. Why not treat your body skin just as well? Lotion, scrub, give your skin some comfort. I've never lived anywhere with harsh climates, but now that I live somewhere with an actual climate, I know that maintenance is actually pretty key. My skin was suffering until a week or two ago and I actually invested in it. And now it's doing great again. I'm a lot more comfortable as well.
Clothes. This is a subject I've never been that fussed with. As I posted about previously - I have never really cared what people thought regarding the way I dressed. If I like it, then why should I care what people think? It makes me happy. And I still march to that drum beat. It took me awhile to recover from the initial culture shock of being surrounded by well-dressed people all the time, but you know what? Bugger them. I love who I am and what I stand for. I'm not from here, so why should I dress like I am? They already know I'm not one of them, so why should I try to fit in? March to your own beat - you'll wonder why, at the end of your life, you spent so much time trying to fit in when you could have spent that time just being yourself. Believe in yourself, believe in what you love, and the rest will fall away.
Healthy in the Mind
There is no easy way to say this: some people are just more self-aware than others. Blunt, honest, a little mean. Maybe. But it's true.
To help be as self-aware as possible though, there are things you can do.
Be alone. Spend time by yourself every week. Dedicated hours where you are just by yourself. Completely by yourself. It could be walking alone, being home alone, doesn't matter. Just be by yourself, doing something where you won't be interrupted. You'll learn more about yourself than you ever imagined.
Think. Take time each week to just sit and think. I call this dedicated contemplation time. You'll be surprised all the things you think of, figure out, sort through, and generally just realize when you just take the time and lay/sit somewhere quiet and think. I do this for a few hours a week, usually straight after I get home after work. It does wonders for figuring yourself and other things in life out. And it makes you feel centered. Gives you perspective. Try it and see what happens.
Ask. Be always willing to ask - questions, for help, for anything. The curious are the ones that further us, and the curious are the ones that see the most. Thinking you know everything will only get you so far. Be curious. Explore. Continue to be curious.
And that is what the LGN plan is about. Health on the inside, outside, and mentally. So far it's been going great, and I imagine we're going to continue this as long as we are aware we should. I'm really hoping it will become a lifestyle, rather than something I'm consciously thinking about, and I think I can do it.
I've already seen some pretty spectacular results...so I can't wait to see what happens as I continue forward. Hopefully this post has helped you in some positive way.