healthy IS happy

Has anyone else noticed that “health” continues to constantly manifest itself into different extremes? I mean, we’ve all seen it and talked about it…thinspo, fitspo, orthexia, IIFYM, low-carb, all-carb (okay, so maybe the last one is only in my dreams…) but you get my point.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve fallen victim to the fads. I spent 3+ years obsessing over “good” vs. “bad” food and never letting a single processed morsel pass my lips. I tried counting macros, I attempted to incorporate fish and chicken into my diet (because “I must need meat to build muscle”…). Then I went clear to the other extreme and swore off eating super “healthy” like the plague because I was afraid of falling back into an obsession. Guess what? I felt even worse. Duh.

Two weeks ago I had a breakdown. I felt bloated and disgusted with myself for falling so far off of the track. To be blatantly honest, I felt like a failure. It took a night of crying, feeling sorry for myself and looking back with a critical eye on my last 5 years to realize that extremes were the problem all along.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up friends and boyfriends and delicious dinners with cocktails to be healthy. You don’t have to say “no” when someone offers you a cupcake BUT you also don’t have to eat 3 in one sitting to prove that you’re “free”. You don’t have to go out every night and drink just because that’s what everyone else is doing BUT you also don’t have to deprive yourself of a beer and pizza night every once in a while. It’s those extremes that are dangerous and it’s those extremes that have deprived me of true happiness and bliss for half a decade of my life.

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After my breakdown, I sat down and created this ‘I’m Happy When…’ list:

  • I’m happy when I’m writing
  • I’m happy when I’m healthy
  • I’m happy when I have a body that I’m proud of
  • I’m happy when I balance alone time and social time
  • I’m happy when I’m active and exercise (in some form) daily
  • I’m happy when I surround myself with positive people
  • I’m happy when my life is organized
  • I’m happy when I’m working (no matter what the job might be)
  • I’m happy when I feel independent
  • I’m happy when I get dressed up for a night on the town
  • I’m happy when I sleep in and spend a day in sweats with no makeup
  • I’m happy when I fill my life with things that make me happy

Some of these things may sound contradictory but I think that’s the point; balance IS contradictory. Life is ever-changing. We’re ever-changing. That’s why it’s so unbelievably important to stay in-tune with the things that bring you joy, even if they’re different than they were yesterday.

Where does that leave me? Well, I’m still focusing on bringing healthy back into my life. I want to feel confident and proud of my body, inside and out and frankly, right now I don’t. Deep down, I’ve always aspired to be strong, lift heavy and truly push my limits in the gym. I want to see what I’m capable of! I’ve dipped my toes in so many areas of fitness but my mind has circled back to that one goal time and time again. So, I’m going for it. Will it be easy? Of course not. Stepping out of your comfort zone never is. But there isn’t an ounce of doubt in my mind that it will be worth it.

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But don’t you worry, Build Your Bliss isn’t about to become just a “fitness blog”. I’ve got quite a few things up my sleeve and I’m ready as ever to write, create, be inspired and (hopefully) inspire a few people along the way. So, let’s do the damn thing.

Here’s to happy…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmmysue

10 comments
  1. I relate to this completely. I have just found myself unhappy with my body due to poor eating habits. I stopped counting calories and tracking my macros because I didn’t want to feel imprisoned and develop an unhealthy relationship with food. and when I didn’t eat healthy I felt horrible about myself. So once I gave that up and started “listening to my body” (I took that as a way of allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted and tried not to feel any guilt for enjoying myself) and found myself unhappy again! I thought I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever because I workout intensely five times a week (so it must be because my body needs it).

    Extremes are tough and I believe that we are constantly in the midst of a challenge in order to find our true selves. Once we have achieved that we can be content.

  2. Kelsey said:

    You do you.
    This little quote made itself known during a girls’ night last weekend, and it continues to resonate with me every day. Society and social media put pressure on many areas of our life, but I know I really notice it when it comes to exercise, diet and food. I am in the process of trying to get out of the ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ and ‘healthy’ vs ‘unhealthy’ mindset right now. Yes, some foods obviously won’t be as nutrient-packed as whole foods, but it shouldn’t mean I can’t enjoy them when I see fit.

    I can’t wait to see where you take yourself through the simple act of making sure you are happy. Lastly, don’t put pressure on what your blog is, fitness or not. My old blog stressed me out because I felt I had to follow only talking about a few topics, but I want to share mostly everything from all aspects of our life. I’ll be here through and through, especially because of how your words resonate with me. Stay happy lady. =)

  3. carrie said:

    you’ve inspired me to get cuter workout clothes. cause i feel like you always looks so cute in your gym pics and i’m the girl in the corner in a ratty old T with pit stains. haha. i truly salute you! 🙂

  4. Emily said:

    From one Emily to the other,

    Hi!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I just want you to know that I understand what you’e going through. I struggled with an eating disorder for a while, and even had to take a semester off of college because I was so underweight. I felt like my mindset would never change, and that I’d always OBSESS over food and running. Even after putting weight back on, I still counted my miles and what I was eating. I went from under eating (and deeming foods as “bad” and “good” like you did) to struggling with over eating, and felt badly about myself. I feared my thoughts would never change and that they would control me completely. But I am now so much happier, and I want you to know that things can get better! For so long I used running and eating as a way of control, and since I’ve become more focused on other things, my life has taken a complete 180. I’m now at a healthy weight, no where near underweight or thin in the slightest, and I don’t obsess over food and what to eat. I stopped counting my miles and incorporated other forms of workouts such as Pilates, kickboxing, HIIT, yoga, hiking, etc. I’m having FUN with my workouts, and not comparing myself to anyone. Some days I don’t have time to workout, and while in the past I would’ve freaked out and figured out how I could get a workout in (no matter how anxious and stressed I was in order to do so- waking up at 5 to fit in a workout did NOT make me happy), now I’m okay with it, because I’m busy doing things that I truly love and make up who I am. I’m working with animals, completing my Masters degree in library science, and putting my friends, family, and boyfriend first. When I’m hungry, I think about what I really want, not what I think I “should” have because it’s considered “healthy” or “good” food.

    I want you to know that from my perspective (and I am limited in that, since I can never truly know what you’re thinking/going through), you look great and seem healthier. (But honestly, what I think (or anyone else) doesn’t matter!) The only reason I’m telling you what I think is because I can relate, and that I’m really proud of how far you’ve come. It seems like you’re letting go a bit, which was really hard for me to do as well, and I want you to know that I’m proud of you for that! It’s super hard. There will be times when you’ll feel crappy about yourself, or what you ate, how you look, what you did today, etc., but it will get better. My advice? Focus on what really makes you happy. For so long I used my eating disorder and running as a way of defining who I was, and it was only when I let go of those things that I was able to move forward. I still eat healthy and run as a form of working out some days, but these things don’t define me anymore. In being able to focus on what really makes me happy, I am able to explore who I really am and what I truly love to do. While it’s still a part of my life, fitness doesn’t define me anymore. What defines me is my love of reading and teaching, and wanting to work in a school library, my love for the outdoors, my passion for helping animals. These are the things that make up who I am. What are the things that make you happy? 🙂

  5. Taylor said:

    I went through the exact same things. Going from one extreme to the next until I hit a low point and needed to jump off the overly healthy bandwagon. Once I did that though I fell into the I’ll eat anything just to prove I’m not longer obsessive about being healthy, that’s fine until you over do that as well. By going through that thought I gained some much needed weight and got in a different mind set. I think that once I went through that though I looked at food and exercise much differently. While I am still learning, exercise now is something I do because I love it, I eat healthy because I like to and love the way it makes my body feel but still eat chocolate and OMG I have carbs and don’t gain a million pounds (mind blown with this one 🙂 ).
    Sometimes we need to hit the lows and highs in order to find a balance to be able to work towards a mind and body that is healthy and that we are proud of instead of being in the extremes and mentally not content with ourselves. I know sometimes it can be a struggle, because I have those same thoughts, but girl you are gorgeous and now working towards something better than you have achieved before!! Totally proud of you girl ❤

  6. As many of the above comments say, this post is so relatable. I’m currently working on finding the right balance for myself (I think it’s different for everyone). Thank you for sharing this piece of your heart with us 🙂

  7. brittanylesserfitness said:

    I love this and love YOU ❤ Happy and healthy is always most important.

  8. Natasha said:

    I can relate to this post, not in regards to diet, but life itself. We can spend so much time and effort stressing over the most minute of details that we forget to just live. And when push comes to shove, if we can’t find happiness in the things we do, why do them? Our lives are too short to be spent unhappy.

  9. Hayley said:

    Girl I loved this post! This is all so true! So glad you are finding your happy! I am working on this too right now as you know and this is very helpful to see! Love ya ❤

  10. I HAVE ALWAYS SAID IT – if you’re happy with who you are as a person, YOU ARE HEALTHY!!!!!! 😀

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