A few years ago, I dated a boy who was on the Paleo diet. Besides always having to keep almond butter in my house, I learned a lot from him. Since we spent a lot of time together, it was like I was on the diet, too (until he would leave, then I would snack my heart out). His commitment and dedication to a diet that is so restricting and tough was something I admired, and as a result of spending a lot of time with him, I learned a lot of life lessons, too.
Respect yourself and your body.
He didn’t take shit from anyone. He had very strong beliefs, and he stuck by them no matter what anyone would say. That’s definitely a reason why the Paleo diet worked so well for him, too, because he wanted to treat his body well; it’s very important to have self respect in any factor of your life, so never forget that. He taught me to be good to my body and stop doing things to hurt it (read: drinking, staying up late, eating crap). I started to be way kinder to my body, and it was simple with recipes like this two minutes paleo apple spice cake. As a result of being kinder to my body, I actually started to like myself a whole lot more and be kinder to others, too.
Discipline is hard but necessary.
The Paleo diet requires a lot of discipline, obviously, but it doesn’t just stop at saying no to junk food. He would always push himself to do better and try harder, and I really admired that. It goes back to self respect, but every day he would strive for improvement. Determination and discipline can take you a long way; my high school cheer team would have to go to stunts in the rain, but we knew it’s what we had to do to get the job done. I would complain, but being with him showed me that rain or shine, these stunts needed to be done to better myself and my team; it changed my whole outlook. Find out how others, like Instagram star, Hannah Bronfman, have found their determination.
Always work out.
Even if it was just for a little, he made it very clear that it was of utmost importance to work out every day. We would run together after school all the time, and we were super active in clubs and sports. Activities like this were amazing because it gave me something to work towards, and those daily goals were motivation to stay in shape. So, even if you only have half an hour, try to find something to keep you active. There are tons of easy workouts all over the web, and it’s also free.
Find something to be passionate about.
My ex was really involved in a lot of school activities, and he’s one of the reasons why I became so involved, too. He was passionate about music, but I was into trying everything. I was in pretty much any kind of club you can think of, and I loved it. I realized that my passion is trying new things, and even though I might quit or not like something, I love trying things that are unusual. So, find something that you like and stick with it; it will definitely help you to become a better individual. You can even incorporate it into your goal to work out: hike, join a sport, or start swimming.
Cooking is (usually) easier than you think.
It’s surprising that I didn’t know how to do this already, but he taught me how important it was to cook a meal by myself, and how to portion my food. Instead of going out with my friends and blowing a stupid amount of money on food almost every night, I stayed in and made my own healthy food. We would always cook together, and that makes a home cooked meal even more fun. So, next time your friends propose to go out, suggest staying in and learning a new recipe together like Paleo chocolate cake (yes it exists and it’s amazing).
If you do go out, pick the right food.
When you need to get out of the house and go get something to eat, you have to pick the right things. When we would go out he ordered the strangest things, but looking back, he was picking out food that was right for his body. You don’t have to ban yourself from restaurants, you just have to be smart about it when you do decide to go out. Restaurants will usually have nutritional information either already in front of you or available if you ask, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of that.
Be respectful and understanding.
I know you hear it everywhere, but it’s crazy that today some people aren’t accepting of different ideas. My ex had his beliefs, but he never would judge anyone else for theirs. He never thought that he was better than anyone else for being more fit or at a different stage in his life, and that’s the way it should be. Everyone has to start somewhere, so be respectful of that when people are trying to change their lives in a positive way.
Go outside more.
I learned how to appreciate what was around me, and that’s a lesson I’ll never forget. Go outside, take a walk, feel the fresh air. You will feel so much better sitting outside and taking in nature. I like to sit outside with my friends when it’s nice out; it helps us bond, and it gives us a tan. It also gets you in the mindset to get off of the couch and do more with your day which is really important. You’ll feel way more accomplished because you’re doing something that is good for your mind and body.
Nobody’s perfect, and you’re going to have a shitty day sometimes. It’s okay to let yourself have a bad day. We always supported each other whether we were happy or not. It’s okay to eat crappy one day, and it’s okay to want to stay in bed, but you have to remember to pick yourself back up. The only way to feel better is to do things that make you happy and healthy.
Even though we didn’t quite work out, I learned a lot about how to change my attitude and my routine to become healthier. This lifestyle can benefit the life of people around you, just like his benefited mine. These points are really helpful when trying to start a new lifestyle and gain control of a healthier you, but they can and should extend past that in order to benefit all factors in your life.