Welcome to Wellness Wednesday! This article is part of a series of weekly wellness stories written to help inspire healthy and happy living in our wonderful readers. Be sure to check back every Wednesday for the latest in fitness, nutrition, natural beauty and lifestyle tips to help you be your best self!
You've heard it before: Everybody's different. Every body is different. So what's with the one-size-fits-all diet and fitness trends? Boutique exercise studios, bootcamp programs and Instagram-famous trainers are constantly boasting the ubiquity of their results.
Adhere to our method, they say, and you will be healthy. But being 'healthy' means something different for everyone, and the fitness industry seems to be ignoring that.
One New York City-based wellness expert laments this oversight. Having taken a circuitous route to healthy living himself, Jeff Halevy is a major believer in tailoring wellness and fitness solutions to each of his individual clients, using biology, research and data to do so.
"The place that I begin is science," the owner of Halevy Life told us when we interviewed him. "And unfortunately, that's the last place that most of my industry begins. Most of my industry begins in marketing."
Doesn't it seem like a shame that the industry we turn to for major life improvements is motivated first and foremost by the desire to make a profit? It follows naturally, then, that much of the industry has little concern for what an individual actually needs to get on a healthy path.
As a result, speaking with Halevy is unlike speaking with any other trainer or fitness guru. He's not going to give you his 'rules for healthy living' or 'top tips' for a healthy lifestyle, because he doesn't believe in one tried and true set of guidelines that works for everyone.
There are the basics, of course: "Something is better than nothing," he said. "You're always better off moving."
And, "Be informed," he advised. "Do the research and spend some time exploring before getting yourself into something that can affect your body."
With that advice in mind, is the spin class your best friend lost 10 pounds doing going to work for you? Do you even need to lose weight? You might love juice cleansing, while it makes others miserable. Is the diet Gwyneth Paltrow swears by sustainable for you on a daily basis? Is there something that might work better? The world's oldest woman ate bacon for breakfast every day, so if that's not proof that everyone is different, we don't know what is.
At the end of the day, when approaching fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and overall wellness, you need to ask yourself, "What works for me?" And go from there.
Check out these tips for staying healthy at the office:
how to keep your diet at the office
Wellness Wednesday: The importance of individualized healthy living solutions
Find a work mom or dad.
Everybody is familiar with the work wife: the woman or man in your office who exists to keep you company, gossip, and tell you when your shirt is see-through. The work mom/dad is like that, but mean. Beauty editor Kathleen Hou suggests finding a person who is willing to both straight-talk and side-eye you when you go to grab even the smallest crumb of coffee cake. Your work mom is tasked with yelling sternly, "DON'T EAT THAT OR YOU'LL REGRET IT." They are brutal but they love you, somewhere inside of their dark hearts.
Get snacks diverted to another area of the office, far, far away from you.
When asked how to avoid the inevitable ground zero in the office where all the good snacks get left for free nibbling, one Cut writer explained that at a former job, the snack table was situated close to her desk. How did she handle this constant source of temptation? "I lied and said I'd gotten a request from building management that all snacks had to be kept in the kitchen." You too can become a liar — for your health.
Locate other dieters and start a shaming Slack/chat channel.
Right before the start of the New Year, myself and two of my less-attractive colleagues started a private Slack channel dedicated to our commitments to either "getting skinny" or just not eating like total slobs every day. It's a good place to shame your colleagues into eating better. When one member of the channel explained that she'd broken her strict wellness plan by "ordering a milkshake," we both seized the opportunity to boo, heckle, and yell at her until she wimpered. No pain, no gain.
Don't rely on salad to keep you full.
Susan Rinkus, the Cut's extremely knowledgeable health writer, advises "eating real meals if you want to avoid the dreaded Magnolia cupcake later," meaning not the pathetic work salad but not Chipotle either. Hearty grains and proteins and lots of leafy greens. But if you're craving that Magnolia cupcake (or thousands of them), don't deny yourself the pleasure. "Go ahead and take a piece of whatever is in the kitchen if you want it and then effing enjoy it," Rinkus told me. "Beating yourself up is no good and food guilt/shame can actually lead to weight gain."
You need it. Find a way to be constantly working out at your desk. Twitch incessantly. Tap your toes. Play air drums. Run laps around your cubicle. The more energy you expend, the more calories you can consume. Last I checked, typing is not aerobic exercise but burpees in the office kitchen are.
Unfollow all snack-based Instagrams.
Were you salivating at the thought of getting a cake with Drake lyrics on it? Do you often find yourself scrolling mindlessly through SAVEUR's perfectly curated Instagram page? You're not doing yourself any favors, just unfollow them all. Alternately, you can pick up some new follows in the way of health and wellness bloggers, but are you really that hard up for new ways to make your eyes roll out of your head? Stick to the good meme accounts and leave it at that.
Quit your job.
You never really liked that job anyway and this diet thing is a real drag.
Run away to Guadalajara.
You quit your job and stopped dieting, so now you're going to have a lot of free time. May as well get the hell out of this town of sad dreams and broken promises.
Never come back.
You may be in Guadalajara but you never have to worry about nibbling on raw almonds while Cindy goes on about how far she ran this morning ever again. You love it here. You start a new life. One night you wake up in a sweat having dreamed about promising your work mom that you'd never eat Munchkins again. Look around you: You're free. Smile. Life is good. Every day's a cheat day.