16 Health Tips I Have Learned In My Twenties

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Your twenties are filled with a lot of change that comes whether we are ready for it or not. Decisions conquer our lives from what we want to do with our career to where we want to go out and eat. While I'm only halfway through my twenties, I feel like each year I grow into a better version of myself. Just within the last two years I switched my profession, completely changed my diet around, and found confidence within myself. It seems crazy that I've changed that much in two years (mainly since I slept for most of them).

One of my more significant changes in life has been my health. I recently found out I had PCOS and it was a bittersweet pill to swallow. On the one hand, I was grateful that I had a name to all the problems I had dealt with my entire life. However, it also meant that I was dealing with a lifelong issue that would not be easy. It was a day filled with happy laughter and bitter tears. Through this, I have learned so much more about my health and taking care of my body the right way. Beforehand, I just ate whatever I liked or tried the newest fad diet that was taking over the internet.

Now I spend a good chunk of time researching the ins and outs of my ailments, finding what works best for me, and putting my health on top priority. I do want to disclose that, while I am sharing what I have learned on my health journey, it might not suit you. We are all made differently, and you should always consult a doctor before doing anything drastic to your diet. These are merely tips I have found along the way that might help some of you or might give you the inspiration to better your own understanding of your body.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.
This is one of the biggest tips I have learned that everyone can benefit from. While being physically healthy is excellent, your mental state should also be a priority. With PCOS, I realized that my stress levels were directly related to my periods vanishing. Feeding your body is great, but your mind is just as hungry. Even two hours a day spent doing something related to self-care is better than nothing. When your stress levels are low, you have more energy to do other things that matter.

The food pyramid is a guideline.
While the food pyramid is a great start to anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it doesn't necessarily fit everyone. Again, you should always consult a physician before changing anything health related to your body. I like to take the pyramid as a guideline for how many servings I should take in each day. From there, I go into more detail about vitamins, supplements, and various nutrients my body personally needs. We are all created differently, meaning our bodies sometimes need more of one thing than another.

Do your research.
This might not be a health tip, but it is a necessity with anything in life. Talking to a doctor is a great start when dealing with your health. I also like to do my own research and analysis so that I am always informed on every side. Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in medicines and doctors. However, I am also a huge advocate for a holistic lifestyle. You can have the best of both worlds if you do your research and talk to experts. There is almost always more than one option out there if you know where to look.

Eliminate the word 'diet.'
I hate the term 'dieting' with a passion. When you hear this word, your body automatically feels like it is going to be put through a horrendous obstacle. To me, dieting means restricting something from your food intake. For me personally, I don't restrict things from my body. If I'm craving sweets, I eat sweets (and same with salty). The difference between my lifestyle and dieting is the fact that I choose healthier alternatives to my cravings. A diet is usually a temporary fix to lose some extra pounds. A healthy lifestyle is a long-term commitment to form good habits and eat things your body appreciates.

Gut health is underrated.
Your gut is just as vast and technical as your brain, and yet we don't give it the credit it deserves. Our bodies are kind of magical if you think about it. You can put almost any food into it, and your body will digest it, pick out the necessities, and get rid of the waste. It will also use these items to energize, heal, and form your body. Through my own research and ailments, I have learned to take better care of my gut health. This means eating foods that are easier for it to digest and always taking a probiotic. I also drink things like Kombucha, which is a fermented drink loaded with good bacterias for your gut.

Learn intolerances.
With PCOS, I have found out that my body is intolerant of certain foods like dairy, gluten, soy, and white rice. Whether you try an elimination diet or visit a doctor, you should be aware of what your body can and cannot digest properly. Trust me, you don't always know. I went most of my life eating all of these things without knowing they were bad for me. Since eliminating these items, I have found my body is able to do its job so much better.

Sleep is a healthy lifestyle.
I used to think sleep was nothing to fuss over. While yes, I would wake up tired, I would take in enough caffeine to get me through the day. Over time, a lack of sleep can age you, cause unnecessary stress, and lead to severe health issues. I understand that not every night is going to be that perfect eight-hour sleep that we all dream about. That being said, you should always set out to get enough rest (and that can look different for each individual). If you have issues, I recently wrote an article on how to get your best night's sleep.

Stop obsessing over the scale.
Your weight does not equal your health. Personally, my weight is higher than what most people would think. For one, I have always been a tall girl. I also have health issues that I just recently started dealing with. Too many times we obsess over that number that doesn't prove anything. You can be at a low weight but be extremely unhealthy. Also, you could have a higher scale number but could also have a high muscle to fat ratio. Instead of letting that number define you, focus on eating healthy and living an active lifestyle. Feeling good is more significant than any number you find on that scale.

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Calorie counting can go away too.
I don't measure any number when it comes to my health. Since eliminating these obsessive habits, I have found myself in the healthiest body I have ever had. I am also in the greatest mindset I have ever been in. While you shouldn't be inhaling a bag of Doritos every single day, you don't need to obsess over how many calories is in a cup of soup. For me, eating healthy and learning moderation has been more beneficial than cutting back calories.

Fat isn't necessarily a bad thing.
We have been told by society that fat is a bad word. We shouldn't be fat, and we shouldn't eat it. That isn't necessarily true. Depending on your body, healthy fats can be beneficial to your health. Almost every morning, I have some form of fat in my breakfast. This could mean avocado, chia seeds, nuts, or eggs. Eating these gives me more energy and keeps me full for longer. Not all fats are created equal.

Stop believing everything on the internet.
This might contradict a few of my last points, but let me explain. How many of you Google an ailment and end up believing you have cancer? All of you probably just nodded your head in unison. One big thing you need to realize is that most stuff out there contains similar symptoms that are incredibly vague. While WebMD is a great tool to use, it also can be deadly to your mental state. They share every detail of a disease, which ends up showing us that fatigue can be linked to cancer. If you are researching the internet, make sure to find several sources while also talking with an expert.

Exercise is pointless with unhealthy eating.
To some extent, if you exercise you can eat whatever. However, this isn't necessarily healthy and is usually only the case for people who are bodybuilding. One important tip I learned recently was that what I eat is far more important than how much exercise I get in every day. While you should lead an active lifestyle, your diet is more critical. Those 30 minutes at the gym won't mean anything if you go home and down a carton of ice cream.

Exercising doesn't have to be the enemy.
Speaking of exercising, I want to point out my hatred for it. I'm not a girl who can run a mile on a treadmill, lift weights, and then do some sort of stair stepping machine. I might be able to get the motivation to do this for a week, but it will die off pretty fast. Instead of thinking of exercising, just try to lead an active life. This can mean taking a yoga class, going on an evening walk around town, having a dance session in the morning, or even going to the beach for a swim day. If you love the gym, great! If not, moving your body can be fun if you choose activities you enjoy.

Step away from the screen.
Health doesn't begin and end in the kitchen. Everything we do throughout the day affects our body in one way or another. Since starting a writing career, I spend far too much time sitting in one spot and staring at a computer screen for hours on end. From this, I have found my eyes becoming strained, my energy drained, and my back begins to ache. Your eyes should not be focused on a computer screen for that long. It can lead to damage and stress that can easily be avoided. Whether you have a desk job or just love Netflix, make sure to take breaks and move around. Your body (and eyes) will thank you later on in life.

Toxins come in many forms.
Junk food isn't the only toxin in our lives. There are so many pollutants and chemicals in this world that we come into contact with daily. For example, BPA has been a massive toxin in our life
for years. I talked recently about the good, bad, and ugly of BPA in this article. Make sure you are aware of what you are putting into your body. I always suggest reading labels, getting a water purifier, and purchasing an air purifier for your house. While toxins are apart of our life, we don't have to give them as much power as we do.

Happiness is the primary objective.
I've become selfish in my twenties (and I'm not ashamed of that). Within a few short years I have changed what I eat, cut out toxic people in my life, and said no a lot more. At the end of the day, our happiness is the healthiest tip any of us could start doing today. When you are in the right place mentally, everything else starts falling into place.

These few years of adulting have taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. It is surprising how much I have changed in just a few short years, and I'm so excited to see what is in store for me in the future. Let me know in the comments below, what are some healthy tips (or any tips) you have learned in these last few years.  
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