Food & Fitness

Ten things I wish I knew when I first started on my healthy journey

1) When eating grapefruit, always apply lip balm immediately afterward. Grapefruit will make your mouth pucker and your lips shrivel and dry up, even if you’ve added a little sprinkle of sugar to sweeten it.

2) The healthy regimen that works for you now isn’t going to necessarily still work for you three years from now, three months from now, or even three weeks from now. Be open to changing your routine as your lifestyle and your attitudes change.

3) Don’t scoff or judge people for eating a certain way, because chances are, you’re going to eat in a manner that others will find peculiar, too. And you might even find yourself adopting their eating habits and understanding the health benefits of their preferences, as I discovered when I tried my month-long vegan experiment.

4) You don’t need a gym to get into shape. You don’t even necessarily need a set of weights at home to get into shape. Lifestyle activity (depending on the kind!)ย can keep you fit and healthy all on its own.

5) There are a lot of registered dietitians out there who don’t actually read ingredient lists, and who are unaware of interesting (and very important) pieces of knowledge like how some trans fats are natural and aren’t at all like the dangerous man-made trans fats (shout out to Bag Lady who first told me about artificial vs. natural trans fats!). There are plenty of informed registered dietitians out there, but just because someone has a degree doesn’t mean that they necessarily know more about health than you do. Do your own research to make educated decisions for yourself.

6) A serving of nuts, nut butter, or oilย is really, really tiny. There are a swack-ton (technical term ;)) of calories and fat in them. They’re incredibly healthy, nutrient-packed calories and fat, but just because they’re a healthy whole food doesn’t give you license to eat a bucketful. Watch your portion sizes.


Tapas are pre-portioned!

7) Crazy ingredients can lurk anywhere. Including tea and ground cinnamon. So always, always, always read ingredient lists.

8 ) By staying hydrated, you’re going to have to pee. A lot. It’s healthy to have almost-clear urine, but it also means that you should make sure you know where the restroom is at all times.

9) Not all exercises are for everyone, and that’s okay. Lunges might give you a great leg and butt workout, but if your knees always ache after doing just a few of them (me! And I never let my knees pass over my toes, either), then find a different workout that will give you the same or similar results (such as variations of squats and plenty of brisk walking).

10) There’s no “one way” to be healthy. There are many different ways to go about being healthy – in all aspects of your life – so being open to trying new things and embracing what life throws at you might just be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

What have you learned on your healthy journey that you didn’t expect?


  1. fd

    great list! I particularly appreciate number 9. I’ve always always found lunges weird and uncomfortable and painful. Until you said it, I had never really acknowledged that it was ok for me to find other ways to get there.

  2. The Bird Cage

    This is a great post Sagan! I feel like it could be in a magazine, motivating readers to get healthy! Great job!

    Now, do you feel you could make a similar list of the “Ten Emotional Things” you wish you knew? Are there aspects of the journey to health that you’ve discovered by traveling it without never having anticipated them? I think that would be super interesting because, as I’ve learnt through painful experience, the journey is not only physical but emotional / spiritual as well!

    By the way: meditating is going GREAT!!!! Five min when I wake up, five min before bed! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Dave

    Hi Sagan,
    Nice post. I like number 10. I think one aspect of being healthy is having a great attitude. I also like number 5 as I’ve received some bad advice from dietitians and we as individuals really need to evaluate our foods.

  4. Jody - Fit at 53

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes to all of them but not being a grapefruit fan, did not know about # 1….. but the rest, s true! I have changed things in my food & exercise program over the years more times than I can count & there are so many ways to get fit & healthy so people can’t tell me there is not one thing they like to do! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    Love the list! My biggest lesson learned is that you have to eat to lose weight. I had my calories too low a couple of times and stalled, but no matter how many times my trainers suggested adding 100-200 calories, I resisted. It made no sense! Until I learned that it did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Dr. J

    Pretty funny list!!

    Now about, there are more ways to be UNHEALTHY than to be healthy!

    I question this eat more to lose thing. Perhaps if it were explained to me I could see it. I know with myself, if I eat too little I don’t have the energy to work out enough. Is that what it means?

  7. Pingback: 11 days of green smoothies | Living Healthy in the Real World

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *