What healthy living really means to everyday women

Your favorite fitness guru may make health seem like a fridge full of green juice and a grueling daily workout, but these portrayals of health are actually shallow and shortsighted.

True mental, physical and emotional health are fueled by exercise and proper nutrition, but these are really just tools to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle. We asked a group of amazing women what “healthy living” means to them, and these are the full and rich responses they offered.

1. Healthy living is prioritizing active family time

Image: Colleen Dahlem

Colleen Dahlem, a healthy living blogger, says, “Healthy living is staying active as a family. My daughter and I make ‘workout videos’ together, set up obstacle courses, do yoga, go hiking and run together.” And while exercise is obviously a priority, what’s also gained is invaluable “together time,” when Colleen can share positive experiences with her daughter.

2. Healthy living is supporting mental health

It’s important to not overlook the mental health benefits of exercise, nutrition and proper sleep. Megz, a newly minted medical doctor, puts it this way: “To me, healthy living is making time for sleep and running despite my confusing work schedule. It’s reminding myself that I am by far happier when I make time for physical exercise, even though wallowing appears to be more attractive when I am exhausted.”

More: How to prioritize healthy ‘me time’

3. Healthy living isn’t about being militant; it’s about being mindful

Obsessing about your workouts, your calorie intake and your food isn’t healthy. It actually has the potential to be quite unhealthy. As blogger Nicola Keane puts it, “Healthy living is closely associated with ‘diet,’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Healthy living isn’t only making sure your body gets what it needs, but enjoying each moment you have. It’s being mindful of the food and fitness choices you make rather than being militant about them.”

More: Healthy food habits to practice with your kids

4. Healthy living is about attitude

A positive attitude can do wonders for all aspects of your life. It can help give you the energy and motivation to make positive choices, choose healthy foods and hit the gym. Lynda Benson, a healthy lifestyle blogger, puts it this way: “We wake up each day appreciating what’s in our lives — embracing the kids each morning with a positive mindset, having conversations about what the day brought. Even though we have ups and downs, we just remember to be humble and gracious. It’s how we stay healthy all the way around.”

5. Healthy living is about relationships

Image: Amy C.

I loved what Amy C., a fitness blogger, had to say about healthy living: “It’s about inviting others to join you and having fun together.” Isn’t that the truth? Life should feel fun and full, and it should be supported by positive relationships. Heather Anelle, also a fitness blogger, put it this way: “Healthy living is about the unforgettable friendships that form — the laughter shared, motivation given, the step backs and step ups, the support team. It’s about being able to cross every finish line and milestone hand in hand.” How beautiful is that?

This post was brought to you by Yoplait Plentí Greek Yogurt.