The word ‘healthy’ comes with very specific and — let’s be frank here — incredibly bland connotations.
It denotes a life filled with leafy green vegetables (anything green, really), expensive gym gear and $13 sachets of chia seeds; one devoid of baked goods, tequila hangovers and entire weekends dedicated to Netflix-and-couch time.
Yet who says a ‘healthy’ life has to be a restrictive one? If you ask fitness sensation Kayla Itsines, we need to reconsider our narrow, singular definition of what it means to be healthy.
Yes, this is a woman whose career and wildly popular online empire revolves around exercise and nutrition, but she’s adamant that our lives can and should be balanced — and that means different things for different people.
“Healthy doesn’t need a price tag, or a set of ‘rules’ … e.g. no carbs, low fat, a certain style of exercise or what time of the day you eat,” the Adelaide personal trainer explains on her blog.
“It means being realistic and doing what works for you and your body, eating a balanced diet with wholesome foods and enjoying the occasional treat when you feel like it.”
One misconception Itsines is particularly opposed to is the idea that living healthily requires $100 gym leggings and dropping coin on superfoods with incomprehensible names each week (and then having no idea how to actually use them).
Watch: Former Bachelor Sam Wood demonstrates a quick bodyweight circuit you can do at home. (Post continues after video.)
“It is perfectly normal to still eat ‘healthy’ with easily accessible foods you can find in your local supermarket. I think this is especially important for those girls who are younger and may not have full time jobs or are currently studying,” the Bikini Body Guide founder writes.
“There are SO many delicious meals you can make with fresh fruits, veggies and proteins that are easily found in the supermarket and are all equally as packed with nutrients.”
As dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan explained to The Glow earlier this year, simple staples like frozen and canned vegetables and legumes will allow you to eat well without blowing out your grocery bill. (Post continues after gallery.)
Similarly, Itsines suggests using household items like books and sacks of potatoes in place of costly exercise equipment.
Given all the health claims we see floating around on the internet these days — scarily unforgiving #fitspo memes, anyone? — you’d be forgiven for thinking the simple act of eating a row of chocolate would automatically classify one as ‘unhealthy’.
This is a ridiculous, not to mention harmful, myth, yet Isines says she often encounters young women who think eating a burger means they’ve fallen off the wagon.
“Eating a burger one time does NOT make you unhealthy. In fact, it makes you human,” she insists.
"The key to a healthy and happy life is to never deprive yourself and feel like you are missing out on the things you enjoy ... eating a burger or a donut does not define who you are, what your goals are or what you can achieve."
We'll raise our glass to that.
You can read Itsine's post in full on her website here.
What does 'health' mean to you?