Living a Real, Simple, Joyful Life

Marissa Vicario is a Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach and the Founder of Marissa's Well-being and Health. She shares her health secrets, get-fit tips and the cooking expertise that has inspired countless women to ditch the diet mentality, transform their relationship with food and turbocharge their health in a way that's fun and fearless. Download her free guide, How to Be Holistically Hot, now.

When I started working with LÄRABAR as an Ambassador in 2009, I was on a personal journey to make over my life into a healthier version of what it had been previously. As a professional living and working in New York City, I had fallen victim to some bad habits that included too many Happy Hours, heavy reliance on takeout food and persistent stress that had taken its toll on my health.

Now that I've left my full-time corporate job and am pursuing a career as a Health Coach, I'm on a path to live a more simple, real and joyful life. These are just a few of the ways I've learned to live simply, real and joyfully.

Real: Food is one of the first areas of my life I started to clean up. It's also the most important. A long-time fitness fanatic, I noticed my food choices didn't complement my active lifestyle. I often opted for junk food like pizza or mac and cheese over other, more nutritious food. A conversation with my friend at the gym turned my attention to whole foods and I started adding more vegetables, grains and lean proteins to my diet while cutting back on fast and processed foods. A cleaner diet of real food is no doubt to credit for my motivation to clean up the rest of my life. Real food has given me the clarity of mind to see things with a new perspective and the energy to go deeper and make more lasting changes to my overall lifestyle.

Simple: There's certainly no shortage of ways to spend money in New York City and at one point in my life, I was addicted to spending. With a lot of personal belongings and very little space, I took a hard look at what was driving my spending habit and it certainly wasn't need. I was spending money and buying "stuff" to fill the void that being unhappy with my current career had left. Buying a new outfit or treating myself to a new handbag felt good in the moment but the feeling was fleeting. The damage it did to my bank account, however, was lasting.

Once I left my full-time job and started over, I vowed to de-clutter my life in many ways, but starting with my closets. I paired my wardrobe down to fewer, higher quality pieces that I loved and instantly felt better. I gave my excess to charity and then went on a one year spending hiatus. I'm now living a happier life with fewer things. Now, before I buy something, I ask myself if I really need it, then I often wait a few days before making the purchase to be sure. This is one way that I bring simplicity into my everyday life.

Joyful: Living in a crowded, busy city like New York can sometimes become physically and emotionally draining. Navigating the congested subway with or without delays, sitting in traffic or listening to the loud noise of sirens, honking horns and jackhammers can be overwhelming. I'm endlessly grateful to my fiancé who reminds me to slow down and live a more joyful life by bringing an element of playfulness to what would normally be everyday, mundane activities. Whether it's singing along and dancing to our favorite song as we shop the aisles of the grocery store, taking an after dinner stroll or bike ride around our neighborhood or going out for an impromptu glass of wine, I'm continuously reminded that joy can be found in the simplest of things. Even on the not-so-good days, I always try to manage to find joy by making even the most basic activity a little more special.

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