To me, health was like a light switch one that you could turn on or off, but there was no in between.
This “you either have it or you don’t” mindset really turned me off to healthy living. I had lived such an unhealthy lifestyle in my early adulthood. In my mind, I set myself up for a lifetime of health issues and now, I had to live with them because I was simply too far gone.
I don’t know when the realization hit me, honestly… it wasn’t like this “Aha!” moment or this sudden, gut-punching instant when I realized I had it all wrong.
It was more like a slow, rolling boil. Something I felt like I had been chewing and digesting for months. It slowly grew and bloomed inside of me like a tender garden.
Health is a moment-by-moment choice.
Health is a sliding scale and that scale is not one-size-fits-all.
How crazy are we to think that it is?! How crazy is it to think that a number on a scale or on a BMI chart determines our health? That’s preposterous.
For some people, that’s such a relief!
“Oh, thank goodness. I’ve been a square peg begging to fit into a round hole for years! Not only that, I’ve been shaming myself because I don’t fit into this diet plan! But it’s not that I don’t fit the plan, it’s that the plan doesn’t fit me! Hallelujah!” But for others… this might just make the whole thing a bit more overwhelming.
“You mean there aren’t any rules for me to follow? There isn’t a magic formula? Someone just tell me what to do!” (These are the people who are probably already overwhelmed with the thousands of diets out there that claim they are the healthiest way to go)
But, regardless of what kind of person you fall under, my advice is the same. Start with one foot in front of the other. Take it one step at a time. And once you are comfortable with that first step, try another. And another. And another.
You may find that you gathered too much momentum and you’re no longer stable! That’s okay. No problem, take a breath. You don’t have to start back at square one. You just have to take a couple steps back to when you were comfortable. Now, keep on keepin’ on. As long as you’re conscious with your efforts and willing to do what it takes, “health” is attainable for everyone. Even you.
Don’t know where to start? Try here:
You are what you eat.
Everyone seems to say that and it does actually have some truth to it. For most people, the area of frustration isn’t necessarily that they don’t understand the importance of putting the right foods in their bodies.
It’s that we don’t actually know which food is actually good for our bodies. The internet tells us that carbs are bad, but also eat plenty of carbs. Avoid fats but make sure you’re getting plenty of fat. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but avoid meat at all costs and live vegetarian. How do you decide?
The bottom line?
Eat well. Live happy.
Discover what it means to have a positive relationship with food.
You can't go wrong with cutting out processed sugars and sticking to whole foods. Experiment and learn how particular foods fuel your body and figure out if they will help you or keep you from your long term health goals.
I’m not asking you to join CrossFit (but if you do, GO YOU) or do some hardcore body building (but if you do, AWESOME).
Thousands of years ago, we were hunters, gatherers, builders, and movers. Regular movement was not an issue, and thus we didn't need gym memberships. We did not drive cars or sit at desks for hours. We have to find ways to make sure that we keep our body in shape when our lives are relatively set up for the sedentary.
"One step at a time" could be making sure that you’re walking as much as possible. Try working at your desk standing up as often as possible. Can you fit a workout class in your schedule once a week?
Anything works. Anything more than you were doing before is progress.
Are you truly aware of exactly how many toxins are in our every day products? Many manufacturers add dozens of toxins to our household goods to increase their shelf-life, to add fragrances to hide the chemical smells, and much more.
I actually used an app called “Think Dirty” and started scanning all of my household products to see what was actually in them.
Note: Don’t do this unless you really want to know. If you want to remain blissfully ignorant, I would suggest NOT doing this.
Putting your body under stress can lower your immune system, leaving you sick longer and harder, and open to all kinds of uncomfortable, nasty, nastiness.
Are you sleeping well?
Sleep and rest issues are hardly black and white problems. So many stressors in our lives can lead to sleep issues. In order to really figure out what is keeping you from sleeping, you'll want to really introspect and pay attention to yourself.
Get to the root issue of these problems. Is this something that is just a season in life, and it will go away on its own? Or is this something that is on-going, and there isn’t an end in sight?
You can’t expect to thrive in an atmosphere that is constantly toxic to your overall health and wellbeing. It is absolutely understandable that for a short season life might be hard (such as a new baby, or a temporary job situation where you are taking on a little extra stress for a month or so), but if your stressors are something that is a longterm or constant in your life, there could be serious health consequences to not evaluating that part of your life.
On top of all of that, make sure that you are checking up with a doctor, naturopath, or other healthcare provider/professional to make sure that you are reaching your goals in a safe and healthy way!
When making huge lifestyle changes, it is imperative that you do it in the care of someone who is knowledgeable of how your body works and what kind of stress you'll be putting on it when you choose to change your lifestyle. Changing your lifestyle for the better is great! But our bodies are different and dynamic. There are infinitely many contributing factors that make you and your situation different. The goal here is to be healthier and improve your quality of life. Don't make the mistake of hurting yourself more because there were unforeseen consequences due to the shock to your system.
I also want to be very clear. I am NOT a doctor, and I am not here to give medical advice. I encourage you to reach out to a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes. I applaud you for wanting to change your life around. PLEASE do it safely!
So, good luck to you, my friends, as you journey on to healthier, thriving waters.
Feel free to contact me and let me know how life is going for you! Share your successes and your struggles with me because you don't have to do it alone.