How often do you feel helpless and even powerless to achieving your health goals? Or that you’re not good at something that is supposed to be good for you?
Take for instance the amount of us that will start a diet several times in a year only to give up on it a few short weeks later. I’ve done it a couple times this year! I end up frustrated, stressed out over it and even hopeless that it works. Yet deep inside I really want to drop some weight and feel better. I entered the start of that diet very optimistic, determined and even competitive about it. I was laser focused on losing weight in the beginning and this time it was going to work. Yet it didn’t and I’m trying to ignore the fact my jeans still don’t fit and I’m eating a doughnut because it taste better than that green smoothie I was making.
While much of the health advice available is good and even filled with wonderful positive intentions it is often geared towards the person who already has overcome the challenges of just starting out. They already have the strength, endurance and skill to take on more hardcore or drastic changes because they have built up to that point in their health improvements. Trying to do that without being at that point just makes us feel like we’re starving all the time, failing at keeping up in the gym and sore and tired afterwards where we can’t move. It is little wonder most of us give up as we feel awful and don’t see the value of keeping at it because we haven’t even managed to lose any weight yet.
In fairness there are some parts of our life a forced approach is absolutely necessary. For instance when you are wanting a career change sometimes you need to go through more college courses or be aggressive in pursuing a specific promotion. That’s the way our society works and that behavior is seen as what it takes to be successful in getting what we want in life. However that same approach applied to other areas of our life doesn’t work at all and we end up feeling like failures at a lot of things we believe we should be doing better. I’m so guilty at this point of beating myself up for not achieving something like losing weight or being a better parent but in reality it’s not that I failed but rather I used the wrong approach.
I’ve come to realize that improving my health should not hurt or leave me feeling “hangry.” Challenge is good but not to the point where I am reaching so far outside of my limits it is impossible. This is where incremental and smaller progress strategies are so important. I may not be ready to take on a 1200 calorie diet day one but if I incrementally cut down over a couple weeks then 1200 calories doesn’t feel so extreme. Say I cut down just a couple hundred calories each day and make it a goal in 5 weeks to get to 1200 calories a day? I have to listen to my body, mind and spirit in this process to know what it is right for me and when. To make that happen I have to start by knowing myself and being able to listen and honor what my body is saying.
There will be times we may be a little sore from trying something new but we should be so sore we cannot feel our legs or so hungry our shoes look appetizing. Depriving ourselves of feeling good every day includes not forcing ourselves through things that we are not ready for in our progression. If you work with a personal trainer then this is where you need to have an open relationship to be able to balance the challenge of what they are pushing you to do with where you are that day. Leaving yourself hungry and unable to move all in the name of being healthy is what the health journey is all about.
Long term when we force it we won’t maintain it which is why I believe most people who do reach a healthy weight through severe diet and exercise are reported very often to have regained it a few short years later. I’m not sure about you but I don’t want to have to go through losing the same 20 pounds time and again. Once is enough for me. I want to learn as I go through this process so I don’t repeat the same patterns that led me to needing to lose weight in the first place. I want to feel beautiful along the way too because regardless of the tag in my pants I should not be made to feel ugly or inferior because I’m larger. Too much of our diet and exercise industry is built on this premise that we are not good enough or worth recognizing if we’re overweight. I firmly disagree.
So then how does someone like you and me with a busy schedule BUILD a life that makes them feel their best every day?
I believe the first step is working on our mind to develop that self-love in us that is so rich we don’t have room for negative self-talk or limitations. We see our health as a journey we are going on every day. We intentionally look at things that are as beautiful as we are now and let that natural attraction flow. In my own journey I have found that when I feel good inside and out, regardless of my size, I am naturally drawn to things that are healthier for me. When I’m energized by my own inside feelings that are positive I’m wanting to move more naturally. I want to put on my sneakers and go for a walk or hit the weight machine. I crave vegetables too.
To start all of this we have to rid ourselves of what we know from society about what healthy looks like and define that for ourselves. This is where I say we burn the harsh diets and workouts that leave us not feeling our best and being beautiful along the way of getting healthy.
I invite you to take the Lifestyle & Wellness Questionnaire to support you on your natural health journey. https://forms.gle/KATC1JfL4dNE3mWM6