Tired of trying to be healthy? What if as a holistic health coach, I told you to stop…would you think I was crazy? Well, I am telling you, you should, and let me explain why.
Are you trying to be healthy on someone else’s terms?
Chasing the next diet, the latest exercise, or newest health information has become, for lack of a better term, damaging to our health and well being. Can there really be a “perfect” way to eat, workout, or attain wellness? One “perfect” way that works the same for every body, is what I mean. We are all so different in mind, body type, and spirit, it seems really silly to think that we can all achieve the same results doing things one way only.
Time to Ditch the “One Size Fits All” Approach
In the world of health and nutrition it’s easy to get caught up in this “one size fits all” mentality, many people believe in certain ways of eating like vegetarian, vegan, exclusively raw and organic, paleo, sugar-free, low-carb, etc. and tell us the way that works for them is the way that works for us. No doubt, when something is working so well for you, suddenly that becomes what’s best for everyone else too.
I believe that most of these people genuinely want others to experience the level of health that they have.
The problem is this approach just doesn’t work. The reason: It simply isn’t true. The very thing that is good for one person may not be for someone else. Literally, one persons food or lifestyle choices can be another persons poison, even if they are healthy choices.
To illustrate this I have seen lifelong vegetarians and vegans become more sick as time goes on and as soon as they make the switch to adding quality organic, grass fed meats and raw dairy back in their life, suddenly they look and feel so much more alive and begin to get their health back.
I have seen people go low-carb and suddenly it’s like their brains are starving. I’ve seen people remove sugar from their diet and turn terribly irritable with mood swings, wanting to ravage everything in sight, resentful because all they want is a piece of chocolate.
In the same way, being confined to an indoor working environment can slowly kill a person who loves the outdoors. Forcing yourself to sit down to a meditation when you’d rather be going for a hike is counter productive. Forcing yourself to go for a run when you absolutely can’t stand it just raises your stress level when you want to be dancing instead.
The key here is “different strokes for different folks”. I can honestly say I have wholeheartedly learned the value of this for myself.
Where I Finally Started Getting it Right
My health and healing journey have taken me lots of different places over the span of several years, from going vegetarian, vegan (for a very short time), I’ve cut out all gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, sugars, alcohol, and probably some others I forgot in there. I’ve done various cleanses that most people wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, and even survived some fasting. I’ve tried some alternative therapies many would consider quacky, and emotional and mental techniques that seem really “out there.”
When you’re asked before a family barbeque if you’re eating meat or not, or before a dinner, what your current status on food is, it’s safe to say, you’re experimental. Fortunately my family and friends have been supportive of most of my efforts, even though I suspect they must think “Oh boy, what is she doing now?” On that note, I have found that it’s best to take a playful approach with the topic like, “well, currently I’m only eating wild boar…”.
Even though, as a guest I eat whatever is being served, I’ve been known to take a portabello mushroom to throw on the grill at a barbecue. No shame there. In the end, your stomach is the one that has to deal with the consequences of what you feed it, so take care of yourself, regardless of others opinions. And I never, ever force the way I’m eating or my lifestyle on anyone. Learned that one.
There have been different things that have served me well at certain points in my life and then not so much later on. I found out that, no matter how much the ethics of being vegetarian or vegan appeal to me, my body just wasn’t jiving with it. Plus I realized that I’ve never really eaten that much meat anyway, so I can enjoy sustainably raised meat in moderation, guilt-free. And my digestive system doesn’t get as mad when I don’t eat gluten and dairy (unless it’s raw).
My hormones and moods are more balanced when I eat certain foods during certain times, and with minimal sugar in my diet. I have been, and still am extremely sensitive to caffeine, to the point of nausea. I have discovered a love for things that I wouldn’t come close to before, like fermented foods, kale, and beets. I’ll take a raw vegan and gluten-free dessert over the sugar loaded, processed sweets I used to love, any day.
The same goes for physical activity. The gym was a permanent destination six days a week in my twenties. By my thirties, I avoided gyms like the plague (and still do) as I developed a deeper love of outdoor activities. In my forties, I much prefer to sweat or dance it out in my living room, or during a night out. Yoga has stayed with me and has turned in to a much more spiritual practice for me.
I find that experimentation is the journey which never ends. For me, it’s a fun way to find out what works best, what feeds my spirit, and serves me with learning experiences so that I am better able to help others.
While I maintain a healthy lifestyle I realize that it doesn’t serve me to strictly deny myself certain pleasures like my love of a good pizza, burrito, craft beer, or red wine. I’m all for a doughnut splurge once in a while, and regularly enjoy dark chocolate.
I believe deprivation can easily sabotage our relationship with healthy food, creating a negative association with it. It’s totally unnecessary. Balance is part of being healthy and experiencing pleasure is important to staying healthy.
How You Can Too
So how do you know what works best for you? You probably guessed what I’m about to say. Experiment. I always ask people, if you try something new, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Right, it might not work, or you might not like it. It’s the reason I share the various topics I do on this site. To equip you dear readers with tools that will inspire and empower you with knowledge to guide you on your personal journey of transformation.
Because I’m all about finding what works for each individual, I like to offer a variety of effective holistic options so you can do just that, choose things that resonate with you and find out through experience what works best for you.
In order for something to work, it has to feel good, food should to make your body feel good, when you find foods that work well with your body it’s a HUGE game changer. Sometimes cleansing out years of gunk that has built up in your body makes you feel fabulous. Some pretty great stuff comes out of trying things and finding what works for you.
If you’re trying to get active, or maybe lose some weight but you hate to go to the gym, then don’t. You’re simply not going to get the results you’re looking for, and you may not even show up. Do you love to be outdoors? Take nature walks, ride your bike, go swimming. Maybe you love to dance. You’ll burn a lot more calories when you engage in an activity that you find fun. By freeing up negative emotions or feelings of resentment towards something you feel forced to do, weight falls off with much less effort.
Most of us find that we catch our stride with nutrition and exercise, only to find that at some point we start to sabotage our efforts. We’ve all been there where we know what to do but we just stop doing it. This is where the help of a health coach is beneficial – to guide, support, and keep you accountable, and help you to do the same for yourself.
You Found What Works, Now How Do You Stick to it?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that when we neglect our own spirit and put off the work of uncovering and removing mental blocks that have been a part of our subconscious belief system since we were small, we continue to sabotage our own efforts.
Which is why possibly the biggest missing piece to most people staying on their healthy path is neglecting the deeper aspects of self care, doing the work of going within to release old self limiting beliefs and behaviors and replace them with new updated ones rooted in self acceptance and love.
We see this play out in shows like The Biggest Loser, or my personal favorite, Extreme Weight Loss. No one ever sees lasting results unless they get to the root of, and replace old beliefs formed around experiences in their past.
When we get to the root of beliefs that are holding us back, that’s when the magic and beauty happen, whether it be learning to eat healthy on your terms, enjoying a new and healthier lease on life, shedding weight, making positive lifestyle changes, your journey is different than the next persons. We all start somewhere, and starting here, recognizing our journey is unique, is a step in the right direction.