A Holistic Approach to Enhancing our Lives
Just one step at a time towards better health
Lifestyle change is a permanent change. The name itself implies that it will last since it will be a lifestyle. At anytime we can change our lifestyles in many different ways. Some peoples lives are more work centered while others are more socially centered. Many of us also have some unhealthy eating habits that have emerged as a direct result of our interaction with the world around us. There are many signs of this such as obesity, depression, eating disorders, and addictions of all kinds. Food is simply another way for us to deal with what is around us…at least that is how it starts. Unhealthy food is more accessible and often easier to handle, and it seems cheaper. But to change our entire eating habits all at once we would find ourselves overwhelmed and this often leads to failure, of our own doing.
When you are trying to change your life from unhealthy to more healthy you must approach it with gentleness, forgiveness, and compassion. When I changed my own lifestyle I found that when I didn’t rush, made small changes, and made one at a time it stuck longer and I was better able to adjust myself. Its started with soda, I just weaned myself off and then quit. I stopped drinking daily sodas. This began my journey through weightloss and lifestyle change. I haven’t “achieved” my lifestyle change – there is always area to improve. So even today I am making an effort to make small changes to how I communicate, how active I am, and including fun in my priorities. I often am so productive I forget to have fun.
Anyway, regardless of where you are on your journey, choose a small step you can take. What will it be?
- 1/2 hour of physical activity daily
- daily positive messages to yourself/others
- double your vegetable intake daily
- stop drinking soda
- quit smoking
- write 50 words a day
- take a picture every day
- play your instrument
- read a page from a book
I had a friend that used to say if you have zero and put zero on it, you still have zero. But if its just one, now you have one which is more than zero.
“Falling Off the Wagon”
Even if you swear your not dieting and simply working on changing your lifestyle, I often hear the phrase “falling off the wagon.” Many people around me are aware that I try to make good food choices and my clients feel like failures when they “fall off the wagon.” So when they are making not so good choices they often feel the need to tell me why they have recently “fell off the wagon” Often they are surprised at my response. Often its just one simple sentence, “As long as you don’t stay fallen then its no big deal.”
That’s the trick to changing your lifestyle and losing weight permanently. So part of it is certainly education about what foods are good for you. Learning about portions and a balanced diet are simply academic. In order to change our lifestyle and really examine our relationship with food we kind of NEED to “fall off the wagon” because it reveals a very important key. Simply it reveals all the unhealthy reasons we eat. Most of us at some point have sat down with a bowl of ice cream, candy, cake or pie and devoured it as we mourned or processed some sort of sad or depressing emotions. Believe it or not your body can handle that occasionally, the issue is when you do it every day or several days a week. The trick to the lifestyle change is to evaluate why we are eating that way and see if we can’t find other tools, other than food, to help us deal with uncomfortable feelings.
When I first started losing weight I would “fall off the wagon” at some sort of life trigger and then get mad at myself for it and even worse I would continue the unhealthy trend. The trends would sometimes seem to go on and on and I couldn’t tell you how many times I just kept the trend up because I simply gave up. There was something wrong with me, something so broken that I couldn’t do anything but eat and obsess over eating. It was a habit of mind. It was a comfortable place. I would break the trend and eventually try to lose weight again, but after a while I would fall off again and of course the unhealthy trend could continue for any amount of time. These days the unhealthy trends rarely last more than a day or two, most times its only a part of a day. These days I can clearly feel, sense, and understand how the unhealthy hurts my body, mind, and soul. Sometimes I give in and other times I allow myself a treat, because its an appropriate time.
Food is not like other addictions and must be treated differently. We can’t just simply NOT HAVE ANY FOOD because it is required to survive in the world. The more we deny having certain foods the more we are driven to eating them. Any extremes in food seem to bring up certain failure, some of us find this is also true for most “addictions” Ultimately you must find what works for you but certainly “falling off the wagon” shouldn’t summon self punishment or pity. Instead forgive yourself and know your not perfect. Instead love yourself and figure out what you can replace that food with. Try new things and see what feels good.
There are so many things to try here’s a starter list:
- Spa like treatments
- spiritual practices
- walk in the park
- quality time with a loved one
What works for you is a matter of experimentation but I noticed in the beginning when I would first try it would be great and then I would stop using my healthy alternative to eating and end up with my unhealthy trend again.
The important part of this entire thing though, the most important part! Simply, if you fall off – GET BACK UP! Every-time, no matter how long you been down, get back up and try again. Brushing our teeth and showering are important healthy activities and if we messed up and didn’t do it for a few days, we would certainly return to our healthy activity at some point.
It’s okay to “fall off the wagon” just be sure you get back up. This took me learning self love and forgiveness. Although I KNOW I fell more then seven times this Japanese Proverb was helpful when I was feeling defeated.
Fall Down Seven times, get up eight times
Natural Weight Loss
When someone approaches natural weight loss often they hear things that say that its “80% food and 20% exercise” I would mostly agree with that statement but I think its lacks the other parts that will need attention. But for this blog I want to talk about just how important diet change is.
When I talk about eating healthy with people they tell me that they just don’t like “kale” – “spinach” – “squash” (insert health food here) and at one point in my life I felt the same way. I ate McDonalds at least 3 times a week and often ate prepared food. Not only did I eat at fast food places but I also bought the equivalent to it home. This type of lifestyle combined with my fascination with the information highway and before that documentaries lead me to a sedentary lifestyle. What I didn’t realize when I first began this path was what I was missing. I had no idea how really delicious wholesome healthy food left me feeling so satisfied without stuffing my gut for temporary comfort.
But I was assured that my pallet would change and I often challenged the idea. After some time I found that my pallet did change and then I was totally on the bandwagon. I found that as time passed I would eat healthy for a week or two and would feel so energetically healthy. Then I began to pay attention to how I felt after several days of not so good food and slowly I began to eat healthy more and more often.
There was a teetering spot in which I realized that I was punishing myself with food. I was literally abusing my body because I felt I was not deserving of much more out of my life – or simply gave up. This required me to spend a lot of time soul searching and allowing my spirit to lead me to good places. I had to fully heal and make space for my emotional self and then also fully engage all parts of my body, mind, and soul in the process.
One issue I struggled with, a common issue with mothers, we just don’t make time for ourselves, there is always something more important. Now I am my first priority, now I put me first. I make time for me. I began to make time and since my son is now 20 years old and a grown adult I had no idea what I would even want to do with that time. As things progressed and I explored all sorts of activities to do alone I began to find my groove.
Many things emerged including yoga, buddhism, community participation, connections to nature, permaculture, spirituality, dance and theater. I found that soon after I began to explore these interests of mine I was so immersed in them that I naturally healed my wounds and found all of these things fed me. It gave me the good feelings and I needed to feed that empty feeling with food less and less often. Time passed and the weight began to melt off of me.
I still struggled with sugar addiction, PMS and some other emotional leftovers but that helped me resolve so many issues I lost a lot of my weight. As I became the incredible shrinking woman I found that there was a real person underneath all that padding and there were parts I had forgotten. I had buried them under years of overeating and laziness. I am constantly amazed at my own abilities, strengths, connections, and community. I emerge as a complete strong confident womyn with a kind loving heart, just like I always knew inside I was meant to be.
If you find yourself in this same type of struggles, reach out. I want to help you, don’t let anything stop you. If you have experienced the same struggles I want to hear your story. Share it with me?
When we talk about struggles in life we often want something, but can’t have it, for some reason. Regardless of the issue its a goal we want to achieve but for some reason it eludes us. If we are quitting some addiction, we want peace from the pursuit of the addiction and how it effects our lives. We want to be rid of the side effects of any addiction leaves us with. We want to be skinny, but we seem to continue to make bad choices. We want to be in love but keep failing at relationships. When this happens I immediately wonder “What are we neglecting in ourselves that keeps us from that goal?” Something is missing for this person, something, and I bet you know exactly what it is… if I asked you that. That’s what I am looking for: What do you want? What don’t you have, that you need? You might be surprised at the answers to those questions when truly reflecting on the holistic view of your life.
That’s a holistic approach. That is how we find permanent change in the direction you want to go. The paths are all interconnected. We must fully connect all parts of our lives and bring them together and realize just how connected we are in various parts of our lives. Inside us is connected just as we are connected to each other. We all know that we are connected to each other but many of us get lost in the pain and put up walls. We push people away. We hide from people. We run away. We numb ourselves. At some point we awaken and realize we are lost and we must reach for someone. We need a hand. We need a hug. We need to know, there is a way. We need love. We need self love. We need inspiration. We need support.