We talk healthy lifestyle…but do we know what it actually is?

For fun I googled “Healthy Lifestyle” and in under a second it found 1.4 billion results.

One point four billion.

The top result was Web MD, offering a summary of advice that won’t surprise you. All good recommendations, including laughter and yoga, but nothing earth shattering.

Buried at the tail end of the article is what I find to be the author’s key takeaway:

“(1) Your list of healthy lifestyle behaviors may be different from mine. (2) The most important thing to remember is that you can make a difference in your health and well-being. (3) Take charge of your life, and be mindful of small behavior changes that can make your lifestyle a healthier one.”

Here’s why:

(1) How you define a healthy lifestyle and how you achieve it will likely not be the same as those around you. Even those in your immediate household, and that’s okay. While looking to others for ideas a support is helpful, you’ll want to have your own plan and strategies that work for you.

(2) Research shows lifestyle factors greatly improve our health. We have control!

(3) It’s like compound interest…small steps lead to big results.

But we must each answer the essential question: What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you and why do you want it?

Do you want to travel when you’re 80? Have energy for more than what you’re doing now? Fit comfortably in your pants? Hike with your sweetie? Be free of medications? Let someone carry your groceries because you want to, not because you have to?

You know how it is. Thinking you should do something because it’s good for you isn’t terribly motivating. I found that out myself – again! – just recently.

I want to offer two options to decide what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you, and why it’s important:

  1. Health may be one of your top values, which makes the motivation more obvious. Still, define your motivation, then plan your course. Or…
  2. Health may serve a different value, like adventure. Health allows you to live out the other values that are most important to you.

A healthy lifestyle is so much more than freedom from disease. I wrote a book in 2005 called Achieving Physical Wealth: 8 simple steps to breaking the rules of staying fit, where I said:

“Physical wealth is about your whole life: your energy, confidence, vitality, endurance, strength, health, self-esteem… the way you live your life, how you feel day to day, and how you feel about yourself, and how that impacts every area of your life.  Physical wealth is living the life you are meant to have every single day.

Now that’s a healthy lifestyle!

Facebook Won’t Take My Money!

Facebook won't take my money

Let’s be honest. We’re not supposed to talk about weight loss. It’s so taboo that Facebook won’t take my money to advertise. Spam filters guard the door of your inbox to block me from getting through.

Let’s be honest. We’re not supposed to talk about weight loss. It’s so taboo that Facebook won’t take my money to advertise.
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

But if I couch it in health and wellness, everyone is happy. Including Facebook.

Everyone except the woman who wants to lose weight.

You see, for years I followed the standard advice. To not to get hung up on losing weight, or care about how our bodies look…that it should all be for a higher purpose, like being an example for your kids or preventing type two diabetes that runs in your family.

Now if that’s your sole truth, fantastic. I mean it.

But I encourage that if you want to feel great in your clothes, if you want to look hot in a dress… then own it. Claim your motivation even if you think you’ll be judged for it, even if you think it’s not good enough, even if you think it’s, heaven-forbid, shallow. Own it.

My clients want to talk about weight loss.

And they want to talk about health and wellness, the higher purpose stuff. I just think we need to stop pretending we don’t want the other.

I understand how we got here. Unrealistic, media-manufactured images of the ideal body. Shaming ourselves. I agree. That’s got to stop.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. You can want to look hot and feel amazing in your clothes without calorie counting, dieting or obsessing about food. Without drugs. And without hating your body.

In fact, you have to love your body in order to lose weight.

Don’t skip over that. You have to love your body in order to lose weight.

Think about the things you take good care of. Maybe a car, a home, a piece of jewelry. You care for things that you love (or at least like a lot). They sparkle like new. And the things you don’t care that much about are probably showing their wear.

Weight loss can be at the expense of your health. But that’s not my thing. And it’s not yours either. (You would have left me long ago if it was 😉.)

When you love and appreciate your body, you take actions that reflect that feeling. And those actions lead you toward greater well-being. Not so coincidentally, they usually lead to weight loss.

If you want to be real with the weight loss discussion, let’s do it. Comment below. Engage in my group. Reach out to me for a Strategy Session.

It’s not often you can “have it all.” With weight loss and health, you can.

Do you know why you eat?

Do you know why you eat?

Do you know why you eat?

Do you eat to lose weight?

Because you’re hungry?

For good nutrition?

Because it’s there and it tastes good?

To procrastinate?

All of the above?

March is National Nutrition Month and in a world of keto fanatics and carb-phobia, I appreciate grounded advice on reading nutritional labels, home food safety and being a menu-savvy diner.

But you probably know all the info, don’t you?

As Michael Pollan says in his eater’s manifesto, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Understand that and everything is simplified.

But, our relationship with food is more complex. Like my client who admitted “I eat for all the reasons.”  My clients want to eat to lose weight, which in theory should be simple. But their relationship with food complicates things.

Do you know why you eat?
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Consider what food means to you. If you want to lose weight, are you looking at food as a means to an end? (And what happens at that “end”?) Maybe you’re choosing foods to help lower cholesterol or blood sugar. Do you eat to nourish your body and provide energy for what lies ahead? Are there foods that trigger you? That you say you’re addicted to? (I used to say that about chocolate.) Is food comfort when you’re feeling anxious? A treat when you’ve had a hard day?

See what I mean? Complicated.

You know my philosophy: you can enjoy food and lose weight. Which requires a healthy relationship with food.

For me that means acknowledging that while vanilla butter cream frosting tastes freaking amazing, I choose not to eat it because I know how it makes me feel physically and how it only increases my desire for more. It also means I’ve learned that I can be hungry without having to eat immediately. I remember how often I employed the phrase “I’m starving,” which is comical, really. And not a good message for my mind to ruminate on.

If your weight loss is on-again-off-again, delve into your relationship with food. Ask yourself questions about why you eat and what food means to you. Take a look at your language around food (e.g., are there foods you say you LOVE?). What feelings come up for you around eating and meal choices? Write these things down so you can really see what this relationship looks like.

For instance, are thoughts about food and what to eat taking up more head space than you want? Are you more attached to certain foods than you realized? Do you have shame around food? Do you, too, eat for all the reasons?

Once you identify your thoughts and feelings around food you can begin to unpack them one by one. And decide which ones stay and which ones you want to retrain. And develop a relationship with food that includes enjoyment and weight loss. For good.

Need help to do the work? Let’s talk.

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