Want the secret to living your best life?
We have to admit, this is a bit of a trick question because there truly is no one secret to being your best self. Though the answer to this question is in reality quite simple, it might not be easy.
A common theme we hear from our clients is that there is some key to living a healthy life that they just haven't found yet... some deep, dark secret that holds all the answers to living a life of energy, vitality, and abundance.
Chronic disease is becoming more rampant by the day, so we must be missing something, right? Some unknown, mysterious secret that will change our health in an instant if only we could find it.
The true answer is that there is no secret. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. And certainly no magic bullet. Instead, the answer involves being mindful along the journey toward finding our best self! This is probably much more boring than any of us want to admit.
The answer is not found in a single supplement, type of exercise, or a single medication but these can all be part of the big picture. No one individual factor will completely turn your health around.
The most common mistake we see in our practice is individuals being too focused on outcomes like weight, BMI (seriously, why do we even talk about BMI anymore?!), body fat percentage, calories... the list goes on.
What we don't see enough of is a focus on how you actually feel! How does it benefit anyone to have an ideal body weight but not have the energy to make it through the day? And this is where the magical answer lies... bring your health decisions back to thinking about how you feel.
This mindful approach certainly is not glamorous or quick, but a healthy lifestyle is not obtained using a "fast-food mentality". Health is a journey that has the potential to change by the day. By developing the skill of mindfulness combined with slow and steady change, you hold the power to take control of your life!
Health involves more than looking at objective measures such as calories, weight, and blood pressure. Shift your focus instead to the quality of your food, movement, and lifestyle. No matter where you are starting from, you hold the power to make daily choices to improve your health. Keep in mind, nothing changes drastically in one day or with one decision.
The best path toward better health is to be mindful, be open to learn and make mistakes, and make small adjustments on a daily basis.
Many people we encounter fall into the trap of believing they cannot get better because they are getting older or have certain health conditions. And, ironically, this exactly the type of thinking that holds them back from actually getting better!
Changing the mindset around health and making consistent, healthy choices can have the biggest impact on your ability to heal yourself. In order to live your best life, make choices on a regular basis that impact you in a positive way.
So, are you ready to take charge of your health? Start here...
Research shows that some of the biggest risk factors for chronic health conditions are related to outlook on health. Being stressed or negative about health as we age is actually more detrimental than having chronic conditions! Start by focusing on the things going well in your life and challenge yourself to find something positive every day. Start a gratitude journal and challenge yourself to find at least one thing every day to appreciate about your life. You might be surprised at the impact taking this simple step alone can make!
Adequate rest looks different for everyone, so start by getting to know yourself and determine how many hours of sleep are right for you. Ask yourself how you feel when you wake up in the morning... are you dragging yourself out of bed or jump up, excited to begin your day? Are you waking up frequently throughout the night? Are you having difficulty falling asleep? What do your evening and morning routines look like?
This step is critical because your body cannot heal without sleep. Lack of sleep is one of our greatest risk factors for many health conditions. Create a better sleep environment, and focus on a night routine as well as a morning routine. The ideal time of night to sleep for everyone also looks different, so knowing when you get your best rest is crucial.
Diet does not have to be as complicated as you think. Our general advice to our clients is drink more water and eat the least processed versions of food possible. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where fresh foods are located rather than the middle of the store filled with packaged, processed food products. If the food you are eating has the potential to outlive you this might be the time to reconsider your choices!
Think of addition rather than subtraction. For example, increasing your water intake or adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can displace less healthy habits. Instead of focusing on what you are depriving yourself of, think about what you can include.
Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to change all of your eating habits at once. Make one small change this week and think about how you feel. If any changes you make have positive results, continue doing them and figure out what else you can do better when you are ready. Find some new recipe ideas and inspiration to keep yourself going. This process really can be fun!
Just as diet does not have to be complicated, neither does adding more movement into your day. Start small with an extra walk around the house or getting on and off the floor a few times. Continue to slowly add more movement and more variety of movement in throughout your day. Get creative and again, think about how you are feeling through this process. Try sitting on the floor to watch your favorite TV show instead of the couch or do some squats to unload your dishwasher instead of bending over. The possibilities are endless!
Just to drive this point home... when you are changing your routine, trying a new exercise, or eating different foods thinking about how you actually feel is the most important step!!
Have mindfulness be your first health indicator rather than worrying about pounds lost, calories eaten or calories burned. When you eat something, think about how you feel after. If it makes you feel good, eat more similar things. If it doesn’t make you feel your best, don’t eat it. It really can be that simple.
In order to be healthier, it is critical that you know yourself and know what you want out of life. Health is a journey without a quick fix. Don't feel like you have to make all of these changes at once. Pick one change that you can start today, see how you feel for a while, then try to add something else. Better health is a simple formula involving daily mindfulness in order to work.