My Journey To Vibrant Health
Healthy eating. It’s something everyone knows they "should" do, but few of us do as consistently as we would like.
Now, I don’t claim to have a perfect diet, but my research on habit formation has helped me develop a few simple strategies for building and strengthening healthy eating habits without much effort or thought. And I LIVE for sharing this with others!
Let's start at the beginning...
Simplicity is what we seek in our daily lives, isn't it? Yet our attempts to get healthy are often backed by complicated standards and rules, like calorie counting, weigh-ins, dietary restriction, etc. If you're like most and have used these approaches, you've probably travelled down a dark and ominous road only to find yourself feeling lost and frustrated.
My thoughts on the matter? We don't need a new diet to get healthier, we just need to put into practice what we already know.
This is why I "do" health differently... like creating healthy habits, not restrictions. Healthy eating shouldn't be about rules; it should be about possibilities. Because it's not about the weight you lose; it's about the life you gain. Health is a vehicle to feeling our best everyday so we can live our lives to the fullest... At least, that's how I feel about it.
But I didn't arrive at this paradigm overnight.
A health scare in my teens that landed me in a rehabilitation facility for six weeks lead me to my initial "awakening". And it was at that time that I made a decision to commit to regaining control of my health. And so my journey to vibrant health began.
With a lot of support, education, and guidance along the way, I began implementing certain principles into my life that helped me overcome my confusion and disjointed understanding of what true health really is. Through this process I didn't just change; I found myself. And it's the transformation I experienced from those very principles that ignite my passion to pass them on.
So if you're looking for some guiding light, here are four fundamental principles that have redirected my path. I've used them (and continue to use them!) daily to design my most vibrant health.
1 ⎟ RECOGNIZE THAT WHAT YOU EAT, YOU BECOME
"What most people don't know is that food is not just calories; it's information. It actually contains messages that communicate to every cell in our body." -Mark Hyman
The quantity and quality of nutrients you ingest affects every system in your body: cardiovascular, digestive, muscular, skeletal, lymphatic, endocrine, reproductive, urinary, and nervous system. In other words, how you look and feel is directly affected by your daily nutrient intake. Your bones replace themselves every 10 years, your liver every 6 months, your skin every 35 days. Your body makes new cells from the food you eat. You have the privilege to choose what you're made of.
Unprocessed whole foods provide more nutrients than processed, packaged foods. End of story. So forget reading labels and head straight to the produce aisle (or local farmer!) for your healthiest choices. Simple as that!
2 ⎟ KICK YOUR ALL-OR-NOTHING MINDSET
Most of us aim to live a healthier life, but figuring out where to start (and how to sustain it) can be a challenge. Making a consistent effort to eat right, exercise routinely, and manage stress, while still juggling our social life and our own needs can seem overwhelming. Let's face it: healthy eating won't turn into healthy living if it feels like a chore.
Rather than making unrealistic and unsustainable attempts to achieve our health goals all at once, what if we started by setting small goals that easily fit into our current lifestyle? Almost every habit that you have — good or bad — is the result of many small decisions over time. Which means the path to your health goals can also be achieved through thousands of daily decisions. If you change just one of those decisions, you'll shift the trajectory of your health. Think progress, not perfection!
"You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." - John Maxwell
3 ⎟LIVE INTENTIONALLY
What is intention? It's the art of living deliberately; deciding how we want to live our lives and then practicing living our lives that way. If you want to change, you must make intentional daily decisions until they form into unconscious daily habits.
Think about it this way - when you first learned to drive a car, you thoroughly considered every move you made. But now, you might drive to work and have no recollection of how you got there because every action you took was an unconscious habit you've formed over time. The same goes for healthy living. The initial changes you make to live a healthier lifestyle will undoubtedly take some upfront concerted effort, but overtime they will become second nature.
Remember that what you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are. Becoming the type of person you want to become — someone who lives by a stronger standard, someone who believes in themselves, someone who lives healthfully and feels amazing in their body— is about the daily process you follow.
Becoming more in-tune with yourself by taking responsibility for your decisions and connecting the dots to how your body responds is a privilege you have. Nothing is more empowering than being present and owning your life.
4 ⎟ BE AN OBSERVER, NOT A CRITIC & PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Change can be hard. In the beginning, your healthy habits might take two steps forward and one step back. But small hiccups don’t make you a failure, they make you human. Instead of beating yourself up with harsh self-talk, remorse, guilt, or shame, set yourself up for success for getting back on track.
Let's say you understand the rules of the game of football. You know how to throw the football, the job of the quarterback, what plays to run. But you'd never assume that just because you know the rules you'd have a standing chance on the field with professional football players without any practice. So why is it that we think if we learn how to eat healthfully, we will instantly become healthy? It takes practice and studying yourself to learn from your mistakes and understand which areas you need to build in more strategy or support to improve and reach your goals.
To quote Jess Ainscough, "Keep in mind that wellness is not a destination, but a lifelong conversation. It’s a commitment, a relationship, and a communion with your body — for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. And above all, it’s a decision to treat ourselves with absolute kindness and respect. To treasure our lives. Nourish our bodies. And take nothing for granted."
Embrace the power that's in your hands. Each day is a new opportunity. There’s no expectation to “be good” or make the “right” choice. There is, however, power you have every day to nourish your cells, treat yourself kindly, and live to your fullest potential. After all, you only get one shot at this life, right?
So my friend, are you ready to design your most vibrant health?
If you’re feeling called to take your health to the next level, I encourage you to put these principles into practice. And for all the details, insights and ah-ha’s on how to wholeheartedly embody this philosophy, go ahead and explore all the resources and tools I’ve made with you in mind!