A Health Centered Approach to Living Well
Open any magazine and you can see multiple weight loss ads. They promise happiness, health, success. Swimming pools, movie stars, just like the Clampett’s instant life change. Low carb, no carb, low cholesterol, Mediterranean, South Beach, Paleo, keto, gluten-free, 5-a day, eat a point, eat a pyramid, eat a rainbow...
Have you ever asked yourself: Why do I want to lose weight in the first place? Do you know why you’ve become obsessed? The $60 billion that Americans spend on diet fixes suggest we’re a little whacked out on the subject. Coupled with the increased health problems from repetitive weight loss, it’s time to get a grip.
Yes, let’s take our overweight bodies off the weight loss track and move to a health centered plan of action. That’s right. I said Stop Dieting and start living. And while you’re at it, Stop Exercising and start moving.
Now before you report me to the Wellness police, hear me out. A health centered approach to living will result in an incredibly satisfying life. I’m referring to a simple, no-diet-book-needed life plan. Free from calorie counting, unattainable fitness goals, repeated failures and the stressful guilt that follows. A life filled with intentional choices, discipline, and action. Life directed by You. Starring You.
It’s easier to get there than you might imagine. Close your eyes and visualize what complete wellness might feel like. Chances are you’re seeing gratitude, satisfaction, health, and peace. Not calorie counting and treadmills, but family meals and playing in the park. Not scales and weights, but flexibility and freedom from pain. Because the focus is on the outcome. The results of disciplined choices, increased activity, wise meal selections.
The diet du jour is just that. A quick fix to a long term challenge. It addresses your weight today, not your health tomorrow. It might be a jump start, but it’s not the goal. When it's over, the weight comes back and you're left with a void. Shifting the focus to a health centered approach will align the long term vision with the daily discipline needed to get there. There is no plan without the vision.
Step back from your daily routine for a week and let yourself feel health. Focus on one of the following each day:
1. Love your body. Not someone else’s ideal figure. It's allowed you to do some amazing things. Be gentle and forgiving.
2. Move and move some more. Bend, reach, walk, stretch, push, pull.
3. Listen to your belly. It knows when to stop eating. It knows what foods feel best. Contact a professional (not the diet queen at work) if you need some help with choices.
4. Sleep. Establish a nightly routine that lets you wind down gently. Give yourself permission to nap if you regularly have long days.
5. Reduce stress. Identify the stressors that sabotage, erode self-worth, suck energy, learn to say No, breathe, meditate, pray, laugh. Make tough choices. Lose the toxic people.
6. Get a life. A social and spiritual life with people that live health centered and share your beliefs.
7. Keep an open mind for growth. Personal and professional development won’t happen if your plate is too full (literally and figuratively).
There is no end date. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. When you stop focusing on calories and weight loss, you can shift your brain to the bigger picture of health and wellness centered living. Only then can you choose what adjustments are needed to make the vision a reality.