Simple Steps to Good Health
Over the past several years, I have been studying the connections between lifestyle, diet, toxins, and health – physical, mental, and emotional. I’ve learned so much about SO MUCH and I have made many adjustments to my life.
However, I didn’t implement these adjustments all at once. I started with a few changes in diet, then added exercise, and gradually learned about hydration, sleep, self-care, nutrition, holistic lifestyle, and habit change. I am still researching, still learning, and still implementing new lifestyle habits into my daily routine.
Too often, people I talk to want to do it all at once, and it just doesn’t work. Why? Well, let's suppose that you have heard that better health can be achieved by completely revamping your diet, drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day, increasing sleep, decreasing stress, and adding regular exercise to your life. Without any further information, are you ready to do all of these things? Wait, there's more! If you are really paying attention you have also heard about:
· Eliminating sugar and processed foods
· Avoiding artificial sweeteners, chemicals, colours, preservatives, and any ingredient you can’t pronounce
· Eating only healthy fats
· Increasing non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and ancient grains (non-GMO)
· Reducing caffeine
· Increasing anti-oxidants
· Reducing exposure to electronics, especially before bed
· Increasing mindfulness
· Increasing exposure to nature and sunlight
· Practising gratitude
This much information, especially taken out of context, often leads to overwhelm and confusion. First thing you need to do is to decide what you want to change. As coach, I work with my clients to identify the issues and modify their behavior to best meet their goals. Obviously, it may take some people years to achieve total health but my clients will see big changes in only a few weeks. By the end of a normal 90-day program, most clients have seen major change. A second or third session may prove beneficial but once we start on the road toward their health goals, they may find that an occasional check-in is all they need to keep headed in the right direction.
Typically, the steps are:
1. Identify the goal, your “why”. Clients are often surprised that their goals aren’t just about weight, or physical appearance. How we perceive ourselves, and how much energy we have, has a lot to do with our confidence, happiness, and health. That being said, the initial goal may also be in response to a diagnosis – perhaps you have learned you are pre-diabetic and your doctor may have recommended you eliminate sugars or lose weight. Once the critical goal is addressed it may still be important to focus on the deeper, overlooked issues in order to achieve long-term (permanent) changes.
2. Gradually incorporate changes, using your coach as a source of information. Are you really not willing to give up sugar and processed food, or are you just not sure where to start? Do you understand the impact dehydration and sleep deprivation have on your health? Are you willing to make small changes in your present routine? Can you cut out fast food? Can you add a litre of water a day? Can you move your bedtime up 30 minutes? Add one or two changes each week.
3. Accountability helps incorporate behavior changes into your lifestyle. Everyone wants to say, “I did it!” Your coach will hear, understand, and help you celebrate each little success along the way. Build on your successes. Learn from your struggles. But remember, " Accountability ≠ Guilt"! Make this time in your life a “no judgement zone”. By learning to look at your life with curiosity and without judgement, you will understand more about yourself than ever before, and likely see better results than in the past.
4. Embrace the present “you”. Although I have called this Step 4, it really should be partnered with each of the previous three steps. Acceptance of the person you are makes it easier to care for that person. When self-love rather than self-hate is the motivation, healthier choices will follow. I incorporate exercises on self-love, self-care, and self-awareness into every session.
Depending on where you are right now, a completely healthy lifestyle and body may be months, or years away, but under the guidance of a health coach, a healthier lifestyle and body can begin today!
When it comes to health, there are no magic potions, no instant-fixes, and no one-size-fits-all plan. I can’t make the journey for you but I can help guide you along the easiest paths, and avoid the worst pitfalls, while overcoming the obstacles.
Every journey begins with a step! Every step makes you stronger and carries you closer to the destination.