What to Expect When You Commit to Better Health…
Copyright © Rosie Bank 2018
Of course, you know already that health is a journey, not a destination. That is the Wellness 101. What you learn in a weekend workshop may be staggeringly powerful. And how you apply what you learn into your life over time is where the real impact occurs. Time is an inevitable factor when it comes to making changes to the way you take care of your body. This is especially true for getting results and enjoying the benefits that come from your effort.
The purpose of this blog is to offer some suggestions to inspire and guide you on your path.
One of my clients described what this journey is for her. Bless her heart, Fran (not her real name) is like a precious baby when it comes to focusing on her health and taking good care of her body. She is brand new at doing this, and I am overwhelmed with joy to support her along the way. Fran and I are sobered to the fact that she has a lot to learn, both about herself and the impact of her choices. Plus, she has an awe-inspiring amount of transformation awaiting her.
She said that, for her, embarking on a wellness journey is:
That is a brilliant set of adjectives. These were her words. You may or may not have the same experience as Fran is having, but let’s use these words since they are as good as any to describe the process of committing to better health.
- Scary. What if you have “tried this before?” What if you are afraid of failure? What if you are afraid that if you don’t make a change, the consequences are dire? For many people who throw down the gauntlet and declare this as their time, the stakes are high. Back when I was just embarking on my own journey, I was terrified that if I did not make a change, I would end up dead early in life. That’s how self-destructive my habits were at that time. This was many years ago and that fear has been replaced with confidence and optimism. If it helps, please embrace the fact that debilitating scariness gets resolved gradually. It often takes time for your confidence to catch up with your practices.
One way to mitigate the fear, the scary part, is to encourage yourself to look ahead. This is why I ask all of my clients to create a future body story. Going from the present time – which may be replete with some serious obstacles – to a time in the future – when there is relief and happiness – may seem overwhelming. That image you create of your future will help if you feel scared along the way.
Another thing about the scary part is that you will learn that your emotions will not destroy you, including being scared. Emotions are energy in motion. With practice, you will learn to let whatever comes up and whatever you feel to pass through you. This is why practices such as breathing, meditation, and mindfulness are essential along the way. These self-soothing practices condition your mind and your body to adjust to the new way of thinking, feeling, acting, relaxing, and staying connected to yourself.
2. Thrilling. Indeed, becoming more in control of who you are around food, nourishment, allowing more balance and peace in your life can be exhilarating. Every day that you are patient to allow the benefits to manifest is a win. Let’s say that one of your goals is to have your knees feel better (relief from pain) so you can enjoy pickleball. That first time you are on the court and your knees feel pretty darn good (because you may have dropped some weight, swapped out some inflammatory junk food for nutrient-dense foods that heal your body, added some “joint support” supplements, and begun to stretch) will be a joyous occasion.
Fran told me that the first time she chose to breathe and take a walk instead of storming the kitchen when she was feeling upset… she was thrilled. It is a giant personal win every time you choose wisely. Some examples of wise choices include: only eating when you are hungry; stopping when you are comfortably satisfied; including plenty of plants (fruits and veggies) in your diet; and avoiding the foods with which your body disagrees (dairy, gluten, processed and refined sugars, excess caffeine and alcohol). Go ahead… feel great about yourself when you choose wisely. This is part of your personal transformation.
3. Hard. There is a great irony when it comes to making changes to your lifestyle/diet/exercise program/spiritual practices. Whatever obstacles you face may seem surmountable. When you are standing on this side of, for example, raiding the fridge for Ben and Jerry’s in the evening, these habits can seem like enormous boulders. I have heard from adults – persons of influence, powerful professional people – that there is no way they are going to give up eating chips. Your economic status has no bearing on this phenomenon. People just like you can give their power away to food just as alcoholics can give their power over to alcohol.
The irony is that once you change your habits, these pesky barriers diminish before your eyes.
Is it hard to get to a place where you crave a spinach salad over a bag of M&Ms? It can really seem so during your transition. Is it hard to name your emotions and learn to hang out with them instead of stuffing them down with huge amounts of food? Yes, this can be difficult, especially when you first attempt to do this.
Therein lies the beauty of acknowledging that it seems hard to change toward healthier practices. You will get better at it. As you practice being the kind of person who nourishes your body and soul with whole foods, refreshing stretching and exercise, and plenty of rest, you are doing more than merely partaking in new behaviors, although you are certainly doing this. You are reinventing yourself. This new you is more in love with staying connected with your body and providing yourself with on-going nourishment than the old you who thought you were in love with, let’s say, woofing down a bag of chips. It’s okay if this is hard, or if it seems hard. You are worth it.
4. Life-changing. One of my clients recently thanked me for the enjoyment he now experiences as, to use his words, a health advocate. I told him I appreciated his kind remark, but in truth, he had himself to thank. I always tell my clients in the beginning that they will be fully responsible for any outcome they experience on their wellness journey. They will always be in the first position, my guidance notwithstanding. This man, David (not his real name) chose to focus on and enjoy new habits and beliefs that resulted in loving how he looked and felt. (Less weight, more confidence and optimism, and more energy). He chose to change fundamentally. He loves being an inspiration to others. He loves it when others ask him what he did to lose the weight. He loves his new identity and the person who he became once he made a commitment to his journey.
David’s results were remarkable. However, everyone is different. And if this is you who we are talking about, your transformation will be as unique to you as your signature or your thumbprint. No one is starting off exactly where you are. No one has the exact same struggles, challenges, fears, goals, and desires that you do. And no one is more worthy than you are to dismantle the parts that stand between you and a life of joy, peace, confidence, and vitality… and to become that guy, or that gal, who nourishes your body and your soul because this is who you are.
Rosie Bank is Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of Health Matters Coaching. She is the author of the book, Health Matters. Rosie is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified by The Center for Nutrition Studies (e-Cornell) in Plant Based Nutrition. Rosie is an international speaker, blogger, and the founder of Health Matters podcast. She is certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant through the American Fitness Professional Association and as a Nutrition Advisor through Sanoviv Medical Institute. Rosie founded The Vitality Club in Brentwood, CA in 2018.
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