Contrary to popular thought, there’s no one way to achieve health. While every expert has an opinion and every internet search tells us something new, the perfect recipe for health cannot be defined. There are too many variables that make each person’s life unique. The first step to determining what will work for you is to determine why you want to be healthy in the first place! What’s your intention behind losing those 10 lbs. or having more energy or building more muscle?
All that time spent in a bathing suit at the beach in summer reminds us why it’s important to enjoy a healthy diet. But the truth is, too often we focus on looks or external factors as the sole reason to eat healthy. Looking great is just the proverbial icing on the cake.
What’s your why for creating a healthy life? Determining your true motivation for why you want to be healthy adds feeling and emotion to your goal, making it easier to achieve. Most people are not motivated my numbers on a scale, but they can picture themselves having more energy for their kids or waking up in the morning feeling energized rather than tired or feeling attractive to their spouse.
Of course, there are many reasons tied to the increase of disease that could lead you to want to be healthy, such as:
- Lower risk of developing heart disease, the number one killer of women
- Lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of developing high blood pressure
- Lower risk of having a stroke
- Lower risk of having a heart attack
- Lower risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Lower risk of an untimely death
All these maladies are exacerbated by obesity. Too often we focus on obesity as an aesthetic issue, and not as a health issue. Thanks to what passes as “food” in Westernized societies, obesity is becoming a global epidemic. Westernized diets are composed of frozen convenience foods, fast food and packaged foods—all of which are rife with hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and a plethora of unpronounceable chemicals. The World Health Organization reported that more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016, and of these over 650 million were obese. The numbers have continued to rise since then.
Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist with the University of California, states that obesity “is a true health care crisis.” Dr. Lustig estimates that the global obesity epidemic will surpass that of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and even that of AIDS. This will cause millions of premature deaths, not to mention draining nations’ economies.
There’s never been a better time than now to be healthy. Here are just a few very important reasons to be healthy:
- Increased energy to do what you love
- A sense of balance and awareness with your life
- Ability to choose what you eat, instead of being controlled by cravings
- Feeling more comfortable in your own skin
- Serving as an example to others
- Living longer and with more joy
- Lower risk of disease
Focusing solely on your appearances or your weight will leave you always bouncing on the scale and analyzing the results with your calculator. And health is so much more than a number.
As a Wellness360 Coach, I believe that counting calories is more a method of control over food rather than true balance. It’s just another way to fit food into the “numbers game”, but when we do that, we miss the bigger picture. Food is your fuel, not a mathematical equation. Food nourishes you on a very deep level and goes far beyond a point, an ounce, a calorie or a fat gram.
Learning to listen to your body and discover what truly nourishes you is the key to healthy eating and living a life of wellness. Freeing yourself from the endless cycle of nutritional number crunching, willpower and deprivation is the way to truly balanced eating and feeling more fulfilled. And once you get there, you’ll never look back.
If you’re a calorie counter and scale stepper, imagine for a moment what it would be like to completely relinquish those activities and be able to trust yourself. When you learn to listen to your body, you will learn naturally how to choose food based on the amount of energy and nourishment it will provide you. It’s a whole new way of eating and living…and it feels great!
Start with determining your own Why is an important Mindset technique that will support you with your health. Let your Why that serve as the foundation to help you reach your goal.