We are 42 days into the 2019! How are your new year’s resolutions going? Has anyone stuck to theirs? Has anyone completely just given up and decided next year is your year? Statistically speaking eating a better diet, getting more exercise, and losing weight were the top 3 resolutions set by Americans this year. No surprise at all. I’m guessing several of you guys had one or two of these as resolutions for 2019. If not, I’m going to go ahead and entertain the idea that at some point in your life 1 of the 3 things listed above has been a goal of yours. I know they all have for me! So I want to reflect on a time when you decided to eat better, exercise more, or lose weight….WHY did you have this goal? I have a hunch that when people set these goals they are doing so with the intention of being “healthy”, but what does it mean to be healthy? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is Healthy?
So what is healthy? I like to think of being healthy as a holistic process that never stops. The word holistic comes from the word holism which means: the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole. See being holistically healthy means our bodies, minds, muscles, and organs are all functioning properly and are in tune with each other. Because if you think about our bodies, they can’t function at 100% unless all parts are in connection with each other. It is easy to go to the gym and work on our muscles, but what about everything else? What about nutrition, or our brains? Let’s explore some of the many aspects of being holistically healthy.
Movement Over Exercise
The best place to start is the most obvious part of being healthy, and that is getting more exercise, or movement. When we can shift our mindset to being active rather than killing ourselves in the gym, we are one step closer to that holistic health. Here’s why: let’s say you go for a family bike ride, or meet your mom twice a week for a walk in the park, or go walking with your spouse every night. You may even meet a friend to take a new workout class. All of these activities also make your brain happy. They are sending your brain positive signals about moving and being active. This allows your body to relax and be more in tune with itself during exercise. It also allows you to get more quality time with people you care about most, feeding the emotional side of the body and creating a more fulfilling experience. I’ll be honest with you, I struggle with this one still. For years with me it was like, if I’m not sweating or “in the zone” is it really even a workout? So I’ve had to work on changing my mindset and approach to working out. But I have been more consistent and have had more energy with a more active lifestyle than I did when I was forcing myself to workout. Both our mind and heart are happier when we make a point to have an active life.
Fuel Up With Food
The next part of holistic health is nutrition. Some of you guys who kill yourselves in the gym might be thinking, with an “active” lifestyle, if I eat the way I eat now it ain’t gonna work. And….that is probably true. There are so many people in the world who workout for hours a week and then convince themselves they have earned a “cheat meal” every time they eat! There are more people in the world who workout for hours a week and then continue to deprive their body of the proper nutrition it needs to function. Both of these reasons are why people are so tired, they experience brain fog, or burnout, or binge eat every couple of weeks. Speaking from experience! But again, when we start to change our mindset in regards to food we are one step closer to optimal health. Food is fuel for your body. There is no other way to say it. Let me put it this way….if you bought a brand new car today that required premium gas, would you fill it to the brim with regular? My guess is, probably not. Because the car will not run at its best with the regular gas. This is how the body works. It requires good, quality food to run at its best. Overly processed foods create a bunch of junk that slows your body down. A diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and good quality meat is the best option to keep your body running efficiently. Notice the difference in quality and quantity here. If you are eating a whole diet with very little processed foods, you can have as much as you want! And you most likely won’t need all of those supplements, because your body won’t have any junk slowing it down. For me, this was a process. I still eat pizza and have some wine here and there, but my body actually likes the good foods more. No more brain fog and much more energy helps me to be more present each day!
The Brain is the Boss
The final part of being holistically healthy is having a healthy mind. Our brains are like the commander and chief of our body. The body acts according to what the brain sends out. Sometimes, when we neglect our brain it sends mixed signals to our body. Have you been hungry but you weren’t really hungry? Or eaten wayyy more than you should have? Maybe you started forgetting things, or have just been in a daze more often than not. These are all things that can happen when we don’t take care of our brain. When it comes to taking care of your brain you need rest. Rest comes in the form of sleep obviously, but also in the form of silent moments away from distractions. Some people call it meditation, others call it quiet time, or simply just sitting and enjoying the stillness of silence. These small moments help to refresh the mind. This is hard to do when we are always going from point A to point B, but it is highly beneficial. Being away from distractions at night or in the morning are great times to help your brain get the rest it needs. As we begin to be more active and feed our body the right kind of food, our brain will begin to change in drastic ways.
This week I encourage you to just be more mindful of your movement and nutrition. Experiment with exercise and food to figure out what works best for you. And listen to your body! Remember there is not one “perfect” diet or exercise routine out there, but there is one that will fit your lifestyle best. It may mean pulling bits from one idea and pieces from another. Health doesn’t come in a perfectly wrapped package, it is as unique as you are. Your responsibility to yourself, your family, and your body is to take care of you the best way you know how. Knowledge is power.