This post is for those of you that are some sort of health journey.
You've maybe just started or maybe you've been trying different things for awhile now.
I want to offer up a piece of advice that made all the difference in my health journey and I believe the reason I haven't been a yo-yo dieter like so many. I didn't connect the dots on WHY I hadn't reverted back to my old ways until I heard a fellow nutrition expert mention something on a podcast I was listening to the other day.
The concept or question you need to ask yourself if you are striving to be healthier or lose weight is... Are you somebody who is doing healthy things? Or... Are you a healthy person?
Let me break that down a bit. If you are somebody that is doing healthy things, you might be eating more veggies, exercising regularly, avoiding processed foods, or drinking more water. Sounds great, right? A person doing all of those things should become healthier, but will they stay healthier? This is where I was at 10 years ago. I was exercising regularly and doing some of those other things. The problem was...I'd get tripped up easily. If friends wanted to go out for pizza and beer, I was there. If I was invited to a happy hour, I would accept and pass on the gym. I did everything to fit a status quo that wouldn't rock the boat among my friends and family. My healthy habits flew under the radar and because of that I was easily able to justify not doing them.
Fast forward to 2 1/2 years ago. I had just completed an online accountabilty group and seen some great results. My eating had changed, I now had more confidence in "rocking the boat" and not succumb to all the unhealthy distractions that surrounded me daily. The difference: I was now a healthy person. My identity was now tied to healthy habits. This is the thing that just clicked for me this past week. I guess I never thought of it this way, but it is so true. Once I made that commitment, once I identified myself as a healthy person, everything changed. I was no longer easily knocked off of my healthy lifestyle. Or if I did get knocked off, I got right back!
People began to see me as a healthy person. They started noticing the changes in me, both physically and the choices I made. With this also came some ridicule and light-hearted teasing. Friends would make comments about my food choices or about exercising. Those comments usually led to inquiries and them wanting to know more. Had I just been "doing healthy things" these comments would have stopped me in my tracks. It would have never progressed to the point of them asking questions and then some of them making their own healthy changes.
It's good to remember that the people around you will also "test" your commitments. Think of a time when you went to a party and chose ahead of time to not have an alcoholic drink. A friend would likely offer a drink when you arrive, and when you say no thanks, they will press and ask why or pressure you a little bit. This might last for a minute or two but if you hold your ground, most people will respect that and move on.
Same goes for being a healthy person! People will test your commitment. They will try to get you to eat the cheesecake, the cookies, the pizza. If you hold your ground, you will earn their respect or you will find out that they really aren't a friend at all. This will also help solidify your commitment, making future challenges that much easier to handle!
One of the coolest things that happens when you make the shift from doing healthy things to becoming a healthy person, you begin to impact your circle of influence. You shift the status quo just a little bit. You help that coworker that was hesitant about ordering a salad at lunch because she didn't want her other coworkers to think she on some sort of diet. She now sees your lead and has that confidence to not be judged. At family holiday dinners, people begin to ask if dishes are ok for you to eat. They are open to possible substitutions. There is a trickle down effect that is noticeable.
If you have just been dipping your toes in this healthy lifestyle pool, I would encourage you to commit and jump right in the deep end. Let healthy become part of your identity and the game will change for you too!!
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The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.