Defining Your Ideal You

 Credit to Jaime Street for photo

Credit to Jaime Street for photo

As someone who has worked in healthcare since I was 18, I really want to call out the word “health” or “wellness.” The issue in ‘traditional’ medicine is that this word is loaded, and others have to fit into a preconceived notion of what the general consensus of ‘healthy’ or 'normal' is supposed to be. Ever go to a doctor’s office and have to explain your regular heart rate or temperature deviates from the norm? Remember that being discarded by the nurse or physician? Being told by someone that they know your own body better than you do? It’s unfortunate and extremely frustrating.

I think that before you even embark on your wellness adventure, you need to figure out what you want out of it. And be honest with yourself. Whether you tell your coach or trainer is up to you, but if you’re not clear on why you’re doing it you will falter when it gets hard.
Health to you can be as simple as ‘I want to climb stairs without running out of air’ or ‘I want to feel attractive when I’m going out with my friends.’ Nothing is too trivial. But have it resonate with something that really speaks to you, that falls in line with your beliefs and core values.

The number is not an end goal in and of itself. It may seem like it at times, in fact even most of the time. But focusing on that will make you miserable and more apt to give up when it’s hard. Imagine your ideal self. How will you feel? What will you be able to do? What will your energy and mood be like? These are the things that, once you start making those little changes, you will start to see immediately. The “non-scale victories” will pile up, you’ll feel better, and that’s when the side effect of lost pounds and greater stamina happen.

Health allows you to be there for your family and friends, but it also is integral to allowing you the fuel for your “gas tank” to volunteer, pursue hobbies, and live a life that doesn’t revolve around your career. Health is not always how you look. In fact emotionally you will start feeling healthy and whole and then your body will follow suit. It’s about allowing yourself out of your comfort zone and using that momentum to make positive change. It’s certainly not easy, and there’s setbacks. No one is immune but for me living the mediocre status quo became too frightening to turn back.

And what may ring true to you now is more than likely going to change. When I started working towards living more healthy life, physical activity wasn’t even on my radar. I was wholly focused on cutting out the fast food and sodas that I knew were keeping me off the track I wanted to be. I eventually went plant-based but the restrictive nature just caused me to ‘rebel.’ I then realized for myself that I needed to focus on the adding part of the equation and less on the subtracting.

What I’m saying here is: what you see as a healthy life may not fall in line with what others, hell even experts, have to say and believe. If you want to walk every day for half an hour and swear off of soda and consider that the most you can do, awesome! If you are cutting out all sugar, great! If you are not restricting what you can eat but instead monitoring your portion control, great for you! Every step means something. No one else lives in your skin.

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