Being healthy is, at its core, about PLEASURE. As soon as you find yourself coming at health from a place of deprivation, look for a new path, a different way with better scenery and backup dancers, man.
People often come to Holistic Health Coaching resistant to giving things up. They don't want sore muscles from working out, they don't want to say goodbye to vanilla bean cheesecake, and they feel pissed off about how they have to eat kale to be a good person. But let me make my position clear: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT KALE TO BE A GOOD PERSON.
Health does not have a moral compass. Body weight does not have a moral compass.
Your behavior is your choice, and mostly, so is your attitude. You may not have any control over your first thought, but your second is pretty much in your wheelhouse. And certainly your third — that's ALL you. So, just for today, try this: gear your thoughts towards what feels good. Toward pleasure. And, just for today, use the longview as your rudder. Picture the goal as how you want to feel, then pick the most pleasurable actions to sail the ship in that direction.
Try these ways to let pleasure guide you to health:
1. Use fun as a compass.
Let's say you want heart health, which means cardio exercise is a good choice for you. But there's nothing you hate more than the gym. Plus, it's cold outside, so going for a jog isn't going to work either. There's nothing stopping you from throwing some Prince on the the stereo and getting freaky in every room of the house. Sweat about it, laugh, and get your heart rate up with no torture at all. Make sure each part of your body does some moving. Plus, you can do that with pals and family as well. The dirty funk will always be your friend.
2. Double the pleasure with pals.
You love big get-togethers with friends, but you've also blocked out time on the weekend for exercise. You find yourself grumpy about having to choose fitness over friendship. Instead of making it one or the other, organize a game of basketball at the park, get a group to go hiking together, or sign up for a 5k as a team to raise money for a charity of your choice.
3. Keep a list of healthy options at the ready.
You've been KILLING IT in the kitchen lately. Good for you! The fall has brought all manner of spinach salads, roasted stuffed acorn squash and Indian spiced root vegetable bake to your table. But if you have to do one more dish, you'll go nuts. Have a list of healthy food options handy to treat yourself to in town. From the newest vegetarian restaurant to your favorite healthy delivery, give yourself a much deserved break from the kitchen. Having options already thought out makes it an easy choice.
4. Take time.
Just like the body prefers a recovery day or two (or three) every week from exercise, it may also like a break from strict rules around food. I like my clients to think of food more like fuel for their life, and to pay attention to what makes them happy to eat. So let's say it's popcorn. EAT IT if you love it. But love isn't about plowing through an entire bag. That's obsession. Love is about stalking that perfect kernel, plopping it on your tongue and really enjoying all the ways popcorn rules. It dissolves. It crunches. It smells incredible. So when you have a small bowl of it, say, a cup, and you pay attention to it, like a fantastic date, you actually get to enjoy the experience more and not feel like you're in Food Jail, being held from everything you love.
So get out there and get healthy — but don't forget to be happy!