In my work, I meet and speak to hundreds of people who want to get healthy. This scale of contact gives me the ability to see common mistakes and misconceptions that surround the ideals of "health" or "wellness."
To course-correct with a client, it’s usually as simple as having a gentle conversation to turn these errors around. I want to have that conversation with you, so that when you embark on your journey to whole health or wellness, you aren’t held back by any of these common mistakes.
You know I've got your back, right?
1. Making it about weight loss.
Speaking from years of experience — from being an overeater, then an under-eater, following pretty much every fad diet I could, spooning non-fat-skinny-diet yogurt into my mouth while sipping a diet soda and ordering a skinny latte — I can tell you now that if your sole aim in getting healthy is weight loss, then health and wellness is not what you will achieve.
The bottom line is that being skinny does not equal being happy, and choosing to become healthy out of fear — i.e. the fear of being fat — means that you're creating a negative pattern of unconscious thought before you even begin. If you're overweight, then weight loss will be a happy side effect of creating a self-care routine that focuses on something deeper — wellness — as the primary aim. If you're thinking right this minute about going on a diet to lose weight, I am telling you that you need to reassess the goal.
2. Not having a support network.
I've been on some crazy diets, exercise plans and schedules in the past without telling a soul. Most of the time this was because I knew deep down that what I was doing wasn’t really "healthy" and may have been somewhat extreme. Why did I fail to achieve many of my goals, like yoga challenges and giving up coffee? I had no support.
The key aspect of any new routine, if you want to make it stick, is in having a solid support network behind you that is going to hold you accountable. Someone to check in, who knows the work you’re putting in and who's got your back when the going gets rough. Just like it works to have a personal trainer waiting for you at the park at 6 a.m. in the morning, it works to know you’ve got a great network around you cheering you on.
3. Failing to prepare.
I know you may have heard that failing to prepare is planning to fail, and the reason is that it's so damn spot on. Take these scenarios for a spin: You’re in your car on your way to a meeting and it’s lunch time. You’re in the middle of nowhere, and the only thing on offer is a couple of deep fried hot dogs and a can of soda.
Or: You’re sitting at your desk working and you come up for air and realize your stomach is growling at you. ”Feed me,” it calls to you, so you stand up and mosey on over to the office kitchen. On the counter is a jar of cream-filled cookies, and in the fridge is a packet of plastic cheese slices and 1/2 liter of soda. What do you do?
Make a plan, create a shopping list. Buy your groceries on the same day every week if you can. Stock up on some form of food container and etch your name in those lids with the most permanent marker you can find.
Instead of downing wine at the local hotel on a Sunday night, lay out your pretty containers and pack them full of yummy, balanced food for the week ahead. Or hit the shops on your lunch break and fill that office fridge with avocados, boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, full-fat yogurt, tins of tuna, fruit and veggies you can eat raw.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any other things to avoid or things to do when you make the decision to "get healthy?"