Early in January I was featured as one of the wellness experts and trainers on a reality-style TV show called My Diet Is Better Than Yours. It follows five overweight people on the verge of chronic conditions as they change their diets and lifestyles to become healthier.
The show’s premise is different from the average weight-loss show in that each expert (myself included) showcases a style of diet and healthy living practices to a person who chose to give that new lifestyle a try. No bootcamp workouts, no screaming trainers.
My health coaching system, The Wellness Smackdown, was one of the diets featured on the show. It's a holistic approach to health and wellness that combines alternative treatments like Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Western herbalism, yoga, and a whole foods plant-based (vegan) diet to help the body restore balance and promote health.
As I started to work with my contestants — both on- and off-camera — I realized that healthy eating was just one of the many lessons we shared. Here are the biggest takeaways I wanted my client to absorb as I coached her in front of millions on national TV:
1. You are a universe.
Not one specific diet (vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, Mediterranean, flexitarian) works for all people on earth. How, when, what, and why you eat certain foods will vary greatly depending on your constitution, health/nutritional needs, where you live, and even the time of year. So learning about your amazing body and what works for you is key to successfully meeting your wellness goals.
2. Eating healthy starts in your mind.
If you struggle to meet your health goals, chances are you need to work on addressing the emotional and/or subconscious beliefs that keep you from creating healthy habits that stick.
My coaching system includes lots of stress management and deep meditation techniques to help my clients break down emotional roadblocks so they can welcome new habits more easily.
3. Weight loss is a by-product of a healthy relationship with food.
High energy, better sleep, more flexibility, feeling great, and, yes, losing weight are but by-products of the long-lasting changes in diet and lifestyle.
Most people go to extreme measures that cannot be sustained in the long run. I believe that learning what works for you and enjoying the process is vital to maintaining new habits and enjoying the positive “side effects” that come from it, including losing and keeping the weight off.
4. Meeting your goals is just part of the journey, not the destination.
In the journey that is your life, reaching your health goals is the end of a chapter, never the end of the book. Life is a long journey, with ups and downs.
One can argue that the ultimate destination is death. So seeing the process of getting healthier as a step in your journey can help you stay on the “healthy road” for years to come. It also helps you handle the times when you fall off the proverbial “wagon” in a more positive way, as you realize that they are not tragic crashes; they are simply flat tires that you can change and keep moving forward.
5. The new you begins with self-love.
From the very first meeting with my contestant, I wanted her to approach every new lesson, every new dish, every new mindset exercise from a point of absolute love. When we love ourselves and one another, we see ourselves as worthy of the very best and make food and lifestyle choices from that point of view.
Every thought, every food choice, every action my contestant and I took together as coach and client was designed to teach her how to love herself more and more every day. It is a work in progress, as many of us have experienced, but one worth trying, as the rewards can be magical.
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