Well that is the closest headline to click-bait I have ever written. Who even am I? But I am glad I have your attention. Welcome. Take a seat. Prepare to be shocked.
I am ready to rock your world.
Here it is.
Are you ready?
(Okay suspense in becoming annoying, I get it, I’ll stop now.)
Just because you exercise regularly and eat all of the healthy foods doesn’t make you healthy.
I said it.
Gosh it feels good to get off my chest.
But seriously – it is probably the biggest misconception of the ‘wellness world’ that I am seeing. That if you train your butt hard for hours at a time (or not even, just are consistent) and if you eat a #clean, #glutenfree, #freeverything diet, then you are officially a healthy person.
I get it. We are bombarded with #fitspo social media stars with ripped abs and thigh gaps who LOOK healthy, sharing their training programs and meal plans with us, and we buy into what they are selling because, well, they are the picture of health right? And we want to look like them, even just a little bit right?
It’s okay to admit this guys, I feel you! I used to feel the exact same! If you are familiar with even HALF my story you will know I was ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE – sharing my ab selfies and meal preps and all of those things.
But, in my time as a wellness coach, I have learned that nutrition and exercise are one SMALL part of overall wellbeing. The challenge is, they are the only part getting the attention and ‘air time’. Why? Probably partly because fitspo is sexy and people buy things off good looking people. And also because exercise and eating well are potentially some of the EASIER health components to understand. Calories in, calories out right? Just don’t eat shit. Exercise heaps. It isn’t rocket science.
There’s a saying in the wellness world: mind, body and soul. Sound familiar? The notion that to feel TRULY well, on all levels, your mind (that is your mental health), body (physical body) and soul (spirituality, life purpose and passions) are all aligned. I truly believe this is the hidden key to wellbeing that isn’t being spoken about enough.
Let’s break the components down a bit for you:
Our brain is the hub of mental health. If you have experienced a mental illness before, you would understand how powerful the mind is. It can make you believe things that aren’t actually real. Sometimes, when you aren’t looking after your mind, it is hard to ‘turn it off’. Thoughts race, causing physical reactions like chest pain, heart palpitations and shallow breathing – but it all stems back to the MIND.
Some simple tricks for you to get your MIND in shape?
- Meditation and deep breathing (I use the Insight Timer app)
- Sleep – literally, you need AT LEAST 7 hours a night. I get between 8 and 9. People DO NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. I guarantee you that sleep IS as important as your squats and your bulletproof coffee
- Read. Challenge your mind. Join a book club (like Soul Reads). Stop scrolling before bed
- Journal. Write your thoughts on paper when they become too much (this is a brilliant technique for anyone experiencing anxiety. If you don’t have a journalling practice, start one. Stat.)
- Practice gratitude to cultivate more positive and inspiring thoughts in your daily life
There are literally hundreds more things you can do to ‘exercise your mind’ – I am merely illustrating these as things that have worked for me.
Okay, so we get that we need to be exercising and eating ‘well’. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty – what does eating ‘well’ mean to you? Here is a little fun fact – there is no one ‘right’ way to eat. One person’s food of choice can literally be another person’s poison. Which is why dieting DOES NOT WORK. Well, it does work, for the businesses pushing the latest trend and making money from you. But as a whole, dieting is never in your favour.
Find foods that truly make you FEEL good. Make sure they are organic and whole foods – as close to their natural state as possible. Ditch the processed stuff, say no to refine sugar (this is standard) and then experiment. You might not need to be gluten free. And even if you ARE gluten free, check the labels of the foods you are eating. Be a conscious eater, not someone who jumps on the next bandwagon because it promises weight loss (eat for health people!)
When it comes to exercise, you should be genuinely looking forward to it. If it feels like a chore, it’s time to change it up. Some bodies don’t agree with going for a run or weight training. Just like yoga may bore you to tears. That’s okay! It doesn’t have to be trendy to be good for you. Find what gets you excited and move your body as often as you can.
The most underrated wellbeing tool, in my opinion. And also the one that tends to cop the most slack for being a tad ‘woo woo’. Which I really don’t care about anymore. When people ask me what my secret to overall wellness is, I am totally unashamed to say it is spirituality. For you, that could mean going to church on a Sunday. For someone else, it is following their passions and bliss and what lights them up. Realising they have a purpose in life greater than what they do in their 9-5.
For me, my soul lights up when I am helping others – doing the work I get to do in the world. It lights up when I write, when I share my messages, when I have deep conversations with my soul sisters and soul mate. Angel cards are my latest soul hobby – as are crystals and essential oils.
For you, your soul might light up when you sing, or play music, or raise money for a charity close to your heart. Find your soul joy and invest AS MUCH TIME in cultivating spiritual work as you do exercising and eating well.
Now THAT is when you will really glow with health.