We all have our health and wellness journeys and we all mess up - myself included.
I've opted to get honest and share some of the obstacles I've encountered along my personal wellness journey. I hope my experiences strike a chord and reassure you that you're not alone. Everyone - even health coaches - can fall off the self-care wagon.
In my case, it started with a move to the countryside and leaving my exercise routine and habits behind in June of 2017. Pair that with new work responsibilities and a bout with bronchitis and you're left with a very slow-moving, stressed-out Allison. Looking back, I recall feeling insincere about health coaching; I wasn't advocating for myself or taking the advice I was offering others - I wasn't being the health coach I knew that my participants deserved. Today, I stay motivated with these tips and best practices. I hope you'll find they help you, too:
I give myself a pep-talk.
Research shows it only takes five seconds to commit to a decision - positive or negative. When I first made the decision to return to the gym, I didn't define success by how long I was there or how hard I worked. I defined success by simply getting there, parking my car, and not finding an excuse to leave. Over time, I had to train myself to disrupt the negative thoughts keeping me from exercising and commit to doing and feeling better.
While I personally enjoy the gym, it isn't for everyone. As adults, we often equate exercise with a fitness facility, but it isn't the only place to pursue physical activity. Find an exercise routine that fits your needs - something that you'll look forward to. Weekly recreation leagues offer a chance to socialize with friends and opting outside with family can give you all a chance to reconnect in the midst of a chaotic week.
I set myself up for success - even if it means outsmarting myself.
I exercise in the evenings because it works for me. I pack a gym bag before I go to sleep and take it with me to work so that the transition from the office to the gym is effortless. I like working out to my own music, so if I forget earbuds, I'll likely have an excuse to skip. I know myself well enough to strategically plant a pair of earbuds at work, a pair in my car, and stash yet another pair in my gym bag.
Nutrition is no different - if I don't make time to prepare meals, I leave myself vulnerable to making excuses. I've learned to embrace what I playfully call '#mealprepMonday' and will research a few healthy recipes for inspiration before I get to the grocery store. When I don't have time to prepare, I default to my list(s) of healthy, low-cost lunch options - and stick with it.
- Greatist | 35 Quick & Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches
- Family Fresh Meals | 50+ Healthy Work Lunchbox Ideas
- Fitness Magazine | Lunch Section
- EatingWell.com | Cheap, Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
I get adventurous - but stay realistic.
Making changes to your eating habits will take time and practice. I started by taking a good look in my refrigerator and made a commitment to avoid processed foods and add more veggies and fruits to the drawers - preferably ones that would last considering I'd try to avoid them.
Stocking up on fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas, or vegetables like squash, celery, and carrots are all easy on-the-go options with an extended shelf-life. (Produce pro-tip: when spinach or kale start to wilt, move the greens to the freezer and use what's left for smoothies). Remember that your taste buds evolve, so don't shy away from trying new things.
Taking steps to reclaim my active lifestyle was difficult, but so empowering. To get it back, I started small - one day of exercise each week, eventually building to two, and so on. I embraced the feeling of sore muscles because it meant I was doing something right and pushing forward. Wellness is a journey filled with obstacles, but persistence and dedication fuel strength, confidence, balance and a perspective.
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