Sometimes taking good care of ourselves feels hard. At times like this we need to remember our bigger vision of why we are eating healthy, exercising, meditating, etc. Otherwise we can get bogged down in doing the small details 'perfectly' and thus 'failing'. When we remember our big vision, we naturally desire and prefer to prioritize our self care.
I was thinking of you all yesterday after an adventurous, and somewhat tiring afternoon, of buying groceries in a remote area of Guatemala, where I am currently running Nourishtopia (and playing!). It was hard work, we are new to Spanish, and I had to talk myself into getting as much produce as my body really needed, even though I didn't want to have to carry the heavy bags around town, scramble into the boat taxi with a crowd, then carry it up a long steep hillside.
I was tempted to give up and attempt to live on granola. What kept me going is that over the years I have learned to WANT and DESIRE to eat well. Not just think I should. Not just muster up some tiring will power. While lugging our groceries back home yesterday, I remembered that this is one of the transformations I have been able to help my clients with. And myself. And hopefully you!
The question is: how exactly do you do that - naturally WANT and DESIRE to live a healthy lifestyle?
When I first started my health journey 25 years ago, I stressed and obsessed over following all the lists and rules perfectly. What I could or couldn't eat. How many minutes to meditate each day. The right kind of exercise. Doing it all right. Working out harder. We begin to lose sight of our 'why' and our vision for living well. Then we rebel. I hear this from my clients when they first call me.
I imagine that you might also sometimes struggle with getting overwhelmed, frustrated and resentful when it comes to eating healthy, exercising, relaxing and so on. It isn't easy in our modern society with all the distractions, decadence and pressure surrounding us.
A healthy lifestyle feels extra hard when we are trying to be disciplined, follow rules, avoiding this or that, or pushing ourselves. Will power always fizzles. When we remember the true benefits, it becomes easy and natural. Like a pure spring bubbling up joyfully inside of us.
Understanding the Two Layers of Benefits From a Healthy Lifestyle
Initial Benefits: This is the most common focus, such as I want 'a smaller bum' or 'less joint pain' or 'lower cholesterol' or 'balanced blood sugar'. These are important, but aiming only towards those initial benefits usually motivates most of us for just a short while. Personally, this common approach to healthy eating motivates me for only a week or two before I start feeling irritable and wanting to devour ALL the tator tots and chocolate bars. While watching mermaid movies.
Grand Benefits: To naturally WANT and DESIRE and PREFER healthy foods and activities, we need to remember the grand benefits. How will you feel when you have more energy, clearer skin or less headaches? What will you be able to accomplish and experience? Will you be able to hike through the pristine woods? Play with your children? Travel to a remote location? Dance?
For example, one of my client's had a profession which required that she spend her evenings at networking events where she always had 1-2 glasses of wine, which led to insomnia, then panic attacks the next day. When she went to an event and tried to talk herself out of the wine, she would usually cave in because her internal dialogue was, "I can't drink the wine." Of course her will power rebelled against deprivation. I helped her align with her heart's desire to have enough energy and inner calm so she could create more art to sell and then quit her job. At our next session, she reported that she was now enjoying only one glass of wine a few times per month. When I asked her if there had been any changes with the panic attacks, she exclaimed that she had forgotten she used to have them! Though she had struggled with almost daily panic attacks for 26 years, she hadn't had one in 8 weeks! This is the power of aligning with your inspiration.
My clients tell me that this expansive and relaxing approach helps them stay inspired even when traveling, over the holidays, passing a co-worker's candy dish or when their neighbor brings over cookies. I hope it is as helpful for you as well. Please keep me posted!
Remember, you are wonderful just as you are!