It is no secret we need to exercise. Dieting alone isn't good enough for overall health. Exercise builds healthy bones, muscles, organs, and is great for preventing a whole host of diseases. Many people think all they need to do is diet and exercise. So what does a comprehensive health program look like?
Fitness professionals are beginning to incorporate behavior change tactics into their programs. Mindfulness is being interweaved into fitness classes and practices. It is great that collectively, as professionals, we are acknowledging that diet and exercise alone are not cutting it for most.
A complete health program should include, good nutrition, adequate sleep (varies for each individual), stretching, self myofascial release, hydration, and rest between workouts. Beyond these, which are now pretty well understood by most fitness professionals, the deeper elements of the unconscious mind must be understood beyond just behavior change tactics. Without this critical component, the battle will always be uphill. An inside-out approach is the most effective and is the only way to achieve lasting results with greater ease.
To give an example, if you believe it is hard to lose weight and get fit and that it is a punishment that you have to take extreme measures to achieve those goals, then the chances are that you won't sustain any progress you have made. In fact, often times people end up putting back on the weight they lost plus more. The process is very defeating and leaves many feeling hopeless that there is any chance of success following any program.
Comprehensive health is preventative health and devoting an appropriate amount of time, energy, and focus into each facet naturally brings harmony and balance to all areas of you life; not just physical health.
It is easy to get into a groove of endlessly going through your to-do list day after day without considering what it is you really want. We are all conditioned from an early age to get a good job that will pay the bills. Many times we aren't considering what we want, and instead are only focused on staying afloat. Survival instincts are great and we need them but the whole point of our existence is not solely for survival. If you have a desire for something, such as a healthy body and weight, that longing doesn't come from a survival point of view. Therefore, if we want it, we have the capacity to have it; it is a matter of tapping into that higher knowledge.
It has been said that the path to success isn't a perfectly straight line. There are curves, ups and downs, and obstacles that we must face along the way. It often feels like the scariest thing we could ever imagine to take on and having faith that it all works out for our growth and development isn't always easy.
With that said, the path not clearly defined is less traveled for a reason and basically that internal voice to have what you deserve has to be loud enough for you to begin taking steps. I have heard it takes 10 years to become an over night success. It is easy to look at someone else and devise a very convincing story of how and why they have what they have and why you don't and never will have it.
Coming out of the mental fog you have been "surviving" in for all of these years is a step by step process. Resistance will come up and is part of the process; seeing everything as an opportunity for growth, and thereby another stepping stone on your journey, is a change in perspective that will help you stay the path. In the beginning, it is tempting and easy to turn around and slide right back into old patterns. If those patterns are making you miserable enough to want real change in your life then your unconscious mind will lead you to where you need to start. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Ah, it is that time of year yet again. Halloween is coming, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Chances are you have parties to attend, whether it be with family, friends, or colleagues. Even if your schedule isn't booked with tons of events, there are probably treats at the office lined up. It may feel as if they are begging you to eat them and the only thing that is holding you back by a tiny thread is your dwindling willpower.
An interesting fact I just read states that Christmas and New Year's Day are the two days of the whole year that heart attacks are most likely to happen (Kloner 2004). Make no mistake, stress affects your heart and often the holidays bring with it a big side helping of stress. There is lots to do, not enough time to do it in, and not to mention the emotional triggers that we all face.
Is your habit to binge eat during the holidays and then spend the New Year beating yourself up with your resolution to work it all off? Rising health care costs and increases in obesity show us that our approach to weight loss and an overall healthy lifestyle aren't working. How can this be? We exist during a time where information is available at the touch of a button. What if the way we have been going about it is all wrong?
What if we are attempting to work on a problem from the outside in instead of the inside out? Every single one of us has been conditioned to seek pleasure and avoid pain. As we understand what has been driving our behavior over the years on a deeper level, while making SMALL healthy changes, offering nothing but compassion, we begin to step into a new world of possibility.
The only problem with this is, stated the way I just did makes it almost insulting because it is too general. What does a small healthy change mean? What does compassion really mean and can we really, I mean really, have compassion for ourselves? Well, it is a process. Is that an annoying answer? Probably, but when you reframe your thoughts about how annoying the process is, it helps a lot.
Think about it; if you have been practicing something like self-loathing thoughts and behaviors for 30, 40, 50 years, would there be anything or anyone who could magically snap that out of your mind? Nah, and we all know it. Good news is, once you start cracking at it, there is a natural compulsion to continue more self exploration (if you have a good coach). Trust me, you will be fascinated by what you learn about yourself and as doors start opening, you will look back in a year or more and be so surprised with how much different of a person you have become. The feeling is hard to explain, but is by far, hands down, the most rewarding effort that I have ever spent my time or money on.
Julia Broome is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise. She is most excited about educating women on the short and long term impact of exercise and proper nutrition on pregnant women and their baby.