To most of us being “healthy” is an unattainable goal. The media has done a good job of teaching us this. Barbie dolls haven’t helped matters either. The problem is that being healthy comes down to so much more than the food you put into your body or the calories you burn at the gym. In fact, some of the most unhealthy people I know are a size 2.
This idealistic view of what we’ve been taught to consider “healthy” is incomplete. It doesn’t factor in one of the most important aspects of health. Your mindset.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you stuff your face with ice cream and french fries and walk around 100 pounds overweight smiling and considering yourself healthy. But I’m also not suggesting that you never have ice cream or french fries again and deprive yourself of some of the things that make you happy.
There is a place somewhere in the middle. That’s what healthy means to me And within the pages of this blog and my free e-book “10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now!” I would like to introduce the concept to you with the hopes that you will find a healthy definition of being healthy.
The Three Legs of a Healthy Tripod
When I talk about being healthy, there are 3 things that need to be addressed. Food, exercise and mindset. Much like a tripod that needs all three legs to be in equal working order to keep it from collapsing, your health works much in the same way. If you put most of your focus on eating but not exercising or checking in with where you are at emotionally, you are going to fail long term.
That’s why most of these fad diets don’t work. They focus on just food by having you cut out things you love and making you feel deprived. They don’t solve the problem. Think of it this way. Imagine that your kitchen is on fire and the alarm is going off. Rather than putting out the fire, which is the real problem, you take a hose to the smoke detector which is where the noise is coming from. You fix the short term problem of the noise but not the long term problem of your kitchen being on fire.
So, let’s talk a little more about each leg of a healthy tripod.
I hesitate using the word diet because to most of us it’s a four letter word. It sends an instant chill down our spines. Brings back bad memories and makes us feel deprived and bad about ourselves just by the use of the word. Don’t let your past experience dictate your ability to read the rest of this without folding your arms.
My idea of diet is not going to be the same as what you have experienced in the past. My idea of diet allows for “treat” days which are just like “cheat” days only you don’t have to feel guilty about it. My idea of diet allows for moderation. If you like bread with your dinner, just limit the amount you have. My idea of diet allows for exceptions. If you like soda it doesn’t make you a bad person. Rather than keeping it in the house, have a soda whenever you go out to eat instead so you can cut down on the amount you drink.
There are plenty of ways to thrive on a healthy diet without feeling deprived which is nothing more than a future appointment to send you in a downward spiral of binge eating.
There are a lot of excuses that come with exercise. I don’t have the time, I can’t afford the gym, my body type doesn’t exercise well, I don’t like being in gyms, etc. I understand. It’s difficult to carve out a big chunk of time at some point of your day and go to the gym to run around and lift heavy things. But it doesn’t have to be all or anything.
Exercise could just be a simple 20 minute walk every night after dinner. Or a short bike ride with your family. A quick run. Dropping to the floor and doing a few sit-ups.
You don’t need a lot of time or equipment in order to get your body moving and your blood flowing. There is only one warning when it comes to exercise. The more of it that you do, the more you will get hooked because of how great it makes you feel and that 20 minute walk will soon turn into a 40 minute walk!
This is often the most neglected aspect of being healthy. The other two are pretty obvious. What’s not is that dialogue going on in our head that we don’t realize. The one that calls us fat regardless of how skinny we really are. The one that gives up when looking at the scale and not being happy by the results. The one that tells us that we can’t have something or makes us feel bad after “celebrating” by having a little treat, taking away from the celebration.
Oftentimes our mindset is the one thing that will make or break any diet that we are on. You have to make sure that your head is on straight otherwise that voice in your head becomes the enemy. And that enemy usually wins in the end.
Getting your mindset in check is fairly easy. Spend a little time each day meditating or doing some breathing exercises. Too new agey for you? Try reading or journaling each day. Perhaps say a few incantations or keep a list of realistic goals to keep you on pace.
There are a lot of great ways to get your mindset in check.
So, What’s Next?
Being healthy is not a destination. It is not something you reach and get to check off your bucket as if it were accomplished. It’s a journey. And it would be an honor for you to allow me to take that journey with you. Please take a minute to introduce yourself in the comments below and share something. Maybe your challenges or your successes. Or perhaps what healthy means to you. Whatever it is, it’s great to meet you. My name is Aimee.