Often times in our weight loss journey, we get caught up in achieving an ideal weight, fitting into our smallest size jeans, and looking a certain way in the mirror.
If only I could lose these last 7 pounds.
I'd kill to be at my high school/college weight.
If I eat super healthy all week, I could definitely squeeze into my skinny jeans by Saturday.
We become obsessed and fixated on the external factors in our health journey. Our self-worth is determined by what we view in the mirror, what size jeans we wear, and what number we see on the scale.
We think: the lower, the smaller, the tinier = the better. If we exercise to lose fat on our body, work out to obtain a smaller jeans size, or diet to achieve a lower number on the scale, we convince ourselves that we've accomplished our health goals.
But if we derive our sense of health on a size or a number, it often becomes a fruitless search for achieving "perfection" that isn't always ideal or attainable. This focus causes us to lose sight of the components of our health that really are important.
Our health is so much more than any emphasis we place on externals. What if we began to measure our health by a different barometer? One that focuses on the inside?
This is a revolutionary idea. We are drilled to death with messages about our appearance. But can we consider other measures of success besides what's on the outside?
Health is more than a number or size. It is the "internal" indicators that matter more in lasting health and wellness. When we begin to base our well-being on these factors, we find a healthier and more balanced life.
Here are some other measures you can use to determine where you are on the path to true, lasting health:
- Energy levels:
This is a huge indicator of health. Our energy level is a direct reflection of what we are putting into our bodies and how we are treating them. If you feel fatigued and tired throughout the day, this is a sign that something may need to change. Whether that's altering your diet, adding a different form of exercise, or taking more breaks throughout the day, you may need to assess what in your diet, routine, or life is sapping your energy.
We do have a natural rhythm of energy throughout the day and times were we feel more awake and "on" than others, but if you notice a constant fluctuation or decrease in your energy, it may be your body asking you to address what needs to be changed.
- Life balance:
Our health is much more than our diet and exercise regime. Living a healthy life also includes having stable, personal relationships, enough income to live the life we want, a satisfying career, hobbies and passions, and a belief system you can turn to in times of hardship. If you focus on just one of these aspects of your life and leave the others to fall by the wayside, you are missing out on the bigger picture of whole body health.
Health comes from having a balance in each area of your life. Of course, these aspects of your life will be different at different times; there may be times when your social life isn't as active as you would like or your money woes are causing you stress. But when you notice one area of your life is really out of balance, focusing your time and energy on bringing that area back into balance will strengthen and deepen your overall wellness.
- How you feel:
Tuning into your body's own innate wisdom can give you huge clues as to where you fall on the health spectrum. When you check in with yourself to see how you feel, in your eating, in your relationships, in your job, and every area of your life, you'll know what brings you joy and happiness and what leaves you feeling empty. You know what makes you feel good. A run after work allows you to de-stress and bring some calm to yourself. A walk in nature enables you to center yourself. A date with a girlfriends brings some much needed laughter. Whether it's a hot cup of tea on a cold day, a home cooked meal, or a long chat with your sibling, using the "how you feel" barometer gives you hints towards how to align more completely with the things that bring you health. Health comes from the inside out. When you feel good -- physically, mentally, and emotionally, that vibrancy radiates out into the world.
Remember that health goes much deeper than whether or not you are a size 2 and 110 pounds. Looking within allows you to find lasting wellness and health. And isn't that what we all really want?
It's your turn! Which of these tips can you incorporate into your life this week? Let me know how you can begin to adopt a bigger picture of health!
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