I've been noticing a shift recently within the wellness community, and it is really shaping how I look at food, health and life. When I started my own journey toward feeling better in my own skin, I followed a pretty set formula, and it worked. I held onto that formula for a long time (almost two years) but it started feeling too restrictive for me, both mentally and physically. In my search to make a bit of a shift with my diet, I've embraced many recent themes espoused by wellness bloggers and coaches. Balance, consistency, bio-individuality, and no extremes.
These days I often feel like a walking contradiction. After all, I’m a girl who counts chocolate as one of the most important food groups, but I am also passionate about eating a diet comprised of whole foods and ingredients that make me feel good. I'm a certified Yoga Instructor who also recently trained to instruct a Mixed Martial Arts program. I am personally motivated by tough love, but consider myself a very spiritual person and am currently enrolled in training to be a Light Worker. If all of this balance can exist within just one person, why can't it exist in the way we approach lifestyle and nutrition? By keeping in mind a few key themes, I believe it can.
Bio-individuality is a term that is often thrown around in wellness circles, but it’s important to understand what this really means. Each of us are unique -- at every level. Things like ancestry, constitution, gender, size, lifestyle, personal metabolic rate and even blood type greatly influence how our bodies can assimilate different nutrition protocols. Yes, it’s important to understand all of this about yourself but in the end it’s really about listening to your body. Try to prepare most of your meals at home, watch how your body reacts, see if you are tired after eating certain foods and pay attention to portions. Just because your best friend thrives on a vegan diet may not necessarily mean it’s the right step for you
Ever heard the phrase “Strong Not Skinny”? If you haven’t…take note. Although our culture has a long way to go on this, I feel confident that the tide is starting to turn on what constitutes being healthy. With the advent of places like Cross Fit and the destturctions of myths that weights make you bulk up, strong truly has become a quality to be admired. I have learned the hard way with this. AS a health coach, I often try to follow new programs as they come out so that I can see what they will be like for my clients. Without a doubt, I’ve discovered that whenever I deprive myself, I see a drop on the scale…but I feel weak. It’s not a good feeling. I need to show up for my kids, my family and how I choose to do that is by having some meat and muscle on these bones! Also ladies -- being too thin as we age, can lead to a gaunt look that makes us appear even older. A little bit of padding isn't a bad thing!
The last theme that I have adopted into my life is that of flexibility. I am for sure a “by the rules” kind of girl. Give me a program and I’ll follow the hell out of it…and then some. Going back to that bio-individuality theme -- this kind of approach absolutely can work wonders for the right person and in fact has in my case. But what about rigidity as a lifestyle? It doesn’t work for me, and it’s not something I’d recommend for any of my clients. Knowing broad strokes -- like how many proteins, healthy fats, carbs, greens and fruits (generally) to have in a day can go a very long way toward giving you a framework for having a healthy and flexible lifestyle. I also love the 80/20 rule for this. 80% of the time I strive to keep my nutrition relatively buttoned up, but I give myself some leeway about 20% of the time. I’m a girl who will never turn down a glass of rose, an amazing piece of dark chocolate or a food experience just for the sake of counting calories.
My thinking now has evolved to a place where I see wellness as truly about balance. Keeping in mind these themes of flexibility, mental and physical strength and bio-individuality is how I plan to shape my lifestyle going forward. Contradictions…they aren’t always a bad thing and neither is living your most vibrant life!