I was just out tending to my tapped birch trees: collecting the nutrient dense water, listening to the spring birds sing, enjoying the calming energy of the woods. It was exciting to see that the trees gave me exactly five gallons of water over night! I have been having so much fun collecting and bottling the water for fermentation. My goal is to produce champagne, and that will be exciting, but I'm definitely enjoying the whole process. If the champagne experiment fails, oh well!
When one begins a health journey it is often advised to create a goal and then focus on it 100%. For example, in the past I created a goal to lose ten pounds. I set a time frame and then followed specific steps (calorie restriction, excessive exercise) to achieve that goal. Stepping on the scale to see my weight reduced by ten pounds gave me an initial rush of pride, but after that I went back to my normal eating patterns, gained the ten pounds back and started to mentally berate myself. Not fun.
Let's talk about a dramatically different journey to health. The process begins with a little goal setting, but in the form of identifying your version of radiant health. Go back and read my post on creating your future self if you missed it. This involves deciding who you want to be, identifying what that future self feels, and activating those feelings in the present moment. This type of goal setting should be fun! It also encourages a focus on the process of being that radiant healthy self now.
Once you are familiar with your future self, you can find a nutrition lifestyle that aligns with that person. Are you with me? If not, you can read more in this post.
When you act each day in ways that resonate with your version of your future healthy self, you can't help but enjoy the process. If you instead focus doggedly on your goal, suffering away each day, you will miss the joy of the journey.
I am guessing that some of you are saying right now, "How in the heck am I supposed to enjoy a journey to reclaim my health? Have you not heard the phrase, 'no pain, no gain'?"
If your journey is all about the pain (for example, restricting food or over exercising) you might meet your goal but your lifestyle will be unsustainable. And you will have denied your body the experience of returning to health in a joyful way.
If you are having a hard time visualizing what it looks like to have fun while releasing weight, I will share examples from my experience.
- I move my body daily, but only in ways that I love. I walk, hike, do yoga, swing kettlebells and split wood, complete a weekly HIIT workout. I don't have a routine- I just do what feels inspired in the moment. Going to the gym does not sound like fun to me, so I don't do it.
- I eat only things I love. My food always tastes delicious. I appreciate it during grocery shopping, preparation, plating and eating. My body doesn't feel good when it ingests toxins (trans fats and hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, highly processed foods) so I don't eat them. I never feel deprived; I get to choose from such an abundance of gorgeous, whole foods!
- I don't weigh myself. My past has involved way too many scale sessions that left me in emotional distress for days afterward. I like to think that I am currently more aware and less likely to believe that I suck because of a number on the scale, but why bother?
This lifestyle is effortless, joyful and- most importantly- sustainable for me. My future self is free, creative, and abundant. The journey of following this lifestyle lets me be her now!
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you!