I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be healthy.
Because even though diet and exercise are extremely important, who we are as an individual is what matters the most…and we are more than our exercise regimen and the food we eat.
I once had the “perfect” diet of “clean” food that was perfectly timed out, an exercise regimen of 5-6x a day (sometimes twice a day), and a career where I was earning double what I make now. “What’s wrong with me?” I thought. “I should look and feel great, but I am constantly bloated, exhausted, and anxious.” I knew something was wrong and it was then that things started to click.
Health isn’t only about what I do, like diet and exercise. It’s about being and expressing my authentic self. The more I give myself permission to create, express, play, rest, and love — fully and deeply — the more healthy I am. It is only then that what I do, like diet and exercise, become things that I find deep pleasure in as opposed to punishing.
For example, I food prep often because I’ve had a habit of prepping all the time (chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes) but I’ve come to the realization that I hate it, partly because I have less time on my hands. My compromise is to just stick with things that are super easy, like salads, canned tuna, fruit, granola, jerky, PB&J sandwich..basically things that do not require me to turn on my stove or oven. Now I enjoy it because not only do I actually like the food I eat, I also save time.
Training is enjoyable now and not something I dread because I just might cry if I have not gotten stronger. Silly, right? This is what I hated admitting the most. Cognitively I KNOW that strength is not linear…and my program is set up using RPE so that I can be adaptable and simply take what’s there that session. But I was hustling for my worth because I didn’t believe I was enough simply by being me…so there I went attaching my self-worth to the outcome of each training session. And because I didn’t feel worthy, I reached for the next best thing to comfort me: food.
An analogy my incredible boyfriend shared with me, and one that I think about often, is the analogy of the goose and its golden eggs. If humans are the goose and its achievements are the golden eggs, you can see how easy it is to attach our self-worth to these things…whether it is getting stronger in the gym, getting a promotion at work, losing weight, tripling your start-up revenue…these are all things to celebrate but when we attach our identities to it, it becomes dangerous since they could easily fall the other way.
Your struggle might not be worthiness. It might be something else you need right now. No matter what it is, here are three simple questions to get you moving in the right direction.
- Ask yourself: what is my relationship with food right now trying to teach me?
- What is missing and how do I ask for what I need?
- What can I do to feel connected? To myself and others? (Hint: allowing yourself to be vulnerable and extremely uncomfortable is a requirement)
Having a group of supportive people around you who value and love you without judgment is so important. Do the people close to you uplift you, make you feel understood, and reserve judgment? Do you provide this for the people close to you?
Whether you’ve gotten out of a funk like this before or you’re currently in one, I’d love to hear from you.