There are a lot of opinions out there of what fitness and health should and has to look like. The problem as I see it is that we took fitness and health and associated them with beauty standards. This drove us further and further away from what health and wellness actually mean holistically speaking. Appearance became more important than actual wellbeing. That’s why people starve themselves to reach their goals, and why plastic surgery is booming. Following an ultimate beauty standard pulls us away from our own individual health path. What people don’t understand is that health is and means different things to each individual and therefore a balanced and healthy life style entails different things for everybody. You need to find your own rhythm to sustain the healthiest lifestyle possible. For some that means eating a raw vegan diet and going to yoga every day, for others it’s a ketogenic diet and lifting weights at the gym – to mention two ends of the health spectrums that are out there. The problem is that people look for answers and quick fixes, because they’re confused and have no idea where their healthy balance lies. And the health and beauty industry is more than happy to provide them with their approach to get the fastest results which makes it even harder to find your own way. At the end of the day you need to inform yourself and responsibly decide yourself what to integrate into your life. Health professionals who have your wellbeing firstly in mind will be able to give you guidance and a push into the right direction. But at the end of the day you have to listen to yourself. That means going through a trial and error approach until you figure it out. If you have 3 kids and a job it might be difficult to run to the gym twice a day, like that supermodel who’s regime you heard about. But that only covers the physical aspect of health and wellness. What about your mental and emotional health? What about healthy relationships? I believe that it comes all down to the proper mindset and appropriate goal and priority setting. There needs to be a balance for it all. It took me 23 years to figure out that I had the wrong priorities in life. And don’t get me wrong I sometimes still fall back into those old thinking patterns and I still need to adjust and work on my priorities in different aspect of my life to be balanced. But for most of my life, above everything else, I wanted to be skinny- no matter what. I used to follow a diet that included a tomato for the whole day and nothing else. I never quite managed to reach the desired outcome until now. I wasn’t able to keep my weight down for long periods of time. I felt miserable and desperate to reach my goal to be skinny. I didn’t know at that time what self-care actually means or entails. My self-love was nonexistent at the time. Falling in love and moving for my now-husband to Canada started a whole shift in my thinking. I had to practice self-care if I wanted to maintain this relationship. And now I do it out of love to myself. I still am not perfect but that’s not what self-love and self-compassion is about. What matters is that I made a mind shift. My priority is no longer to be skinny at any price. Although I admit that thought comes occasionally back when I’m most vulnerable. My priority is to be healthy, well and balanced in all aspects of life. That requires honest reflection and staying open to all kinds of feedback, it also requires decision making as well as holding yourself responsible. If being healthy in all aspects of your life is truly your number one goal, then everything else you might hope for will eventually fall into place as well. I try to eat healthy because I know how you fuel your body is important. I try to exercise or move on a daily basis because it keeps your body healthy and strong. I practice mindfulness to watch and calm my mind and thought patterns. The list goes on and I’ve never been in better health or shape than I am right now. Remember quick fixes and solutions go as fast away as they came initially. And if you want health and fitness to sustain, you need to follow your own path and listen to yourself along the way. What use is it to starve yourself to reach your goals, when you know it’s not a sustainable or healthy way to live? Also you don’t have to be on the perfect health path. Life is not black or white and health isn’t either. One healthy choice a day is still better than none. It’s a journey and priorities and circumstances might change but with the right mindset I believe you can always strive and attain your most optimal state of health at any given time. Health and balance is dynamic and always changing according to the circumstances you’re in. I’ve tried out a lot self-care and health practices in the past that didn’t work for me and there will be more trial and errors down the road- I’m sure of that.
Where on your path to health are you? Let me know in the comments below.