The health and wellness community has never been more in the public eye, mostly because as Americans we have ignored our health for so long in favor of working longer hours, buying bigger houses and over all putting ourselves last.
The pendulum has swung though and many people in my generation and younger are moving towards living a healthier life for ourselves now instead of just focusing on the future at the expense of the prestent. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an industry built up to continue us in the same old habits of magic pills, easy fixes, and consumerism. Then there is the ‘face’ of health and wellness that is still telling us what a healthy person should look like.
Here are some hard truths about health and wellness that the industry doesn’t want to tell you because it either makes it hard and you wont buy in as readily or because it will cost people money and free you from your chains.
Yes, you are going to have to cook more/ learn to cook
This is the number one thing I hear in my health coaching practice. People say that they don’t have time to cook, that they don’t know how to cook. The truth is that you can’t eat out healthy. You can find things that are better than others but they will never be as high quality as what you cook at home. You will never be sure what goes in them. You will never control the portion sizes.
Restaurants need to make money. To do that they have to pay attention to food costs and what will feed all of their customers while widening their profit margins. You are just feeding yourself, not hundreds of other people so you can focus on quality without worrying about how much money you are making. You need to cook. You need to take most of your lunches to work. You need to make your own breakfast at least 70% of the time.
You will fail. Its part of the process. Making mistakes and changing course is part of the journey.
Health and wellness has no “Look”
If you look on instragram you might think differently, like with so many things. Instragam and social media are great for so many thinks but don’t judge yourself based on the little, young looking, white and asian girls on insta. Wellness has no size, no body type, no gender, no ethnicity and no age. You do not need to be anything like any of those people that you see. Find what works for you and take away the message and not the look. Don’t be upset that you have a day job and can’t work out 4 times a day, that you can’t afford an oatmilk latte at 10 am every morning. Don’t think that you are failing at being well because you are not a size two, because you don’t take hour long ritual baths. Because you are brown, black or hispanic. Because you are over 40 years old. Because you are a man. You are on your own journey. Period. Take away the good parts of the community and adapt it to your life, but you are still well if you are trying to improve yourself.
Diets are like religion.
Everyone has one, thinks that it’s the right one and wants to preach about it. Keto people and Vegan people, two different ends of the spectrum along with everyone in between, are quick to tell you just how right their diet is. But the truth is that there is no “Right” diet for everyone. What works for one person might not work for another for a lot of reasons: their body type, their life style, their culture, their work out load and what their access is. All of these things factor into how we interact with food on a real level. There is no “right” for everyone diet. Period.
Likewise no one wants to hear you talk about your diet. Its exciting when you start something new and yes, I totally understand that you want to share but it is so boring to other people. I want to hear about your raw-paleo, only eating food waste about as much as I want to answer the door and find someone preaching at me or trying to sell me on a politician.
Size Two is not ideal for most of us
There is this idea that thank goodness we are starting to move away from but its that the skinnier you are, the healthier you are. This means always being a size 2 or small and once you go above or below that, you have failed. This is far from the truth. Everyones body is different. For some of us, being a size 2 or even a small is not healthy or realistic. Be true to yourself. Wellness is not about size; its about habits and healthy metal and physical changes that improve your life. But the powers that be cant market that in a sexy way and keep you buying to get to that unrealistic goal.
You’re going to be uncomfortable
This is something that I learned when I really started distance running, and running in general. Starting something new is always going to be uncomfortable. It might be a new workout routine or new eating habits. Even meditating is uncomfortable! You are always going to feel discomfort. This does not mean that you shouldn’t do something. This does not mean that it’s wrong or that you are bad at it. Sitting in discomfort and accepting it is something that changed my life. Learn how to deal with and recognize the different in between uncomfortable and pain. They are two very different things. And when you are not uncomfortable anymore, when it becomes easy, that means it’s time to try something even harder and work towards a new goal or a higher level.
Time is an investment in change
Good things take time. We have all heard this but for some reason we still have a hard time excepting it. To acheive any new habit or really anything at all in life you have to be willing to invest time into it. Energy isn’t enough. We all have tons of energy when we start something new. We have all kinds of passion. It’s what you do when that energy and passion start to give out that truly determines sinking or swimming. Eating habits, work out routines, meditation, something as simple as journaling can be a chore after a 13 hour day.
The most common excuse that people throw in the towel because of is because they do not have time. I get it. We all have busy lives but if your health is a prioirty, you have to make time for it. If it’s not a priority, that fine but don’t lie to yourself. If lawyers, CEO’s and mothers of 5 have time for it, you can learn how to schedule too.
Honesty with yourself is fucking hard
This is the hardest but most necessary part of mental health and growth. None of us are perfect and we need to be able to reflect and be honest with ourselves in order to grow. We need to be critical without talking down to ourselves. Just because you are not perfect at something does not mean that you are a failure. It does mean that you have room to grow though.
This is one of the hardest part of mental health. Know that you are not bad because there are areas you need to grow in. Identify the problems the way you would talking to your friend or a child. For example: “I know you are having a tough time right now, but is that really the way you want to talk to the people around you?”
In the end it all comes down to you
No one is going to change your life but you. Yes support is wonderful but you are the one thats going to go out on a run. You are the one who is deciding what you eat. You can have all of the support in the world, join all the groups, have all of the tools but in the end it is all going to come down to you and your choices.
What are some of the less than butterflies and rainbow things that you have learned about health and wellness over the years?