Guest post written by Leanne Gerich, Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner
With summer in full force and a new year about to begin, it’s no surprise that we’re all trying to clean up our diets and get moving a little more. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – as humans, we’re meant to adapt to our environment. I think that naturally we lose and gain a few kgs from the winter to summer months and so on.
What isn’t natural, though, is the guilt and shame we put on ourselves for being just that – human! Before dipping into this article, I think it’s important for us to understand how much the media plays with our opinions and goals. Being healthy or fit shouldn’t add stress to your life – it's supposed to add value to your life.
So, if you’re someone who is feeling a little stressed about achieving your fitness goals for the new year, please take some time to reevaluate your ‘why’. Can you restructure your goals around feeling good, rather than merely looking good? We all know how that story goes.
Balance is the key
As a Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner – my goal with my work is to help people understand how to find balance in their health. That means finding the best eating style and activity level to feel energetic, happy, and without injury.
I believe we focus way too much on high performance/extreme looks, rather than longevity. Which is silly because the majority of us are on a health journey to feel happy. How happy would we be if we had to quit it all tomorrow? Longevity needs to be at the forefront of our goals!
Here are my top five tips to help you readjust your goals so that you can ensure your mental wellbeing will not be so affected in the new year. Let’s change the tone in 2020 and make this not only your healthiest but happiest year to date!
1. Eat for energy
The most important protocol in holistic nutrition is simple: EAT REAL FOOD. Funny, right? Too many people are over-consumed (and over-consuming) with eating diet foods. While I understand the importance of macros to some people, I think there needs to be a balance with eating proper nutrients.
Rather than eating to try and trick your body into thinking it's full, why don’t we eat to nourish it? Our body is far more intelligent than I think some of us realise. If you don’t eat real food – problems will manifest in other ways. Think headaches, mood swings, fatigue, etc. Food is powerful. Use it to your advantage.
2. Practise non-exercise activity
If you smash it at the gym for an hour, I applaud you. It’s a great effort. But non-exercise activity is where it’s at if you are looking to feel better. Walking or biking to work, going for a walk while listening to a podcast, these make a huge difference in your mental wellbeing as well as your fitness levels.
I’ve seen too many people flog it at the gym and then not have the ability to do anything else for the day. It just doesn’t make sense for longevity. Try to find a balance between exercise and still having the energy to be an active person for the rest of the day. This is where the magic happens!
3. Reevaluate goals
What do you specifically want to achieve? Lose 5kg? Why? What will this do for you physically? What will this do for you mentally? Find the root as to what it is you are truly looking for. Is this another chase for external happiness? How long will this last? I know this can be confronting.
But I think it's incredibly important to understand the core reason we desire the things we do. At the end of the day, we desire out of love or out of fear. If the root reason to do something is fear-based, well, let’s just say it won’t bring you happiness. Reevaluate the goals you have and make certain they will help you achieve happiness at an internal level.
4. Mix it up
Mix up your workouts, mix up your diet, enjoy yourself! Structure is good at first, however, freedom is necessary for balance. Have a day a week when you let yourself play. You can still keep it active and healthy, but it doesn’t need to be so rigid. It’s summer, after all.
5. Lead your community
Influence your friends, family and workplace to get into a more healthy routine. This does not mean harassing people with your opinions! This means leading by example and setting up fun events. Invite a group of friends for a short hike on a mellow Sunday. Make Friday lunches a potluck picnic at the nearest park outside. It doesn’t need to be something hardcore into fitness, but something casual, healthy and easy.
Don’t just set the tone for yourself as you move into the new year, but try to inspire other people too! The new year is the best time (in my very humble, Canadian opinion). Let’s all try to bring the focus towards happiness, balance and fun this year. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated!