I have been on a journey to a healthier and more balanced way of living for roughly two years now and wanted to shed some light on what it has been like along the way and some lessons I have learned.
If you are just starting out on your journey I feel it is helpful to know what may lie ahead. With that being said, no two stories are the same but maybe my experiences thus far can provide a little help or insight.
Reality #1: YOU Have to WANT It.
We as people make time for the things we truly want to invest in. If you feel that you do not have time to go to the gym, but you spend two hours each day watching Netflix, you do not want it.
If you say you cannot afford to buy organic produce or pay a health coach or trainer but you constantly shop for unnecessary things, you do not want it.
Now that may sound harsh and you may be thinking well of course I want it why would I not want a better life for myself? What I mean by wanting something is actually desiring it so badly that you actually DO something about it.
When I first began I had every excuse and reason as to why I could not change my life. My top excuses were mainly time and money. When I sat down and got real with myself about how I was spending my time (scrolling on social media) and my money (Starbucks and takeout) I began to realize I had more than enough time and money to invest into my health.
The truth is, while you may have every intention of reaching the goals you set, creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself can and will be hard work. If you refuse to make any tweaks to your current routine and mindset you will not achieve those goals.
Do not I repeat do not rely on or expect any outside factors or people to grant you a new lifestyle. YOU must actively and continuously work towards your goals and have a clear reason or “why” that will help you keep pushing during those harder days.
Apps, Pinterest boards, inspirational quotes and even coaches or trainers are great but none of those things will change your current state if you are not dedicated or ready to put action and effort behind intention.
Reality #2: People Will Not Support You
Surprise! Not everyone will be enthused about your trying to lose weight, your plant based diet, your new love of yoga, your minimalistic approach on living or your more positive attitude.
I’m not trying to be negative, just brutally honest. Hopefully you do not run into this issue too often, but there will likely be people who poke fun at your health journey or completely doubt you altogether, so be prepared. I have lost count of the amount of times someone has said something to undermine, challenge or completely dismiss my dietary and/or lifestyle changes.
You may hear things like:
“Everything is bad for you these days so I just eat what I want”
“What’s the point? We all die anyway”
“My grandpa ate cheeseburgers, drank whiskey like water, and smoked a pack a day his entire life and lived till he was 99”
“You use to eat that, one more time won’t hurt”
“Fruit has too much sugar” (as they sip their coke)
“That’s hippie juju”
“I could never eat healthy, it’s boring”
“Exercise is overrated”
“You think you’re so perfect huh?”
The list of unsolicited advice and comments is endless but you get the gist.
A lifestyle change has absolutely nothing to do with perfection or trying to avoid death but rather creating balance and improving quality of life in a way that suits you best. Unfortunately some people just do not understand that.
Some of the comments you receive may not be intended to be malicious but it is important to take notice of individuals that try to sabotage or discourage you in any way. A major aspect of transitioning into a healthier lifestyle is removing negative people and negative energy.
Change is simply intimidating and uncomfortable for some people and for this reason, some individuals may project their limiting beliefs or fears onto you. Seeing you change can make another person feel guilty because they have not made the necessary adjustments in their own lives or just plain annoyed with you because your priorities have shifted and as result binge drinking and eating fast food at 2am just is not part of your routine anymore.
You may very well lose “friends” or somehow offend family members during this process.
Take it all with a grain of salt and keep doing you.
Reality #3: People Will Support You
On the flip side, you will have allies in this battle. There will be people who will encourage you along the way, congratulate you when you reach milestones and won’t try to tempt you with things they know you have vowed not to eat. These people may even become gym partners so hold them close.
Reality #4: You Will Need to Accept the Now
It can be difficult to accept yourself where you are in the present moment when you may not be feeling your best, prettiest, healthiest, most strong or most confident. I have learned that self acceptance is a important precursor in any type of growth or development process.
Loving yourself now regardless of any flaw or fault you may have is what will ensure you will love yourself later. Self love should not be tied to an outcome. You are no more worthy at a size 2 than you are at a size 20. Eating kale instead of candy does not magically make you a better person. The person that exists in either condition is equally deserving of love and happiness.
I still sometimes struggle with this now but I struggled most in the beginning when I was at my heaviest weight. I would constantly tell myself things like I will be happy when I lose 20 pounds or I will be more confident when I have abs. Stop telling yourself you will be happy when……. and start being happy right now.
Do some soul searching and attack your goals from a place of love and appreciation for who you are organically instead of from a place of discontent and dismay. I promise this will make all the difference during your journey.