Health hasn’t been easy. Truthfully it’s not for the majority of people.
Yet, I can’t help but think it shouldn’t be this complicated. I’ve often been my own worst enemy. I seemed to be a master at creating a self-fulfilling prophecy surrounding my happiness and the health of my relationships. Yet, I couldn’t imagine that was the case for something I had worked so hard for, given up so much for, and genuinely invested in my life. I couldn’t imagine I was the one self-sabotaging my health.
I know we don’t like to look at it that way, that our problems could be because of our own making. Even if it is the case, there is no room to blame yourself or beat yourself up over. What’s been done is done. But we can change how we move forward.
My lackluster identity, founded on faulty beliefs that health was impossible, made it impossible. In order for health to work, it has to be part of your identity.
Health must be part of your identity to last. Otherwise, it’s a series of behavior modifications that temporarily work but fade just as quickly as they came.
Of course, I didn’t recognize health in me until I lost my health. It wasn’t until long after I crashed and burned while doing everything ‘right’ that I realized what I thought was right wasn’t necessarily right for me.
An idea that is certainly against the status quo. One that presses right up against the beliefs in the health space that make this more complicated. Understanding that perhaps what’s been called healthy doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of really great ideas in the health space—well-researched and science-backed ways to get healthy. But I found that few health strategies work in a body just trying to survive. The place I found myself silently suffocating for much of my adult life. The same place I’ve worked the last four years to rectify.
Today on the podcast, I’m sharing a health update and why I feel like I’ve made so much progress and still feel stuck. Inside this episode, I’m joined by my husband as we talk openly and vulnerably about this crazy health journey we’re on—a story of health freedom.
The Backwards Law
Many of the best ideas I’ve encountered in healing have felt backwards to the normal, standard way of life. Yet it’s been this backward approach that has worked.
For instance, I’ve learned building a resilient life comes from walking the trenches of pain, not avoiding it. That happiness is birthed out of hard things, and pleasure is a perspective, not an experience. They feel counterintuitive, but without something different, we’ll keep cycling on the same path that keeps us stuck.
I’ve learned to embrace the backwards law. As long-time philosopher Alan Watts proposes, the backwards law shows that the more we pursue something, the more we achieve the opposite of what we truly want and the more disappointed we feel.
More simply put: the harder we try, the less likely we’ll succeed.
On the flip side: when we stop trying, we’ll be able to experience what we want.
Unbeknownst to me, five years ago, on a cold day in February when I quit health, I started to find it. Not because I gave up but because I let go of what I had been taught to understand what I wanted. To see health for more than a series of external equations and measurements that held my worth. To see me and all that God created within me.
The health space is noisy. It’s loud, fear-based, overwhelming, and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be if you shift your focus from external ideas to how you feel internally. To understand what your body needs.
This year I’ve summed my health goals into five basic strategies to focus more on the belief that shapes the action and less worry about arriving at the destination.
Five strategies I’m implementing this year to get healthy.
The external ‘good girl’ I survived on as a child led to a full-on adult rebellion. Partially for a good reason, to question the norm. But this rebellion has led me straying from any sort of discipline. I wanted it but hated discipline more, leading me to avoid it.
You could say I’ve been disciplined in my fitness routine and daily life structure solely because I enjoy those things. The things I don’t enjoy, I don’t do.
This isn’t all bad. Arguably it takes a level of pleasure and joy for you to stick to anything. I want the long-term outcome but fail to value the short-term sacrifice or pain that it can bring. I’ve failed to understand that the joy of feeling better often comes in a temporary package of doing hard things.
My bad view of discipline was part of why I felt stuck. I understood it only from the lens of what I can’t have and the infliction of pain rather than what it provides.
Discipline is a long-term outlook. It’s a set of boundaries that keeps you on the path of making forward progress. This year, I want to live disciplined while maintaining the right perspective. Living disciplined to move my body even when I’d rather watch Netflix. To wake up to my first alarm even if I feel tired. To skip the dessert because I don’t need it even if everyone else is. Not as a means of restriction, deprivation, or pushing my body to places it hates but for the long-term gain.
The backwards law has proven that ‘different’ often creates the best results. The more I pulled back from obsessing about health, the healthier I got, and the more I could re-evaluate what I needed. I was able to think differently about health, understanding what is working and what isn’t. It opened me up to be creative and curious, not for the sake of solving all of my “problems” but to nourish my body in a new way.
This year, I want to keep working to embrace different. To think differently, to challenge my normal perspective, to do things not based on what I’m told will work but using that as a framework and putting a unique spin on it. Really being different this year means getting good at change even if the change doesn’t work out. When you embrace change, you stop fearing failure.
I mentioned it earlier, but I’ve spent a lot of my adult life focused on arriving, making me miss the progress of the process. I missed living in the middle because I had convinced myself the middle was nearly as bad as where I was starting.
It wasn’t just in health; everything in my life seemed stuck in the middle. But I’ve learned the middle is where the most progress happens.
This year I want to embrace every space of my life. Putting more focus on the process by having a clear direction. I want to get healthier, grow stronger, reduce my inflammation, and finally shed the pounds I gained at the heart of my illness. I want those things, but rather than obsessing over them, I’m going to put the work into making progress in the right direction.
You’ll eventually end up at the destination when you do the small things in the right direction. This year, my focus is on the daily commitment to action. To do one thing and then do another thing. Putting more emphasis on the current moment and he action I can take, rather than living consumed by how far I have to go. To see progress from where I started to where I am not from where I am to where I want to go.
I want to learn the art of dwelling this year. Now, I know dwell can come with negative connotations. I’ve spent a fair share of my life dwelling on the things of my past. Wishing away what was already a reality.
I think we all dwell on something, and what that thing is creates the direction you move. What you focus on becomes where you put your energy and the action you take. Instead of dwelling on my past, this year, I will dwell on bigger things. Things that fill me up.
More than space, dwelling opens the door to curiosity which fuels creativity. Dwelling opens you up to see things for more than you once did – to see a different perspective. To look a little deeper, see a little bigger, and dwell on the beauty. To live fully in the present moment.
I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but like meditation or prayer, dwelling on the good changes our focus and perspective, channeling patterns into healthier ones. It breaks cycles, creating space to produce healthier ones.
This year I will dwell on the good, on God, on feeling vibrant, laughing, growing, connecting, and seeing things differently. To live differently because I’m focused on the goo.
Last but not least is to do. You’ve probably gathered that from the other four. But in the past, I’ve talked a lot. But without discipline and a clear direction, my talking didn’t amount to action. More than speaking it, this year I want to do it. To take action and create health.
Health is how you create it and live it out, not just what you consume. What you do determines where you go when it comes to getting healthy. You can read the best diet books, follow influencers, and be motivated by progress pictures of other people. But if you don’t take action, if you don’t create it for yourself, nothing changes.
This year, I want to stop talking about things, and I want to do them. I want to stop wishing and start living. We’re always doing something. It’s time for me to do health in a way that works for me – to create it in my choices. Spending more time living and less time-consuming.
PROGRESS > PERFECTION
This list, my health isn’t perfect. Nothing is. But it’s a springboard of ideas I’m focusing on that will produce the results I want. I will keep you updated monthly with progress reports, so follow along.
We’ll also be diving into the monthly Nourished Planner How-To topics.
If you don’t have a yearly planner, snag one here!
I promise it’s more than a day planner. It’s a wellness planner to help you live your best self!
This year, I’m going for progress. What about you?
Want To Do Health Differently?
Health isn’t as complicated as we’ve made it. You might be confused, but I think that’s because you’ve focused on one aspect of health – the body – when health is so much more than that. It’s the connection of your mind and soul and how that influences your body.
When you pull them all together, working on health as a whole, things change – you change. Inside Health Made Simple, I provide a simple framework to live healthy while understanding this deep and intimate connection your mind and soul have to your body.
It’s a health class like you’ve never taken, and I promise pretty big things. If you’re ready for something different, join Health Made Simple.