Yesterday we talked about stress eating and I suggested coming up with a plan for ways you can deal with stressful situations in the future, before mindlessly turning to food for stress relief. I even said maybe it was okay to eat a gallon of ice cream if that's what makes you feel better. A healthy lifestyle isn't only about the foods we put into our mouths; it's about overall health (body, mind, spirit, emotions) and the decisions we make regarding our overall health on a daily basis.
Many times, individuals who struggle the most when trying to eat a healthy diet are the ones who have other aspects of their lives keeping them from attaining the healthy lifestyle they're desiring so much. For them, working on their diet may not be the best approach to overall health. If eating something we know is healthy for our bodies, something we know looks and tastes great, is difficult to do then there's something bigger going on in our lives than just food. If that's the case, it's important to figure out what's going on.
Stop right now and ask yourself this question: Is eating healthy food easy or difficult for me? If it's a constant struggle then please read on. For anyone struggling to eat healthy foods, foods we know are not only delicious but very healing and nutritious for our bodies, it's time to ask some more questions. Until we understand why we aren't doing what we know is best for our bodies, we will be running around in circles and not getting anywhere. By asking questions, we can sometimes get to the root of an issue that is keeping us from living a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
- Are you emotionally healthy? Do you feel happy most of the time, and able to deal with issues as they arise?
- If you are depressed, is it strictly your diet and health that is depressing? If so, changing your diet to only consuming healthy foods should be an easy thing.
- If you are happy most of the time, is there a chance you are putting on a happy face for others, when underneath you are feeling something altogether different?
- Do you easily become irritated, angry, or frustrated? Many times if small issues cause us to react with extreme emotions, it's because there is something troubling us on a deeper level. What's troubling you?
- When you find yourself crying a lot, without really knowing why, there is usually a deeper issue you haven't consciously acknowledged. If you've tried to figure out what's causing your sadness, but haven't been able to do so, talking with a therapist can sometimes be helpful.
- Are you mentally healthy? Are you able to be present with others without being sidetracked by thoughts going on in your head?
- Are you organized and able to keep track of your schedule and accomplish your goals most days?
- Do you have disturbing thoughts on a regular basis, or worries and fears of what could possibly happen?
- Is it easy to remember things, to easily recall what you've done and what you are going to be doing?
- Are you participating in physical activities, or spending most of your time in your head?
- Do you feel a sense of purpose, a peace from deep within?
- Are you able to connect with others and see beyond their issues and individual quirks?
- Is being alone, sitting quietly by yourself for half an hour, or more, painful for you? Do you feel the need to have a television or music on when you are alone because the silence is uncomfortable for you?
- Do you have a place you can go where you feel renewed and filled with peace (the woods, ocean, creek, or even a spa)?
- Is it easy for you to look in the mirror and see the true essence of who you are, beyond the physical body holding your inner light?
- Have you been moving your body on a daily basis, stretching and exercising in pleasant ways?
- Are you filled with aches, pains, or fatigue?
- Is your body an ideal weight and size, allowing you to easily accomplish your daily life without limitation?
- Does your body experience allergies, sensitivities, rashes, blemishes, bruises, excessively dry/oily skin, or a temperature that's either too hot or cold for your comfort? These are all signs that there is an imbalance in your body.
- Do you experience bloating, gas, indigestion, or other digestive issues?
Questioning ourselves about all of the parts of a healthy lifestyle is one of the easiest ways to get to the root of a problem in order to begin working on restoring a healthy balance. I might not have presented the right questions here for your individual issues, so go ahead and come up with some of your own. Don't stop asking questions until you get to the root of what's holding you back from living a healthy lifestyle (and remember, a healthy lifestyle is one that includes body, mind, spirit, and emotions--it's never only about the food).
Please share your thoughts on how asking questions can possibly help you move toward an even healthier, well-rounded life. If you have questions you'd like to share with others, please let us know. Together we can help each other attain a truly vibrant, healthy life!