I gotta be real with you. It sometimes still triggers me to see so many people broadcasting their diets and over-the-top workout plans all over social media. The Daniela you might have met five years ago would have ranted about how oppressive it is to women (it’s actually oppressive to a whole lot more people than that), but not Daniela 2.0.
These last five years have brought immense clarity. After upping my wellness game and healing some pretty nasty inner wounds, it became easier to see the cycle: We fixate on diets and exercise because we have to eat to perform life’s most basic functions, and those basic functions require movement. Not to mention there are structures of power that reinforce the belief that “all we need to do” is diet and exercise, but that’s a topic for another time.
One of my most recent meditative ah-ha moments (that I wish everyone could know) is that fixating on diet and exercise is not good or bad. It’s just what is.
Try this mindful moment.
Here’s a similar exercise in practicing non-judgment: Consider the sentence that follows as neither good nor bad. Focusing on diet and exercise is only about 15% of the equation. It may be hard to hold that sentence as neither positive nor negative, and that’s ok too. (The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes to embody non-judgment — even if it’s just for a few moments at a time.)
Fact: We keep missing the mark with healthy resolutions because we’re neglecting 85% of the picture, and we keep repeating old patterns (trying yet another diet or exercise plan) because it’s comfortable.
Break the cycle of breaking up with your goals.
If you have health-related goals for 2021, it’s time to get a little uncomfortable. Growth only happens by stepping outside of your comfort zone, so with the spirit of a healthy challenge, I encourage you to examine each of your twelve wellness markers for holistic health: food, movement, rest, fresh air, energy, water, relationships, career, finances, mindset, spirituality, and purpose. You can start by scratching the surface of this necessary inner work by pausing to answer these questions:
- Am I content with how I nourish my body?
- Is the way I’m eating sustainable?
- What do my eating habits or patterns reveal?
- How do I feel when I move my body during everyday tasks?
- Is exercising a habit of mine or part of my profession/day?
- What exercise do I hate? Do I do it anyway? What exercise makes me feel alive? How frequently do I do that type of exercise?
- How much do I rest a day (including sleep)?
- What activities recharge my mind and body?
- Which activities put my mind and body at ease?
- Am I aware of my thoughts and emotions and in-tune with how they impact my mind and body?
- Am I aware of my triggers and how to self-soothe in healthy ways?
- How frequently do I check-in with my state of mind?
This is the work. It’s not always fun, and we’re great at telling ourselves we don’t have time for it. But we have to make the time. There are few things more valuable than your health which is exactly why making time for it is always time well spent, and sometimes that time isn’t about sweating and eating more plants. Sometimes it’s about looking within.