Nowadays, it seems like everyone is tired: tired of their job, of how they feel, of how they look. We feel stuck, as though we have no other choice but to keep our lives the way they are.
Unfortunately, many of us simply get used to these negative feelings and expect that this is how life is supposed to be (or as good as it’s going to get).
I know these feelings all too well. I used to work as a paralegal, and I hated my job. I complained constantly because I wasn’t serving the greater good or doing anything that lit up my soul, but I never did anything about my grievances. I felt like there was something wrong with me and everyone else seemed to have the secret recipe for a happy and fulfilling life. Over time, I began to manage my unhappiness by fixating on the calories I ate (or didn’t eat) every day.
My passion for health and wellness was born following a years-long battle with anorexia and body dysmorphia. One day, I happened to glance in the mirror; for the first time in a long time, I looked directly into my eyes rather than let them wander to examine each of my perceived flaws. I saw deeply how much pain I was in and how badly I wanted a life free from calorie-counting, low energy, and constant comparison. It was as if I was truly looking at myself for the very first time. In that moment, I vowed to start loving myself and doing everything I could to stop the self-criticism.
Once I recovered, I made it my mission to educate others on improving their own health and well-being. My life drastically improved once I took the pressure off myself and started crafting a life that was more about feeling good rather than looking good.
Today, I’m a certified holistic health coach, and a coaching account executive and wellness coordinator at Arootah. Through one-on-one coaching sessions, workshops, a weekly email newsletter, and free fitness classes, we support professionals who want to live healthier, happier lives.
The best part? There is a solution to the negative thinking.
Are You Feeling “Stuck”?
While there’s no official psychological diagnosis for feeling “stuck,” this feeling is usually a clear indicator we’re in need of TLC. Feeling stuck is also just the beginning of other kinds of negative thinking that can result in a host of issues, including:
- Increased stress: If you feel like you aren’t making progress in your life or aren’t where you should be, you’re more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed.
- Anxiety and depression: Feeling stuck in a particular mindset or situation can lead to feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness.
- Decreased motivation and productivity: A sense of stagnation makes taking action more difficult. When we lack motivation, our progress often remains stalled.
- Relationship issues: It can be difficult to form meaningful connections when we feel stuck, which can lead us to feel isolated and lonely. We’re also more likely to settle for less than we deserve because we’ve accepted mediocrity as the “norm.”
- Health challenges: Chronic stress and anxiety from feeling that your life has become stagnant can result in poor physical and mental health.
- Lack of fulfillment: When we feel stuck, we’re more prone to experience unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. You know that you aren’t reaching your full potential in life and, without action, fulfillment can feel impossible.
These experiences can have a tremendous impact on your physical and mental health. When you’re feeling down, it can be even more difficult to take care of yourself. And when you do make the effort, the results aren’t instant which can make you feel more disappointed, or make you feel as if you’re doing life “wrong.” They try a new diet, but it goes out the window when they don’t see immediate results. I’ve experienced this disappointment with my clients. They want to try a new workout routine but are too tired from working a job they have no passion for. They want more time for friends and family, but the hours seem to slip away from them. The truth is these clients aren’t doing anything “wrong.” They’re doing the best they can with the knowledge they currently have.
When a client comes to me with concerns like these, I suggest the following three pieces of advice to help them get on the path to becoming their best self.
My Best Advice for Living a Healthier, Happier Life
1. Understand That Diets Do Not Work
Every one of us is unique and that means we have nutritional requirements that are just as unique. Welcome to bio-individuality, which recognizes that metabolism, glucose responses, and nutritional needs vary from person to person.
You may have tried a diet your best friend swore was the golden ticket to weight loss…yet you didn’t experience those same results. That’s because each of us has our own set of physiological needs.
No two physical bodies are the same. With that said, the cells in each of our bodies operate at different metabolic rates, and we all have varying activity levels and statuses of health. Several other factors can also affect a person’s dietary needs including:
So, if a certain diet does not help you achieve your goals, trust me, it’s not you…it’s the diet! Trial and error play a large role in determining what works for you and your body so try not to be discouraged.
This information should come as a huge relief, especially since the media or your favorite influencer is likely bombarding you with the latest and greatest diet or what they “eat in a day.”
The truth is: Diets don’t work. They aren’t sustainable or meant for the long-haul. In fact, they usually do more harm than good (think low energy levels, crabby moods, negative effects on blood sugar, etc.). Once you stray from said diet, the weight will inevitably come back, and you’ll return to searching for the next miracle.
My philosophy is to focus not on a diet, but on a lifestyle. By eating a wide variety of whole foods — including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, ethically-sourced proteins, nuts, and legumes — and drinking plenty of water, you can ditch dieting altogether and focus instead on foods that make you feel good both during AND after eating them.
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2. Realize That a Healthy Life Is Cultivated Beyond Your Plate
While nutrition and physical activity improve your overall health and well-being, there are several other aspects of life that make us truly healthy and happy.
These additional areas are just as important as what you eat and how you move your body:
- Social life
Think about it…if you work in a toxic environment and come home to polish off a bottle of Pinot Noir as a means of coping, is that healthy? Or if you find that the company you keep drains you rather than inspires and encourages you, is that serving your health and happiness?
Taking inventory of the things that don’t belong on your plate can be incredibly helpful when creating a healthier, happier life.
As a holistic health coach, my goal is to get to the root of a client’s issues. There’s always something deeper than that empty bottle of wine or bag of potato chips, the poor sleep, or the low energy. By examining the things that don’t truly serve you, you can begin to address your real issues so you can finally fix them for good.
Could now be the time to make that career transition so you can get back to your Friday-night-only glass of wine? What about making new friends who share your passions? What would happen if you let go of all the other “stuff” weighing you down to step into the happiest, healthiest version of yourself?
3. Remember Food Is Fuel and Exercise Is Not Punishment
How often do you find yourself finishing a big meal or holiday dinner and saying, “Oof, I’ll have to burn all this off at the gym tomorrow!”
Here’s the deal: One larger-than-usual meal isn’t going to derail your progress, and you should not use physical activity to punish yourself for eating. Food gives your body the energy it needs to do everything from workouts to household chores to taking care of the kids.
Additionally, by equating exercise with punishment, you set yourself up for failure by further complicating your relationship between food and your body. With this mentality, you certainly won’t look forward to exercise! With all the benefits exercise provides you (weight management, decreased risk of disease, strengthened bones and muscles, increased energy, better sleep, improved mood), it’s important you find a way to get excited about exercise. Find activities that bring you joy, whether that’s cycling, sports, yoga, or strength training. It’s an absolute privilege to have a body, and we owe our bodies our gratitude. We can begin treating our bodies with gratitude by moving them consistently and mindfully. There are endless ways to move your body that celebrate every part of you.
This comes down to your mindset, the way you think about food and exercise. Simple mindset shifts like viewing food as fuel and exercise as a celebration will help you feel better about the lifestyle choices you are making.
If you’re unsure how to reach your health goals, consider working with a health coach. Think of us as your personal guide on the side who will hold you accountable and make attaining your happiest and healthiest life even more possible. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a member of our team to get started.