I’ve been a healthy living guinea pig for quite some time now. You name it, I’ve tried it. Some of those trials were done in the name of science to share with my clients and followers. Others were born out of a genuine desire to up-level my own health… And then, of course, there were all the things I did to try and change my body into something I could love or at least like. From all of this trial and error came an essential learning: There are a few basic truths we know about health, and there are many variations that come from those truths. The variation that will work for you is simply the one that you can stick with over the long-term. All of this begs the question: What is the key to creating that coveted consistency in your health lifestyle?
Yep, that’s it. To achieve consistency in your health and wellness, remove the resistance.
What does that even mean? Let’s start with some examples of various forms of resistance.
Resistance is meal prep that takes you 8 hours to complete… Not including the hours spent on Pinterest researching healthy recipes and piecing them together to create what you think could maybe possibly result in a week’s worth of meals.
Resistance is the workout you absolutely freaking hate but go to anyway, despite your dread.
Resistance is the FOMO you feel when you’ve opted to stay home from your friend’s birthday dinner out of fear of going “off plan” for the night.
The problem with resistance goes beyond the fact that it doesn’t feel good. If we could feel all that and continue on our “healthy path,” that’d be one thing. But most of us don’t because that’s not the life that we want. The problem for most of us is that when we feel that resistance for an extended period of time, we give up. We jump ship. We revert back to our unhealthy, unintentional patterns.
So how do you remove resistance to create consistency in your healthy lifestyle? It’s just three little steps.
Keep it simple.
Don’t let the clutter and noise in the health space overwhelm you. Shield yourself by simply focusing on the five pillars of wellness:
Nutrition: Eat food! Focus on listening to your body’s hunger & fullness cues and eating *mostly* whole, nutritious foods that support your body. (Remember that excessive stress runs counter to your health, too, so don’t bring that on to your plate!) If you need support tuning in to your body’s internal wisdom, check out Nutritional Freedom.
Hydration: Drink enough water so that your urine is a light lemonade color.
Sleep: Secure 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Stress management: Stress is toxic to the body. Explore various methods for coping with your stress, and prioritize their use.
Movement: Build more movement (stretching, walking, stairs, etc.) into your daily life and find a form of exercise that you enjoy.
Enjoy the process.
As you’re working through developing your own unique strategy for each of the five pillars, I want you to ask yourself, “Am I feeling resistance? If so, where? Why?” If you’re just getting started, you might have some growing pains or a learning curve to overcome. Those are normal feelings you’ll move past with time as you develop competence in these areas and create new habits. Resistance feels more like stress, anxiety, dread, etc. If you’re feeling any of those, then chances are, the strategy you’re implementing isn’t going to stick for long.
Put it on autopilot.
Autopilot comes in two forms here: routines and outsourcing.
Routines are how all of this healthy living stuff becomes an easy, seamless part of your life. If you have to reinvent the healthy eating or exercise wheel with each new week, then you’re likely to start feeling some resistance. Work on developing habits and creating systems that allow you to perform the behaviors related to each of the five pillars without much thought.
For example, part of my morning routine is drinking one liter of water (Hydration) before I do anything else. Every week, I have my Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday workouts (Movement) scheduled in my calendar.
(If you struggle with forming new habits, check out Habit by Charles Duhigg for more on the subject, including some helpful strategies.)
And then there’s outsourcing, which is something I’ve become a huge fan of as my time has become more limited since I started my business. I consistently outsource my grocery shopping (Nutrition via Instacart, Thrive Market) and home cleaning (Stress management). I’ll also outsource my meal prep (Nutrition via Snap Kitchen) when I’m running especially short on time. I used to think these types of services were excessive luxuries, but now I understand that they’re tools I can use to buy myself more time, which is absolutely invaluable to me.
The way I see it, if what I pay to outsource my grocery shopping will prevent me from having to rely on less healthy/more expensive meals at coffee shops or restaurants, it’s totally worth it.
I hope you walk away from this post with an understanding that you’re not wrong, broken, dumb, stupid, lazy, etc. if you “couldn’t stick with” counting macros, Weight Watchers, CrossFit, keto, intermittent fasting, SoulCycle, or going plant-based. And it’s not that those approaches are necessarily wrong, broken, or stupid either. It’s that you simply weren’t a match for each other because there was likely too much resistance. And now you have a strategy for circumnavigating that resistance in order to find an overall approach to healthy living that truly works for just for you.