We often start the New Year with grand resolutions, dramatic weight loss goals and strict dietary regimes. But is this really wellness?
Can we instead foster a more nurturing approach to our health, by looking at what it would really mean to feel better every day? Here we discuss how wellbeing can mean different things to different people, and how to find the path to health which is right for you.
Find Your Why
The first step is to evaluate the areas of wellbeing which would add most value to you, as a unique individual.
Perhaps sustainable weight loss is part of the picture, but most likely you also long for increased energy, better mood, the ability to sleep through the night and an increased resilience to daily challenges.
Remember that wellbeing is not measured on the scales. How we sleep, feel, move and experience each day is the measure of our health. To be well, we need to feel connected to others, have a sense of purpose or passion, have adequate energy levels to enjoy the day, as well as sufficient resilience to handle the inevitable ups and downs.
When we hone in on our ‘why’ we can gain the motivation to proceed in a more healthful direction.
Small, Sustainable Steps
We are often taught that an ‘all or nothing’, ‘cold turkey’ approach is needed to make change- which infers that our willpower is insufficient to moderate our health behaviors.
But, health psychology indicates that when we label things as ‘good or bad’ we create an emotional attachment to food, exercise etc, which negatively impacts our healthy choices.
For example, by labeling chocolate products as ‘bad’ we tend to crave them, and feel guilty once we inevitably ‘cave in’ and enjoy a piece. Instead, we can consider foods, and even behaviours, as ‘sometimes’ options, for example, sometimes enjoying a piece of chocolate whilst watching a movie can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience, not to be viewed as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’.
Whatever your particular concerns are, you can use this time to reflect on how you can meet these needs with small tweaks to your current lifestyle. When we set small and achievable goals, i.e. a ten minute walk at lunch or two minutes of yoga stretches before bed, we gain confidence because we are more likely to reach our goals when they are broken into small and sustainable steps.
Adding In, Not Taking Away
A lot of health advice focuses on deprivation; less food, less sitting on the sofa, less alcohol less chocolate,... But what can we add in to feel good? One more nutrient dense item per meal? Ten more minutes relaxing before going back to our emails? By focusing on what we can eat/ have/do we stop the unnecessary deprivation mindset which is associated with so many ‘healthy’ interventions.
A Return to Health
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when considering all the areas of wellbeing which require changing- but remember that by altering one pillar of health, we have a direct impact on many others.
For example, by prioritising sleep we are less likely to crave the highly palatable foods which can trigger weight gain. Good sleep also lowers cortisol levels which prevents excess insulin production, again impacting our metabolism and weight maintenance.
Similarly, by increasing exercise we not only encourage healthy muscle mass, but also increase our metabolism when we are at rest, support healthy neurotransmitter production and positively influence our microbiome. So you can see how small tweaks in one area have a substantial, beneficial effect on many others.
A Helping Hand
For holistic body and mind support, there are a few key products which stand out. We recommend the WholeFood Multivitamin range for comprehensive wellbeing support. Additionally, our Vitamin D3 is ideal for the duration of winter (Oct-March), to ensure you meet your daily requirements. If you have been struggling with gut health issues post christmas, or wish to support your body's innate immune system then our Multibiotic blend may be for you.
If you would like help in choosing the perfect products for your individual needs, then try our new ‘help me choose feature’.
You get to decide what wellness means to you; focus on your own health priorities rather than those prescribed for you
Identify your own motivation for change which will help you through tough times
Make small, sustainable lifestyle tweaks which fit your existing commitments
Remember health and wellbeing goes far beyond the number on the scales so use this new year to redefine your own path to health.