FIRST, FEED YOUR SOUL

In Features, Lifestyle & Fitness, Magazineby RI Magazine

Be still and listen to what’s really bothering you. Then, taking care of your body actually becomes quite easy.

BY HEATHER QUINLAN

Think of all the diet plans that have risen to prominence: Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, The Grapefruit Diet, The Wheat Belly Diet, The South Beach Diet, The 10 Day Smoothie Diet. The list is endless and deciding between so many different choices is beyond confusing. It’s ultimately fruitless. With the rise of social media, anyone with six pack abs is an expert, meaning there is an endless supply of these programs with new ones being devised and marketed every single day. Just buy the plan that worked for its creator because it worked for his body, right?

Think back: we have all probably hit that point in our lives where everything just fell into place and suddenly your waist line wasn’t a concern. But as life goes on, something takes over and things fall out of balance. Whether it be work, family, health issues, or life transitions. Whatever that monkey wrench in life is, you find yourself back on the hamster wheel, like millions of other Americans, chasing the golden carrot to optimal health—the thing that if you could finally get it, it would make you happy: weight loss.

The problem is, because so many other aspects of your life are out of balance, losing weight could never make you happy. (And it’s pretty hard to do when you’re out of balance, anyway.) Optimal heath is multi-faceted and, for many, it includes weight loss.  It takes some delving into your own life to achieve it and it also requires making the most important person in your life a priority: YOU. That tends to be unchartered territory for many people.

The good news about finding balance is you don’t have to read any fine print of side effects that may include minor things like blindness, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness or maybe even death. The golden ticket is identifying the imbalance in your primary foods and living a truly fulfilling life. As an IIN certified Health Coach, we take food and break it down into two categories. First, there’s primary food: your career, spirituality, physical activity, and relationships. Secondary food is the actual food you put in your mouth. The truth is, the secondary food is not that hard to figure out. We all know we should eat more unprocessed foods and that stopping at McDonalds on the way home from a long day of work and eating in the car is not healthy. And you know there’s no magic pill. We don’t need a book or an expert to tell us these things. We have become conditioned to think we don’t know the answers for our own bodies. Whether it’s because of our need for convenience to have the answer laid out for us or just plain lack of faith in ourselves. You have lived in your body for a long time! You know what makes it tick. You know what makes you gain. You know what makes you lose.

So what gives? It all comes back to primary food? Yes. Some part of the spirt, mind, and body triangle is not being fulfilled.  If work has got you down, change your perspective or start looking for another job. If you are not physically active, get up and start moving. Going back as far as 400 B.C. Hippocrates wrote “Eating alone will not keep a man well, he must also take exercise.” The positive effects of regular exercise on your body are astounding. If you don’t have a spiritual practice, start by sitting down for 5 minutes every day and just listen to your breath. If your personal relationships are draining you, reexamine who you spend time with. When these aspects of your life are fulfilled, even the thought of McDonalds or late night snacking simply disappear.  It’s simple. No pills. No books. No instruction manuals. The only diet that works every time for every body is living a fulfilled life.

Heather Quinlan is a certified Bikram Yoga instructor and an IIN certified health coach. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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