It’s often assumed those in the wellness field – personal trainers, coaches, nutritionists, chiropractors, doctors, etc. – have it all together. After all, they know what to eat, which exercises to do, what correct posture feels like, and everything in between. The thing is; knowing and doing are two entirely different things.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is something we each have a different approach to, and something we actively work on each day. This isn’t a one-and-done choice we make or action we do. We’re all dealing with the same issues of balancing the many aspects of what a healthy balance looks like in our own lives; even health coaches!
My love of a good run and a tough workout is what kickstarted my interest in helping others find ways to incorporate enjoyable fitness into their life, but I struggle with balancing my workouts against my other priorities. I’ve fallen into the trap of the Hare Approach, slowly adding a few exercises to my strength training routine, adding miles to a typical Saturday run, then – wanting to reap the benefits of speed intervals – making time for 2 intervals runs. My instinct is that if I have the time, I can fit all these workouts in.
I remember getting anxious on Sundays, staring at my blank Exercise Goal Log, trying to find the ideal logistical fit for each workout. My concern with an early morning client was if I wake up early and get it in before, or wait until later in the day. When we planned long weekends out of town, my first priority was figuring out which workouts I could wedge in.
This is exactly what I preach against; letting exercise become a stress on your life and not an enhancement. I’m happy I find it easy to make exercise a priority in my life, but if I allow it to be my ONLY priority, things are out of balance. I took my own advice, keeping the essentials to achieve my goals, with a volume that I could see doing week in and week out. I also started viewing them as a goal, not a rule.
Just because I know a wide variety of healthy eating strategies, doesn’t mean it’s always easy to implement them. When I had an office job, I routinely ate a snack at 4pm (just ask my friend and coworker, Heather, who when I put my two-weeks in asked, “But, how will I know when it’s 4 o’clock?!”). Working between home, coffee shops and training clients at the gym, I didn’t have a consistent timeline and ended up with a grumbling tummy by 5:30. I was able to recognize the problem and started throwing a snack in my purse and making sure I ate it between 4:30 and 5:30. My point is, these tactics – no matter how engrained in our routines – take effort to continue when things in our lives shift. Going back to what worked is a great approach when presented with a change, but it’s not always an instinct, even for me.
Another area I struggle is a battle for many of you, as well. When attending parties with snacks or appetizers presented buffet style, I employ many of the tactics I talk with clients about. Snacking – as opposed to eating a meal – is so easy to over-do, and while I’ve found a few things that work for me, it’s an area I continue to work on. I am much better at eating something healthy and substantial before so I don’t arrive famished, and try not to stand near the food all night. The toughest thing for me, is not grabbing more of something just because the person I’m talking to does. Also, recognizing that I’m full and that my snacking has switched from, “I’m hungry” to “I’m occupying my hands”. I’m working on it as I help you work on it. We’re all doing this together.
Work-Time and Me-Time
As a solopreneur, it’s completely up to me what my day looks like. While this is something that works very well for me as a self-starter, it’s also a slippery slope. It’s easy to feel I’m always “on”. There is no quitting time. Because of this, I have to check in with my needs that much more, or I’ll ignore signs of burnout. When I’m walking home from a client, I’m often listening to business podcasts. When I’m in line at the grocery, I’m checking my email. It’s Sunday afternoon right now, and I’m writing this post. While I do enjoy all of these things – honestly, I have listened to some great marketing podcasts on a long run! – if I’m not careful, my work-mode will wedge its way into all of my me-time.
I recently put out an e-book, Positivity Through Creativity, that has 52 creative projects designed to let you de-stress and reconnect with yourself. When writing how to do one of the projects, I thought, “I should do this!” I realized I hadn’t done any of these things just for me. That afternoon I took a bubble bath and read my book that had nothing to do with my business. It was wonderful!
So, there it is. For what it’s worth, none of us have it all figured out. While I have studied – and continue to study – what makes up a healthy lifestyle and strategies to make change stick, I, too, slip and have to figure out the best way to implement healthy habits into my life. Each time I help a client create change, I learn something. Each time I stop and realize something isn’t working for me, I learn something about myself.
This is a process that will never end, but that shouldn’t be daunting. It’s an opportunity to discover new ways to be your best self. If you’re struggling with making a change in your life, know you aren’t alone. Talk to your friends, talk to me, and try what feels right for you at this moment. Good luck out there!
Overwhelmed with how to balance exercise, healthy eating, work and your relationships? My 4-Week Kickstarter Health Coaching program is for you! We’ll discuss your biggest frustrations and together, choose 1-2 goal actions to combat what you’re most struggling with. Checking in each week will provide accountability and you’ll start each week with a specific plan of action. Want more information? Shoot me an email and let’s talk!