Why Healthy ‘Practice’ Works Better Than ‘Exercise and Diet’

Don't give up

How’s your health ‘practice’?
This summer I was away at a spiritual retreat on a lake in the woods. It’s good to get away from your regular routine from time to time. Stepping outside your ‘regular self’ helps you gain perspective, and be open to new ideas.
I was invited to attend as an assistant to a friend who was chaplain for the week. She has been a hospital chaplain, grief counsellor and nutrition manager, so she is involved in areas of wellbeing that are a bit different from my zones.

Even though I did have to bring my academic work with me and carve out a little time each day for it, I still participated in as much of the retreat experience as I could. I also got right into a book I found in the chalet (about habits..see previous post). She and I had lots of time to talk about the kind of health and mindfulness getaway we might run together one day, and about our approaches to helping people with their wellbeing goals.
She reminded me of a period years and years earlier when she had been a client of mine, and filled me in on more of the details of her health and fitness journey since that time. I really respect her perspective because as a counsellor and chaplain she is very good at compassion. Also, she is a cancer survivor.

She shared her secret with me: she said ‘you know, I don’t think of it as exercise or diet any more. It’s my health ‘practice’. ‘

We talked about that idea because it really resonates with me.
I’ve noticed that when you feel like you are on some kind of punishing regimen, negative motivators kick in and people often don’t stay ‘on the wagon’ very long. When it’s just part of your life…it’s just part of your life.

Sitting on the deck of the chalet, watching the lake, we agreed that you become the person you ‘practice’. Perhaps not the body-building model or bikini-body…but most of us really want fitness because we want fullness of life. We want to feel good in our skin, attractive, able to fill our lives with activities that are fun or meaningful.
And that’s the secret. Use the rest of your time off this summer to ‘practice’ healthful, fun activities. Don’t be hard on yourself if you fell off of an exercise plan. If exercising at all is hard for you, chip away at BEING by DOING a little bit every day.
So, what can you go do today to honour yourself with the practice of health and wellbeing?

(c) Heather Sansom. You may share this article through social media, however reproduction without permission violates copyright law.
Heather is a coach, consultant and researcher in wellbeing and sport.
Info about life and wellbeing coaching: www.moveforwardnow.ca
More information is available at www.heathersansom.ca

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