I write about all sorts of things that come up in my coaching – love, relationships, time management, character traits… but today I want to address a subject that is possibly THE most important concern (or should be) for me, my family, and my community:
The state of your body during your time on the planet (and how your bad habits might be holding you back).
My dear friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Hyman would, no doubt, agree. A nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Functional Medicine, it has been Mark’s mission to educate people on the state of health in this country and advocate for better practices both personal and societal. His message carries gravitas: that we are currently suffering at the hands of a food system that does not serve us, and every aspect of our lives is affected when we neglect our bodies and harm our health.
That’s a scary truth, and one that many people have yet to come to grips with. Day in and day out, we make bad food choices, avoid exercise, get coffee’d up in the morning, have a drink to relax at night, stress out about minor things and run our bodies into the ground, until we get sick and wonder why.
Why? It’s because your health is THE thing that changes everything else.
It always amazes me to learn how clueless even the smartest can be about this basic human need. I have clients – high-level business men who manage millions of dollars every day – who literally don’t know what to eat for breakfast, and their business suffers as a result of their fatigue. Other clients come to me because they’ve given up on finding love, they’re self conscious about the extra 15 pounds, afraid of rejection – what I really see is someone who has listened to their inner dialogue instead of the voice of their highest ideals. Essentially, they chose the cookie because they were afraid to go for what they really wanted.
For me, nothing is more inspiring than witnessing a new client take on their health and change their whole life through it. When I see a person – especially someone who has never really learned how to take care of their health – really confront the underlying issues of their health and really make big lifestyle changes to address them, it’s almost as if they’re not that same person anymore. They’ve evolved, changed states, their perspective is different, they have different goals and dreams. They have a new life.
What’s getting in the way?
There’s an air of cynicism a lot of people give off when they talk about their relationship with their bodies or their health. With a collective sigh, I hear people shrug off simple advice by claiming that “it sounds unrealistic, I could never, do you even know how busy I am” as though the clock running out is the reason they are having scones for breakfast. I know people who go from doctor to doctor with chronic problems without ever once considering what would happen if they stopped having five coffees a day, skipping lunch and working late on weekends. The narrative I hear so often about a person’s health is riddled with long historical explanations of things both within and beyond their control – but the overall vision of their health is something that “just is”. As in, “there’s nothing I can do.”
People walk around like they don’t have power over their body. Granted, there are instances you don’t – hereditary illnesses, accidents, circumstances (and in these cases it’s crucial that you act in accordance with your needs!) but for a large part, when it comes to your personal health, there are instances you DO have power. Your food, your exercise, your sleep, your daily rituals. And maximizing those areas in your life will ignite other areas to follow suit – believe it and watch it happen.
It’s never too late. It’s never NOT shocking. And, it’s never NOT inspirational.
We all know people who are walking success stories of a major health change. And although they’ll tell you it was the best decision they ever made for themselves, they’ll all agree that it was also the biggest challenge they faced. Why?
There’s an inner brat running your diet. There’s a “weather reporter” telling you that “healthy” is too expensive and complicated. There’s an inner “chicken” who’s afraid to fail again, afraid to go to the gym, afraid to face the facts: that it’s all on you, baby!
Breaking habits – especially ones as socially, emotionally, and physiologically ingrained in us as food and diet are – often takes a fair amount kicking and screaming to get the point across. When I talk clients through this process, I swear they sound like a tantrumming kid. “I don’t wanna!” “It’s too hard!” “It sounds scary!”. But I don’t give into that temper tantrum, and I don’t give up, so neither do they. It’s “too hard” up until the moment you step onto the scale and see real results, or you wake up one day without chronic pain. Or an illness that was impacting the quality of your life suddenly disappears, and you’re free!
That’s what keeping a health promise brings you.
Is it time for you to make a promise to yourself? Can you relate to the examples of negative inner-dialogues I mentioned? As a test, pay close attention to your inner-dialogue next time you find yourself going for the fourth glass of wine at dinner, or ordering cake for dessert, or skipping lunch at work, or whatever it is that you secretly, subconsciously know you’re guilty of when it comes to caring for your health. What you hear yourself saying to yourself might give you a big wake-up call.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on your health. Enlighten yourself to the power you have over your body and food choices. I swear pride tastes better. @LaurenZander (Click to Tweet!)
P.S. If you’re ready to get honest about your life, download my free Art of Being Honest tool! It’s time to brave up, speak up, and open up.
Lauren Handel Zander is the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Handel Group®, an international corporate consulting and life coaching company. Her coaching methodology, The Handel Method®, is taught in over 35 universities and institutes of learning around the world, including MIT, Stanford Graduate School of Business, NYU, and the New York City Public School System. Lauren is also the author of Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap, Face Your Fears, Love Your Life (Published by Hachette Book Group, April 2017), a no-nonsense, practical manual that helps readers figure out not just what they want out of life, but how to actually get there. She has spent over 20 years coaching thousands of private and corporate clients, including executives at Vogue, BASF, and AOL. Lauren has been a featured expert in The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, Women’s Health, Dr. Oz, and Marie Claire and she is a regular contributor to Businessweek and the Huffington Post. Click here to schedule a 30-minute consultation with Handel Group.
Image courtesy of Filip Mroz.