All too often we put others needs ahead of our own and forget about our own health and happiness. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people tell me they just don’t have time to make lasting changes in their life (which could improve the quality) because they are so busy and they are taking care of others. Unfortunately it might take a real health scare to wake someone up to realize that not only is it NOT selfish to take time to care for their own well-being, its necessary to make it a priority. Now I realize that’s easier said than done, and if I hadn’t been there myself, overweight, unhappy, completely worn out and dealing with health issues, I would sound like a hypocrite, but I’m not. I know what it’s like to feel like you have put your wellness on the back burner only to find out that no one is going to put it back on the radar for you.
Change is hard, but often the hardest things are the most worthwhile doing. Starting small, making little changes, will add up and soon small habits will become big ones…life changing ones. You will see your health improve and when you feel better on the inside that will permeate to other areas of your life. The joy you had for certain things will return, passions you had long given up will reemerge and soon enough other people will start to notice the changes.
When it comes to losing weight and getting healthy, that can be tricky because putting our health first can sometimes lead to hurt feelings from others, or a lack of understanding and support, even from those closest to us. Not everyone will understand the changes you are making in your wellness, not everyone will support you or encourage you…that’s ok. The fact of the matter is, it’s your health, it’s your wellness and if they can’t get on board then they need to at least step aside and let you get to work. The kids visit to the park can wait until you get a run in, the shopping trip with your mom can be done without a trip to the food court, the anniversary celebration can include lots of healthy options that will appeal to everyone. At first the balance will shift, it will make others uncomfortable, then it will even out and you will be able to navigate every aspect your day around your new-found journey to wellness.
Since making some pretty big life changes four years ago, I know not everyone understands my new way of doing things. I have friends and family who have been super supportive and encouraging, asking me what alternative foods they could prepare to make sure I was included in “get togethers”, or what grocery items I might need if I was heading up to my parents cottage or going away with friends/family. I’ve lost count how many times I have said no thank you to desserts, alcohol, junk food, and a million other temptations, or been asked to skip a workout, run or a gym session because “It wouldn’t hurt to have one bite/drink or miss just one workout”…but it would. That’s the part about making lasting changes, when they stick, people want to know what the magic was, what did you do that hadn’t been thought of before….I’ll tell you right now. There is no magic. Disappointed? The magic is in the simplicity…put your needs first, and for me that meant making big health changes like eating less, eating to fuel my body, moving more, moving with purpose, trying new things, and for my wellness, it was spending time rediscovering things that brought me joy, being active with my family, and challenging myself with new projects or passions and doing it…EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Putting oneself first is hard, but once you do make the decision to do it and the shock waves from others wears off, the guilt you might feel/felt goes away too and you being to wonder why you cared what anyone thought in the first place and why you didn’t make your health and happiness a priority sooner. The changes you make to improve your quality of life by putting your healthy and wellness first will be worth it and you will be successful, just stay the course, and remember you only go around once…so you might as well be your best self doing it.
Be well everyone.
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