My HEALTH Secret.

As you probably know by now, I got sober when I was 29. A lot has happened in the time between then and now. I hid my addiction by telling people I was “into health” and yet the beauty of that decision meant that I actually became a much healthier version of myself. I’ve talked about my journey on this blog and in guest articles and on stages and on podcasts and I wanted to share today the most powerful way I’ve gotten “healthy”. I use quotation marks when I say “healthy” because after over 16 years in recovery, I realize I’ve gone though many iterations of what “getting healthy” means to me.

For example, I’ve gone vegetarian. Paleo. Low carb. I’ve cut sugar. I’ve ditched junk food. I’ve done cardio. I’ve weight trained. I’ve kick-boxed and yoga’d and meditated and juiced and tried almost everything in between on a quest to find what makes me feel my very best. And what I know for sure is that until I began to care about my health for the right reasons, I was never going to be “healthy enough”.

Until I stopped doing things in order to fit in to a particular shape or size–and instead, started doing the things that felt like showing myself love–I was never going to be right with who I was and I was never going to be able to achieve the goals I’d set out for myself.

What I’ve found in my own life and in my work with others is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to “getting healthy”, rather it is an ever-evolving process that shifts and changes as we shift and change–as we receive more information, learn new things, feel new feelings and develop new beliefs.

You see, the ever-elusive desire to “get healthy” minimizes the power we have in every single moment to make subtle yet powerful shifts to our health story.

We can get so wrapped up in the look or ideal of what it means to “be healthy” that we can forget how truly remarkable these physical structures–our bodies–truly are.

This body, this vessel that houses our spirits and allows us to move through the world, has very real needs that we often neglect, and it’s when we neglect its needs that we begin to feel unhealthy. SO much of what goes on with our mental and physical health is the compounded effect of the choices we make (or don’t make) on a minute-to-minute, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

In my work with clients, very often, they tell me they want to “get healthy”. Part of our work together is to break down what that means so that they can actually reach their goals. Because one person’s definition of health will not match another’s, and that’s what’s interesting–we all tend to look at ONE picture of health and yet when we break down what health really means to us, we find that things can be misaligned.

We need to paint a broader picture of health and wellness so that we can carve out a plan that suits our lifestyle.

While that fitness competitor or model in the magazine or that gym fanatic at work might have the look we want, our lives aren’t always set up to achieve that goal (and in many cases, we don’t WANT to do the things that would be necessary to achieve that look!). And that is OK. Health has about as many definitions as there are people in the world. We have to abandon this image we’ve burned into our brains if we want to have any kind of real happiness (comparison is the thief of joy, remember?) or if we want to get closer to loving ourselves and our bodies in real ways.

If you know me at all, you will know that while I was drinking and abusing my body, I hated myself. I loathed myself so much that I never considered the effect my choices were having on my body; my health. Finding ways to treat my body and brain with love and respect has changed everything in my life.

Because we don’t show ourselves love when we consistently feed our bodies junk food or when we don’t move more than absolutely necessary, or when we forego sleep to stay up late watching TV, or when we binge on sugar, or when we drink ourselves into a blackout or when we get through the day on not much more than coffee and cigarettes.

And we don’t feel like we are loving ourselves under these circumstances, either.

Realizing that we have the power to feel healthy–through the choices we make– is a powerful first step along the journey towards greater health and wellness. As Glinda the Good Witch taught us, “You always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

And in my ever-increasing desire to help people achieve their goals, I am constantly reminded that we have to be realistic about what we will and won’t do. I can create all the plans on paper–derived from what my client says they want–yet when we hit “go”, it can feel like a fart in a windstorm–it just doesn’t have a lot of impact!

Meeting people where they are and creating a plan that is accessible to them is where I help people re-define “being healthy”. And I truly love this part of my work. Because I believe that unless and until we get real about what we are willing to do, we will continue to sabotage our best efforts.

So, that’s the secret. “Getting healthy” starts with defining what “healthy” means to us. It continues with a desire to show ourselves more love and respect through the choices we make. And it follows with a plan to do so.

We need to give our bodies what they need if we want them to respond in a healthy way with things like elevated mood, more joy, more peace, healthy weight, low inflammation, happy gut, good skin, no/minimal pain, and myriad other health benefits. In my opinion, there is no better way to get started than to consider what these incredible, amazing bodies of ours require to function. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than making a few tweaks to get started. Here are some suggestions:

WATER: We can ALL drink more water instead of juice, soda pop, energy drinks, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages. We can all benefit because a human body needs water to survive…and thrive. Start with tracking what you drink. Then, swap out one or two beverages for water. Keep increasing until you feel great about how much water you drink in a day.

EAT FOOD: We can ALL eat more REAL food–food that our bodies understand and know what to do with. We can ALL benefit because a human body runs on REAL FOOD. It LOVES real food. It THRIVES on real food. When you look at your plate, ask yourself how much of it was prepared by you, with whole ingredients? Aim for more real food options than prepared or  processed ones.You might choose to read Food Rules by Michael Pollan.

VITAMINS: We can ALL eat more vegetables. All of the micronutrients our bodies need are found packaged in vegetables and fruits. Focusing on eating MORE of these foods is always a good thing for our health. Add in an an extra serving of veggies as often as you can until eating several servings of vegetables and fruits becomes habitual for you.

SLEEP: We ALL benefit from deep, uninterrupted, regenerative sleep. Our bodies and brains were designed to repair during sleep, and yet work and light and schedules and stress can keep us from prioritizing this main tenet of health. Focusing on sleep might be the first place you begin when you decide you want to “get healthy”. Research shows the sweet spot is between 7-9 hours per night.

EXERCISE: We can ALL benefit from moving more. They say “sitting is the new smoking” and we are seeing more and more cases of people with back, neck, knee and hamstring problems, circulation issues, weight issues, as well as cardiovascular events and increased risk of death; all from all of this sitting we do. Our bodies were designed to move–they HAVE to move–so moving is imperative to feeling our best. Keep track of how much you sit and how much you move. Aim to create more balance here as a way to improve your physical health.

MEDITATION/STRESS: Did you know that one of the common behaviours of the world’s happiest and most successful people is meditation? In this noisy world, we can all use a little more quiet. Going within in order to hear that still, small voice or to gain clarity or to pause and re-focus; there is nothing like it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It takes practice to be able to allow the thoughts to come and go; but the results are nothing short of amazing. Want answers? Meditate. Want support from the universe? Meditate. Want to help manage cravings? Meditate. Want to be more productive at work and have more time for your family? Meditate. Want to reduce your stress? Meditate. It’s THAT good. Here is a fun FREE meditation experience by Oprah and Deepak that just started yesterday. I would love for you to join me for it! Stress is a killer, and I am really going to focus on this one because life can get stressful! But we get to choose how we respond to stress and we can manage its effects through the tool of meditation.

So, if you are someone who wants to “be healthy”, then I invite you to ask yourself, “What does ‘healthy’ mean to me? “How would I define it?”. Get clear on that and then use your mind to derive a plan to get you to your goals. Use the tool of your own body to guide your way. 

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

 

P.S. Want some healthy goodness to show up in your inbox daily? Then I hope you'll sign up to my 14 Days of Wellness! Simply enter your name and email address to begin receiving positive daily intentions around your mental and physical health. It's free, with no diets, products, challenges or catches...just a chance to remember how amazing your brain--and body is--for 14 days.

P.P.S. Speaking of brains and bodies, on April 21 & 22, 2018, Roger and I, along with our team, are hosting The Healthy Brain and Body Show in Ottawa for a second year. We are so excited to bring this show back even bigger and better! We would love to see you there as an attendee, where we have so much we want to share with you. We can't wait to explore, connect, learn and shop at the show WITH you! Please say hello if you come. Roger and I will both be there the entire weekend. It would be a thrill to meet you. 🙂

We can't WAIT to serve you, so remember to save the date! 

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. Plus, as a thank you for joining, you will receive my 14 Days of Wellness. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

2 Comments

  • Jo-Anne Burlton

    Reply Reply March 21, 2018

    Hi! Thinking of changing my plans & going to your April 21st & 22nd show in Ottawa with my sis, but you don’t mention WHERE IT IS???

    I know you’re busy, but maybe someone else wants to know as well…so perhaps put it on your Facebook page?

    Thanks!

    Jo-Anne

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply March 30, 2018

      Aw, I would LOVE to see you! If you click the link, ALL the show details are there. But to make it easy, it’s April 21 & 22 at The EY Centre (Uplands Drive) near the airport. P;lease find me so I can give you a hug! xoS

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