Common Sense & Common Practice
Don’t wear high heels to a theme park – ✔️
Don’t text your boyfriend during a job interview – ✔️
Don’t go the dog shelter when you have three dogs already at home – ✔️
Don’t start a new season on Netflix at 11 p.m. when you have to get up at 6 a.m. – ✔️
Each and everyday a bunch of decisions come naturally to us because we allow common sense to prevail. We might not even consider the fact that we are actually making decisions about certain things because we can’t imagine doing it any other way. This “doing without thinking much about it” is where we want to get to when it comes to elements related to our health. We want to choose clean, natural foods because it is good common sense to do so. We want to exercise several times each week because it would feel strange not to. We want to take deep breaths throughout the day, we want to drink plenty of water and we want to love ourselves, no matter what. And wouldn’t it be amazing if these things came as naturally to us as not putting our social security number on a Facebook status does?
Here are some tips that might help all of us (ME included – because none of us have it all figured out, I promise) get closer to matching health related common sense to daily common practice:
1. Get super focused on how things make you feel.
This one is so helpful I promise, but it takes some time and commitment (but don’t all good things?!) When I read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (highly recommend this by the way), she helped me take a look at how I thought I could really make a difference in the world. A VERY succinct and powerful thing came to me; I would help others make the connection between what they eat and how they feel. I had to idea what shape that would take, or how that could even actually be a thing – but it became my mission statement. And it applies here for sure. If we all slow down just a bit, enough to do some detective work on the clues our body is sending us, we will find it much more natural to do the things that quiet down the painful clues. We will “hear” our body tell us, through pain, inflammation, fatigue, depression, anxiety and illness that what we are eating, drinking, and doing, is a problem. And then, when we start to eliminate certain things and we sleep better, we don’t pass gas, we become interested in sex again, we aren’t having panic attacks – we will find it much easier to stick to those better patterns of behavior until they become habits. Use a journal, keep notes, be curious and believe in your heart that nearly all symptoms can be traced back to something our body is not processing well. Figure out what that is and you have the power to change your life!
2. Mute all the noise.
How many freaking books and ideas and theories and plans could there possibly be out there? The health and nutrition space is VERY noisy! This becomes overwhelming for sure and makes a lot of us want to just throw in the towel and go eat peanut butter pie for dinner. To really get to a place where certain things become common sense for you, you have to experience them working for YOU! They can’t work in theory, or because someone else said they will – you will need to make that connection in your own life. Eating on a certain macro plan, or intermittent fasting, or juicing or paleo or vegetarian or any of these things all work for some people – and they might be exactly what will work for you – but in order for something to come naturally, and therefore you do it without thinking much about it, you need to go back to number one above and make the connection between what you eat and how you feel. Mute out all of the noise, all the voices in your head telling you the thousand different theories, and get down to basics. More vegetables, more fruit, no added sugar, healthy fats, lots of water. Start there, pay attention, tell everyone else to buzz off, and see what happens.
3. Make long term health your priority.
I will be the first to admit it – many of the things I have tried throughout my life when it comes to “health” had a lot more to do with the number on the scale than my long term wellness. But each day I feel myself gaining more control over that. It is a journey, and I’m not at the end of it by any means. But when I think about how I want to feel when I’m 80 I know that what is most important is that my mind is working (so I need to quiet inflammation in the body and brain and that isn’t about weight loss, it is about nutrition) and I want to be able to move and play and enjoy my body (and that is about exercise and stretching and staying active, not as punishment for calories consumed, but because movement is joy and freedom). I can make eating for health and moving for freedom common practice when I see them as beautiful opportunities to partner with my future self.
And remember, common practice is not the same as always practice. We aren’t going to get it right 100% of the time, what fun would that be? If life gives us anything, it is ample opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Sometimes when I do give into temptation and I eat the cookie dough or 3rd piece of pizza, I use the stomach ache and brain fog to remind me why I don’t do that all the time. I don’t pretend it wasn’t yummy – it was. But I also don’t pretend it makes good common sense to do it very often.
I hope this provides a fresh perspective on something we all struggle with – taking the things we know our bodies need and turning them into habits our mind and spirit help us do.
Until next time friends,
Be WELL –