Hey sweet friends,
I remember when I first began my journey towards health. It was confusing. It was difficult. It was extreme. It wasn't very.....healthy. I was lost and there was a whole lot of conflicting information out there. Over the years I've been able to learn through trial and error and I would love to share some of my thoughts.
1. Remember you are a unique person.
We all have different needs. With that in mind, make changes that work for you, not for the stranger you see on Instagram or your best friend who tried a diet and lost 30 pounds. It's so easy to see all this conflicting information and get so confused. What it comes down to is different things work for different people. Don't think it's a black and white picture.
2. Start so small it seem silly.
When we want to change our health it can get overwhelming when we start adding up allll the new habits we want to acquire. Start so small that it seems silly. I bet 90% of people won't do this because it seems SO simple but I challenge you to try. If you want to change anything start here. About four years ago I was a stress case. I was going to start meditating in the morning, so me being me, I wanted to set the goal of meditating 20 minutes every morning. Sounds great right? The issue is there is no way I would have stuck with that in the long run. At the time I was working on this with a therapist and she suggested I start smaller. What did we come up with? Something I could not fail at. 30 seconds was all I had to do. It seems so small it was pointless. WRONG. I stuck with that until it became a habit because it was so simple and so easy. Now I use the Calm app to help me.
3. Focus on how you actually want to feel.
When it comes to our health, It's so typical to get this number in our head and think when we get there life is going to be rainbows and butterfly's. We can reach any number on the scale but if we're not feeling the way we want to feel it's not going to do anything for us. Instead of thinking about a number...think about what you're hoping to feel like. Calm? Refreshed? Happy? Now ask yourself what things make you feel that way. You can read more about that here.
4. If you can't do it forever, do you need to be doing it?
Ask yourself this question. For me, if i'm tempted to try something new I ask myself "Could I keep this up forever?" What I've come to learn is what I can do forever is balance. Nourishing and honoring my body but still enjoying a sweet treat when I want it. Some days I rest, most days I move. I listen to my body and trust that it knows what it wants. This takes time to do but it is such a cool thing when you get the hang of it.
5. Be gentle with yourself and no it's okay that you're not perfect.
Allow the ups and downs. Allow life to happen. Some days you'll get to yoga and some days you'll be busy and forget. Both are okay. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to be human.
Get cozy and take some time for yourself. Pull out pen and paper and make a list of what you want your life to feel like. Next, jot down what things make you feel that way.
I hope some of these tips help you. They're all things I've had the honor of learning in a messy way over the years.
Hanna Kuyper is a wife, a mom and a lover of all things outdoors. She has owned a women only wellness studio, sat on the board of a non profit dedicated to eating disorder and body image awareness and has volunteered as a mentor for girls in school. Hanna has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in eating disorders and body image. She is a currently a virtual body image and recovery coach at The Eating Disorder Center.