After more than 10 years of living a healthy lifestyle, it’s become second nature. That’s not to say I don’t have my indulgences or rough days. Just the other day I was craving hush puppies. I didn’t end up having them because I can be impatient. After 5 minutes at a standstill in the drive thru, I left upset but at the same time glad that the delay had derailed my craving. I try to stay on the straight and narrow of healthy living, but sometimes detours are necessary and needed.
I think the health and fitness industry sucks at providing good, consistent examples of what healthy living looks like. Most of what we see is quick and cosmetic. Of course there’s nothing wrong with desiring to achieve a certain appearance, but the key benefits of healthy living are not something we can always see.
Oftentimes we think fixing the appearance of our bodies will fix everything else. This is NOT true. I lost a bunch of weight, even competed in a few natural bodybuilding shows, but I was still sad. Working out and strict dieting temporarily distracted me from the real work I needed to do with myself.
So what’s more important than looking good? Just because a person looks good doesn’t mean they are good. There are people who earn and look like a million bucks, but they are bankrupt in other areas of their lives. They are not well. There are six dimensions of wellness; physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and occupational. These things fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. If one piece is missing or out of place, it affects all the other pieces.
I know many of us want to improve our appearances. It feels good to look good. Trust me, I more than understand. On occasion, I work out at a university gym. While it motivates me to be surrounded by people who look better, it can also distract me from what I know is true about healthy living, about wellness. It’s not visual. As time passes, things like being able to touch my toes or feeling less anxious rank far more important than having biceps that looks like softballs, even though I want those too.
Keep exercising and keep eating better, but don’t forget to take a wellness approach. Strive to be well in your body, your mind, your heart, your spirit, your work, your wallet, and with your family and friends.
Feature Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/betsssssy/5217602169