The Power of Being Honest with Yourself
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Why Health Integrity Matters, or The Power of Being Honest with Yourself
Once upon a hunter-gather time, people generally lived in accordance with what made them healthy. Even in the best of personal circumstances and choices, many succumbed to all manner of prehistorical threats.
Still, in terms of lifestyle, the health imperative was there. They had to move. They had to eat real food. They lived and slept generally speaking by the cycle of their circadian rhythms They got sun. They socialised. There just wasn’t reason to question any of it because few if any alternatives existed: next brand, same options
Today we have infinite possibilities, and we suffer as well as benefit a great deal for it.
We have the option of sitting on the couch all weekend watching a Game of Thrones marathon.
We have the potential to eat at McDonald’s for thirty days straight.
We can buy a pack of cigarettes despite the fact we’re hooked up to an oxygen tank.
We can have our doctor up our insulin dosage and buy a large Slurpee or a Krispy Kreme on the way home.
We can stress ourselves to our last, pathetic nerve (and adrenal exhaustion) by living on too much work, too little sleep, too much worry, and too many stimulants.
We have the choice – and that’s exactly what it is: a choice. Whatever our past, whatever our present condition, however, we are always free to make a different next choice.
We can talk physiology until we’re blue in the face. We can read and learn what’s really healthy until we could fill a book or a blog ourselves. We can have a kitchen full of healthy cookbooks. We can listen to our doctors’ most enlightened, encouraging words.
In the end, however, it doesn’t come down to know-how or how-tos. It’s about how willing we are to accept personal responsibility for our health.
It’s a hard and, for some, harsh word. In a culture that glorifies rampant immaturity and immediate gratification, the concept can seem like a major buzz kill.
When it comes to health, I think the association is especially true. It’s okay to work out, for example, but no one wants to be seen taking it too seriously.
Even major athletes joke about the junk they eat and rake in the bucks starring in fast food ads. It’s okay to shell out for grass-fed beef, but the minute you turn down dessert, you’re a killjoy who’s trying to make other people feel bad.
Sure, the massive health problems in our country are in part fueled by false medical messaging that leads well-intentioned people down the wrong roads in search of health.
Much of it, however, can simply be attributed to an unwillingness to buck up, take responsibility choice by choice, and live with health integrity.
By health integrity, I mean an honesty to one’s self, a commitment that begins and ends with one’s self, an inner compass that has nothing to do with the outside world.
To cultivate that kind of health integrity, we have to acknowledge that everything counts.
There are no games, no hiding, no pretending no excuses. That doesn’t mean people with health integrity don’t eat a dessert sometimes, but there’s no emotional ruse or hand-wringing to it.
You own it –for the good and bad. you don’t blame outside pressures or people. You don’t deal in regret.
Part of the problem is a misplaced fascination with the transgressive. Somehow cheating ourselves is the ultimate gratification.
We mistake indulgence for decadence, discipline for deprivation.
Healthy behaviours are assigned the boring, white-hat, “moral” role in our culture. Being healthy is about hard work and self-sacrifice. Choosing health is about saying “no.” At least that’s the message we get.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Mountain Dew adventure and Doritos-inspired hilarity that could fill our days – if we were only so bold and rebellious.
You live with health integrity when you truly own your journey, when you realise it’s yours and yours alone.
You stop living the old blame game and buying into the false beliefs, the pedantic guilt trips, the false marketing messages, the cultural labels, the past-imposed limitations and identities.
There’s a really amazing freedom in that decision. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the beginning of your journey with fifty kilograms to lose and a collection of lifestyle conditions to beat or if you’re at your ideal weight and healthy but want to know what it is to thrive in new ways.
It’s your journey, and from here on out, you get to define it.
You don’t make the rules of physiology, but you do get to design the vision you will live out each day.
In that way, living with health integrity suggests a level of authenticity and self-determination. Once you accept (not the cerebral, oh-it’s-good-for-me kind of logical acknowledgement but the gut-level, psychically moving, surrendering to, kind of assimilation) your journey as your own, you take pride in your health. Cultivating a sense of well-being opens up your life rather than restricts it.
It’s not about self-restraint but self-possession.
The more you practice and hone it, the more you come into yourself. Discipline encourages creativity rather than resentment. It’s less about control than composure in the face of daily challenges.
Likewise, as much as health integrity calls us to live from a personal centre, it doesn’t make us self-centred. When we’re good with ourselves, when we have genuine self-respect, we can live in relationships more authentically and productively with others. No longer an enabler to ourselves, we can offer honest and meaningful help to others.
Do you often say you “want” to lose weight, or are “trying” to lose weight, yet never really seem to get results? Maybe it is because you’re not being completely honest with yourself.
As a coach, I make it crystal clear with my clients, they are not accountable to me (or anyone else for that matter) but only accountable to themselves.
That’s not to say I don’t guide, motivate and question, but at the end of the day, your results and your life are entirely up to you. When you break the cycle of subtle dishonesty with yourself, the rest is actually quite simple and just takes some time and patience.
If you are someone who feels stuck in their weight-loss or health journey, start with questioning yourself first. Here are my top 5 ways for you to create honesty and accountability with the person who matters most, you.
Strategies I personally use.
PUT ON SOME JEANS.
I realise this might sound silly or downright frightening to some of you but trust me, jeans will keep you honest.
With so many of us moving from office to home-based workspaces during Covid
Has given flexibility to basically wear whatever We want while working.
Not a great idea!
Sitting around all day in comfortable clothing only leads to complacency and a disconnection to your body composition.
Same goes for those of you who do not stay around the house but use yoga pants as a daily staple in your wardrobe. Get the yoga pants off unless you are hitting the gym! (this is an added fashion tip too…just saying ;)
Wear the clothes each day that bring out your best. This will boost your spirits and keep you on track with healthy eating and movement.
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU EAT.
While I am not a big fan of tracking your daily food or counting macros for the long-term, there is value in taking a written inventory of how much food you are consuming throughout the day.
Mindless snacking while standing up, eating what’s left on your kids’ plate, or grabbing a handful (or two) of nuts while on the go is a sure way to overindulge in high caloric, low nutrient foods.
At the end of the day, you feel hungry and can’t figure out why the weight isn’t coming off because you “aren’t eating that much.”
Weight loss happens with mindfulness. When you write down EVERYTHING you eat, you will get a reality check. You may be over-snacking, missing vegetables or under eating and causing excessive stress and hormone disruption.
JOURNAL YOUR MOVEMENT FOR AN ENTIRE DAY.
A big part of reducing body weight comes from movement but unfortunately, most people don’t move enough. Between riding in the car, sitting at work, sitting while eating (hopefully), and sleeping 6-8 hours per night, we aren’t left with enough movement.
Get out a notebook and write down everything you do in a day with the exact times you do them.
Mark an “S” for sitting, or an “A” for active for each time frame and add it up! You’ll be surprised by just how much time you sit in a 24 hour period.
If you find you’re sitting far too often, get up!
Movement doesn’t have to be formalised exercise. Add simple things to your day like going for a brisk walk or getting a stand up desk for work.
TRACK THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA
By far, the number one reason people give for not reaching their goals is a lack of time. I don’t buy it!
What you really need to determine is HOW you are spending the 24 hours you get each day.
Challenge yourself to set a timer each time you get onto social media. It is alarming! There is no doubt we are living in a world that seems to be spinning at top speed but the fact is, you control how you spend your time.
If you claim you don’t have 1-2 hours per week to prepare your meals, shut off your phone or computer and you will instantly have the time!
DECIDE WHAT IT IS YOU REALLY WANT
The truth is, weight loss simply for the sake of a number on a scale or a size label inside of your jeans isn’t enough to hero you motivated.
If it was, 2 out of 3 Australians would wouldn’t be overweight or obese. You need to take a deeper look inside and find out what is really holding you back. Life takes its’ toll on all of us.
Emotional damage, lack of sleep, overloads of stress and unresolved conflicts can keep us from acknowledging why our health really matters. We then connect to superficial reasons to lose weight and struggle to stay consistent.
Search your soul for what matters MOST in your life and be HONEST when assessing how your current body allows you to live. YOU MATTER.
You have a purpose for being alive and when you are living in your most confident, healthful self, your true purpose will shine. The fact is, we all lie in small ways to help suit our lives. But the little lies we tell ourselves everyday become a distorted reality.
A reality that inhibits us from living our most fulfilling life. The less time we spend with the truth, the harder it is to accept. Start being honest with yourself and the weight will come off. I promise.
The power you possess within yourself can assist you to decide to change any aspect of your life, and specifically your weight.
I hope I have inspired you to take the time to monitor your daily eating habits, to consciously decide what to eat, and to identify what prompts your cravings for food.
It is not often we realise how often we use food as a means of emotional comfort, or simply, how often we eat or have snacks.
Nevertheless, there are certain aspects that can impair your decision-making process. In order to make confident decisions, you must be able to be honest with yourself.
We all know that the majority of people find it very hard to commit to losing weight or controlling a craving. The phrase we most often hear from people trying to lose weight or to quit something they crave is: “I’m struggling”.
How refreshing would it be to instead hear: “I’m lazy”, “I’ve settled”, or “I blew it”. These are places from where you can actually move; maybe not without lots of effort, but to say that you’re struggling is more an excuse to indulge yourself than the truth of what is actually going on in your life.
There is no need to be overly self-conscious or feel guilty for not being ‘better’ in your own eyes or in the eyes of others. This is all about being true to YOU.
Logically, you can have regrets, and actually, remorse can be a very powerful decision-making mechanism; however, beating yourself up can ruin your progress as much as lying to yourself.
Think about this… most overweight people, and some skinny ones too, are compulsive eaters. If you ask them, or yourself, “Do you wish to eat a chocolate bar every day for the rest of your life?” the answer will probably be, “certainly not!”
And if I asked you, “Do you want to set yourself free from food addiction, feel energised and happy every day?” you would most likely answer, “Yes!” because that’s what you wish deep down in your heart. The desire is there even as you painfully indulge.
For many, that desire just remains in an unfulfilled state because of an addiction, a craving, and a feeling fat mindset that controls them.
You probably want to eat a chocolate bar; but also, you are not always hungry for junk food, right?
Compulsive eaters experience a temptation rush that stirs their emotions producing a feeling of pleasure. These rushes are always triggered by something or someone. It can be the hurtful words of a loved one, a feeling of insecurity or depression because you are not in control, having a bad day at the office, and so much more.
Food seduces you with its comfort, and once that feeling is fulfilled, it then can overwhelm you with guilt and despair.
The relief: you tell yourself you will be stronger next time.
It is not realistic to say you can compromise, that you will only indulge from time to time. There is no success in settling between your two heart’s desires.
Thus, how do you succeed in making THE decision and sticking with it?
We will explore this next.......
So proud of you all! Keep up the amazing work!