a healthy lifestyle in 2022
[W]e’ve lost ground in other [health] areas, and a lot of them are a function of the fact that we don’t have a very healthy lifestyle in our nation. Particularly with obesity and diabetes, those risk factors have been getting worse instead of better. We haven’t, apparently, come up with strategies to turn that around.
Dear Dr. Collins,
With regard to your statement above, I have a suggestion or two for a strategy that might help turn things around….
- Let’s start by making our health care system about health care and disease prevention rather than symptom management.
- And let’s consider promoting holistic/integrative/functional health coaching for all Americans.
- And let’s make preventative health care affordable for all.
Congratulations on your retirement—I’m so glad you’ll now have even more time to devote to making Americans healthier.
what’s a healthy lifestyle?
As a health coach, I’d define a healthy lifestyle as one in which our primary and secondary food choices support our highest health. We are the healthiest we can be—physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, spiritually.
As my business tagline says, “It’s the food. And it’s more than the food.” Meaning that yes, what we put in our mouths can nourish or toxify us—and so can all the other aspects of our lives that affect our relationship with the food we eat: relationships, career, finances, spiritual practice, physical activity, sleep….
That might sound like a lot of work, bringing all these areas of our lives into some semblance of harmony—and it really isn’t when we focus on what I call the 3 S’s of habit change:
small | how would it look if it were easy?
Somewhere along the line, we seem to have bought into the idea that anything worth having requires the shedding of blood, sweat, and tears? (We might want to put that at the feet of our Puritan ancestors? I don’t see many other countries/cultures having this hangup.)
This is the question I most often ask my clients when we talk about their health journey is: how would it look if it were easy?
Because “I’m going to lose 50 pounds in 3 months” or “I’m going to go from couch potato to marathon in 6 months” or “I’m going to break up with social media completely” feel pretty heavy.
So how could it look if it were easy?
- Losing 50 pounds: “easy” looks like losing 1 pound.
- Running a marathon if you’re a couch potato: “easy” looks like taking a walk around the block.
- Breaking up with social media: “easy” looks like cutting back by a small amount of time or taking an app off your phone so you have to log into your computer to access it. (Yes, it really can be an addiction—another numbing device like food, alcohol, smoking, bingeing Netflix…. If this is on your radar, I highly recommend the book How to Break up with Your Phone.)
simple | what’s your gateway?
It turns out that one (small) health habit can make a world of difference. For some people, it’s changing the way they eat; for others, it might be the way they move, sleep, work….
If you’re looking to break some bad habits and develop some good ones, check out Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit—where he refers to this as a “keystone habit”—and James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
Once you change your keystone habit for the better, Duhigg writes, you’ll experience a cascade of good effects in other areas of your life you weren’t even trying to change.
- Eating better will likely give you more energy—making you more inclined to work out.
- Exercising more will likely encourage you to eat better to support your new habit.
- Sleeping more can reduce your carb cravings and help stabilize your blood sugar.
I think about a keystone habit as a gateway drug to better health—and because we’re all different, only you can answer the question, “What’s your gateway?”
sustainable | what’s one small step toward feeling better?
In my coaching practice, I talk a lot about spectrums (spectra?):
- The whole food spectrum (green apple-flavored candy on one end, whole apple on the other)
- The eating style spectrum (carnivorism to what my father referred to as vegeterrorism)
- The cooking spectrum (fast food drive through to cooked at home completely from scratch)
- The physical activity spectrum (a walk around the block to a marathon; gentle stretching to HIIT training)
- The sleep spectrum (3–4 hours to 9–10 hours)
- The screen time spectrum (2–3 hours to what feels like 24/7)
- You get the point….
To make the shift, my suggestion is that wherever you are on these spectrums, you try moving one tiny step toward the end you KNOW is better for you. Most of us find that we settle somewhere in the gray area in between the two extremes.
Yes, you really do know this intuitively: listen to your own body more than you listen to anyone else (especially your family, friends, coworkers, and the guru du jour) about this.
And remember: YOU are the expert on you: you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t after just a few days of trying something new out.
want to grow a healthy (or at least healthier) lifestyle in 2022?
Here’s how I’ll be helping you do that at Simply: Health Coaching!
baby steps series
Each month, we’ll be taking one baby step toward better health: there will be a blog post and an email about it, and you’ll be invited to join a GroupMe thread where we can give each other support for our challenges and celebrate our wins. In my effort to make health coaching accessible to and affordable for Every Body, this series is 100% free and open to all.
Each month*, I’m presenting two workshops:
- It’s the food: join me the first Sunday of each month for a virtual Fl!p Your K!tchen® session. I’ll be doing a virtual cooking/meal planning class that will include a lot of nutrition information about whole foods as well as teach you some basic cooking and meal planning skills. The best part? When you register, you’ll get the recipes and other materials ahead of time, so you can cook along in your own kitchen!
- It’s more than the food: join me the first Wednesday of each month for a virtual Mid-week Wellness Workshop. We’ll take on a wide range of Integrative Nutrition®/holistic health topics from goal setting to the best way to eat, from better sleep hygiene to elimination diets and more. Each workshop is highly interactive and includes worksheets and other downloadable resources.
- You can follow me on Eventbrite and be notified when new sessions are available for registration. To make these events even more affordable, I’m offering an annual membership at a special price through the end of December.
*I’ll be taking August and September off from workshops—I call this “time off for good behavior” for my clients. Not that they’ve been good and get time to cut loose too much but that they’ve developed enough good habits that they can test themselves a bit to see whether they can make good choices without me holding them accountable!
healthy lifestyle workshop calendar
FL!P YOUR K!TCHEN® sessions
- January: grains + greens
- February: braises + basic vegetable preparations
- March: sauces + pickles
- April: stirfries + steamed fish
- May: eggs + breakfast for dinner
- June: grilled foods
- July: salads of every stripe
- August (time off for good behavior)
- September (time off for good behavior)
- October: animal proteins 101
- November: stocks + fall veggies
- December: soups + dried beans
mid-week wellness workshops
- January: What’s the best way to eat?
- February: Kale + kryptonite
- March: Goals + intentions
- April: Constant cravings
- May: Elimination diets
- June: Sweet dreams
- July: Distress/De-stress
- August (time off for good behavior)
- September (time off for good behavior)
- October: Meal Planning Made Simple™
- November: Declutter Your Daytimer™
- December: Detox 101
make the connection
Let’s prove Dr. Francis wrong in 2022! There are plenty of strategies for developing a healthy lifestyle—you can take advantage of my offerings or find others that suit you better.
If you’d like to take advantage of the Simply: Health Coaching annual membership, what are you waiting for? It’s specially priced through the end of 2021—and it makes a great gift for yourself or someone you love!