I was watching a YouTube video on the ins and outs of keto. (Keto is an eating plan that is high in fats, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates). While I was listening, I scrolled down to the comments. Someone simply wrote “I’m going out for pizza now.” (Pizza is forbidden on keto). The reason why that comment is so funny to me is that it hits at the heart of why so many diets fail.
Diets, as they are generally practiced, are abnormal ways of eating that require various levels of restriction and deprivation. Most of them are successful in the short term. Almost all of them fail in the long term – either because people simply can’t sustain the deprivation, or because the diet itself is unbalanced, or both.
I’m not knocking keto. I tried it for a while. It’s definitely not for me, but it works for many people, at least in the short run. In the long run, most people do not want to constantly have to avoid carbohydrates, including most fruits, and eat large amounts of fat. It requires vigilance to stay in ketosis, and most people have other priorities in life.
This is why my approach to diet and exercise emphasizes wellness, not weight or fat loss, or any particular exercise. Wellness is not restricted to our physical appearance, or even our “stats” such as body fat percentage and blood pressure. Wellness incorporates our mental, emotional, spiritual, social, family, financial, and career health. Our life structures must be in balance for us to be truly happy and healthy.
It is often practical to focus on one aspect at a time, but it is not healthy to emphasize one aspect of wellness to the exclusion of all others. In other words, it makes no sense to diet and exercise yourself down to a certain size while your finances and marriage fall apart. It makes no sense to gain the perfect career and make a lot of money, while your spiritual, emotional, and social lives dwindle away to nothing. There is no happiness in a grossly imbalanced life. And things like chronic stress, depression, and isolation are just as potentially health-damaging as elevated cholesterol numbers.
So, the people I coach should be on board with approaching diet and exercise from the perspective of wellness. Setting goals in one or two areas is wise – but with the goal of achieving a life of harmony, where every aspect of wellness is valued and cared for. Stress is slowly killing us. We don’t have to sacrifice excellence in order to manage stress. We can approach life with grace and ease, full of confidence that, in the end, all is well.
If you are looking to achieve specific wellness goals, please feel free to contact me for more information on health and wellness coaching.
Peace and love,