This post is part of a 5-part series that I lovingly called my “Getting my Sh*t Together Series” where I dive into the 5 areas of my life that have helped me establish the foundation of my life outside of work so that I can focus on going above and beyond in my day job and passion projects. Check out the intro here, and sign up for emails to know when the next deep-dive posts are live.
The health of your physical body directly relates to your ability to show up and serve the world. The healthier you are, the more energy you bring to all aspects of your life. Conversely, if you are feeling sick, sluggish, or physically uncomfortable, it can discourage or even stop you from engaging with things that you love and make you feel fulfilled.
I was first introduced to the concept of health as a component of professional success in Brendon Burchard’s book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that Way. (It’s a stellar book that I read at least once a year!) In it, he defines one of the habits as “Generating Energy” where he discusses optimizing health. This part in particular is still striking:
“One stunning finding from our research on over twenty thousand high performers is that the top 5 percent of all high performers are 40 percent more likely to exercise at least three times per week than the 95 percent below them.”
Health encompasses physical and mental health and, for the purposes of our discussion today, includes 3 areas: moving your body, feeding your body, resting your body.
Moving your body (aka exercise)
Physical movement is so critically important for your body to stay healthy and support your many endeavors in this life. My goal with physical movement is mobility: I want to be strong and flexible so that I can move through life with a body that supports me and sustains me. My favorite ways to move my body are through yoga (which is why I got certified to teach!), my spin bike (a wonderful quarantine purchase that has blessed my life), walking outside for the sunshine and fresh air, and Beachbody on Demand when I want a strength-based workout class.
The theme that ties all of these together, and what I have found as the key to me successfully working out on a regular basis, is that the barrier to entry is low:
I can do all of these, inside my house, in whatever clothes I have (even and especially the stinky clothes I wore yesterday), with the minimal equipment I already have, in whatever amount of time I have.
All of these options are easy for me to choose, which removes all the excuses I would have to opt out. I switch them up based on what I’m feeling and what my body needs, always aiming for mobility. Maybe I want to do a strength workout today because I am in the mood for a hard workout or maybe I want to do some cardio on the bike while I watch a webinar (junkie!) or maybe today is the day to stretch out some big muscles and engage smaller stabilizer muscles with yoga. When I go for walks, those are often spurred by my mental health needs: the need for sunshine, fresh air, and quiet. These walks can be quite meditative, and I often work through whatever is bothering me or develop a new insight.
For others, they might thrive in an exercise routine that includes a community aspects or lifting heavy weights at the gym or working 1-on-1 with a highly specialized trainer or training for a marathon. Find what feels good to you and move!
Feeding your body (aka diet aka nutrition)
As I mentioned in the intro, I went through an experiment last year with eliminating food groups or otherwise mixing up my diet each month until I found what works best for nourishing my body. I kick-started the experiment by taking a food sensitivity test via Everlywell. Most of us have a weird and not super healthy relationship with food, so the most important thing that I have to remind myself is that I am choosing foods that are good for my body. Other people will have different reactions to different foods, as a result of their DNA and their environment and a million other reasons, so my job is to listen to my body and honor what feels good and remove what doesn’t. Here’s what that looks like for me:
I eat gluten-free 98% of the time, I feel best when I have a heaping serving of green vegetables at dinner, a 16:8 interment fasting schedule works well with my body, and alcohol and dairy in moderation have few negative impacts to me. I also try to drink more water than any other beverage.
I am also a firm believer for the first time in 80/20. If I eat according to the above specifications 80% of the time, and I eat an entire plate of cheese fries and cupcakes from Unrefined Bakery the other 20%, I am still going to feel good and strong and healthy. If I do “splurge” on a meal, I don’t really do anything about that other than try to make sure I have some good green veggies in the next meal.
Special note: I am an unofficial evangelist for Home Chef, a meal delivery service. It is a bit of a splurge price-wise over the grocery store, but I have learned so much about cooking through it and it has helped me further define foods I like and don’t like by introducing me to fun new recipes. This link gets you $35 off your first order!
I encourage you to pay attention to which foods make your body feel great and which make it feel bleh. *Also be sure to consult a doctor for nutrition advice, since that’s their job and for sure not mine. 🙂
Resting your body (aka sleep)
I can’t give too much guidance here, but it is imperative that it’s included as part of health. I have always been a good sleeper, and I know my limitations on low sleep. It’s been said that my superpower is that I can fall asleep anywhere in a matter of minutes, and I have evidence to prove the truth of that. However, if this isn’t you, time to prioritize sleep! I’ve heard lots of tips shared by others about turning off devices an hour before bed and establishing a nighttime routine to get you into a good sleep habit.
Go forth, try out some new ideas, and do great things in the world with all your healthy energy!
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Final disclaimer: These are suggestions based on my personal experience. When it comes to health, you should make choices for yourself with guidance from your doctor and mental health professional when appropriate. Please take care of yourself. Love u <3