Better Health Without Adding a Thing to your To-Do List

 
You’re amazing!
 
You’re making great strides in your business, you put nourishing meals on the table (almost) every night and you hold date night as sacredly as your yoga and your run.
 
Yet, for a woman who does all the right things, you still get bogged down by the extra pounds, the fluctuating hormones and the exhaustion that hits you like a ton of bricks at 3 o’clock. Despite your seemingly perfect life, there are moments when you feel like the washed-out counterpart of the vibrant woman you want to be.
 
Somewhere, on the other side of some elusive rainbow, lies the technicolour version you’re not sure you’ll ever get to feel: full of energy, comfortable in your clothes, in your skin.
 
The you whose health is in sublime alignment with the life you’re creating on the outside. The one who can enjoy that delicious life without bloating or mood swings or guilt.
 
Goodness knows there’s always room to improve your diet. A weekly massage would be divine. You don’t do it because there’s so much else to do. Taking concrete action just feels like too much extra work. You’ve enough on your plate, there’s no way you can possibly squeeze one more item onto that already unrealistic to-do list.
 
I’d say that’s one of the most common laments I hear from women: 
 
“There’s no time to cook better meals.”
“I’m too busy to make an appointment with a healthcare practitioner or a bodyworker.”
 
These are the refrains of women who consciously put their own care and feeding waaaay at the bottom of the pile.
 
Guilty as charged.
 
Rereading bits of my journal the other day, I came across this list:
 
• What if my liver were pulsing gently rather than bogging down my digestion or sending me into rages?
• What if my breasts were free of lumps?
• My respiratory system free of mucous?
• My stomach flowing with the right amount of acid? My thyroid metabolizing joyfully?
• My skin smooth & silky?
• My libido recharged?
• What if I went to sleep right now and didn’t wake until morning – rested and raring to go?
 
I had been conjuring what my life could be like if I actually enjoyed the vibrant health I dreamed about – the goals I’d achieve, the trips I’d take, the clothes I’d wear. The details of yours might vary, but I know you’ve got a similar wishlist.
 
How can you possibly find a state of vibrant health without adding a single thing to your list? Simple. It’s a 2-Step process that involves nothing more than what you already do in a day.
 

1. Awareness

You know from your work or any creative endeavour, or even when planning a trip, that you need to set an intention, or know where you’re headed. AND you need to know where you’re leaving from. In this case, the image of what you want your body to feel like is the destination. How you feel now is the starting point.
 
There are clues throughout the day that act as beacons to each. All you have to do is open your heart and mind, listen to your body, and notice.
 
You’ll feel the clues to your intention – how you want to feel in:
• The inner happy dance you do when a client has a breakthrough or a project gains traction;
• The way the fit of your new dress makes you smile in the mirror;
• How relaxed you are during tea with that certain friend;
• Your easy breath and open posture after Pilates or a run;
• The guilt-free, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of that meal you’re eating;
• The pleasure of a mid-morning ice cream cone.
 
All these things are “good for you” – they nourish you on a deep level.
 
 
In the same way, you can discover which parts of your day deplete you:
• Your tight shoulders when a certain name shows up in your inbox;
• How you have to suck in your gut and keep tweaking the buttons every time you wear that green blouse;
• The fatigue that drags you down while chatting with your sister-in-law;
• The pain in your side during Zumba;
• The way your stomach turns when you take a bite of salmon; the irrational mood when you’ve eaten too much chocolate.
 
Though you can’t avoid all of these situations, being aware of how you react to them can help you develop a healthier attitude for how you deal with them.
 
Give it a go for a week.
 
If you already have a good sense of the way your body reacts to life, or you get a good handle on it after a few days’ practice, then go deeper with your exploration:
 
Are there other factors associated to the way you feel?
• Is it the co-worker herself who makes you tighten up, or is it because she’s asking about a project that’s out of your comfort zone?
• Was that meal particularly delicious because of the nutritious ingredients, or because you had an enriching conversation with your sweetie while you cooked it?
• Was that ice cream truly delicious, or was it making you feel better after your client bailed on you? (One clue for this one is if you still feel as delicious an hour later.)
 
In this way, you get to know the more subtle signals and needs of your body. The more inquisitive and open to answers you become, the more you’ll learn – the better equipped you’ll be to steer yourself to what will lead towards the vibrant health you seek. Which leads right into…
 
 
 

Step 2: Follow your sense of delicious

Once you have a clear picture of what lights you up, opens you, relaxes you, nourishes you: what feels delicious, all you have to do is follow it.
 
You hold the answers.
 
As you listen to your body and honestly get to know the way she reacts to the choices you make, the relationships you have, the places you go, the more you trust her wisdom and follow her lead.
 
The more you offer food that nourishes her, move her with exercise that energizes & relaxes and take her out to places she loves, your day will gradually and effortlessly shift into one which supports her health fully. Supports YOU fully.
 
Let me let you in on a little secret here: the more you choose nourishing food and people and activities, your body, having felt the difference, will crave and ask you for those very things.
 
 

The vibrantly healthy version of you does exist. All you have to do is tune in, find her on the inside, and allow her to blossom on the outside.

 

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Cathy Cochrane

Cathy Cochrane is a holistic nourishment consultant, teacher and speaker who helps professional women at odds with their bodies, make more aligned choices for their care so they can nourish this busy chapter of life with peace & flow rather than beat themselves up out of fear that what they’re doing is wrong. She believes a woman should not just survive life’s stresses, but thrive and even blossom into her most colourful & alive self because of them.
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5 Comments

  1. april

    beautiful (and deceptively simple – you have to do it!) 2-step process, cathy. i have been incorporating both concepts (awareness and deliciousness) into my life for the past couple of years (and encouraging my clients to do the same). the amount of freedom and flow i have experienced as a result is undeniable. thank you for your insightful take on a very important topic.

    Reply
    • Cathy

      Freedom and flow, you can’t get better than that. Thanks for sharing your results with this practice, April.

      Reply
  2. Lori

    As I read your “words of wisdom,” I will admit that I’ve been trying very hard to tune into my needs. I think we, as women, give away so much of ourselves to other that we put ourselves at the bottom of the list. I realize now that I must fill my own cup first, so I am making a conscious effort to honor myself. Thank you for your guidance and the reminders!

    Reply
    • Cathy

      My pleasure, Lori. And I’ll continue to remind women wherever and whenever I can – the bottom of the list tends to be our default position – as simple as the practice is, it does take effort (and the occasional nudge) to create new habits.

      Reply
  3. Dana

    Great list Cathy! I’m always tweaking my nurtition and adding new nourishing foods 🙂

    Reply

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