Starting the road to wellness is really like standing right up against the face of a cliff. It is far more enormous than anticipated, and it is intimidating to the lengths of fright and panic.
What stops most is not just the fear of falling. It is the multiple pains that come with it. As the progress slips away, we mourn the loss. We feel the pain of unwellness. And maybe worst of all, we feel the shame of failure and the discouragement toward making another attempt.
Worse, some are halted by a hidden and unrecognizable fear. There is a certain fear that surrounds the idea of success. It sounds ludicris, but entertain the notion. What would life be like without the time and energy consuming struggle with a chronic, degenerative disorder? In theory, it sounds like paradise. But, the absence would leave a huge crater in a life.
All of those things hinder any truly legitimate progress toward wellness.
The place where I began was nowhere near “base camp”. In order to scale a mountain, one must train and prepare. I possessed no rudimentary knowledge of any components of wellness. Before I could even make any attempt, I had to do some heavy research into each individual step in this lengthy pilgrimage.
I began with the part of the health triad (physical, mental, spiritual) that is the most tangible; I focused directly in on my physical health. There are volumes of conflicting and confusing information on diet and exercise. It is a lot to take in, and difficult to put into practice. But, after a few false starts, results could be seen in the numbers.
Truly, I could write a month’s worth of entries on the incredible benefits of peak physical health and the steps toward attaining it. And maybe one day, I will. But, I will express only the most important principles.
A diet is not a temporary solution for weight loss. Diet, by definition, is descriptive of the foods a person does and does not eat. Diets are not meant to be restrictive. Food monitoring (calories, types of foods, etc) should be temporary to give a person a better picture of nutritional habits. The best diets are individualized for lifestyle and nutritional needs.
Personally, physical fitness has always been an issue for me. My vision has always been terrible, and it’s reflected in my coordination and balance. My childhood development of knock knee made exercise painful. That discouraged any participation in sports or other activities that may have helped me develop muscle tone and strength.
Although I started practicing martial arts last fall, I received my first rank in January. It was just before then that I got really serious about it. It wasn’t a hobby. It wasn’t a sport. It had become a way of life. In May, I attained my green belt, which is the theoretical halfway point to achieving a black belt canidate status.
Again, I could write endlessly about the benefits of exercise and how the chemicals work in the brain. It’s possible that I may write more in the future. But, the point is this – exercise has to be a component of a person’s lifestyle that compliments their personality and has consistent, tangible results. For me, martial arts has a solid structure with clear expectations. It’s the best fit.
Once I found the best fit for me, I started to feel better. Not only did the weight come off, leaving me feeling physically better, but I discovered a direct correlation between hunger and my moods. Regulating my meals meant regulating my moods.
That wasn’t the complete fix, though, but it brought me to base camp. It was the first milestone on the way to wellness.