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We say we value our health and I truly believe people WANT to value their health.  What I have learned about human behavior is that bad habits are hard to break.  Why we do what we do is extremely complex and we are creatures of habit, so we eventually see these habits as life-sustaining, because they are.  They are sustaining the life we have created whether it’s healthy or not.

One of the most common concerns I hear when someone is thinking about making a dietary or lifestyle change is, “I can’t afford it.”  Okay, fair enough, but consider this: why do we drop five bucks on a Starbucks coffee like it’s nothing, but scoff at the thought of paying five dollars for a dozen organic pasture raised eggs?  The truth is, you can’t NOT afford it.  The food we eat is directly related to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  If we don’t feed ourselves well we will be paying far more in medical costs down the road than it costs to splurge for the organic variety.  Most people are surprised to find they save money by preparing their own high quality food.  It comes down solely to what we value, or what we are told to value and don’t question.  WE FIND THE MONEY FOR THE THINGS WE FEEL WE NEED THE MOST and for many people those things include cars, heath care (not prevention), entertainment, technology, clothing, and expensive coffee drinks.  Organic pasture raised eggs rarely make the list. We also don’t see highly influential commercials with celebrities pushing these values.  We see commercials for Coke, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donuts.   

When something catches on or is constantly being pumped into our brains, most of us stop questioning it and go with the flow, even if we know it’s not good for us.  We surrender to our environment.  If everyone’s doing it, it must be good, right?  No!! If I value the ethical treatment of animals and want to eat eggs only if they are raised without chemicals and cruelty, I will find a way to come up with the extra dollar it takes to buy them.  I encourage you to question the decisions you make, even the little ones.  Think about what the value is behind those decisions.  Then you can make a choice whether you want to continue with that action.  I’ve got to hand it to Starbucks, though.  They’ve managed to find a way through their hook-line-and-sinker marketing and advertising to make people believe their product has that much value.  

What we surround ourselves with is what and who we will become.  If improving your health tops your resolution list this year, I’ve got a few inside tips on how to dodge the usual resolution-busting obstacles that typically come up.  

#1:  DIG DEEP INTO WHAT YOUR VALUES REALLY ARE: How much do you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or get into shape?  I think it’s safe to say we all want these things, but how badly do you really want them?  Be completely honest with yourself.  There is no wrong answer.  What do you want more, a healthy body or your morning coffee drink with 60 grams of sugar and loads of caffeine with a donut on the side?  If you haven’t been able to kick this habit, the answer is you want the coffee and donut more, and that’s okay.  It’s doing something for you.  Maybe it’s stress relief from the sugar (because sugar acts just like any other addictive drug), an energy boost because you’re not getting the proper nutrients, or comfort because you aren’t getting it elsewhere.  There are very good reasons we are drawn to junk food and it does provide us with what we are seeking…temporarily.  However, I don’t think anyone likes the sugar low that occurs after the spike in blood sugar, or the constant hunger from lacking nutrients, or the tooth decay it will eventually cause, or the mood swings that result from unstable blood sugar levels, or diabetes which you will eventually get, or heart disease which is the number one killer in America, or the chronic fatigue from adrenal insufficiency, or thyroid dysfunction, or cancer, all of which are direct consequences from eating junk.  Okay, back to your values.  This part is really important.  Make a list and number them from highest to lowest priority.  It may surprise you what is really at the top.  

#2:  HANG AROUND THE HEALTHIEST PERSON YOU CAN STAND: We all have that friend or family member who undoubtedly gets singled out for being irritatingly health conscious.  This person is the one who brings food to gatherings that others look at in judgement and disgust (even though they haven’t tried it) and this is the person who still wants to do their workout on holidays.  Try to put your irritation aside and become curious about what this person is doing that works.  Anyone can make healthy changes, it’s just how we go about it that will determine success or failure.  The difference between this person and the person who is not successful is that this person has made decisions and changes to their lifestyle that prioritize their well-being.  This person is getting more out of good health than what the bad habits can do for them.  If you are chronically stressed and can’t function without your coffee and donuts, you can’t just replace your food.  You must first get to the source of the imbalance which is usually work, relationships, money, poor time management, kids, or any other source of stress.  Maybe you will have to make a job or career change or end a toxic relationship.  As humans, we can only take so much, so willpower will never work if you don’t get rid of the trigger.  So find this irritating health nut and see if you can learn a thing or two about what they have done to find balance and ask them about what their challenges were and still are.  They may end up becoming your best friend!

#3:  SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE: We are American.  We like to do things at a fast pace and we want results yesterday.  Perhaps the most difficult challenge for most people is to allow healing to unfold at nature’s pace, not theirs.  Anytime you change your body it is a process of healing and you can’t rush it.  If you do, it will not last and you will be right back where you started.  Most of us have forgotten how to listen to our bodies.  We are all born with this capacity and if you’ve ever been around babies, they don’t have any second thoughts about giving in to what their body wants.  If you constantly crave sugar, caffeine, high fat foods, drugs, or alcohol, your body is trying to tell you it needs something.  This something is not any of the above.  Those things will just allow you to keep living an unhealthy life without addressing the source of imbalance.  Addressing your imbalances may require more resources than you anticipated, but it is so worth the investment.  You are making changes that will last the rest of your life and that is invaluable.  

Investment is not just about money and not just about what you are going to get right now.  It’s hard to see the value in something that may or may not come down the road, however, the simplest things we can do to take care of ourselves are put good food in our body and move them on a regular basis.  There aren’t any adverse affects to doing either one of these.  Our food becomes our cells and our bodies rebuild themselves about every three years, so yes, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.  You are also what the food you eat has eaten so if you eat animal products, choose organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, GMO-free, and cruelty-free whenever possible.  Your grocery bill will go up a bit, but your doctor bill will go down and you will most likely avoid costly health care in the future.  It’s all about tradeoffs and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay a bit more to prevent an illness than dump all my savings into trying to treat it.  

If you would like to talk more about improving your diet or lifestyle, we offer FREE consultations for Nutrition Coaching and Counseling.  We’d love to get you started on your journey to whole body health.  Remember:

“Problems are not stop signs.  They are guidelines.”  -Robert Schuller

Shawn Clavelle holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor.  Drawing from her clinical nursing experience and own personal journey, Shawn has a passion for identifying the obstacles to good health and guiding others in their own journey.  She has created a yoga and nutrition program which is accessible and sustainable for those wanting to make changes that last.  Shawn believes that what you put in your body and how you move it are crucial to living the most fulfilling life possible. 

Every second of every day we’re inundated with information. Advertisements, news stories, magazines, Instagram, and Facebook posts are slung at us all day long. Some of it we take in and the rest gets sorted out by our brains as unimportant, useless information. Our brains are designed in such a way that we scan the environment for input that’s pertinent to our values and priorities, ignoring that which doesn’t resonate with our own interests. This built-in “brain feature” has it’s pro’s and con’s. 

Think about it. If you value eating healthy, you’re brain will automatically seek out information that supports this goal. However, if you’ve developed unhealthy habits overtime, you’re brain isn’t going to naturally seek out anything that will help you get on track with living a better lifestyle. You’ll have to make a conscious, deliberate effort to find the tools and resources to help you change your ways. This is why it’s so difficult to form new habits! 

It’s probably safe to assume that your mental and physical health are important to you. If it wasn’t, you would’ve read the headline of this and immediately shifted your attention to something else. So, I’m not going to bore you with a lecture on how you should value your health and well-being more. I’m here to tell you something critically important to maintaining good health that nobody else is talking about. Why? Because if every health and wellness professional, company, author, or expert told you this, they’d risk losing your business. 

Ready? Here it is: YOU WILL NOT GET ALL YOUR HEALTH NEEDS MET IN ONE PLACE. It seems so simple, but knowing and remembering this will determine the quality of your health. Let me explain why.

Many people use their primary care physicians as “one-stop shops” for health care. It’s not unusual to view a physician as the expert on health and seek the advice of that professional. That being said, there’s not a single doctor in the world who knows everything, and doctors (just like everyone else) are merely making educated guesses about what’s going on and how to make it better. You could see three different doctors for the same issue and get three different diagnoses. 

This rule applies to ANY field, be it nutrition, mental health, fitness, or chiropractic. So why isn’t it customary to be encouraged to seek additional opinions? Why doesn’t the author writing about the benefits of being Vegan recommend exploring diets rich in animal proteins so we can decide for ourselves what’s best? Why doesn’t the orthopedic surgeon recommend trying chiropractic care or yoga before suggesting surgery? Why doesn’t one mental health therapist encourage shopping around before deciding which therapist is the best fit? (By the way, I ALWAYS encourage clients to interview a few therapists to determine who’s the right choice for them, because I know what it’s like getting stuck with someone who’s a bad fit.)

There’s a few different reasons that explain why nobody is telling you to shop for your health care in more than one place. The most obvious is that everyone is competing for your business. In an effort to get you to buy from them, they’ll convince you of all the reasons why their products, services, or expert advice is the best. They do this by sharing their own results with you or telling you stories about people, just like you, who did X,Y, and Z to get skinny, perfect skin, huge muscles, more hair, less depressed, more confidence, better sex, yadda yadda yadda. 

Now, this isn’t to say health and wellness professionals are being sleazy salespeople nor is it to imply they’re lying or being manipulative just to earn a buck. Far from it. I believe the majority of people making a living in the health and wellness industry are truly competent, gifted, passionate professionals who HAVE had great SUCCESS and can absolutely help others achieve similar results. This leads me to my next point on why nobody is telling you to shop in more than one place; they whole-heartedly believe that they’re the best thing for you. They want to help you and they think they can. They believe it so much that it never crosses their mind that you might get better results by working with someone else, either in addition to or instead of them. (P.S. I am SO guilty of this myself!)

It’s like this: you are a truly unique individual. No one else is just like you. Each and every health provider is truly unique as well and they each work in different ways. Using myself as an example, I have my own unique ideas, perspectives, language, values, and morals. I bring all of that into my work with clients. For some clients, it’s exactly the right fit. I say things in the way they need to hear them, we relate to each other, and we do great work together. For someone else, I might not make sense. I might make them feel uncomfortable or feel like I just don’t get them. I’m for some people but not for all. EVERY health provider is for SOME but NOT for ALL. 

Is it easier to just stick with the first yoga studio you drop in at? You bet, but you might find an even better fit by visiting the one down the road. Is it more convenient to keep all your care in one place? Absolutely, but are you missing out on different information or perspectives that are worthy of considering for the benefit of your health? It pays to pull from MANY providers, places, establishments, and resources when it comes to investing in your health. Would you put all your money in just one stock? Heck no! You listen to your financial advisor and DIVERSIFY your portfolio. It is absolutely essential to your health that you DIVERSIFY your health care. 

You might be asking yourself, “Nicole, why are you telling me all this? Aren’t you trying to generate business at your wellness center? Isn’t the whole point of your business to offer all my health care needs in one place? Don’t you want me to buy from you?”. The answer is “yes”. I want nothing more than to serve you and help you live a happier and healthier life AND I want you to work with other providers too. 

Willow Tree is structured in such a way to provide convenience, ease, and comfort when it comes to meeting your health and wellness needs. It’s why we offer a variety of wellness services in one place and also why our providers work closely with each other to ensure we’re providing you with comprehensive care. But I know you’ll buy from other places too and I WANT YOU TO!! Relying on one person or method or approach to health is a disservice to you and the provider you’re working with. No one can be everything to you. You need variety, new ways of looking at problems, and different opinions on how to solve them. So, you need a whole ARMY of health and wellness professionals!

We both know there’s no better investment than in your health so it’s worth the time and effort it takes to make a conscious, deliberate effort to seek out as many resources as possible to help you be the healthiest you can be. Remember, our brains filter out information all the time, so you’ll have to challenge it to focus on that which you may have deemed useless in the past. It’s never a bad idea to shop around for a provider or work with more than one at a time. Just like you don’t have just one pair of jeans in your closet, you shouldn’t have just one person guiding you on your health and wellness journey. 

If there’s anything we can do to help you with this, please don’t hesitate to ask. Even if it means making a referral to another therapist, yoga studio, nutrition counselor, psychiatrist, or other wellness professional, our only goal is to help you be your absolute best self. 

Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams. Contact Nicole for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. 

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