Do you feel overwhelmed with all the health and wellness advice out there? Are you always being pulled in a million different directions with the latest fads, diets, and weight loss programs?
You’re not alone. Most people I talk to, especially new clients, feel these same feelings. We have a pretty toxic culture around food and bodies where it seems like everyone is the expert besides you and nothing you do is ever good enough.
Instead of constantly searching outside yourself for the answers on how to best take care of your own body, mind and spirit what if you took a moment to ask what’s important and best for YOU?
Trust me, it’s a lot more effective than relying on other people or society’s ever changing (and usually not scientifically based!) opinions…
Creating a values based wellness plan allows you to find a more joyful, balanced, healthy, empowering relationship with food and your body.
Many times, we don’t even know what “health” or “wellness” really mean to us because our toxic food and body culture has brainwashed us so deeply. Often times we think that cutting out any foods that bring us joy, exercising until nauseous, or weight loss at the expense of mental health is healthy.
This may be the first time in your life you’ve ever asked yourself what “health” and “wellness” really mean to you.
It’s important in your food, health & body image healing journey to get closer to yourself, your body, & your spirit. It will help you when our toxic food and body culture tries to suck you in to their latest fad diet, weight loss program or quick fix.
We do this by aligning your choices & actions to what you value vs. what other people say you “should” or “shouldn’t” do. The best part is that only YOU know what’s important to you and this plan is entirely unique to you.
These next few exercises will help you get closer to understanding exactly what pursuing health & wellness in a healthy, life-giving way really looks like for you.
Creating a values based wellness plan
- Take out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
- Check out this list or Google “values list” and write down every value that resonates with you.
- Organize all your chosen values into 4-5 groups, based on whatever groupings make sense to you. Don’t stress about this, simply group values that seem to go together in each of the boxes below.
- You will select ONE value from each collection that best represents the group. You can think of it as a label or “leader” for that group. Put that value in the circle under each group.
You can set up your paper something like this:
Next, put each of your category labels in a circle, like shown below. You will then add a VERB and make each value into an action sentence.
I act with compassion towards myself.
I embrace acceptance with my body.
I embody a spirit of adventure with food.
I value playfulness in how I approach movement.
Then, when making food & wellness decisions, ask yourself: “Is this decision/behavior in line with my values?”
These action sentences will help you ground your vision of a values-based wellness journey. Returning back to these centered, focused mantras or mindsets will help you to continue to align your food, body, and exercise decisions with your true values.
Some of my clients choose to write them down on a sticky note, piece of paper, or dry erase board somewhere they will see them every day. Since our toxic diet culture is everywhere and always vying for our attention and money, it’s important to remind yourself daily of your values in terms of wellness.
What does health mean to you?
Taking things a step further, let’s discuss a bit more around what health means to you, and how your definition of health relates to your values. This can help you make choices that support you in a positive way in terms of how you approach food, your body and exercise.
I’m guessing you have come to the conclusion that dieting, weight obsession, restriction, etc. are not the answer to the question, “what health means to me.” So let’s examine how you can pursue wellness in a way that adds true joy, health, and happiness to your life.
First, what does health mean to you? Not the definition pushed by media, your family, or friends but YOUR own personal definition of health without any rules/expectations of what it “should” look like. Consider physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual health.
Reflect back on your values to ensure that your definition of health aligns with those life-centering statements.
What does health mean to you?
What would it look like to care for, respect, and nurture yourself in the areas of food, your body, and exercise? (Hint: if you’re stuck, think – does this behavior bring be closer to myself or further away? Is it realistic and enjoyable? Revisit your values from the previous exercise and ask – do these behaviors align with my values?)
What would you like your relationship with food, body and exercise to look like?
I hope these exercises were helpful in getting you closer to the vision of health and happiness that will work for you.
Now that you have more clarity on your values, be sure to check out part two where we dive into setting wellness goals that don’t suck.