The Answers: What do you want your physical and emotional life to look like?
I took some time after I wrote the What do you want your physical and emotional life to look like? post to try out the questions to make sure they would provide a helpful start in sorting out our physical, emotional, and health perspectives and priorities.
Here are some of my answers and what they mean to me. (These may not apply to you as we are all very different, but I thought I'd share them here in case they ring a bell with some of you.)
How can my physical life be improved?
I'm happy to say that since I started eating a whole-foods/plant-based diet, I have seen many positive physical changes--not so much in how I look, but in how I feel and what I can do.
My energy level has increased appreciably. I don't feel so weighed down by the food I eat -- if that makes sense. I would guess that I'm about halfway back to an energy level I haven't experienced in years.
My physical skills continue to improve. I am keeping a cumulative list of things I can do now that I haven't been able to do in a while. Someday, I'll share the list with you. Suffice it to say, I've turned the corner from sedentary to slightly active according to the scurrilous categories on my walking app. That might not seem so significant to you, but I'm thrilled to be taking a deliberate walk every day, and I get up and down moving around all day long without all the grunts and groans of the past. Woot!!! I'm happy with these changes, and I'm not stopping until my app reads: ACTIVE!
I have identified flexibility as one of my major problems. All that sitting took a toll. I am just not bendy at all. I know I'm in need of yoga and stretching.
Coordination goes along with flexibility, and I'm expecting it to improve as I continue to lose weight and become even more physically active.
Ditto for endurance. I expect the more I move, the easier it will be.
Do you need to be healthier to do what you want?
I've learned that consistency with diet and physical activity are keys to health improvement. Looking at these areas has reminded me how far I've come and how much farther I want to go.
Specifically, I have learned that a plant-based diet with minimal to no processed food is helping me maintain my glucose levels and blood pressure within normal limits. So, my goals are to continue to make improvements and to begin to decrease my medications to the lowest possible levels or possibly to discontinue them.
Do I need to be healthier to do what I want? YES .
I have made progress to the point of doing more. It seems that eliminating animal products agrees with me, and I think, specifically, eliminating meat has made the biggest difference. I feel lighter and not as dragged down by slow digestion since I eliminated meat.
Although, I'm thrilled with this progress, I still have more work to do. The next step is to get to the point where I can do what I want with little effort.
Another health goal I've set as a result of this evaluation is to never feel the sluggishness brought on by eating food laced with too much salt, sugar, fat, chemicals, etc. ...
Who doesn't want to be healthier?
Are you emotionally strong enough to make positive changes in your life?
I often wonder how much of our health (or lack there of) is due to our emotions and to our willingness (or unwillingness) to take care of ourselves.
So, I looked at my outlook/depression, frustration, expectations, and mood to see how they affect my eating, my willingness to exercise, and my motivation to take care of myself.
With me, for nutrition and physical activity, it is not a question of not knowing what to do. Instead, for me, it falls apart when I go through a period when progress seems too slow or when all the goals seem insurmountable. When I encounter rough periods, I spin my wheels.
This is one of the reasons I started this blog: to take the huge, life-altering body of information out there and chew on it topic-by-topic until it becomes manageable and helpful. I had to transform it into information I can use with ease to improve my health and fitness while preventing emotions, depression, frustration, and false expectations from undermining my motivation.
So, sorting it all out, my conclusions are as follows. I will:
- continue a plant-based diet with minimal portions of processed food;
- continue walking, and add yoga and stretching to work on flexibility;
- continue educating myself in order to approach all of this through the latest, evidence-based facts.
I know there will be periods of frustration as I move forward, but I think the biggest lesson I've learned from this process is to stop and to take a look at what might be blocking my progress. Then to take positive steps by defining the obstacles clearly and setting about modifying my behaviors to overcome them. For me, addressing problems when they arise is the answer.
I hope this process has been beneficial to you and you have found some answers to overcome obstacles to your progress. Please feel free to leave comments.