Until five years ago, all I could think about was food and being thin. My idea was very simple: if you’re thin, life is great, beautiful, and you’ll have no problems at all. I never would have thought that there are so many more things in life that contribute to happiness. It’s not just about what you put in your mouth. During my health coaching training, many beautiful examples came up on this subject, but the following story has certainly stuck with me and makes it clear at a glance that there is so much more to life than just nutrition.
Wine and cigarettes
It was about a doctor who told a cardiologist that there were hardly any heart problems in his village. Almost everyone died of old age. The cardiologist investigated what was so special. He gradually discovered that the people ate fat, drank wine, and often smoked. He then looked at their genes, but found nothing special. Yet they were much less sick than people from a community who drank their green smoothies every morning, lived a vegan lifestyle, and meditated, a group that seemed to be very healthy. After prolonged research, they found out that the first group was in a state called the relaxation response.
Essentially, the relaxation response is the opposite of the flight or fight response, which kicks in when we are under pressure. When we are in action mode, a number of stress hormones are released, our blood pressure and heart rate rise, our vessels narrow, muscle tension increases, and we are ready to take action. Super useful if you are in real danger, but … our body doesn’t distinguish between real (life) danger or the stress you experience because you have to work hard, want to be thin all the time, and the associated diet stress. Actually, everything that causes a stressed feeling. The opposite of that is the relaxation response. It calms your body: blood pressure and heart rate decrease, your muscles relax, and your immune system gets a boost, allowing your body to recover.
The “unhealthy” group lived in a community where people had jobs they were happy with. If a child was sick and someone needed a babysitter, there were always elderly people who could take care of the child. When they came home from work, they always stopped by one of the people in the community, had a drink together, or ate with multiple generations at the table. They undertook various activities together, either from the church or from another type of association. Older generations lived together with younger ones. There was little loneliness and everyone was there for each other.
Members of the “healthy” group had stress about their careers. If a child was sick and there was no childcare, there was stress about that. Despite their healthy lifestyle, they lived in a constant state of stress and therefore in the fight or flight mode.
So happiness had nothing to do with food here. The people had friends and family, they were happy with their careers, there was fun and relaxation. All things that contribute to someone being happy.
A much-heard statement during my health coaching training was: You can eat all the broccoli in the world, but if you have relationship problems, money problems, or career problems, you need to work on those before you look at your diet. Often, food is “used” to rectify an imbalance in other areas.
Most of the time our emphasis is on what we eat and how we look, but what about other areasin our live? Balancing these areas will make you a much happier person, which will then seep into the rest of your life. If you spend most of your time doing things that make you happy and give you energy, it will also affect your eating habits and your relationship with food.
There are so many different aspects of life. It is wise to regularly examine and evaluate all of these aspects. As always, I am very much in favor of an individual approach and I think it is important to look at what is important to you in your life. There are many different models that keep coming up. I have chosen the life wheel because I think you can see at a glance which area needs more balance. You want the various aspects to be in balance so that you can lead a happy and healthy life and focus fully on things that are important to you..
Wheel of life
To determine which area you would like to focus on the most right now, it is necessary to gain insight. If this is the first time you have done this, you can simply take the areas that are in the circle below.
Place a dot next to the number that currently applies to you based on importance in your life. If you choose 1, you really don’t do anything with it, and 10 is the other extreme. Take your time, think carefully, be honest and positive.
Now fill in the circle again and give numbers for what you would like it to be. Can you think of things you could do to create a higher score? After filling it in, you can come up with goals and action steps to move from one score to the other.
After these tasks, it is clear which aspect of your life deserves more attention. Would you like to work on your goals and action steps together with me? Book an inspiration session and we’ll do it together.
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