In improving your overall health, wellness and fitness, it can feel a minefield. Where do you or should you begin?
There’s not one definitive, correct answer. Everyone’s different and may find a certain area more accessible to begin with. Each change is a gateway for more change.
Whilst everyone’s health and fitness journey may look a little different, here are some ideas about where to start or what to prioritize.
Get your basic biology working for you. This is SO important, I cannot stress it enough. It’s so hard to achieve other aspects if you live in a body that is not functioning at its best. If you feed your body ‘junk’, then your body makes its new components out of that less than optimal nutrition. Add more nutritious items into your daily meals and snacks (instead of cutting things out) - leaving less room on your plate and inclination for foods that support your goals less. Move your body. There is this vicious cycle of feeling too tired to exercise - so your energy levels dip lower still as you become more unfit. Your body was designed to move. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, but each day and week, move more. Apply this CONSISTENTLY before you move on. Funnily enough, most people skip this step - it requires effort, and consistent effort. But it's the step that the vast majority of people should be focusing on!
As part of the step above - address deficiencies. Common deficiencies include sleep, hydration, fibre and stress management. If you’re only consistently getting 4-5 hours sleep a night, there’s only so good eating your fruit and vegetables is going to make you feel. Start with one; create some small habits around it to improve it and then move on. Don’t try to tackle everything at once! Maybe work with a coach to work through each one of these areas effectively and in a doable way.
Now your feeling and looking loads better, giving your body the opportunity to feel and function how it is supposed to feel and function, you can turn your attention to fine-tuning and optimising. This probably comes after weeks and months (even years) of focusing on the first two steps. What foods and exercise do you enjoy or like less? Maybe you can start now to manipulate food timings, such as when you eat your protein and your carbs. Maybe you take on a more specific training schedule, or integrate a specific supplement. Everyone wants to start with this step! But focusing on the fine tuning before you’ve given your body the chance to actually function optimally is a bit like throwing glitter at a turd. Only a little will stick and you’ll get tired doing it.
Constantly adapt, learn and grow. Explore other wellness ideas and methods. This isn’t an entirely step-by-step process - maybe some of these actually come first and are gateways to changing mindset that then influence some of the other factors. But it might be pretty hard to focus on some of these in a tired, low-energy, struggling body - refer to the turd analogy again! Maybe now you start to explore meditation or different types of meditation - but maybe meditation also affects your mindset in a way that makes participating in exercise more doable. Explore sound therapy, rolfing, visualisation, affirmations or sports massage. Learn about vulnerability, the philosophy of yoga, habit forming or more in depth methods of improving your sleep. Do the work on yourself mentally such as healing past traumas, setting boundaries, and questioning your stories and beliefs that limit you.
Learn from an expert. This one applies to every step. There’s always someone a step ahead of you in the journey - utilise them and even if you’re in a great place and doing loads of great things, a different method or idea could still work better for you. Use other people to inspire and encourage you. We’re stronger together. Reach out and connect with someone who can help you.