I hate how you open up Instagram or Facebook or any other several health websites, and you see these images of people in their bikini, and it says “how I lost 20 kilos in 8 weeks.” Or “the one thing you need to do to lose weight.” Or “the 5 steps to weight loss success.” You look at it, and you maybe are trying to lose weight yourself, or reach a new health goal, and so you click on it, thinking “this is going to be the thing that helps me get to where I want to go!”
And why wouldn’t you click? It’s in a published magazine, so it must be reputable, the person looks great, so it must be working, and you are a bit vulnerable in this moment, having tried several other things that failed to give you the success you were after.
But here’s the thing: this might not give you success either. You might not need to change that one thing, or take those 5 steps, or follow that same plan. Maybe you will, but chances are, it’s not going to be the exact same.
The path to wellness is different and varied. It means different things for different people. It’s something different for you than for me, and something different for you than for the person in the magazine. Putting aside the fact that the magazine people are airbrushed and unrealistically presented in the ideal light, clothes and tan coloring number (which you already knew), they also have a different body composition than you, different stresses than you, different family and lifestyle dynamics than you, and pretty much everything else different from you. As they should. You are two different people after all.
It’s time to stop focusing on the path that someone else followed to get to where they want, and instead focus on the path that you should follow to get to where you want. Your own version of healthy. Your own path to wellness.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t at some point fall into this trap of believing that doing xyz thing will make me look or perform like xyz person. I used to look at professional runners all the time and think, “well if I can make my training more like hers, I’ll look more like her and perform more like her.” Even writing it now, it sounds beyond ridiculous. I was essentially comparing myself to a professional runner, who runs for their job and can spend however many hours a week it takes to get to where they need to be to perform at a professional level. And when I step back and think about it, it’s not even that I want to perform at a professional level.
And yet, here we all are, looking at these magazines (the professionals), and allowing them to convince us that’s how we can be too.
But the thing is, that’s not even necessarily how we can be, no matter the amount of training and time. We have this other thing to contend with, known as genetics, which actually plays a huge role in dictating the shape and structure of our body. At some point, we each need to accept that how we look or can look is not in any magazine or on any website, because we all show up differently. And unless there’s a picture of you on there, you aren’t going to look like anything else but yourself.
Reaching the wellness and health status you want is a path. It has winding roads, and bumps and curves. It has detours and things that get us off track or try to send us off in the wrong direction. But it’s about embracing this notion that we get to walk this path in our very own way. We get to walk it however we want, going in whichever direction we want to. Stop letting other things, other people, other images tell you what your path to wellness is. Educate yourself, yes. Learn about options for your path, yes. But don’t walk the path that someone else is walking or that someone else is telling you to walk. You do you. You can carve your own path, set your own boundaries, create your own challenges.
Isn’t it empowering to know that you can do this all yourself? That you can ask for help and get guidance, but that ultimately, this is your path that you are leading and creating and following, and that you can do it all on your own. Everyone’s path is different and success will never come by trying to walk the path that belongs to someone else. Success will only come from deciding on your own path and then starting down it and walking it with pride and integrity every day. Foster a path that will lead you to success, because it is only your own path you have to be walking.
Ask yourself what matters to you most in your wellness journey, and where your top priorities are. Healthy eating? Stress management? Fitting in fitness? What about your career satisfaction, work life balance or feeling challenged and valued in your job? Maybe just an efficient self care routine.
There are a lot of components to wellness. What are yours? Figure out where your wellness priorities lie and then come back next week to learn about the different areas to focus on to create your own wellness path.