Holistic health is about caring for the whole person, considering physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. It's rooted in the understanding that all these aspects affect your overall health, and being unbalanced in one aspect affects you in others. In my therapy to help a client improve their relationship with food we always take an holistic approach.
There are five key areas which I believe need to be working together as harmoniously and constructively possible:
psychology (self-belief, mindset etc.)
eating behaviour (understanding what to eat, how and why)
environment (lifestyle, relationships etc.)
exercise (activities and movement)
self care (sleep, taking time for yourself etc.)
There is a strong relationship between all the areas and if they are not working harmoniously we are unlikely to succeed fully to find fulfilment or change our behaviour around food (or in any other part of our lives). Tackling one area and expecting to feel better as a whole is misguided and will only lead to frustration.
Think of your own efforts to eat mindfully, manage weight or improve your nutrition. If your lifestyle is hectic, you may not find meal planning very easy and this in turn will negatively impact how and what you're eating. So with the best will in the world, the lack of time will let you down. Or you may know all the practical tools required, but your limiting beliefs about yourself and your likelihood of success are sabotaging your efforts to use them. You may have all the motivation required to eat better and improve your health but have limited knowledge of nutrition, so don't really know what you're doing, or why.
This is a huge part of why diets don't work. Simply going on a diet will not consider your life holistically and it cannot help you tailor these five areas to create a balanced and harmonious existence- the positive platform necessary for success.
Of course, we are all different, with different preferences as to how we want to live and with differing pressures on our day to day lives. So the way the five areas might be tuned to work in balance for us, is always going to be different to others and this is important to remember so that we're not influenced by what works for others. Just because your friend does a Sunday park run, doesn't mean this is the best way for you to move your own body or eating breakfast early might not suit your working routine, despite it working well for your neighbour. It's a definite case of 'one size does not fit all'.
So how is your life set up to allow you to achieve a happier eating relationship with a healthy body and a calm mind?
When I was thinking about this blog I was reminded of Ayurvedic medicine, not specifically for its claims to cure illnesses (this is widely disputed) but in the value of its approach to creating a balance in life, an holistic approach to living well - the harmony between mind, body and soul.
Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and soul.
For me, Ayurvedic living is both practical and intuitive. It's about taking stock of all the areas of your life and asking yourself how they can be improved in a way which is easy, comfortable and meaningful for you. Your mind can certainly be enhanced with positive thinking and a strong sense of self-success. Your body is undoubtedly improved with better nutrition and eating patterns and your soul is enhanced through self-care, mindfulness and an awareness of creating the most positive and enriched life we can. The Ayurvedic approach has been around for a long time and is still considered an essential formula for natural, healthy living.
So take a moment today to assess these five areas of your life. How can they be improved to work together to create an holistic and harmonious day to day? Give or take those tricky moments which we all experience, this is what we should be aiming for. It'll reap huge rewards in each individual area and as a whole - this is the biggest return.
To get help to improve your relationship with food holistically, please get in touch. You can book a free Discovery Call HERE.