This isn’t going to be an easy read.

But it’s an important one. A necessary one.

If you’re reading this, you want the same thing we all do: to feel good. Optimal health is a big part of feeling good. But of course that’s not news to you.

We know most of what it takes to achieve optimal health. Eat healthy, exercise regularly (enough, but not too much), get at least 7 hours of QUALITY sleep at night, and manage mental stress. The main pillars of optimal health.

Seems simple enough, right?

So where do we go wrong?

Often times we think we’re doing a great job with these pillars of health. Even though most of us are simply…not.

I know this because I’m human. I have spent countless amounts of energy convincing myself that I am, in fact, taking control of my health and doing a great job of it. Even when I was clearly not.

Example: throughout DPT school, I was exercising, cooking or packing a lunch each day, and doing my best with sleep and stress. But for some reason, my clothes started feeling tighter, I had to buy new bras, and I felt cranky and bloated a lot, not to mention the slew of other warning signs and symptoms my body was shouting at me with.

The real problem? I wasn’t being honest with myself. I spent more time convincing myself that I was healthy and taking great care of myself than actually assessing and evaluating the current status of these aforementioned pillars in my life. While I was doing better than average, I was severely overestimating the status of my health.

Looking back, I realized I was bingeing on pizza and beer too often (because school was stressful and I deserved it, dammit!), had zero idea how to manage my stress, was never getting quality sleep (emphasis on quality– sleep with alcohol or any other sleeping aid does not count as quality), was overeating, and was not exercising at the correct dosage for my body at the time.

My point? We are not the best at being honest with ourselves.

We spend entirely too much time convincing ourselves that we are doing a great job, even when we’re not. A large part of my job as a coach is to bring my clients this awareness.

We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and asking ourselves the hard questions. We need to look at our current habits and ask ourselves if we really our doing our best. Or find someone who can look at our habits and provide honest feedback on how we can improve. And most importantly, we need to humble ourselves to be prepared to recieve the honest feedback. Whether it be from ourselves or a coach. We must be open.

Because in the end, you may be “getting away” with many of your bad habits. For now. But what’s it going to take before you finally make a change?

In an effort to help you reflect honestly, I’ve created the short, guided exercise below.

Before proceeding, I want to remind you to remain open and also to dig deep. Don’t go with your first gut instinct (because for most people that is the reasoning voice trying to convince you that you are indeed fine- even when you can do better). Write it all down. Yes, seriously. I don’t care how embarrassing it is. This is how you commit. 100%, all in. It’s the only way to actually improve and make sustainable changes. Honesty is empowering. It’s one of the first steps in reclaiming your power and you have nothing to lose but your health.

1. How would you rate your current health on a scale of 1-10 (1= poorest state of health, 10= most optimal state of health)? {DO THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING BELOW- SERIOUSLY.}

2. Begin with the number 10 and follow steps 3-4.

3. For each question below that you agree with, subtract 1 point.

  • I’m tired most days.
  • I feel stressed on a regular basis.
  • I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or any autoimmune disorder.
  • I sit >8 hours each day- watching TV at night counts.
  • I experience brain fog. Examples: difficulty remembering words, walking into rooms and forgetting why, etc.
  • I rely on coffee to wake me up in the morning.
  • I feel bloated often.
  • I get “hangry”.
  • I smoke cigarettes (Any. Even 1/day.).
  • I drink alcoholic beverages most nights.
  • I take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications at least 1x/week.
  • I eat refined sugar/flour (doughnuts, cake, brownies, cookies, pasta, bread, etc.).

4. For each statement below that you agree with, add 1 point:

  • I exercise at least 3x/week.
  • I get 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Examples: walking, vacuuming, yard work, etc.
  • I regularly (6-7 nights/week) get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • I feel rested when I wake up most mornings.
  • I always have an abundance of energy.
  • I partake in meditation, prayer, or other forms of stress relief daily.
  • I eat vegetables with almost every meal.
  • I refrain from refined sugar (doughnuts, cake, brownies, cookies, pasta, bread, etc.).

5. Compare the number from question 1 to the number you’re left with in question 4. Are they similar? Is this suprising? Why is this surpising?

6. Last but not least, what can you do to improve? What action steps can you take RIGHT NOW to create a better health status for your body?

Let me know if you learned something new about yourself with this exercise. I’d love to hear from you :).