Flip the Script

Flip the Script

When I was traveling recently, I was sitting a table where the conversation turned to food/wellness/nutrition (and no I was not the starter of it! I even kept my mouth shut). “I’m technically on Whole30 and I’m being kind of bad,” said someone with a glass of wine in hand, “but it’s about balance.” And like this last phrase punched me in the gut. If you are a former or current coachee of mine, or perhaps attended my workshop, you know my stance. Plus, from what I know, there is nothing ‘balance,’ about Whole30…

Throughout the trip, other instances arose: I stocked up on a few vegan protein shakes at Whole Foods and big bottles of water. As I drank them all, the lightbulb struck, I wasn’t necessarily ‘staying on track,’ but I was choosing consistent habits that I have when I am home, and when I am on the road. Even the last day, after two days off of tracking, I pulled up MFP to log my entire day, even though it was a travel day back home.

Whereas, had I placed unnecessary stress and pressure on myself to be ‘balanced,’ or ‘stay on track,’ I probably would have been a miserable B the whole trip worried about those words or phrases instead of the actual ACTION required. So, I rephrased some wellness buzz words we hear (and see) day in and day out to help stop the self-talk loop and make a positive action. Here they are:

Original Phrase: Balance

I think this word is probably one of the overused words in the wellness industry, and to me, it feels like the dangling carrot that you only actually catch like 2 days in a whole year. So you spend the remaining 363 days trying to find your ‘balance,’ and get frustrated when you aren’t feeling balanced – whether it is a meal that wasn’t planned to a T, or when every single meeting in a day runs over that you barely have time to go pee.

‘Balance’ is this elusive feeling, one that I think carries a hell of a lot of pressure and an underlying negative connotation. 

I get it. Your side of fries and your salad look like ‘balance’ to you. How about instead it’s like, “really wanted to hit my veggie goal today so I’m going to do that with my salad and then enjoy some French fries, too.” 

Rephrase: Flow

Life goes up and it goes down, very rarely is it ever in a straight line (i.e. ‘balance’)  so instead of trying to achieve this perfect ‘balance,’ let’s consider using the word ‘flow.’ We flow in our lives. Let’s think about a working weekday. You leave your house to sit in traffic (down), grab your ordered-ahead Starbucks (up), sit in back to back meetings that all go over (down), eat lunch while you check emails and listen to music (up), and then leave for the day to sit in more traffic (down) to grab a glass of wine with a friend (up) before heading home to have meal prepped dinner waiting for you (up). Like where in there are we just like bored and maybe even ‘balanced?’ Nah. We flow.

Original Phrase: Healthy or “Being Good”

Food simply carries a nutritious value – it’s not healthy or not healthy. It’s not good or bad. While, yes, it is incredibly important to choose food that is closest to its original look or feel (ie. an apple over apple fruit snacks), food (yes, ALL food) has calories. Some of those calories contain beautiful vitamins and minerals – those with the least resistance from earth to fork – and well the things that are highly processed, are unlikely to have as many nutritional benefits. But they aren’t ‘bad.’ 

Also to add: you are not an inherently good or bad person based on the food choices you make. If you decide to have a donut with breakfast you aren’t ‘being so bad.’ You are a beautiful human with unique wants and needs…and more likely than not, just living life in ‘flow.’

Rephrase: Nutritious or Serving My Goals

As stated before, food items are not good or bad, but they do fit into what we call macronutrient categories of protein – carbs – fat. So you want a bagel with butter on it? Cool, it’s carb and a fat. The bagel is nutritiously serving your goal by filling your carb need, and perhaps if you are an active person, restoring your glycogen, too (pre or post-run fuel, anyone?). Butter, is, fortunately or unfortunately, not a carb. But it’s categorized as a fat, which is an integral macronutrient to support hormone function, especially in women. Fat is a source of energy and our body needs it to survive. Again, choosing low-to no processed fat sources like olive oil, coconut oil, and even grass-fed butter (grass fed/pastured and wild caught items contain an improved fatty acid profile vs. their additionally processed counterparts) are important in our every day. 

Original Phrase: Staying/Being on Track

How many times have we been like, gosh I’m going to hit I hard, stay on track, not ‘cheat’ and adhere to the rules. And then you like, have one thing that is out of ‘line,’ and you either 1. Punish yourself and talk terribly back to yourself… or 2. You say, “Screw it, I’ll just re-start on Monday…”? Y’all stop the loop! Instead…

Rephrase: Consistency

How can we think about being consistent? I feel like when we are so focused on the perfection of staying or being on track, then we lose the importance of consistency. Think about what consistency looks like to you? Is it, no matter what drinking half of your body weight in water; and then even more when you know you are traveling? Is it, prioritizing protein at every meal when you are on vacation? Is it planning ahead before you get to a restaurant to choose a dish that you know serves your goals? How can you interrupt the loop of ‘being on track,’ to ‘this is what consistency looks like to me.’ Of course, if you want to make changes, it’s going to take changes. It’s going to take time and a lot of attention, as well as consistency with your habits.

Conclusion:

Life includes the moments with the cookies and the pizzas and the donuts, so when we realize that we can include these foods in with our lives, along with those foods that we know serve us (you know, the ones that are least processed), we end up with a much better relationship with food. Flipping the script from a negative place to a positive place is possible…the first step is becoming aware.
Alexandra Whitesell is the founder of Whitesell Wellness where she helps busy professionals, without stringent rules, find the joy in everyday wellness. She received her Level 1 certification from Precision Nutrition, which is the home of the world’s top nutrition coaches and is a Certified Personal Trainer. You can catch her at Cross Conditioning Training on Tuesday nights and Friday mornings. Within the corporate arena, she is also a Certified Meeting Professional and Certified Event Designer, which has been one of her passions for over 10 years. She uses her quote-on-quote “day” job, a marketing professional in the travel industry, as an advantage. She understands the demands that society is faced with today and incorporates that into her work with her coachees. Alexandra’s empathetic and rational approach to wellness advocates and empowers coachees to live their best, authentic lives. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Justin and their mini-schnauzer mix, Fitz.
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