Labelling Your Lifestyle: Why we shouldn’t do it.

Labelling Your Lifestyle: Why we shouldn’t do it.

Lifestyle is a word that I use to help influence clients to change their unhealthy habits into healthy ones. Exercise and eating well shouldn’t be a chore and it shouldn’t be something that you find difficult to factor into your everyday life and your routine, your health and your body should be high up on your priority list and the easiest way to make healthy changes that stick is to create a balance into your lifestyle and your everyday that you know you can commit to and reap the benefits of.

It can take a while to find a balanced lifestyle that suits you and your life, if you’re like me and like to dip your toes into different ponds then you can feel like you’re forever trying to find that structured weekly or daily routine to optimise your health but in my opinion, trying different exercise routines, fitness classes, recipes or different hobbies is the best way to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

This time last year I decided to go vegetarian for a month to give my body a break from digesting meat and to explore other recipes and up my plant based food intake. After a month I felt great and decided to carry it on, there seems to be a huge influx in plant based lifestyles now and I know that it’s (if not the best) one of the best ways to keep any health related diseases at bay and increase longevity. For months I was exploring different foods and recipes which I loved doing but after a while I began to feel a slight downside to this lifestyle, and was that when I told someone I’m a vegetarian and that I don’t eat meat I then became labelled with it. I felt a lot of pressure on what I could actually enjoy in life and that I couldn’t afford to slip up in anyway because I didn’t want to deal with the judgement. I felt that I’d been put on this pedestal and there was an assumption with being a Personal Trainer that my reasoning for being a vegetarian was because it’s the healthiest way to live. I purposely don’t tell my clients I’m a vegetarian unless we’re on the topic of conversation because it’s not my job to influence people to stop eating meat or live on a 100% plant based diet, it’s my job to help them find a lifestyle that suits them and benefits their health and if that means them eating meat then I’m fully supportive of that.

More to the point, because I labelled myself as a non-meat eater I began to fall out of love with food a little bit. I never craved meat and I didn’t feel like my body ever needed it but when we went to South Africa in October last year I knew that I would find it hard to not have some meat when we had a braai or to not chew on a bit of biltong, something I used to always look forward to doing every time I go back.

This was when I realised that if my lifestyle choices weren’t making me 100% happy then it’s not the lifestyle for me.

So, I ate biltong when we were driving around the Kruger, I had mouthfuls of steak and boerewors at the family braai and do you know what, I enjoyed it. I certainly didn’t feel any judgement either, my family completely supported and if not encouraged me to eat it because they knew how much I enjoyed it in the past. I continued to limit my meat intake after that holiday up until Christmas where I snacked on meaty food and I’ve now entered 2018 with a healthier mindset towards my eating choices. I’m continuing to limit my meat intake because it does have health benefits and my body does feels better when I’m eating more plant produce but I’m not going to let a label dictate to me what I can enjoy in life.

They say, you always know if somebody is a vegan because they tell you and everyone that can and I find this very true to a certain extent because it’s a lifestyle that is in trend at the moment. I understand and fully support anyone that is living a vegan lifestyle because it does have unbelievable health benefits but with the rise of veganism and social media I’ve found that it has also become a very judgmental place to be which leads to others feeling guilty for not being 100% committed. Don’t feel guilty. Everyone is different and some people may be able to adapt to a new lifestyle choice like a duck to water, but for others it can take a long time and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be related to food choices either, it can take time to adapt to making sure you exercise every day and changing your routine to fit it all in but stick with it and if it’s just not something you can adapt to after time then maybe you need to find a different way.

Have you got a question about making small changes to your every day routine? Drop me a message on one of my social media sites!

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